Alexco Resource Corp. will close its Bellekeno mine in Yukon this winter because of low silver prices.

About 100 employees will be affected by the September shutdown.


Alexco Resource Corp. began commercial production at its Bellekeno silver-lead-zinc mine 330 km north of Whitehorse in January 2011. It announced Wednesday it would be closing the mine this winter because of low silver prices.

A press release from the company says it will reopen in spring 2014, "assuming the silver market has improved."

The company says silver prices are now so low, operation costs exceed revenues at Bellekeno.

Rob McIntyre, president of the Yukon Chamber of Mines, says the winter shutdown will allow the company time to develop a more efficient production plan.

"The basic business paradigm is revenues must exceed expenses or it won't be profitable," he said.

"What you can do is control certain expenditures but the revenues are dependent on the price of the metal and those are not necessarily in the company's control."

McIntyre says cost cutting measures include a local hire policy. The company currently spends millions of dollars annually to fly in workers from across Canada.