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HECLA REPORTS FIRST-QUARTER RESULTS

 COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho, May 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Hecla Mining Co. (NYSE: HL) today reported a 1993 first-quarter loss of $4.8 million, or 15 cents a share, on revenue of $21 million. In comparison, during the first quarter of 1992, the company reported net income of $6.0 million, or 19 cents a share, on revenue of $38.3 million. The difference between the two quarters can be primarily attributed to the sale during the first quarter of 1992 of surface and timber rights on company-owned properties for $9 million, nonrecurring during the first quarter of this year. In addition, the first quarter of 1993 was affected by much lower average gold, silver, lead and zinc prices and a decrease in gold and silver production, compared to the same period last year. These were partially offset by increased lead and zinc production in the 1993 period.
 The average gold price decreased $22 per ounce compared to the first quarter of 1992, from $351 to $329 per ounce. Silver followed, decreasing from an average of $4.12 per ounce in the first quarter last year to an average price of $3.66 per ounce during the first quarter of 1993. Lead and zinc prices also fell, with lead decreasing from an average of 23 cents per pound during the first quarter of last year to an average of 19 cents per pound this year. The average price of zinc decreased to 47 cents per pound, compared to 53 cents per pound during the first quarter of 1992.
 To help counter the effects of lower prices, Hecla has accelerated its cost-cutting measures during the first quarter of 1993. The company has continued to improve efficiency at the operating properties and has reduced general and administrative expenses by nearly half a million dollars compared to the same period last year.
 Gold production decreased from about 30,000 ounces during the first quarter of 1992 to about 15,500 ounces during the first three months of this year, mainly because of a decrease in gold production from the Cactus Unit, where active mining has ceased. In addition, the Republic Unit is now mining a lower grade of ore after depleting the higher grade zones, and consequently produced about 5,000 fewer ounces of gold during the first quarter of this year compared to the same period last year.
 Duringi?rst quarter of 1993, Hecla announced expanded reserves at the Grouse Creek gold project in southern Idaho. The deposit now contains 831,000 ounces of proven and provable gold reserves and 17.5 million ounces of proven and probable silver reserves. At the La Choya gold project in Mexico, all permits necessary to begin construction have been received. The La Choya deposit contains 167,000 ounces of proven and probable gold reserves. A plan to finance the projects is being pursued, and construction at Grouse Creek and La Choya may begin this summer. Hecla is seeking minority interest joint-venture partners to help finance a portion of the development costs of the projects.
 Hecla's total silver production for 1993 through the first quarter was about 1.2 million ounces compared to 1.4 million ounces in the 1992 comparable period. In February, Greens Creek Mining Co. announced the suspension of operations at the Greens Creek mine in Alaska, in which Hecla held a 28-percent interest as of Dec. 31, 1992. The action was a result of depressed prices for each of the metals produced at Greens Creek. The mine will be kept on care and maintenance in anticipation of a resumption of operations when economic conditions improve.
 The industrial minerals business segment performed well during the first quarter of 1993, although gross profit decreased slightly, mainly due to increased stripping and mining expenses during the quarter. Construction of the new clay slurry plant in Monterrey, Mexico, is proceeding on schedule with start-up planned for later this summer.
 Arthur Brown, Hecla's chairman and chief executive officer, said, "While we are disappointed that metals prices did not turn our way in the first quarter, recent market activities provide optimism that perhaps we have seen the bottom. Meanwhile, Hecla continues to work hard on cost cutting while at the same time proceeding with the financing and development of our Grouse Creek and La Choya gold projects." Brown added that Hecla continues to maintain a strong balance sheet with a healthy current ratio of 2.6 to 1.
 Hecla Mining Co. is headquartered in Coeur d'Alene. During its 102-year history, Hecla has been a leading U.S. producer of silver and lead, and more recently a significant supplier of gold and industrial minerals.
 HECLA MINING CO.
 RESULTS IN BRIEF
 (Dollars in thousands, except per-share amounts)
 First Quarter
 1993 1992
 Total revenue $ 20,981 $ 38,312
 Net income (loss) (4,771) 5,970
 Net income (loss) per share (0.15) 0.19
 Sale of products:
 Gold operations 4,469 10,311
 Silver operations 4,091 7,263
 Industrial minerals 11,826 11,597
 Specialty metals 483 --
 Total sales 20,869 29,171
 Gross profit (loss):
 Gold operations 595 2,086
 Silver operations (2,792) (1,245)
 Industrial minerals 1,230 1,643
 Specialty metals (101) --
 Total gross profit (loss) (1,068) 2,484
 AVERAGE METAL PRICES
 First Quarter
 1993 1992
 Gold (dollars/ounce) 329 351
 Silver (dollars/ounce) 3.66 4.12
 Lead (cents/pound) 19 23
 Zinc (cents/pound) 47 53
 -0- 5/4/93
 /CONTACT: Bill Booth, manager - Investor and Ps?, of Hecla Mining, 208-769-4100/
 (HL)


CO: Hecla Mining Co. ST: Idaho IN: MNG SU: ERN

LM-GT -- SE003 -- 4151 05/04/93 08:33 EDT
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Date:May 4, 1993
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