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US silver mine presented as example of environmental leadership

Lucky Friday operation. (Image courtesy of Hecla Mining)

Hecla Mining’s Lucky Friday mine has been showcased by the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality as an example of environmental leadership for its efforts creating water treatment facilities that reduce the concentration of lead and zinc in the water released by over 95% and a water recycling program that reduces the average freshwater use by 95% in the concentrator plant.

The miner’s efforts to reduce waste generation by minimizing hazardous waste and improving recycling, as well as by partnering with the State Department of Transportation to repurpose approximately 120,000 cubic yards of waste highway material as part of a tailing’s impoundment reclamation project, were also recognized.

Lucky Friday celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2017

“The upgrades, process modifications, and recycling projects that have been implemented at Hecla’s Lucky Friday mine have resulted in significant reductions of waste, water, and energy used by the mine for the production of silver, zinc, and lead,” Ben Jarvis, the department’s pollution prevention coordinator, said in a media statement. “With growing demand for these metals, eliminating waste and pollution from production is more important than ever.”

Lucky Friday is a deep underground silver, lead and zinc mine located in the Coeur d’Alene Mining District in northern Idaho. The mine began operating in 1942 and is expected to have another 20-30 years of mine life.

In 2018, the operation produced 169,041 ounces of silver, 1,131 tonnes of lead and 673 tonnes of zinc.