Hecla to Reopen Idaho Mine Where Accidents, Deaths Occured



The Hecla Mining Company will announce later today that it will resume operations at the Lucky Friday Mine in north Idaho, the scene of a series of accidents, including two deaths in 2011.

When Hecla shut down its Mullan mine in January 2012, more thare than 110 of the mine's 250 workers were pink slipped.

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.

In addition to the shutdown, Hecla was slapped with a $318,200 fine by the Mine Safety and Health Administration, which called Hecla managers "negligent" for failing to install adequate ground support and not testing the stability of the rock where the cave-in occured.

During this afternoon's press conference, to be held near the Mullan facility, Hecla officials are expected to point to their $29.8 million rehabilitation of the Silver Shaft.

The mine is expected to produce about 2 million ounces of silver this year.