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Thursday, May 28, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Idaho

Ruling Releases Hecla From Damages Idaho Supreme Court Refuses Star-Phoenix Request For Rehearing In $20 Million Claim

FROM FOR THE RECORD (Friday, July 18, 1997): Correction Reasons for loss: Hecla Mining Co. reported a net loss of $40 million in 1996 because of the closure and reclamation of the Grouse Creek mine in Idaho and a write-down of the American Girl mine in California. A story in Wednesday’s paper incorrectly reported the reasons for the loss.

The Idaho Supreme Court has denied Star-Phoenix Mining Co.’s request for a rehearing against Hecla Mining Co., upholding its previous decision that Hecla does not have to pay a $20 million damage award.

“This ruling represents the final chapter of a difficult issue for everyone,” Hecla Chairman Art Brown said Tuesday in a statement.

The case has been in court for six years.

In early April, the Supreme Court ruled 4-1 that Hecla properly ended a lease in 1990 when it shut down the Star-Morning mine near Wallace.

That decision overturned a Wallace jury’s decision that would have given $6 million to miners and creditors who claimed losses from Star-Phoenix when it went bankrupt.

The court earlier had ruled that $10 million in cash being held in escrow be returned to Hecla. Star-Phoenix also had to pay all Hecla’s court costs and attorney’s fees.

Star-Phoenix leased the Star-Morning mine from Hecla in 1989. After Star-Phoenix had arranged a contract with British Columbia’s Cominco Ltd., Hecla revoked the lease.

Star-Phoenix alleged that its financial problems worsened when Hecla contacted Star-Phoenix creditors.

Tuesday’s decision comes at a time when gold prices have reached a 12-year low.

Hecla posted a $40 million net loss in 1996 from fines.

Presently, the company, along with four other companies and possibly more, are named in a billion dollar federal lawsuit over natural resources damages in the Coeur d’Alene basin.

, DataTimes

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