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News Link • Gold and Silver

Big Bucks Attract High School Grads To Silver Mining

Don Kotschevar teaches high school in the small town of Mullan in north Idaho's remote Silver Valley. He is the assistant principal, basketball coach and shop teacher. Lately, Kotschevar has been questioning his own career path. He watches his students parlay the skills he teaches them in this industrial mechanics class into lucrative mining jobs.
"Some of them, in the first six, eight months, their salaries absolutely crush mine," Kotschevar says. Entry-level mine jobs can pay $50,000 a year. Kotschevar has been thinking he could get a similar offer from local mine bosses.
"You know, I've got nine more years, so I can get my retirement here, and then when I retire I'll probably go to see if they'll hire me. Hopefully I won't be too old," he says. "I've been in teaching — I need to have a retirement plan."
But mining salaries have risen. The average mine worker in the Silver Valley now makes $70,000 — some make six figures.

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