HECLA CEO MEETS WITH HEAD OF MONTANA DEQ
HELENA, MONTANA – Phil Baker, CEO of Hecla Mining Company, met with Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Director Tom Livers yesterday to provide important details about his employment history and Hecla’s background to demonstrate that neither he nor Hecla violated Montana law. Baker requested the DEQ base its decision on whether Hecla can develop the Rock Creek and Montanore projects on the facts and not block Hecla from obtaining the necessary permits to operate.
“My intent for this meeting was to have a frank conversation with Director Livers about my former role at Pegasus to ensure the DEQ understands the facts,” Baker said. “In the violation letter the DEQ asserted that I was a principal or controlling member of Pegasus when DEQ received proceeds from the Pegasus Entities’ surety to perform reclamation,” Baker said, “and I was not.” The DEQ cited this as a basis for issuing the notice of violation against Mr. Baker and Hecla.
Decisions affecting the reclamation, including the bankruptcy settlement and the decision to cease mining operations at Zortman were made after Mr. Baker’s departure. There was no bond forfeiture and when the proceeds from the surety were obtained by the DEQ, Mr. Baker was employed by Battle Mountain Gold, not Pegasus. “DEQ’s analysis was flawed because they relied on bad facts,” said Mr. Baker.
“Hecla has a 127-year history of doing the right thing. And, I have been the CEO of Hecla for over a decade for the same reason,” Mr. Baker continued.
Mr. Baker said he was “hopeful that Director Livers would rescind the alleged violation. The information shared with Director Livers today clearly shows the law hindering the projects was misapplied to Hecla and me. Hecla plans to continue its legacy in Montana by implementing modern mining methods that benefit workers, the environment and communities in Lincoln and Sanders counties. Tying this up in litigation will unnecessarily delay the valuable economic and environmental benefits that these projects will bring to Northwestern Montana – and unnecessarily burden the Montana taxpayer.”
“Hecla believes mining and environmental stewardship are not at odds, and our record proves our commitment to the environment,“ Mr. Baker said. “We estimate that these projects will bring some 600 jobs and millions of dollars in economic activity to one of the most economically depressed regions of the state. It’s an excellent opportunity to bring back economic vitality to Northwest Montana for generations.”
As proof of Hecla’s commitment to the community, the company pointed to the outstanding reclamation work it’s leading at the former Troy Mine site which is expected to return the land to its natural state.
Founded in 1891, Hecla Mining Company (NYSE: HL) is a leading low-cost U.S. silver producer with operating mines in Alaska, Idaho and Mexico, and is a growing gold producer with an operating mine in Quebec, Canada. Hecla also has exploration and pre-development properties in seven world-class silver and gold mining districts in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, and an exploration office and investments in early-stage silver exploration projects in Canada.
Rock Creek and Montanore are two silver and copper projects in Montana that Hecla would develop using underground mining method, which would have very limited surface effects.
Listen to Voices of Montana interview with Phil Baker right here on our podcast!
This news release is courtesy of HECLA mines.