North Idaho

Silver Valley native Nick Rounds killed in Sunshine Mine accident

Silver Valley native Nick Rounds killed in Sunshine Mine accident

KELLOGG, Idaho - It's a tough way to make a living and Monday night hard rock mining has claimed another life in Idaho's Silver Valley.

Monday afternoon Nick Rounds was cleaning a mineshaft at the Sunshine Mine near Kellogg when he was trapped between a rock wall and an elevator and was crushed to death.

Rounds, a 1996 graduate of Wallace High School, comes from a mining family and, in fact, he followed in his dad's footsteps to become a miner.

His dad was with him in the mine when he was killed.

An elevator called a skip travels up and down the 3,500 foot mineshaft and that's where Nick was working with his father when the accident happened.

"I don't know what the circumstances were but Nick was a very safety oriented person as was his dad," Lenny Hoiland said.

Hoiland was a hoist operator at the Sunshine mine until last January and said Nick was a hard-working, competent miner.

"He loved the outdoors, lived family, he was just a big lovable teddy bear," Hoiland added.

This accident comes at a time when Sunshine's owners are trying to bring the mine back into production. Hoiland said Sunshine's commitment to safe work practices is among the best in the Silver Valley.

"That place, I'd put it on top of the list of the safety oriented places," he said.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration will conduct an independent investigation into Nick Rounds' death. It will take several months for the MSHA to release the cause of the accident.