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Hecla Mining to buy Canada-based miner

Hecla Mining Co. said Monday it plans to buy a Canadian-based gold producer operating in the Abitibi area of Quebec.

Coeur d’Alene-based Hecla has agreed to pay $774.5 million to acquire the shares of Aurizon Mines Ltd., which has its headquarters in Vancouver, B.C.

Aurizon operates the Casa Berardi gold mine northwest of Montreal. The company expects that mine will yield 125,000 to 130,000 ounces of gold this year.

Hecla this year anticipates producing about 8 million to 9 million ounces of silver from its primary silver mines, the Lucky Friday Mine at Mullan, Idaho, and the Greens Creek Mine on Admiralty Island in Alaska.

Hecla President and CEO Phillips Baker Jr. said in a statement, “Hecla and Aurizon together create a unique precious metals company with three long-life, high-grade, low-cost mines in some of the best mining jurisdictions in the world.”

Staff report

Fannie, Freddie bond unit merger proposed

WASHINGTON – The federal regulator who oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is putting forward a plan to combine the two mortgage giants’ divisions that issue billions of dollars in securities backed by home loans.

The plan announced Monday by Edward DeMarco, acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, is part of efforts to overhaul Fannie and Freddie with the goal of shrinking the government’s role in the mortgage finance system. The government rescued the companies in 2008 with $170 billion in aid, the costliest bailout of the financial crisis.

So far, the companies have repaid a combined $52.3 billion.

Together the two companies own or guarantee about half of all U.S. mortgages, or nearly 31 million home loans. Those loans are worth more than $5 trillion. Along with other federal agencies, they back roughly 90 percent of new mortgages.

DeMarco said the combined entity would have its own CEO and board chairman who would be independent of Fannie and Freddie. It would be physically in a separate location.

Associated Press

Washington’s average gas price now $3.79

BELLEVUE – The AAA auto club reports the average price of a gallon of gasoline in Washington is $3.79.

That’s up 7 cents in a week and 33 cents in a month. It’s 4 cents higher than the national average.

Some metro prices from Monday’s AAA survey:

Spokane $3.44, Bellingham $3.96, Bremerton $3.84, Seattle-Bellevue-Everett $3.88, Tacoma $3.87, Olympia $3.89, Vancouver $3.82, Yakima $3.63, and Tri-Cities $3.50.

Associated Press

VW Golf named Europe’s car of the year

GENEVA – The Volkswagen Golf has been named Europe’s Car of the Year by automotive journalists from more than 20 countries.

Introduced in 1974 and recently redesigned, the hatchback is the company’s mass-market flagship – and a key element in its ambition to overtake Toyota as the world’s biggest carmaker.

The car left the competition in the dust Monday on the eve of the Geneva Motor Show, grabbing 414 votes. The Subaru BRZ, also sold as the Toyota GT-86, was second with 202 votes and the Volvo V40 third with 189 votes.

The award is one of the most important in Europe and gives consumers an idea of what the experts think the car of the future is.

Associated Press


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