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Hecla Mining acquires Alexco Resource

The Keno Hill Silver District is one of the highest-grade silver districts in the world. (Image courtesy of Alexco Resource.)

American silver producer Hecla Mining (NYSE: HL) has agreed to acquire all shares of Canadian Alexco Resource (NYSE.A: AXU) (TSX: AXU) it doesn’t already own, in an all-stock deal that values the target’s shares at 47 cents each.

The Coeur d’Alene, Idaho-based miner, said the figure represents a premium of 23% based on Alexco’s five-day volume weighted average price on the New York Stock Exchange on July 1.

At Friday’s closing price of $4.01, the shares would be valued at around $72.2 million.

Founded in 1891, Hecla Mining is the largest silver producer in the United States.

Hecla’s chief executive Phillips Baker Jr. said integrating Alexco’s Keno Hill project in the Yukon Territory, could also make the company Canada’s largest silver producer.

“Silver is a critical element to decarbonize the economy and the need for domestic supply is growing,” Baker said in a statement. “Acquiring Keno Hill allows Hecla to further meet this need with a secure high-grade silver development and exploration project that has a small environmental footprint.”

Hecla Mining has also agreed to pay Wheaton Precious Metals (NYSE, TSX: WPM) $135 million in its own shares for the company to terminate its silver streaming interest at Alexco’s Keno Hill.

The two transactions would boost Hecla’s already significant reserves, which reached in 2021 the second highest level in the company’s 130-year history – to 200 million ounces.

Global demand for silver, used in solar panels, electric vehicles and other key green technologies, is on the way up and expected to reach a record this year of 1.112 billion ounces, according to the Silver Institute.

The organization, whose figures are prepared by consultants Metals Focus, said last week it expected global silver demand for industrial use to jump 5% this year to a new high of 552 million ounces.