Thursday, May 2, 2013

Grim Anniversary of Idaho Mining Disaster

Posted By on Thu, May 2, 2013 at 9:54 AM

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Today marks a grim remembrance from Idaho's past.

It was on this date in 1972 that a fire broke out in the Sunshine Mine, one of the world's largest silver mines, in Idaho's Panhandle. At the time, the Sunshine Mine was producing hundreds of millions of ounces of silver.

But in what became the worst disaster in Idaho's history, 91 workers died from smoke inhalation or carbon monoxide poisoning in the Sunshine Mine. 83 other men were pulled out of the mine when fire broke out on the morning of May 2, 1972. Two more men were rescued in what many people considered a miracle a week later on May 9, 1972. The mine was closed for seven months, but through the 1980s the mine was back up to full production.

The mine ceased production in 2001 due in large party to low silver prices. But earlier this year, a new owner, Sunshine Silver Mines Corporation, announced that it would bring the Sunshine Mine back on line in late 2014 because of a rebound in silver prices.

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