An ongoing strike at the Lucky Friday Mine and tax issues contributed to a drop in first-quarter earnings for Hecla Mining Co.
The Coeur d’Alene-based company reported first-quarter income of $8.1 million, or 2 cents per share, on Thursday. The results compared to 2017 first-quarter income of $26.7 million, or 5 cents per share.
First-quarter income was affected by $4.1 million in suspension costs at the Lucky Friday Mine in Mullan, Idaho, where workers have been on strike since March 2017, company officials said.
The drop in earnings also reflected tax changes at the Lucky Friday. During the first quarter of 2017, Hecla recorded a one-time tax benefit of $29.1 million for accelerating deductions related to the development of a new shaft at the underground silver mine.
Hecla produced 2.5 million ounces of silver during the first quarter, which was down about 25 percent from a year ago. Gold production rose slightly during the quarter to about 58,000 ounces.
Higher prices for lead and zinc benefited Hecla’s bottom line during the quarter, said Phil Baker, Hecla’s president and chief executive.
In addition to the Lucky Friday, Hecla owns mines in Alaska, Canada and Mexio, and it recently acquired a Nevada company with three gold mines.