Golden Minerals Company is precious metals mining company, and we own the Velardeņa Properties and associated oxide and sulfide processing plants in the State of Durango, Mexico, the El Quevar advanced exploration property in the province of Salta, Argentina, and a diversified portfolio of precious metals and other mineral exploration properties located primarily in or near historical precious metals producing regions of Mexico. Our common stock is publicly traded on the Toronto and NYSE MKT stock exchanges.
We are primarily focused on evaluating and searching for mining opportunities in North America (including Mexico) with near term prospects of mining, and particularly for properties within reasonable haulage distances of our Velardeņa Properties. Golden Minerals is also reviewing strategic opportunities, focusing primarily on development and operating properties in North America, including Mexico. We are continuing exploration efforts on selected properties in our portfolio of approximately 10 exploration properties located primarily in Mexico. We continue to hold our El Quevar advanced exploration property on care and maintenance until we can fund further exploration ourselves or find a partner to further advance the project.
The oxide mill at Velardeņa has been leased to Hecla Mining Company since July 2015 and provided net cash flow to Golden Minerals of approximately $4.4 million in 2016. The lease has been extended through June 2017 and Hecla may at its option extend the lease for an additional 18 months following June 30, 2017, or until December 31, 2018. During the third quarter 2016, Hecla and Golden reached agreement regarding an expansion of the tailings impoundment, at Hecla's cost, to accommodate Hecla's increased use of tailings capacity while preserving flexibility for future tailings expansions.
The Company reported a balance of approximately $2.6 million cash and equivalents and zero debt as of December 31, 2016, as compared to $4.1 million cash and $5.0 million face value convertible debt, respectively, as of December 31, 2015.
We are led by a management team with more than 60 years of combined experience in mining exploration, project development, construction and operations all over the world. Our executive officers have held senior positions at various large mining companies including, among others, Cyprus Amax Minerals Company, INCO Limited, Meridian Gold Company, Barrick Gold Exploration and Noranda Exploration. Our executive team has a proven ability to manage large projects in challenging environments.