Alexco gets electrified, set to pump out ore

Alexco Resources is commissioning its silver and lead mill east of Keno this week and will begin processing ore any day now. Save for a decision on how to transport the ore, the mine is pretty much a go.

Alexco Resources is commissioning its silver and lead mill east of Keno this week and will begin processing ore any day now.

Save for a decision on how to transport the ore, the mine is pretty much a go.

“We haven’t fixed a date,” said Rob McIntyre, vice-president of business development for Alexco.

“But the mine is energized, the mill is built, construction is complete, we’re doing water testing right now, and there’ll be rock in the mill imminently.”

Testing on the mill will take a few days while the company makes sure all the moving parts are working together smoothly.

“You don’t just hit an on switch right away, you ramp it up slowly,” he said.

The lead and zinc mine is the second large quartz mine expected to open this month in the Yukon.

Yukon Zinc’s Wolverine Mine near Ross River is also supposed to open before November.

Alexco originally planned to truck its lead and zinc ore to Skagway.

But that plan is now being reconsidered.

“It’s not likely going to go to Korea, but we’re still figuring that out,” said McIntyre.

The ore might be trucked down to Trail, BC, where another smelter might process it.

“We’re leaning towards trucking down here to Trail,” he said.

Contracts on the trucking and smelting haven’t yet been signed, he added.

The mine will begin churning out 250 tons of ore per day and will later ramp that up to 400 tons a day in 2011, said McIntyre.

The mine and mill currently uses about 2.4 megawatts.

The Yukon’s northern electrical grid, which services Dawson City, Pelly Crossing, Mayo and Keno, can provide that energy.

But Alexco must wait until a transmission line between Pelly Crossing and Steward Crossing is complete to ramp up to 400 tons a day.

That line will connect the North with the southern grid, which can generate a lot more power.

Alexco signed its agreement to buy power from Yukon Energy last month.

Contact James Munson at

jamesm@yukon-news.com

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