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Yukon, Canada silver mine to shut down for winter

CBC NewsEye on the Arctic

Alexco Resource Corp. will close its Bellekeno mine in Canada’s northwestern Yukon territory this winter because of low silver prices.

About 100 employees will be affected by the September shutdown.

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.

This story is posted on Alaska Dispatch as part of Eye on the Arctic, a collaborative partnership between public and private circumpolar media organizations.