The metals markets are an interesting beast. Profits are up at one point and disappear the next. Some miners, however, have found their place. Solid veins, markets that seem to buy regularly and a cost structure that is well below market price. Generally, this might make that proverbial bell go off in one’s head. In other circumstances it would offer up opportunity. If a company were to present itself, with these thoughts in mind, after being in operation for only a few years the bell might be valid. One that has been in operation, with these same thoughts for over 100 years, should definitely be checked it out.

Hecla Mining Co., a metals mining development company, operates several operations in Idaho, Durango, Mexico and Alaska. Primary metals include lead, zinc, silver and gold in varying forms. The company owns 100% of almost all its mines and was founded in 1891.

To indicate that the company is on the move with rising metal prices would be an understatement. Silver production has increased to almost 11 million oz. while lead and zinc (44,000 t and 80,000t respectively) have also reached record levels. Moving into 2010 it also indicates that these levels will continue based on price levels. Hecla Mining, at this point, is not a company to be trifled with as it also boasts a production cost structure ($2.00 oz. for silver) that would likely drive a competitor to salivate.

Perhaps the most telling aspect of the company, as it enjoys solid performance, is its use of profit from its current position. Three years of solid results have let the company eliminate debt while also maintaining $100 million of cash on hand. One may say what they would like about a mining investment but in any particular circumstance this is a remarkable position to be in. The company is debt free and has $100 million in cash on hand. Investigation is always the way to begin but Hecla Mining does appear to be in an extremely solid position with the future looking bright.