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Hecla, DEQ discuss violations


Last week Phil Baker, Hecla Mining Company’s CEO and Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Director Tom Livers met to discuss details pertaining to Baker’s employment history and how it is obstructing Hecla’s ability to develop the Rock Creek and Montanore mining projects.

Baker initiated the conference with DEQ, who commented that it was “professional and civil,” to discuss his former employment role at Pegasus. “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, and I was not,” Baker said.

He furnished Livers with information he felt would reverse DEQ’s preliminary decision to block Hecla’s operations. In addition, Baker requested that DEQ not block Hecla from obtaining permits necessary to begin mine operations.

DEQ is holding their ground. “While we are reviewing the information provided by Mr. Baker, our initial reaction is continued belief that this provision of the Metal Mines Reclamation Act applies to him,” DEQ released in a statement.

According to Baker, he is “hopeful that Director Livers would rescind the alleged violation,” because he feels “the law hindering the projects was misapplied to Hecla and me.” On the other hand, DEQ stated that they are exploring their next steps and are determining if and what a judicial action may look like.


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