KELLOGG, Idaho – A worker was fatally crushed between an elevator-like device and a mineshaft Monday afternoon at the Sunshine Mine near Kellogg, in northern Idaho, according to a preliminary federal investigation.
Sunshine Silver Mines identified the worker as Nick Rounds, 36, of Osburn.
“He was a great son,” said his father, Phil Rounds, who was overcome with emotion and declined to comment further.
Dave Rounds, an uncle, said Nick Rounds has a son in the seventh grade and was planning to get married in the next two months. He said his nephew became a miner, like his father, shortly after graduating from Wallace High School in 1996.
The Mine Safety and Health Administration says the miner died about 2 p.m. Monday after becoming caught between a mineshaft and the elevator-like device called a skip.
Agency spokeswoman Amy Louviere said two miners were on top of the skip when it moved before one was clear. She said the second miner avoided injury.
A corporate spokeswoman for Sunshine Silver Mines in Denver, Monica Brisnehan (BRIHS’-neh-han), said Tuesday that work has been suspended at the mine pending an investigation by local authorities and the Mine Safety and Health Administration.
The agency has dispatched investigators to the mine.
The mine is not in production. Brisnehan says it has been in “care and maintenance mode” since the company acquired it three years ago. In a statement, she said the Sunshine Mine employed 29 people as of May 31.
There was a fire in the mine in 2012 and 12 people were safely evacuated. Ninety-one men were killed in a 1972 fire in the Sunshine Mine.