May 5, 1995 in Nation/World

Silver Prices Reach $6 For First Time Since ‘88

Eric Torbenson Staff writer

Silver prices finally pushed over the $6 an ounce barrier Thursday, rising a hefty 14 cents on the New York Comex spot market to close at $6.10.

The last time silver was over $6 an ounce was in 1988, when silver topped out at $6.53, according to records at precious metals brokerage firm Penaluna & Co.

“It’s an important level for silver to make,” said Jeffrey Christian of the CPM Group Ltd. in New York City, a precious metals analyst firm.

The delivery of silver from Comex reserves has fueled the market from March lows around $4.50 an ounce to the current levels. While Christian warns the market is ripe for a correction, the longer term looks very positive. “I can see silver dusting itself off after a correction and getting back toward $6 an ounce in June.”

The most immediate effect of higher silver prices could be the reopening of the Coeur and/or Galena silver mines near Kellogg in Idaho’s Silver Valley. Coeur d’Alene Mines Corp. and Asarco had previously hinted that it could reopen the mines if silver stayed above $6 an ounce, but later backed away from that statement.

“The gates up there didn’t open today,” said Tony Ebersole, director of investor relations at Coeur d’Alene Mines. “But the trend in the market looks strong. Eventually, a decision (about the mines) will have to be made.”

Silver Valley Resources, a joint venture between Coeur d’Alene Mines and New York-based Asarco Inc., controls the two silver mines that have been idle since 1992 and would decide whether to reopen them, Ebersole said.

Local mining stocks benefitted from strength in the silver and gold markets. Hecla Mining Co. rose 25 cents to $11.25. Coeur d’Alene Mines rose 63 cents to $21.50. Pegasus Gold Inc. rose 38 cents to $12.75. Sunshine Mining & Refining Co. rose 13 cents to $2.38. Gold Reserve Corp. rose 13 cents to $7.13.

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