Hecla Readying Lucky Friday for Restart

Hecla Mining reported in early November 2012 that it expects to complete rehabilita-tion of the Silver Shaft at its Lucky Friday mine in the Coeur d’Alene district of north-ern Idaho by the end of the year, with pro-duction expected to resume in the first quar-ter of 2013. The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration ordered the Silver Shaft closed in January 2012 for removal of built-up material in the shaft. The order was pursuant to an investigation that followed a December 14, 2011, rock burst in the mine.

The Silver Shaft is a 1-mile deep shaft from surface and the primary access to the Lucky Friday mine. The sand and concrete material being removed from the shaft had built up over a number of years. All other sig-nificant activities at the mine, including con-struction of the No. 4 Shaft and the bypass around the rock burst, were placed on hold.

Concurrent with rehabilitation, the Silver Shaft is being upgraded for potential future capacity increases.

Hecla also has begun preparations to resume work on the #4 Shaft project in the first quarter of 2013. To date, $90 million has been invested on the estimated $200-million project, which is planned to access extensions to reserves and resources and additional exploration targets. The project is expected to be completed in early 2016.

Hecla expects Lucky Friday to produce more than 2 million oz of silver during 2013 while it is ramping up to full production. The mine produced 3 million oz in 2011.

Hecla also reported that underground drilling continues to extend ore-grade min-eralization in four zones at its Greens Creek mine in southeast Alaska, including drill intercepts of 70 ft of 0.3 oz/mt gold, 13.8 oz/mt silver, and 21% combined zinc and lead at the 200 South zone and 73 ft of 0.17 oz/mt gold, 17.58 oz/mt silver, and 23.7% combined zinc and lead at the Southwest Bench. In 2013, modeling of these intersections could result in signifi-cant additions to the Greens Creek resource.

Also at Greens Creek, surface drilling has identified mineralization at Killer Creek 1.5 miles west-northwest of the mine that contains copper-rich veins and bands and at West Gallagher 1 mile west of the mine that contains pyrite mud intervals that have carried anomalous base and pre-cious metal grades in the past. Killer Creek and West Gallagher will be priority targets for Hecla’s 2013 summer exploration pro-gram at Greens Creek.

At Hecla’s San Juan Silver project in Creede, Colorado, work is under way on a new, 2,800-ft decline at the historic Bulldog mine. The decline will provide access to a resource of 37 million oz of sil-ver and underground exploration platforms to expand these resources. Support facili-ties for the project, such as the mainte-nance and shotcrete shops, have been completed and are operational.

As featured in Womp 2012 Vol 12 - www.womp-int.com