Idaho News
9:51 am
Tue June 3, 2014

Miner Killed In Northern Idaho's Sunshine Mine

Federal officials say a miner has died at the Sunshine Mine near Kellogg in northern Idaho.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration says the miner died about 2 p.m. Monday after becoming caught between a mine shaft and a device called a skip transporting miners.

Agency spokeswoman Amy Louviere says two miners were on top of the skip when it moved before one was clear.

She says the second miner avoided injury.

The agency has dispatched investigators to the mine.

9:50 am
Wed May 14, 2014

Feds To Spend $38 Million On North Idaho River Cleanup

The Coeur d'Alene River Basin is one of the country's largest Superfund sites.
Credit Threefatcats / Flickr Creative Commons

Federal officials plan to spend $38 million in northern Idaho's Coeur d'Alene River Basin this summer cleaning up toxic pollution left from a century worth of mining in the region.

The Environmental Protection Agency tells the Coeur d'Alene Press that up to 125 residential and commercial properties will be cleaned up.

Agency spokesman Ed Moreen says that more than 17 miles of paved roads in eight upper basin communities will be repaired or replaced.

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9:28 am
Tue April 29, 2014

Why One Western Congressman Says It's Time To Update The 1872 Mining Law

An old western gold mine.
Credit Michallaurence / Flickr Creative Commons

Chris Cora stands on what used to be a mountaintop in the Umpqua Basin of southern Oregon. Now, it’s essentially a landfill. “Filled with waste rock and tailings," Cora says. "There’s actually zinc ore in here. Well, it’s concentrated zinc, which is really bad for the environment.”

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12:37 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Lawsuit Filed To Stop Idaho Gold Mine Exploration

A conservation group and the Nez Perce Tribe have filed a lawsuit against three federal agencies seeking to stop a central Idaho gold mine exploration project by a Canadian company.

The tribe and the Idaho Conservation League filed the lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Idaho against the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Service.

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10:20 am
Fri December 13, 2013

4 Miners Injured At Lucky Friday Mine Sue Hecla

Credit Photo by Hecla Mining

Four miners who were injured and trapped by a rock burst at a northern Idaho mine two years ago are suing Hecla Mining Co., alleging mine mangers sent them into unsafe working conditions while assuring them the area was safe.

The Spokesman-Review reports Ronnel E. Barrett, Gregg Hammerberg, Eric J. Tester and Matthew Williams are seeking more than $1 million for injuries, medical treatment and lost wages.

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9:19 am
Tue September 10, 2013

Canadian Company Moves Forward With Idaho Gold Mine

Midas Gold Corp.'s Yellow Pine Pit is part of its Idaho project.
Credit Courtesy Midas Gold Corp.

Canadian mining company Midas Gold says it's making progress on its Golden Meadows project near Stibnite, Idaho.  The company says it continues to advance the project on several fronts. The ultimate goal is to mine gold in the East Fork of the South Fork of the Salmon River.

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4:59 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

U.S. Silver & Gold Lays Off 126 People From Idaho’s Galena Mine Complex

Lead in text: 
The Shoshone News Press reports more than 30 percent of Galena employees will be affected. During a mandatory meeting in Wallace, Idaho, U.S. Silver and Gold laid off 126 workers.
During a mandatory meeting at the old Wallace High School gymnasium Tuesday morning for the entire staff of the Galena Mine Complex, Steve Long, the senior vice president of U.S. Silver and Gold, announced that the company reduced the mine’s workforce by 126 staff members, effective immediately.
7:46 am
Tue March 19, 2013

Supreme Court Lets Limits On River Mining Stand

Credit Aaron Kunz / EarthFix

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling Monday makes it harder for miners to gain access to Northwest rivers. Environmental groups hailed the decision as a major victory.

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4:20 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Idaho Silver Company Says Mine Is Safer Since Accidents

Jessica Robinson Northwest News Network

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 7:00 pm

The owner of the troubled Lucky Friday Mine in north Idaho hopes new safety upgrades will prevent future accidents. Hecla Mining announced Tuesday that it’s reopened the silver mine in Mullan, Idaho, after a year-long closure.

Hecla President Phil Baker made the announcement at a press conference in Spokane.

“It's nice to be able to give you guys a good news story.”

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4:02 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Mining Industry in Idaho Seeks Shorter Permit Application Period

Mining Industry leaders speaking to Idaho lawmakers on February 11, 2013.
Credit Aaron Kunz / EarthFix

Mining has pumped billions of dollars into the Idaho economy. It’s one of the states considered by the industry to be the most mining-friendly.

But even here, the industry is frustrated that it can take years before permits are issued and work can get underway. That’s why mining officials are appealing to state lawmakers to help speed up the regulatory process. It’s a proposition that has environmentalists worried.

