U.S.-based Hecla Mining has highlighted operational innovation as a key strategic pillar because it is convinced the industry stands on a technological “tipping point” that will pave the way for the next generation of mines.
A loader in Hecla Mining’s Casa Berardi underground gold mine in Quebec. Credit: Hecla Mining
The company hosted an intimate technology mini-conference for investors at its recent annual general meeting (AGM) in Vancouver, and The Northern Miner subsequently caught up with president and CEO Phillip Baker, Jr., to talk about how Hecla is investing in innovation to increase productivity, profits and safety.
“In the late 1970s, heap-leach technology really took off and fundamentally changed the gold mining industry. We believe we’re at another tipping point where the industry is changing due to the available technologies. If you don’t change alongside it, well, you’re going to get left in the dust,” Baker says.
“The companies that failed to understand heap leaching, and what it could do operationally, disappeared. Other companies emerged by leveraging new technologies to develop the assets that were left behind,” he continues.
Hecla describes its approach to technological research and integration as “incremental” and “iterative.”
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