Canadian Mining Journal


SILVER-LEAD-ZINC DEVELOPMENT: Construction to start at Bellekeno

YUKON — With a positive mine development plan in hand and with the okay from partner Silver Wheaton, Ale...

YUKON — With a positive mine development plan in hand and with the okay from partner Silver Wheaton, Alexco Resource Corp. of Vancouver is going to begin construction at its Bellekeno underground silver-lead-zinc project in the Keno Hill district. Production is to start in Q3 2010.


From Alexco’s news release of Nov. 11, 2009, here are some highlights of the development plan:

? Average net smelter return (NSR) over the life of mine (LOM) is estimated at C$458/tonne mined, including C$535/tonne mined over the first two years.

? Average operating costs over the LOM are estimated to be C$287/tonne mined, including mining, milling, general and administrative costs and royalty payments, yielding an LOM operating margin of C$171/tonne, with average operating costs over the first two years estimated to be C$287 yielding an operating margin of C$248.

? Silver production costs (net of by-products) are estimated to be US$6.07/oz over the LOM under the base case scenario, and US$3.83/oz under the current metal prices scenario.

? Accounting for mining dilution and recovery, a total of 321,941 tonnes containing an estimated 871 g/t Ag, 9.5% Pb and 5.6% Zn are included in the current LOM mining plan. The mining plan is based entirely on indicated resources. LOM metal production to concentrate is estimated to be approximately 8.6 million oz silver, 65.2 million lb lead and 35.2 million lb zinc.

? Processing will use a standard lead-zinc differential flotation process with dry stack tailings technology. The processing plant will have a design capacity of 408 t/d. Average LOM recoveries are estimated to be 95.8% Ag, 96.9% Pb and 88.4% Zn to produce approximately 42,043 dry tonnes of lead-silver concentrate and 29,293 dry tonnes of zinc-silver concentrate over the LOM.

? Mining and milling operations will be carried out year-round at a base-plan production rate of 250 t/d.

? Mining will be carried out by a mining contractor, using predominantly cut-and-fill methods augmented with some minor shrink stoping to optimize high-grade mineralization extraction and reduce dilution. Mined-out stopes will be backfilled with a cemented blend of development waste rock and the pyritic component of dry filtered tailings backhauled from the processing plant.

? Total construction and development capital to achieve commercial production is estimated to be C$41.6 million, including a contingency factor of approximately 16%. Of this, C$38.0 million will be funded by Silver Wheaton under its silver purchase agreement with Alexco.


Further questions may be directed to president and CEO Clynton Nauman at 604-633-4888 or visit and click on the Contact Info heading.