Spokane Journal of Business

Hecla reopens Lucky Friday mine

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Hecla Mining Co., of Coeur d'Alene, announced this morning that it has resumed production at its Lucky Friday silver mine in Mullan, Idaho, just over one year after the federal Mine and Safety Administration had ordered the mine closed to make safety improvements after a couple of 2011 accidents killed two miners.
Phillips S. Baker Jr., president and CEO of Hecla, said in a press release that the company expects to ramp up production during the first half of the year and to reach full production by mid-year. The company reiterated in the release that it expects to produce about 2 million ounces of silver at Lucky Friday this year, the same 2013 volume it projected for the mine in late 2012.
The company didn't say how many people will be employed at the mine once it's back to full production, but about 110 people were laid off there when Lucky Friday shut down.
Baker had said about a year ago, shortly before the mine shut down, that average yearly pay for its mining employees was at about $90,000, including benefits, a significant jump since the mining slump of the mid-2000s.
Hecla said it spent $29.8 million on the rehabilitation of the Lucky Friday's silver shaft and invested an additional $26.2 million in capital projects at the mine that aren't related to the shaft renovation.
Also, the company said returning and new workers have received supplemental safety training.
In addition to Lucky Friday, Hecla operates its Greens Creeks silver property in Alaska and has exploration and pre-development properties in four mining districts in the U.S. and Mexico.

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