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Wednesday, April 1, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Lucky Friday miner dead

For the second time this year, a miner has died after sustaining injuries while working at Hecla’s Lucky Friday mine.

Brandon Lloyd Gray, 26, was critically injured Thursday while working at the Mullan, Idaho mine. He died early this morning.

A second miner injured in the accident was treated at a hospital and released.

Thursday’s accident comes seven months after Mullan mourned the loss of another Lucky Friday miner. In April, Larry “Pete” Marek was killed when his work area caved in and he was buried under a large rock pile.

Gray, who had been mining since 2008, was working underground when he was trapped in a broken rock bin that was being excavated as a part of the No. 4 shaft project, according to his employer, Cementation U.S.A. The bin had become plugged and when miners dislodged the materials, Gray was engulfed.

Hecla contracted Cementation U.S.A. to carry out the No. 4 shaft project, a $200 million project that will deepen the mine nearly 9,000 feet, and Cementation has been operating at the site since 2009. Hecla officials expect the project to be completed by 2014.

“The whole Cementation family is grieving this terrible loss, and our immediate focus is on supporting Brandon’s family with our assistance and our prayers,” Cementation U.S.A. President Mike Nadon said in a news release.

Following April’s fatal accident, federal investigators said work practices had led to Marek’s death. Hecla was cited for unsafe ground conditions at the Lucky Friday mine during inspections in May, June and August.

A team of Mine Safety and Health Administration representatives and Cementation U.S.A.’s management group are investigating the most recent accident. Cementation officials say the miners involved in Thursday’s accident were wearing proper safety gear.

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