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Posts tagged: Hecla

Lucky Friday Mine avoids federal safety violation notice, after improvements

Federal mine safety officials will not issue Hecla Mining Co. a violations pattern notice, the mine company announced today.

The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration had issued a potential pattern of violations notice for the Lucky Friday Mine in early 2012, following two fatal accidents at the Lucky Friday Mine in Mullan.

But after further review, and following more than $60 million spent on safety training and mine improvements, the MSHA said no final violation notice will be issued.

If the POV had been issued, the risk was that Hecla might have had to close the mine again, or make more focused safety efforts at the Lucky Friday.

The mine was closed for more than a year as Hecla managers made the investments and installed new equipment in the silver, zinc and lead mine.

“We are pleased that following the rehabilitation of the shaft, training and other work, MSHA has decided that the PPOV is not required. We have worked with MSHA, and are continuing to enhance many aspects of the mine’s operations and safety, including implementation of the National Mining Association’s CORESafety Program,” said Phillips S. Baker, Jr., Hecla’s President and Chief Executive Officer.

The Lucky Friday mine resumed operations last month.

Hecla lost around $135 million by not operating Lucky Friday for a year

This week's major news in North Idaho was the announced reopening of the Lucky Friday mine, in Mullan.

For most folks, the Lucky Friday is called a silver mine. In fact, it also produces good amounts of lead and zinc.

Hecla Mining had to shut down mining of those metals for more than a year, following investigations by the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration.

Based on the year's typical production of silver — described as roughly 3 million ounces — Hecla missed out on about $90 million in revenue for that metal. But that's just for silver.

When the loss includes no revenue for zinc and lead, the total loss for the company comes to about $135 million over the full 13 months of non-production, said company VP of Investor Relations Jim Sabala.

Photo by SR photographer Dan Pelle:  Hecla CEO Phillips Baker Jr. discusses the reopening of the Lucky Friday mine.

Hecla reopens Lucky Friday mine after extensive safety steps

After being closed for more than a year, Hecla’s Lucky Friday silver mine has resumed protection, following a series of safety upgrades that cost more than $30 million.

The mine was closed on orders from federal mine inspectors following a rock burst that injured seven workers in December 2011.

The mile-deep silver mine in Mullan, Idaho, is expected to return to full production later this year. The company announced all employees were recalled and received supplemental safety training.

The rock burst injuries followed fatal accidents at the Lucky Friday that killed two miners in April and November of 2011.

Hecla officials also said the company completed a new bypass drift at the main shaft’s 5,900 foot level, around an area impacted by the December 2011 rock burst. Hecla reporting spending roughly $30 million on the rehabilitation of the main silver shaft and an additional $26.2 million on other Lucky Friday capital projects unrelated to the shaft renovation.

If you thought that would help Hecla's stock, that's not so.  As of 11:30 a.m. Pacific time, the stock dipped  9 cents or 1.5 percent

   

Hecla names new manager for Lucky Friday Mine

Hecla Mining Co. has made management changes at the troubled Lucky Friday Mine.

Ed Sutich has been named vice president and general manager of the underground silver mine in Mullan, Idaho.

He replaces Jeff Jordan, who has moved to Hecla’s corporate office as vice president of technical services.

The Lucky Friday Mine is closed while the company completes about $30 million worth of work on the main shaft.

Federal inspectors ordered the shaft closure in January after a special emphasis safety inspection that was triggered by two fatalities at the mine in 2011.

Sutich, the mine’s new general manager, has 30 years of mining experience. He previously was Freeport Indonesia’s manager of underground development.

Jordan will be responsible for mining and geotechnical engineering and metallurgy in his new position.

Michael Wegleitner has been appointed as Hecla’s safety and health director. He has spent 25 years working on those issues in the mining, construction and energy industries.

Hecla to open Wallace office again

Hecla Mining Co. is opening an office in Idaho’s Silver Valley to keep local residents abreast of future expansions at the Lucky Friday Mine and the company’s role in environmental cleanup in the area.

U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo will speak at the grand opening of the new office at 10:30 a.m. Friday at 611 Bank St. in Wallace. The event is open to the public.

“The one constant for Hecla in nearly 120 years of mining throughout North and South America has been our presence and operations in the Silver Valley,” said Phil Baker, Hecla’s present and CEO.

Over the next 12 months, Baker said company officials will make decisions about the future of the Lucky Friday Mine in Mullan, Idaho. A $150 million to $200 million expansion of the mine is under consideration, which allow the company to access silver deposits below the existing workings.

Hecla’s corporate offices were located in Wallace until 1986, when the company moved its headquarters to Coeur d’Alene.

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