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Hecla Mining reports second-highest silver production in history

Hecla Mining company produced the second-highest volume of silver in its 126-year history in 2017, despite an ongoing strike at the Lucky Friday Mine.

The Coeur d’Alene-based company produced 12.5 million ounces of silver last year, and 232,685 ounces of gold, the company reported Wednesday.

“Our mines finished the year strongly,” said Phil Baker, Hecla’s president and chief executive.

The Greens Creek Mine in Alaska produced 8.4 million ounces of silver last year, and the San Sebastian Mine in Mexico produced about 3.3 million ounces of silver.

The Lucky Friday Mine produced about 839,000 ounces of silver last year. Miners at the underground mine near Mullan, Idaho, have been on strike since March, after negotiations failed to produce a new labor contract. The strike is the first at Lucky Friday since 1981.

Since the strike, salaried workers have done a limited amount of production at the mine, company officials said.

The previous six-year contract between Hecla management and United Steelworkers Local 5114 expired in April 2016. Both sides met several times with a federal mediator, but couldn’t reach agreement on a new contract. The parties met for three days of negotiations in early October, according to the Steelworker’s Facebook page.