Hecla Mining Co.

Courtesy of the Marek family.

It's been more than three years since a tunnel collapse at a north Idaho silver mine killed miner Larry Marek. Yet federal records show a series of federal penalties issued to the mine's owners still have not been paid.

In 2011, federal inspectors determined the Hecla Mining Company violated rules meant to prevent collapse at the Lucky Friday Mine. The inspectors issued four citations directly related to Larry Marek’s death with federal fines that totaled almost $360,000.

To this day, those fines remain unpaid.

Crews have rescued seven miners after a collapse at the Lucky Friday Mine in north Idaho. It’s the third major accident there this year. The Lucky Friday’s owner says the silver mine has been evacuated until further notice.

A rockburst occurred Wednesday evening nearly 6,000 feet underground near Mullan in Idaho’s Silver Valley. Local law enforcement and the mine’s rescue crew were called in. Twenty-five people were working in the vicinity at the time.

EPA

An environmental clean-up settlement could also be a mini-stimulus for the Inland Northwest economy. A federal judge has approved the Hecla Mining company's $263 million settlement in one of the largest superfund clean-up projects in the country.