The initial ore source for Mill commissioning is the Bellekeno underground mine where drilling, blasting and extraction of ore from long hole stopes continues


Alexco announces commissioning and initial concentrate production at the Keno Hill Silver District Mill. (Credit: Khusen Rustamov from Pixabay)

Alexco Resource announced commissioning of the Keno Hill District Mill (the “Mill”) commencing as scheduled, with initial production of lead/silver and zinc concentrates underway. The initial ore source for Mill commissioning is the Bellekeno underground mine where drilling, blasting and extraction of ore from long hole stopes continues.

Clynt Nauman, Chairman and CEO commented, “Initial commissioning of our mill is a significant milestone on our journey toward establishing Alexco as Canada’s only primary silver producer. This achievement has only been possible with the hard work and determination of all our employees and contractors who have worked safely to deliver this milestone. Congratulations to all! There is still a lot of work ahead in our ramp up and underground development programs at the Bermingham and Flame and Moth operations, which are scheduled to sequentially replace Bellekeno ore feed over the course of the first half of 2021.

Total personnel employed at Keno Hill now includes just over 150 employees and contractors with over 93% residing in either Yukon or British Columbia. In the near term, underground development activities are continuing at both the Flame and Moth and Bermingham mines with focus on advancements of the primary ramps and haulage ways, establishing vent level access and installing remaining underground infrastructure. Contract raise crews are scheduled to mobilize in early December to begin installation of the Bermingham surface raise. The majority of surface infrastructure and mill projects are nearing completion, including the recent commissioning of the Bermingham water treatment plant.

2020 Exploration Program

Alexco’s surface exploration drilling program, which is testing the Bermingham “deep” target, is complete with drilling and surface exploration crews scheduled to demobilize by the end of November. In total, this year’s surface exploration program drilled 7,653 meters with 11 holes reaching the target zone and incurring a direct program cost of approximately $3.5 million. Results from this drilling program are expected to be released next month or in January 2021, depending on receipt of assay results. In the meantime, underground infill and extension/exploration drilling will begin as scheduled in early 2021.

COVID-19 Update, Ramp Up Schedule

On November 20, 2020, the Yukon Government announced 14-day self isolation requirements for persons entering Yukon that are not deemed critical workers. The Company is preparing an operations plan to firstly, maintain development activities at Keno Hill while adhering to current health directives and Yukon government’s travel restrictions and secondly, assessing the longer-term scheduling impact of alternative development and ore supply strategies in light of new COVID-19 protocols and restrictions.

Source: Company Press Release