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Bypass planned at Lucky Friday Mine
December 29, 2011

Hecla Mining announced that it will build a bypass at its Lucky Friday Mine in Mullan, ID, to take workers away from an area where a rock burst injured seven miners and closed the mine.

The company said it will build a 290 m (750-ft) bypass through an area previously mined to access ore at the 1,800-m (5,900-ft) depth where the rock burst occurred. Hecla closed the mine right after the accident, an action that was followed by an order from federal officials to close the mine.The bypass will create a new haulage way for moving silver ore out of the mine the Spokesman Review reported.

Even though the bypass will take two months to complete, company officials said they still expect to meet a 2012 production goal of 295 t (9.5 million oz) of silver, up from 280 t (9 million oz) this year. Most workers should stay on jobs at the mine during the bypass work, the company said.

The latest accident comes after two mining deaths in two separate incidents this year. Miner Brandon Lloyd Gray, 26, was buried in rubble while trying to dislodge jammed rock on Nov. 17. He died two days later. Mine safety officials and Gray’s employer, Cementation U.S.A., a company hired by Hecla to deepen the mine, are investigating that accident.

On April 15, Lucky Friday miner Larry “Pete” Marek was crushed when his work area collapsed. Federal regulators with the Mine Safety and Health Administration found company safety failures that led to Marek’s death. They issued four citations and $1 million in penalties in the April collapse. Prior to this year, the mine had gone 25 years without a fatality.

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