Hecla Mining Co. (HL) will pay $263.4 million plus interest to settle a lawsuit that charged the company's silver mining operations with polluting Idaho's Coeur d'Alene Basin, the Department of Justice said Monday.
The settlement stems from a suit originally brought in 1991 by the area's Coeur d'Alene tribe. The federal government joined the suit in 1996, and the state of Idaho on Monday joined as a party to the settlement.
The latest settlement will help pay for cleanup work already performed since the early 1980s on the Environmental Protection Agency-designated Superfund site.
The lawsuit alleged Hecla released millions of tons of mining wastes, including lead and arsenic, into the Coeur d'Alene River and its tributaries.
The company wasn't immediately available for comment.
A predecessor of mining company Asarco Inc., another major defendant in the suit, settled its case in 2008 as part of its emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.
Hecla Shares were recently off 8 cents to $7.30 Monday. The stock is up 37% over the past 12 months.
-By Drew FitzGerald, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2909; Andrew.FitzGerald@dowjones.com