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7:14 am
Mon January 28, 2013

Silver Boom Brings Historic Sunshine Mine Back Online

Miners begin work at the Sunshine Mine in 1972. The Mine is about eight miles east of Kellogg, Idaho.
Credit Mine Safety and Health Administration

The high price of silver is bringing one of the Northwest's oldest silver mines back online. The Sunshine Mine in north Idaho is known for one of the worst mining disasters in the nation’s history. It will resume production in late 2014.

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9:47 am
Thu December 13, 2012

Audit Pushed To Rekindle Mining Act Reforms

Credit Hecla Mining

A report released Wednesday indicates the United States government has no idea exactly how much gold, silver and copper is being dug up from public lands. Lawmakers say it’s one more reason to overhaul a mining law from the 1800s.

When companies drill for oil, natural gas or coal, they must report how much they obtain. And they pay royalties for the minerals they extract. That puts $10 billion into the U.S. Treasury every year, according to the Government Accountability Office.

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4:54 pm
Thu October 18, 2012

Idaho Miner Says He's Not Interested in Salmon River

This section of the Salmon River was where Mike Conklin of Grangeville had intended to dredge for gold.
Aaron Kunz EarthFix

A gold miner who got the go-ahead to dredge a half mile section of the Salmon River in Idaho may be calling it quits.

Mike Conklin of Grangeville, Idaho told the Idaho Department of Lands he won’t be signing the lease he worked for this past summer. The lease approved by the State Land Board would have given him the exclusive right to mine on a half mile of the Salmon River three hours north of Boise.

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4:56 pm
Thu September 20, 2012

One Type Of Gold Mining in the Northwest Raises Concerns

A floating suction dredge. The rocks and left over dirt are sent out the back end.
Aaron Kunz EarthFix

A recreational gold miner in Idaho now has the exclusive right to mine for gold on a stretch of the Salmon River. But the lease process approved by the Idaho Land Board this week raised some questions about the process he will use to get the gold.

There are hundreds of miles on the Salmon River where the only noise you’ll hear is rushing water and wildlife. But in certain places during the summer you might hear engines.

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2:40 pm
Fri August 31, 2012

Why A Canadian Company Is Told To Hold Off Drilling Near Idaho City

Bird's eye view of the Thompson Creek mine near Challis. The ultimate goal of the CuMo project is to create this type of open pit mine.
Adam Cotterell Boise State Public Radio

A judge has ordered the U.S. Forest Service to take another look at plans to expand exploratory drilling in the mountains near Idaho City.  U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge issued a ruling Thursday that essentially vacates the environmental assessment produced by the agency on the CuMo Mine project.

Lodge concluded the agency acted arbitrarily in determining that expanded drilling would not significantly impact groundwater sources.

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11:37 am
Wed July 11, 2012

Miner’s Family Wants Company To Take Responsibility For Death

Larry Marek, pictured about a week before he was killed by a cave-in at the Lucky Friday Mine in Mullan, Idaho.
Hayley Marek

The family of a miner who was killed last year in Idaho’s Silver Valley is speaking out for the first time. In interviews with public radio, the family of Larry Marek says the the mine’s owner, Hecla Mining, hasn’t taken responsibility for its role in the tragedy.

Larry Marek’s mining partner Mike Marek says he thinks about his brother every time he goes underground. Mike witnessed the cave-in that killed Larry and says it was clear that the tunnel was too wide to be stable.

Mike Marek: “To me that was a scary looking place. I didn’t even like going in there.”

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11:22 am
Wed July 11, 2012

Family Of Killed Miner Says Company's Decision Caused Collapse

Larry Marek, pictured about a week before he was killed by a cave-in at the Lucky Friday Mine in Mullan, Idaho.
Hayley Marek

Later this month, the Lucky Friday Mine in north Idaho will begin rehiring workers. It closed seven months ago for federally mandated safety improvements. Inspectors took a sharper look at the mine after a series of tragic accidents last year. Now, as the mine prepares to re-open, the family of one dead miner is speaking out for the first time. The family of Larry Marek says they believe the company still hasn’t taken responsibility for what happened.

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4:22 pm
Tue May 8, 2012

Hecla: Safety Improvements On Track At Mine Where 2 Died

Crews installed work decks as part of a year-long project to improve safety at the Lucky Friday Mine in Mullan, Idaho.
Hecla Mining

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho - Work crews are ahead of schedule on safety improvements at the north Idaho mine where two men died last year. That’s the update today from the Hecla Mining Company, which owns the troubled Lucky Friday Mine.  The federally mandated improvements have taken a bite into Hecla’s profits.

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