YUKON – Alexco Resource Corp. of Vancouver has completed the initial estimate of the historical tailings located near the former town of Elsa in the Keno Hill Silver District. The indicated resource is pegged at 2.49 million tonnes grading 119.0 g/t Ag, 0.12 g/t Au, 0.99% Pb and 0.70% Zn. The tails are believed to contain approximately 9.5 million oz of silver and 9,600 oz of gold.
Average thickness of tailings drilled is 2.3 meters, ranging from a maximum thickness of 7.5 meters to a minimum of 0.2 meters. Studies to assess tailings process alternatives and preliminary economics have been initiated, including metallurgical recovery tests. A phase two sampling program will focus on portions of the tailings impoundment not covered by the 2009 sonic drilling campaign.
The Elsa tailings are located approximately 400 meters northwest of the Elsa town site and the former United Keno Hill Mines mill. The tailings consist of unconsolidated fine sand to silty grained material, with sieve analyses indicating that the material is all finer than 250 microns with as much as 40% being less than 74 microns (200 mesh). The dominant minerals making up the tailings fragments are quartz and siderite (80%), with the balance composed of muscovite, other silicate minerals and pyrite.
Historical milling operations started at Elsa in the 1930s and operated almost continuously until 1988. Based on historical records, it is estimated that approximately 3.67 million tonnes of tailings were deposited at the Elsa site, captured mainly in the current existing impoundment and occupying an areal extent of approximately 100 hectares. In 2009, Alexco drilled 283 vertical sonic drill holes on a 50 meter grid covering a portion (approximately 77 hectares) of the impoundment area.
Alexco is preparing its Bellekeno silver mine and mill 330 km north of Yellowknife for production during Q3 2010. More information is posted at www.AlexcoResource.com.