Hecla’s Commitment to Innovation Transforms Mining at the United States’ Deepest Mine
July 11, 2023
Hecla’s Commitment to Innovation Transforms Mining at the United States’ Deepest Mine | Murray Innovation Award Lecture, MINEXCHANGE 2023 SME Annual Conference
Phillips S. Baker, Jr., CEO, and President, Hecla Mining Company
Chris Neville, Operations, Lucky Friday Mine
Hecla has been mining for more than 130 years making innovations both large and small. The most recent large innovation manages the seismicity at the United States’ deepest underground mine with a new patent-pending mining method called Underhand Closed Bench. As a result, the 80-year-old Lucky Friday mine is mining the most tons and will produce the most silver ounces in its history. This presentation will tell how Hecla approaches innovation and how the new method works.
About the Speaker: Phillips S. Baker, Jr
Hecla Mining Company is the United States’ largest silver producer, mining over 40 percent of the country’s silver. Phil has been the CEO for almost 20 years starting with the company when the price of silver was at its lowest in the last 30 years. As a company with a long history, Hecla faced significant legacy environmental liabilities, which Phil successfully resolved with hundreds of millions of dollars of expenditures long before the rise of ESG. By selling Hecla’s mines in Venezuela, where the company was the country’s largest gold producer, he used the proceeds to increase Hecla’s ownership of one the world’s best silver mines, Greens Creek, to 100 percent. He has encouraged the development of a new mining method at the long-lived Lucky Friday mine, which makes the next twenty years of the mine safer and more productive. He is a leading voice for the importance of silver as a metal necessary for renewable energy. He has seen the highs and lows of our industry.