Posted: Feb 20, 2013 10:00 AM by Mark Thorsell - MTN News
Updated: Feb 20, 2013 11:58 AM
COEUR D'ALENE, ID - Miners are back at work in Idaho's Silver Valley where Hecla Mining has reopened its Lucky Friday Mine in Mullan, Idaho.
The mine was ordered closed by the Mine Safety and Health Administration in January 2012 so that built-up material in the shaft could be removed. That move came after an investigation into a rock burst in December of 2011.
There were also a pair of deaths at the long-running mine in 2011. A miner died from injuries during an accident in November, and another miner killed after a ground fall in April of 2011.
Hecla says in a news release that the mine has "resumed operations and production and is expected to produce approximately two million ounces of silver in 2013."
"Hecla is pleased to report that with rehabilitation work complete on the Silver Shaft at the Lucky Friday Mine, and with necessary clearance from MSHA, the mine has resumed operations," said Hecla's President and Chief Executive Officer Phillips S. Baker, Jr.
He added that while the mine was closed for a year, crews worked "to improve many aspects of the mine's operations."
Hecla reports they have hired some more safety experts, mine management and engineering staff, and also bought $2.3 million in new equipment, according to Baker.
The company has brought back all of the employees needed for the Lucky Friday mine to reach full production, with Baker adding that the company saying that they have received additional safety training.
Lucky Friday Mine was notified of Potential Pattern of Violations status by MSHA for citations issued in late 2011 and early 2012, prior to the Silver Shaft rehabilitation and other work done at the mine in the past year.