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Press release from Business Wire

Hecla Acquires Remaining 30% Interest in San Juan Silver Project

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hecla Acquires Remaining 30% Interest in San Juan Silver Project06:00 EST Tuesday, December 13, 2011 COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho (Business Wire) -- Hecla Mining Company (“Hecla”) (NYSE:HL) is pleased to announce that is has acquired the remaining 30% interest in the San Juan Silver project at Creede, one of Colorado's most prolific silver-producing districts. The San Juan Silver project has a silver resource of approximately 37 million ounces and significant lead. With 20 plus miles of the Bulldog, Amethyst, and Equity veins on the property, there is potential for considerably more silver and gold resources. The property also encompasses the Bulldog mine, Equity ramp, and administration buildings. In addition, the Company maintains a 70% interest in an exploration joint venture that holds ancillary exploration property with numerous unexplored veins in the district. The acquisition of the remaining 30% interest in the San Juan Silver project was completed pursuant to a Purchase Sale Agreement (the “Agreement”) between Hecla's wholly-owned subsidiary Rio Grande Silver, Inc. (“RGS”) and Emerald Mining & Leasing, LLC (“EML”), Golden 8 Mining, LLC (“G8”), and AgX Resources, Inc. (“AgX”), (EML, G8, and AgX are collectively referred to as the “Sellers”) dated December 12, 2011. The Sellers owned interest in certain properties which were governed by a Joint Venture Agreement (“2008 JVA”) entered into between the RGS, EML, and G8 on February 21, 2008. Under the terms of the Agreement, RGS purchased the Sellers' undivided interest in approximately 55% of the 21-square-mile property encompassing the Bulldog, Amethyst, and Equity veins, which had previously been part of the 2008 JVA, in return for the issuance of 5,395,683 shares of Hecla common stock. A new exploration joint venture agreement has been established that is 70% RGS and will cover the remaining land package that is on the east and west flanks of the RGS property that contains less explored targets. At yesterday's closing share price, the transaction was valued at $33.8 million. “This transaction is another step towards increasing our interest in district-sized land packages and silver production growth opportunities,” said Phil Baker, President and Chief Executive Officer. “The San Juan Silver project offers tremendous upside and has progressed much quicker than we had anticipated. In the last six months, we received the permit to construct the new Bulldog decline to the mine workings, rehabilitated the Equity ramp and commenced the underground drilling program on the silver-gold targets in the Equity and Amethyst veins.” ABOUT HECLA Established in 1891, Hecla Mining Company is the largest and lowest cash cost silver producer in the U.S. The company has two operating mines and exploration properties in four world-class silver mining districts in the U.S. and Mexico. Cautionary Statements Statements made which are not historical facts, such as strategies, plans, anticipated payments, litigation outcome (including settlement negotiations), production, sales of assets, exploration results and plans, costs, and prices or sales performance are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as “may”, “will”, “should”, “expects”, “intends”, “projects”, “believes”, “estimates”, “targets”, “anticipates” and similar expressions are used to identify these forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected, anticipated, expected or implied. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, metals price volatility, volatility of metals production and costs, environmental and litigation risks, operating risks, project development risks, political risks, labor issues, ability to raise financing and exploration risks and results. Refer to the company's Form 10-K and 10-Q reports for a more detailed discussion of factors that may impact expected future results. The company undertakes no obligation and has no intention of updating forward-looking statements other than as may be required by law. Cautionary Statements to Investors on Reserves and Resources The United States Securities and Exchange Commission permits mining companies, in their filings with the SEC, to disclose only those mineral deposits that a company can economically and legally extract or produce. We use certain terms on this release, such as “resource,” “other resources,” and “mineralized materials” that the SEC guidelines strictly prohibit us from including in our filings with the SEC. U.S. investors are urged to consider closely the disclosure in our Form 10-K and Form 10-Q. You can review and obtain copies of these filings from the SEC's website at For further information, please contact: Mélanie Hennessey                 Direct Main: 800-HECLA91 (800-432-5291) Vice President – Investor Relations Email: Direct: 604-694-7729 Website:   Hecla Canada Ltd. Hecla Mining Company 400 – 580 Hornby Street 6500 N. Mineral Drive, Suite 200 Vancouver, British Columbia Coeur d'Alene, Idaho 83815 V6C 3B6 Canada Hecla Mining CompanyMélanie HennesseyVice President ? Investor RelationsDirect: 604-694-7729Direct Main: 800-HECLA91 (800-432-5291)