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HECLA REPORTS FIRST-QUARTER EARNINGS

 HECLA REPORTS FIRST-QUARTER EARNINGS
 COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho, May 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Hecla Mining Co.


(NYSE: HL; PSE) today announced net income for the first quarter of 1992 of $5.8 million, or 19 cents per share, on revenue of $38.3 million. In comparison, the company recorded a net loss of $2.4 million, or 8 cents per share, on revenue of $30.6 million during the first quarter of 1991. The increase in revenue and earnings during the first quarter of this year is primarily attributable to receipt of approximately $9 million from the sale of surface and timber rights on various nonoperating company-owned properties. Another factor contributing to increased first-quarter earnings was lower general and administrative costs, mainly as a result of implementation of cost reduction measures and nonrecurring CoCa Mines administrative costs.
 The average price of gold for the quarter fell to $351 per ounce, compared to $370 per ounce during the same period last year. The average price of silver during the first quarter of 1992 was higher than in the first quarter of 1991, at $4.12 per ounce, compared to $3.91 last year.
 In addition to lower gold prices, the decrease in gross profit from gold operations during the first quarter of 1992 compared to the same period last year was due to decreased production at the Republic Unit because of a lower grade of ore being mined. The Yellow Pine Unit is in the process of shutting down production and the Cactus Unit suffered unusually heavy rains during the first quarter, both of which also contributed to lower gold production for the first quarter of 1992.
 Work continues on the silver veins discovered under the old Gold Hunter mine adjacent to the Lucky Friday mine near Mullan, Idaho. At the end of the first quarter, crews had drifted 285 feet along an average vein width of 3.9 feet, with assays running in the range of 28 ounces of silver per ton and 3.5-percent lead. Exploration will continue in order to further delineate the mineralization.
 The industrial minerals business segment extended its excellent performance of 1991 into the first quarter of 1992. Gross profit from industrial minerals increased from $1.3 million in the first quarter of 1991 to $1.6 million in the first quarter of this year.
 Arthur Brown, Hecla's chairman and chief executive officer, said, "Had it not been for the sale of timber property in the first quarter, Hecla would have lost about $3 million. In response to depressed metals prices, we continue to drive down our mining and processing costs as low as possible. Consequently, we are in an excellent position to reap the benefits once the prices increase."
 During its 100-year history, Hecla has been a leading U.S. producer of silver and lead, and more recently, a major supplier of gold and industrial minerals.
 HECLA MINING CO.
 FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS
 Prior years' results have been restated to reflect the CoCa Mines Inc. merger, accounted for on a "pooling-of-interests" basis, which allows comparison of current statements with those of the previous year. Consequently, the financial statements presented here cannot be compared directly to previously published quarterly statements for the quarter ended March 31, 1991.
 (In thousands, except net income |loss~ per share)
 First Quarter
 1992 1991
 Total revenue $38,312 $30,578
 Net income (loss) $ 5,817 $(2,362)
 Net income (loss) per share $ 0.19 $ (0.08)
 Sale of Products:
 Gold operations $10,311 $13,638
 Silver operations 7,263 5,399
 Industrial minerals 11,597 10,612
 Total sales $29,171 $29,649
 Gross Profit (Loss):
 Gold operations $ 2,086 $ 4,848
 Silver operations (1,245) (2,439)
 Industrial minerals 1,643 1,349
 Total gross profit $ 2,484 $ 3,758
 Weighted average common shares outstanding 30,252 30,758
 First Quarter Full Year
 1992 1991 1991
 Average metal prices:
 Gold (dollars/ounce) 351 370 362
 Silver (dollars/ounce) 4.12 3.91 4.04
 Lead (cents/pound) 23 27 25
 Zinc (cents/pound) 53 54 51
 Metal Production:
 Gold (ounces) 30,244 37,906 147,228
 Silver (ounces) 1,359,748 1,322,498 5,326,852
 Lead (tons) 6,739 5,782 23,957
 Zinc (tons) 3,601 3,766 15,070
 -0- 5/7/92
 /CONTACT: Bill Booth of Hecla Mining, 208-769-4100/
 (HL) CO: Hecla Mining Co. ST: Idaho IN: MNG SU: ERN


SC-LM -- SE001 -- 7431 05/07/92 08:32 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:May 7, 1992
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