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Ore pots a lucky charm for Lucky Friday Mine

Fri, Mar 17, 2023

ore-potsOre concentrate is loaded onto the MV Earth Harmony bound for Asia.

Lynden's mining expertise and vast array of unusual equipment allowed Hecla Mining to experiment with an international solution to an issue at the Lucky Friday Mine in Idaho. With the mine's smelter closed for repairs, 2,200 tons of silver concentrate needed transport. The closest smelter was eight hours away in Canada.

"They were looking for other ways to get their ore to market, and we came up with a solution that made use of equipment we had stored in Juneau," explains Joe Purcell, Southeast Alaska Marine Operations Manager at Alaska Marine Trucking. "We have ore pots that were fabricated in Canada for the Keno Hill Silver project in the Yukon. We put together a logistics plan using the pots to get the ore from the mine in Idaho to Seattle, then to Juneau and Hawk Inlet for loading onto a ship bound for a smelter in Asia."

But first, the 140 ore pots had to be brought out of storage in Juneau and transported to Seattle for safety inspections. Andy Raber, Maintenance & Repair Manager, and his M&R team at Alaska Marine Lines examined each pot to make sure lids and latches were working correctly and weld seams were intact.

LTI, Inc. provided drivers and specialized trailers to haul the pots to Mullan, ID where they were loaded and trucked to Alaska Marine Lines in Seattle for barge loading. Drivers trucked 14 to 20 pots per week for 10 weeks with each flat weighing in at 48,000 pounds loaded with two ore pots.

"Once we had the pots consolidated in Juneau, we started sending them to Hawk Inlet on weekly voyages for emptying and return," Joe explains.

Hecla Greens Creek Mine did not have an ore pot tipper system onsite, so Canadian Lynden Transport's tipper truck was put into service. LTI, Inc. Driver Trainer and Development Manager Andy Sayler and Regional Maintenance Manager Miguel Perez flew to Juneau to train Hecla staff on the tipper truck.

LTI, Inc. Spokane Driver Supervisor Christian Frink kept track of each load picked up in Idaho and delivered in Seattle while Operations Manager Jerry Peterson in Seattle and the LTI, Inc. team in Spokane coordinated other pieces of the puzzle.

"While the project was an experiment born of necessity for Lucky Friday Mine, it may pave the way for a more routine move of concentrates moving to Greens Creek," says Terry Maxwell, Surface Superintendent for Hecla Greens Creek Mine. "It was a fantastic logistical effort using a wide reach of skills and mostly that can-do attitude that I have known the Lynden teams to have for 45 years of working with and around the employees."

"This was something only Lynden could pull off. From each Lynden company contributing its own unique strengths to the specialized equipment we used, we truly created a custom solution for our partners at Hecla," Joe says. "We talked with Terry about what their goals were, then put the wheels in motion."

Topics from this blog: Lynden LTI Inc. Alaska Marine Trucking Lynden Transport Mining Bulk Multi-Modal AML Featured

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