Federal authorities have ordered that the silver shaft of Northern Idaho's Lucky Friday Mine be shut down, at least for a year.
Hecla Mining Company employs approximately 275 men and women at its Idaho operations, including Lucky Friday, near Mullan.
Lucky Friday, one of the nation's deepest silver mines, was the scene of a number of accidents in 2011—two of the incidents resulted in death. In April 2011, a roof collapse trapped a miner. His body was recovered nine days later. In November 2011, another miner was killed at the site. Additionally, two separate fires in July 2011 led to evacuations from the mine. And in December 2011, yet another accident resulted in an evacuation.
Today, the Mine Safety and Health Administration ordered the mine to close. According to Hecla officials, "all signficant activity at the mine, including construction" is also on hold.
"The Lucky Friday Mine is a world-class mine that we see producing silver for decades to come," said Hecla President Phil Baker. "Hecla and the Lucky Friday Mine have faced challenges in the past and we will once again overcome them."