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Hecla's Lucky Friday silver mine ops suspended after fatality
December 16, 2011

Hecla’s Lucky Friday Mine in Mullan, ID experienced its second fatal accident this year. Brandon Lloyd Gray, 26, was critically injured Nov. 17 while working at the mine.

A second miner injured in the accident was treated at a hospital and released. That miner has not been publicly identified, The Spokesman-Review reported.

The accident comes seven months after Larry “Pete” Marek was killed when his work area caved in and he was buried under a large pile of rocks.

Gray, who had been mining since 2008, was working underground when he was trapped in a broken rock bin that was being excavated as a part of the No. 4 shaft project, according to his employer, Cementation U.S.A. The bin had become plugged, and when miners dislodged the materials Gray was engulfed.

Hecla contracted Cementation U.S.A. to carry out the No. 4 shaft work, a $200 million project that will deepen the mine nearly 9,000 feet, and Cementation has been operating at the site since 2009. Hecla officials expect the project to be completed by 2014.

“The whole Cementation family is grieving this terrible loss, and our immediate focus is on supporting Brandon’s family with our assistance and our prayers,” Cementation U.S.A. President Mike Nadon said in a news release.

Following April’s fatal accident, federal investigators said work practices had led to Marek’s death. Hecla was cited for unsafe ground conditions at the Lucky Friday Mine during inspections in May, June and August.

A team of Mine Safety and Health Administration representatives and Cementation U.S.A.’s management group are investigating the most recent accident.

Cementation officials said the miners involved in Thursday’s accident were wearing proper safety gear.

 

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