Hecla Mining Co. announced that it received the 2022 Innovation Award for pioneering the Underhand Closed Bench (UCB) mining method at its Lucky Friday mine in Idaho. The award, given by the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, & Exploration (SME), recognizes operations and organizations that implement cutting-edge technologies and innovative processes to advance the mining industry.
The UCB is an innovative, patent-pending method designed to control the release of seismic energy to improve miner safety and increases productivity in deep narrow vein mining.
“Hecla is honored to receive this prestigious award for our invention of this new mining method,” said Hecla President and CEO Phil Baker in a keynote speech to SME members. “For 132 years, Hecla has been known for innovations such as the UCB method because of our long-term mindset, commitment to an ever-learning team, and relentless drive to improve safety.”
Baker continued, “Using the UCB at the Lucky Friday Mine has dramatically increased both safety and productivity at this 80-year-old mine achieving safety and production records in 2022. With the mine’s increasing grades combined with higher production and improved safety, I am convinced the best decade of the Lucky Friday is ahead of it.”