Mining Matters

People rely on metal in virtually every aspect of life, and there’s only one way to get it: mining. In the features below, you can hear from miners who go deep below the earth’s surface to community members who run businesses supported by the taxes, wages and investments mining pumps into the local economy.

Amy Lamonica

“Between respect for the environment, working in the amazing pristine wilderness habitat, as well as our forward-thinking as far as innovation and where we’re headed as a mine and a company, I think there’s a lot of positives to be said for Hecla and the kind of atmosphere we’re cultivating here.”

Amy Lamonica, Lab Superintendent
Gary Roberts

“We do (Hecla does) it environmentally safe. We’re not destroying the environment. As a matter of fact, I think once all is said and done, there’ll hardly be any sign of it other than a hole in the ground, which probably won’t be here, either. Their Environmental Department is A1.”

Gary Roberts, Miner
Kim Grande

“I wouldn’t work for a company that did it any other way. If I knew that we were going to be harming the environment, I wouldn’t work for this company. We have one environment and I want my kids to be able to enjoy this. Alaska is a beautiful place. Juneau is spectacular. I’ve got young kids. I want them to enjoy this area for years to come, and if I was doing something to negatively impact that, then I couldn’t live with myself.”

Kim Grande, Environment Project Manager
Alex Sweat

“Safety comes first no matter what. They’ll tell you that in every meeting, no matter what. Production is well below safety out here.”

Alex Sweat, Tech V Mine Trainer
Bob Haecker

“When he (Phil Baker) comes, he doesn’t want to sit in the office. He wants to get out and talk to people. He wants to meet people. He wants to talk to them about safety. Many times when he comes, we will do a Safety Audit.”

Bob Haecker, Mill Manager
Wade Bryson

“Mining gold and precious minerals responsibly is not only good for the community, good for the environment, but it’s good for the world. I mean, I would much rather the precious metals be coming out of an environmentally safe mine in Alaska, then an unrestricted open-pit mine that happens in other places around the world.”

Local official, Subway owner, Wade Bryson
Frank Bergstrom

“Mining management has become even more attuned to their social responsibilities, social license, fitting in with the community and environmental responsiveness.”

Frank Bergstrom, Juneau Branch Director, Alaska Miners Association
Craig Dahl

“Hecla is a good corporate citizen. Not only do they step up directly and it doesn’t matter whether it’s the Aware Shelter, the food bank, a rotary event, baseball, they’re quick to contribute to the local community.”

Craig Dahl, Executive Director, Greater Juneau Chamber of Commerce
Rick Caulfield

“Many people in Juneau never have the opportunity to see the mine in operation. Yet, when you look around the community and you see the investment that Hecla makes in our community–the support they provide for sports teams for the university, for K-12 education and in so many ways. The wages that people earn at the mine and what that brings to our community of Juneau is huge.”

Rick Caulfield, Chancellor, University of Alaska Southeast
Mike Satre

“Hecla’s focus is to look for world class deposits, long-lived assets, where we can be in existence for a long time. We can continue to bring new technology to play, to keep mines open to benefit communities.”

Mike Satre, Manager of Government & Community Relations for Hecla Greens Creek
Scott Muir

All the scrap metal that comes from the mill, we put in containers, we ship it south for recycling. All the remuck, which is stuff we can’t really throw in the garbage, we’ll decontaminate it, we’ll put it underground in the stopes. Our footprint stays real small. All the aluminum and copper, we ship it out, recycle it. Brittle drill steel, high carbide steel, we ship it out, recycle it. Now, you know, the company doesn’t make money on that. They do it to clean up the amount of waste from this mine on a day-to-day basis. And that’s pretty darn environmentally conscious.”

Scott Muir, Underground General Foreman
Bob Haecker

“The next step is getting automation into the mine. That’s what we are working on. Our first focus was to get communication into the mine. That brought fiber optic into the mine. Once you get that backbone of fiber optic into the mine, it gives you a lot of opportunities from there.”

Bob Haecker, Mill Manager
Casey Bain

“Without Hecla, there would be no center for mine training. It’s their gift that makes all this training possible–the scholarships, the simulator, the artworks on the walls. This center is driven by industry and I think it’s a great model that can be rebuilt across the country.”

Casey Bain, Coordinator, Center for Mining Training, University of Alaska Southeast