Mr. Clynton Nauman reports
ALEXCO REPORTS 16% INCREASE IN SILVER PRODUCTION FOR FOURTH QUARTER 2012; PRODUCES APPROXIMATELY 2.2 MILLION OZ SILVER FOR THE YEAR
Alexco Resource Corp. had silver production of 595,823 ounces during the fourth quarter of 2012, approximately 16 per cent higher than the previous quarter and its second-highest-ever quarter of production as the Bellekeno mine completes its second full year of operation in the Keno Hill silver district in Yukon. For the full calendar year 2012, Alexco produced 2,150,959 ounces of silver, generally in line with full-year production guidance of 2.2 million ounces. Mill throughput also increased to a record 291-tonne-per-day average for the fourth quarter, a 9-per-cent improvement over the previous quarter, which was itself a throughput record.
FOURTH-QUARTER AND FULL-YEAR 2012 PRODUCTION HIGHLIGHTS
Three months ended Full year ended
Dec. 31, Dec. 31, Dec. 31, Dec. 31,
2012 2011 2012 2011
Ore tonnes mined 22,385 20,832 86,354 71,992
Ore tonnes processed 26,777 22,554 94,810 81,064
Mill throughput (tpd) 291 245 260 222
Grade of ore processed
Silver (g/t) 760 889 760 834
Lead 9.6% 11.1% 9.6% 10.2%
Zinc 4.4% 6.7% 4.8% 6.0%
Silver 91% 90% 93% 92%
Lead in lead concentrate 90% 86% 90% 90%
Zinc in zinc concentrate 61% 67% 56% 65%
Tonnes produced 3,518 3,223 13,000 11,042
Silver (g/t) 5,104 5,123 4,965 5,280
Lead 66% 67% 63% 67%
Tonnes produced 1,552 2,305 5,685 6,901
Silver (g/t) 370 683 413 583
Zinc 47% 44% 45% 46%
Production -- contained
Silver (oz) 595,823 608,093 2,150,959 2,020,644
Lead in lead con (lb) 5,120,451 4,878,780 18,183,755 16,454,334
Zinc in zinc con (lb) 1,592,672 2,473,561 5,676,284 7,220,514
Mill throughput continued to improve during the fourth quarter to a record 291 tonnes per day with peak throughputs reaching 350 tonnes per day. For the full year 2012, average mill throughput increased 17 per cent over the previous year to 260 tonnes per day. In the fourth quarter, mill throughput was managed to match mine production rates of approximately 250 tonnes per day toward the end of the quarter, as stockpiles and inventory were drawn down in accordance with plan. Mine production rates will continue at this level into the first quarter. Mill availability improved in the fourth quarter to 94 per cent as a result of continued improvement in maintenance scheduling and operator training initiatives. The silver ore grade increased from the third quarter, as anticipated, by approximately 70 grams per tonne as the mine sequenced back into higher-grade areas. Continuation of this improvement is anticipated into the first quarter of 2013.
It is anticipated that silver production in 2013 will be sourced from three mines: Bellekeno, Onek and Lucky Queen. Operations at Bellekeno are expected to continue at generally the same pace as 2012, with guidance for silver production in the range of 1.9 million to 2.1 million ounces of silver, as well as approximately 17 million pounds of lead and nine million pounds of zinc. Full production guidance for 2013 will be revised upward when regulatory authorizations are received for the Onek and Lucky Queen mines.
The quartz mining licence to allow mining at both Onek and Lucky Queen is in the final stages of issuance. With respect to the water licence amendment authorizing ore milling, the declaration of adequacy has been received and a routine water board hearing has been scheduled for later in the current quarter. Development work is progressing at both mines. Approximately 1,200 metres of rehabilitation of the Lucky Queen historical adit is complete and the additional time available due to permitting delays will be used for development of an approximately 200-metre primary incline to access higher-grade areas of the Lucky Queen resource. At Onek, surface facilities are in place and the primary decline is progressing well with less than 200 metres remaining to reach the mineralization.
Alexco's president and chief executive officer, Clynt Nauman, said: "I'm very pleased to see nearly record silver production coming from the Bellekeno mine in the fourth quarter, during which we experienced several weeks of intensely cold conditions. It is a testament to our people that they have been able to not only operate but improve performance through this quarter. We have continued to build on our third-quarter improvements in mill throughput, and with mill-related mechanical modifications we are confident we can ramp up to the 400 tonnes per day target as feed is added from our newly developed Onek and Lucky Queen mines once appropriate permits are received."
Mr. Nauman added: "In addition to completing our second full year of production, 2012 was without precedent on the exploration front with a 52-per-cent increase in our district consolidated silver resources to approximately 57 million ounces, and excellent drilling results from the recently discovered Flame and Moth deposit. We expect to have more good news in 2013 as we recalculate our Flame and Moth, and other resources based on exploration results from the latter half of 2012."
The disclosure in this news release of scientific and technical information regarding Alexco's mineral properties has been reviewed and approved by Scott Smith, PEng, Bellekeno mine manager for Alexco, a qualified person as defined by National Instrument 43-101 -- Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects.
Release of financial results for fiscal year 2012
Financial results for the fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2012, are expected to be released after the close of market trading on Wednesday, March 27, 2013, followed by an audio webcast conference call to review those results at 11 a.m. Eastern Time (8 a.m. Pacific Time) on Thursday, March 28, 2013. To participate in the live call, please use one of the following methods:
Dial toll-free from Canada or the United States: 1-877-407-8031;
Dial from outside Canada or the United States: 1-201-689-8031;
Live audio webcast on Alexco's website.
Participants should connect five to 10 minutes before the call.
The conference call will be recorded, and an archived audio webcast will be available on the company's website. Through April 4, 2013, a replay of the call will be available by telephone at the following:
Dial toll-free from Canada or the United States: 1-877-660-6853;
Dial from outside Canada or the United States: 1-201-612-7415;
- Replay passcodes: account No. 286, conference ID No. 407376.
We seek Safe Harbor.