Bellekeno began commercial production at the beginning of 2011 and produced approximately 2 million ounces of silver annually and more than 20 million pounds of lead and zinc concentrate per year until September 2013 when production was suspended in the face of a collapsing silver market and base metal prices.
The mine remains in care and maintenance while the Company repositions the District for long-term, sustainable operations and is now undergoing upgrades and improvements in preparation for a return to production.
The March 2017 Preliminary Economic Assessment reported an average silver grade of 747 g/t (“grams per tonne”) at Bellekeno with indicated mineral resources at 4.9 million ounces of contained silver, with inferred mineral resources of 3.3 million ounces of contained silver. In the current mine plan, Bellekeno will be used as a ‘salvage operation’ at the start of mining activities to feed the mill with materials for 6 – 9 months while supplementing Flame & Moth production.
Note of interest about Bellekeno
It took just three years from initial exploration, through permitting, construction and development for Alexco to put the Bellekeno deposit into operation, a feat rarely seen in the mining industry. As a result, the Company’s founders, Chief Executive Officer, Clynt Nauman, and President Brad Thrall, were named the recipients of the 2011 E.A. Scholz Award for Excellence in Mine Development. This prestigious Association for Mineral Exploration (AME BC) award recognized them for their technical skills, environmental control expertise and cooperative relationship with the local First Nation of Na-Cho Nyak Dun.