Hecla Mining, Coeur Mining and Americas Silver are three of the largest primary silver producers in the US. Here’s what investors should know about them.
The US was one of the world’s top silver producers in 2017, recording output of 1,020 MT.
While that’s far below first-place Mexico’s 5,600 MT, the US is still a major producer of the precious metal, and is likely to remain a key source moving forward.
Much of the nation’s silver is produced in Alaska, the country’s leading silver-producing state. But which companies mine silver in the US? Interestingly, although the US is a key producer, much of the silver in the country is mined as a by-product of gold.
However, some companies have made silver their focus, and it is the primary metal that they produce. Read on for an overview of three of the largest primary silver producers in the US.
1. Hecla Mining (NYSE:HL)
Market cap: US$1.37 billion
Hecla Mining has operating silver mines in Alaska, Idaho and Mexico, and also has a gold-producing mine in Canada. Additionally, the company has a variety of exploration properties and pre-development projects in six silver- and gold-mining districts in North America.
During 2017, the firm produced 40.9 million silver equivalent ounces, with silver production coming in at 12.5 million ounces. That’s Hecla’s second-highest annual amount ever, behind the record set in 2016. Meanwhile, gold production for the year was 554,843 ounces, lead production was 22,734 tons and zinc output stood at 55,109 tons.
2. Coeur Mining (NYSE:CDE)
Market cap: US$1.2 billion
Coeur Mining describes itself as a growing precious metals producer with five mines in the Americas. It produces at several wholly owned operations: the Palmarejo silver-gold complex in Mexico, the Rochester silver-gold mine in Nevada, the Kensington gold mine in Alaska, the Wharf gold mine in South Dakota and the San Bartolome silver mine in Bolivia.
The company produced 39.4 million silver equivalent ounces in 2017, up 9 percent from 2016 and the highest in the company’s history. According to Coeur, 2018 production should come in at 36.6 to 40 million silver equivalent ounces.
Similar to Hecla, Coeur has also made an acquisition this year. The company announced at the beginning of August that it would be acquiring Northern Empire Resources (TSXV:NM). Northern Empire’s flagship asset is its Sterling gold project in Nevada.
3. Americas Silver (TSX:USA)
Market cap: C$141.19 million
Americas Silver has two primary assets in the US and Mexico: the Cosala operation in Mexico, which includes the San Rafael mine, and the Galena Complex in Idaho. The company reported revenues of $54.3 million in 2017, and produced a total of 4.7 million silver equivalent ounces.
In Q2 of this year, Americas Silver reported output of 1.5 million silver equivalent ounces, a decrease of 24 percent year-on-year. The drop has been attributed to lower tonnage at the Galena Complex.
Even so, Darren Blasutti, the company’s president and CEO, said that “[t]he San Rafael mine successfully increased mining and milling rates by almost 15% during the quarter and we expect further increases in the third quarter as it continues to ramp up the mill to capacity.”
Will you invest in any of these silver producers? Do you view current silver prices as a liability or an opportunity? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
This is an updated version of an article originally published by the Investing News Network in 2013.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Amanda Kay, currently hold a small investment in Hecla Mining, but do not invest in any other company mentioned in this article.