Technology Sparks North Idaho Silver Battle

Jul 31, 2012

Every time you buy a smartphone or a tablet, you’re buying a little piece of silver inside. The expected global appetite for more and more silver-containing technology has spurred a corporate clash over mines in a remote corner of north Idaho.

If you meet a miner in Idaho’s Silver Valley, chances are, he either works for the Hecla Mining Company or U.S. Silver Corp. But last week, Hecla moved to effectively make the companies one and the same.

In an unsolicited bid, Coeur d’Alene-based Hecla offered to buy out shares of its Toronto-based competitor at $1.80 Canadian.

U.S. Silver’s board of directors deemed the proposed takeover “opportunistically timed” and urged shareholders to reject the cash offer.

U.S. Silver mine manager Steve Long says the move takes advantage of what he sees as a temporary dip in silver prices.

“Earlier in the year and later in 2011 we saw some very strong silver prices," he says. "So yeah, technology is going to be a strong foundation and industry in general.”

U.S. Silver plans to merge with another Canadian company that operates a mine in Montana. But Hecla says its offer would provide greater value to U.S. Silver shareholders. 

On the Web:

U.S. Silver press release:

Hecla's offer to buy U.S. Silver:

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network