February 19, 2013 in Business, Idaho

Hecla reopens Lucky Friday mine after year’s closure

More than $30 million spent on improvements, safety upgrades
By The Spokesman-Review
 


(Full-size photo)

After being shut down for more than a year, Hecla’s Lucky Friday silver mine has resumed production, following a series of safety upgrades that cost close to $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 reported 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.

About 275 people worked the mine at the time of the closure.

Hecla mines silver and gold in the U.S. and Mexico.

Hecla President and CEO Phillips S. Baker Jr., in a press statement, said, “Production levels are expected to ramp up during the first half of the year, and we expect to reach normal production levels by mid-year.

For the full year 2013, silver production from Lucky Friday is projected at approximately two million ounces.”


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