SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) -- Hecla Mining Co. has been fined $318,200 by federal regulators for the death of a worker last year in Idaho's Lucky Friday Mine.
Larry Marek died on April 15, 2011, during a cave-in at an underground silver mine near Mullan, Idaho.
In a report released last year, Mine Safety and Health Administration officials called Lucky Friday managers negligent for failing to install adequate ground support and not testing the stability of the rock where the cave-in occurred. Hecla has disputed those findings.
Hecla must either pay the fine by June 19 or contest it. The company declined to say Wednesday what it planned to do.
"It's still a legal issue, and the company doesn't comment on pending legal matters," spokesman Stan Devereau said.
Hecla is based in nearby Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, and is the nation's largest primary silver producer.
Marek was crushed when his work area collapsed in what was Hecla's first fatal accident at the mine in 25 years.
It was the first of three accidents that prompted the Mine Safety and Health Administration to order the mine closed in January for safety improvements, putting more than 100 miners out of work. In November contract miner Brandon Lloyd Gray died after he was buried in rubble while trying to dislodge jammed rock. And in December, a rock burst injured seven miners.
Last month Hecla CEO Phil Baker said work on safety fixes was progressing and Hecla would start rehiring workers in July.
The Lucky Friday Mine is one of the nation's deepest, extending more than a mile below the surface. It produces silver, gold, zinc and other metals.
Hecla shares rose 15 cents, or 3.4 percent, amid a broad market rally to close at $4.66. The stock has ranged from $3.70 to 48.65 in the past 52 weeks.