Mill at Keno Hill Credit: Alexco Resource
As Alexco Resource is starting up its Keno Hill silver mine in the Yukon, the company has reported drill results from its surface exploration program focused on the Bermingham Northeast Deep zone, approximately 150 metres below the existing resource.
The drill highlights (with true widths) from the Footwall vein include 8.8 metres of 3,583 g/t silver from 507.2 metres and 5.3 metres of 2,070 g/t silver from 496.2 metres. Notable (true width) intercepts from the Main vein include 3.5 metres of 707 g/t silver from 473.9 metres and 1.3 metres of 4,889 g/t silver from 486.7 metres.
The surface exploration work focused on a 550-metre-long zone below the existing Bermingham resource and the drilling was completed on 100-metre sections to trace out this deeper zone along strike. Holes ranged between 550 and 700 metres of depth.
“The discovery of a significant zone of high-grade silver mineralization beneath the Bermingham deposit confirms that this is one of the more significant silver deposits in the entire Keno Hill silver district, Clynt Nauman, chairman and CEO of Alexco, said in a release. “If the Northeast Deep zone discovery is further substantiated by the extensive drilling program we have planned for 2021, it is my view that the result will have important strategic implications for the future development of Keno Hill.”
According to Nauman, the 8.8-metre intercept from the western-most drillhole in this Northeast Deep zone is just 250 metres to the east and 75 metres below the planned bottom for the primary Bermingham decline, which makes this zone easily accessible from the planned infrastructure.
Looking to the southwest of the currently defined Northeast Deep zone, the veins and mineralized corridor can be traced for an additional 400 metres of strike. On a larger scale, the Bermingham vein system appears to be part of a shear zone with an estimated strike of 5 km, which includes several untested kilometre-scale targets.
The Bermingham deposit includes an indicated resource of 1.1 million tonnes at 930 g/t silver and an inferred resource of 509,360 tonnes grading 717 g/t silver. The indicated resource includes a probable mineral reserve of 362,343 tonnes at 972 g/t silver for a total of 11.3 million silver oz. There is a total of 1.6 million oz. of indicated silver resources and 1.2 million inferred silver resources in the Northeast zone, 150 metres above the Northeast Deep zone.
In mid-March, Alexco expects to kick off a four-rig surface exploration program, to drill a minimum of 25,000 metres. The program will focus on infill and expansion drilling of the Northeast Deep zone. An update to the Bermingham resource, which will incorporate the Northeast Deep zone, is expected in the fourth quarter of 2021.
At Keno Hill, mining ramp up is underway. Underground work is focused on the Bellekeno mine, with longhole drilling and residual ore blasting feeding ore to the mill. Concentrate shipments to the port of Skagway have also started. The mill continues with its ramp up and is on a modified schedule to match the ore deliveries and optimize the metallurgical performance. Initial ore from the Bermingham deposit is expected in the second quarter.
Alexco expects to release a more detailed update and ramp-up schedule in February.
A 2020 prefeasibility study for Keno Hill defined an eight-year mine producing an average of 4 million oz. of silver a year in concentrates. There are four existing deposits within Keno Hill: Bermingham, Flame and Moth, Bellekeno and Lucky Queen.
For more information, visit www.AlexcoResource.com.