Top Stories for Jan. 11, 2024:
1. Stifel analyst Vincent Anderson maintained a Buy rating on Compass Minerals Intl. CMP but lowered his price target from $75 to $60.
2. Commercial Metals Company CMC announced that its Board of Directors authorized a $500 million increase to its existing share buyback program, bringing the total to $850 million. $310 million of the company’s common stock has already been repurchased since October 2021.
President and Chief Executive Officer Peter R. Matt commented on the matter: “Today’s announcement reflects a well-balanced capital allocation strategy that is supported by CMC’s strong earnings capability and cash flow profile… Our Company’s excellent financial position provides the ability to continue to fund value-accretive growth, while returning a meaningful portion of CMC’s free cash flow to shareholders.”
3. Hecla Mining Company HL announced its preliminary silver and gold production for the fourth quarter and full year 2023.
Despite the Lucky Friday mine’s temporary closure, silver production increased slightly to 14.3 million ounces in 2023, while annual gold production decreased by 14% due to the transition of Casa Berardi to an open pit mine.
The Lucky Friday mine also commenced its restart and is expected to reach full production in the first quarter. Meanwhile, Keno Hill produced 1.5 million ounces, with the Bermingham deposit yielding the highest tonnage in December.
Hecla’s President and CEO Phillips S. Baker added the following:
“Hecla faced multiple challenges in 2023 with the fire at the Lucky Friday mine and improving the safety culture at Keno Hill, but despite these challenges, silver production exceeded last year as Greens Creek delivered another strong year, Lucky Friday’s production through July with our patented UCB method produced more silver than the mine typically produced in a full year with the old mining method and the roughly half year of production at Keno Hill shows its potential to be a meaningful producer,” said President and CEO Phillips S. Baker.
Baker also commented on the company’s prospects in the year to come: “We look forward to a strong year in 2024 as we execute our growth strategy to deliver up to 20 million ounces of silver production by 2025. With silver’s critical role in energy transition and its application in solar electricity generation, Hecla will play an important role in producing silver as the world’s fastest-growing established silver producer and the dominant producer of silver in the U.S. and soon Canada.”