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8 Mining Stocks to Watch

3. Hecla Mining (HL) is engaged in discovering, acquiring, developing, producing, and marketing silver, gold, lead and zinc. The company is organized into two segments: the Greens Creek and Lucky Friday units.

During the first quarter 2011, the company's earnings more than doubled to $43.3 million or 15 cents per share from $21.8 million or 7 cents per share in the year-ago quarter as a result of a 70.7% increase in revenue to $136.4 million from $79.9 million in the first quarter of 2010. Revenue growth was driven by higher metal (silver, gold, lead and zinc) prices. In terms of volumes, silver sales increased 15.7% to ~2.4 million ounces, compared to volume declines across gold, lead and zinc.

As of March 2011, cash and cash equivalents soared to $321.7 million from $116.3 million at the end of March 2010 as cash flow from operating activities more than tripled to $60.9 million from $17.8 million.

Hecla reiterated silver production guidance in 2011 which will range between 9 and 10 million ounces. Also, the company forecasts total cash cost per ounce to be approximately zero dollars of silver produced, net of by-product credits, based on $1,350 per ounce of gold, and $1.05 per pound of lead and zinc.

Of the nine analysts covering the stock, 44% recommend a buy on it, while 33% rate a hold. On average, analysts foresee 71.7% upside to $12 from current levels.

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