The family of a silver miner killed in north Idaho has filed a lawsuit against the Hecla Mining Company. The suit claims the mine managers’ attempt to extract more silver caused the cave-in that killed Larry Marek exactly two years ago Monday.
The Mareks are a long-time mining family in Idaho’s Silver Valley. They say Hecla “placed profits above safety” when it decided to mine a chunk of supportive rock in a tunnel a mile underground at the Lucky Friday Mine. A federal investigation determined a lack of support caused the tunnel to collapse on April 15, 2011, killing 53-year-old Larry Marek.
Larry’s brother and mining partner Mike witnessed the accident. Now, Mike and his wife, along with Larry’s widow Patricia and daughter Hayley, have filed a wrongful death suit against Hecla. The suit names the company’s CEO and its general manager, as well as mine supervisors as defendants.
Hecla Mining, based in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, declined to comment on the pending litigation.
The Lucky Friday Mine recently reopened after a year-long closure for safety upgrades.