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Lucky Friday Mine to be tightly controlled

THURSDAY, NOV. 29, 2012

When it resumes operations early next year, the Lucky Friday Mine in Shoshone County will be under tighter health and safety controls imposed by the federal government.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration on Wednesday said it has warned Hecla Mining Co. that the mine near Mullan, Idaho, will be subject to enhanced enforcement because it has demonstrated a “potential pattern of violations of mandatory health or safety standards.”

Hecla must reduce the rate of “significant and substantial” violations at the Lucky Friday, where separate accidents last year left two miners dead and seven workers briefly trapped 5,900 feet underground.

Last January, mining there was halted and more than 200 employees and contractors were laid off in response to a federal order to clean the mine’s main shaft to improve safety.

Hecla plans to reopen the mine in the first few months of 2013 and anticipates producing more than 2 million ounces of silver there next year.

Hecla said recently that returning workers have received safety training, including new techniques in risk assessment and accident prevention.

The mine is in the midst of a $200 million expansion that will plunge to depths of 8,800 feet to reach richer silver deposits.



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