Alexco Resource Corporation Wall Street Analyst Forum Transcript

| About: Alexco Resource (AXU)

Alexco Resource Corporation (NYSEMKT:AXU)

Wall Street Analyst Forum 20th Annual Analyst Conference

June 8, 2009 9:50 am ET


Hellen [ph] – Wall Street Analyst Forum

Clynton Nauman – President and CEO


Good morning everyone. My name is Hellen [ph] from the Wall Street Analyst Forum. I am your host in this room right now. In a moment I will be turning it over to a colleague of the presentation.

At this time, I would ask anyone with a cell phone, pager, handheld device to please turn it either off or put it in silent position, so it does not interrupt the presentation which is also in accordance with the rules of the University Club’s policy.

The first company that we are presenting in here this morning is Alexco Resource. Alexco owns 100% of the historical Keno Hill Silver District in Yukon, Canada and is focused on returning the district to production. Between 1921 and 1988 the Keno Hill Silver District produced more than 217 million ounces of silver, with average grades of 40.5 ounces per ton silver, 5.6% lead, and 3.1% zinc.

Following the recent positive preliminary economic assessment of the Bellekeno deposit, just one the 35 historical mine deposits in the district, the company has begun underground development and advanced exploration in anticipation of making a construction sufficient in summer 2009, with production start-up targeted by mid-2010.

In addition to success of Bellekeno, Alexco is also continuing district-wide exploration to identify and advance additional deposits as the company progresses towards its objective of becoming a domestic silver producer. Presenting for you this morning is Clynton Nauman, the Chief Executive Officer.

Clynton Nauman

Well, thank you. My name is Clynton Nauman. As mentioned, I am the CEO of Alexco Resource Corp. We do have some packages of information. I am told that they are here somewhere along their way, so they should turn up.

Alexco is a junior company, just a sea amongst oasis basin in a sea of sub junior companies out there, but we have a little different twist on the business and that is not only are we in the junior silver mining space, but we also operate a remediation, mine remediation business, a reclamation service, which is a full profit division of the company working in Canada and the United States focused on environmental remediation in and around mine sites.

Very successful, very fast growing business, and certainly an attribute that Alexco has that gives us opportunities that other people don’t necessarily have. That is the normal forward looking statements that you all love – know and love. So, what are our attributes at Alexco? Well we have, as I mentioned a unique business model. We operate in both the exploration and mining business and we are in an environmental remediation company and that we have a separate division that does that type of work.

We have superior assets, we feel, in the space that we own a 100% of the very large Keno Hill silver mining district in the Yukon Territory that we're going to talk about here, and certainly were most of the investors are focused. And we have defined that a resource there that we are moving towards production decision as we speak.

Our cash position is relatively strong, we were capitalized, construct this mine , in the event that we make that decision, we have Silver Wheaton, a major company in the business that you'll be familiar with standing behind us, to help us out there.

We only have 43 million shares out, so we have a fairly sensible capital structure, a strong balance sheet, no debt, and we have what I call leverage in several different aspects.

We have project leverage simply because the types of deposits that we are dealing within this particular district a very high-grade. We are leveraged to the silver prices obviously and we have exploration average because we control a very large gland package.

That sort of the stock price chart just to show that we have been on the tank like everybody else and 2008 was a tough year, but we are scoring and scrabbling our way back up as we progress the company. Pretty much we have been keeping our heads down and looking after our business, really nothing has changed in the company structurally between mid-2008 and the current time.

So this is what the company looks like, in terms of just a simple functional division of the company. On the left-hand side, we have our services business, this said, I mentioned offices in Canada and the United States.

In Canada, we do primarily add half-type consulting work, we do a lot of environmental management work, do a lot of permitting work, especially in the North. I think it is fair to say, that if the company is working in the north of Canada, especially in the Yukon and they generally end up coming to Alexco to get their permits.

We have a group of people that do that work. We also are in a fleet of equipment, so we do mine reclamation work with the dirt moving work that you would normally associate with reclamation to mine sites.

In the United States, we are pretty much technology driven. We have an office in Denver, we have a series of patents that are focused and targeted to remediation of ground – contaminated groundwater plumes and we stand to have found a real niche in the business in terms of dealing with chromium contaminated groundwater – it's about chromium contaminated head groundwater such that we are a major participant in places like Hinckley, California that you'll be familiar with that is the Erin Brockovich area that the movie that was made there.

We are also active with the hands of nuclear cleanup of a prior invitation. We have had a lot of success in the Carolinas with the EPA, remediating contaminated lakes or mine related lakes and groundwater. So, it is a very successful business. It is fully integrated with the rest of the company. It is not currently building its own balance sheet meaning that it is profitable, but it is not a set-aside business.

So, I could run both businesses and we simply can't continue that way with this business it needs to be structurally set-aside and set off in its own profit. It is going about 35% a year. So, it is great business to be in and especially at this time it is I think a good business to be in.

However, most of the focus in the company as you know is on the other side. It is on the exploration side that we're going to talk about here today. With the eye now over Keno Hill Silver District, we are structured on that side of the company just as any other junior mining company with a correction or cadre of geologists and engineer’s etcetera.

So, where is the Keno Hill Silver District? Well it is centrally located in the Yukon. Yukon is about 600, 700 miles from one end to the other, south to north from the British Columbia border all the way up to the Arctic to the Berkut Sea. This Keno Hill Silver District is centrally located there.

Great thing about the Yukon is that on a good day the population of the Yukon is 28,000 people, so it is a huge area with not a lot of people. It is a great mining jurisdiction, very supportive government and regulatory structure. We also are in the Brewery Creek Mine, which is a mine that we reclaimed for a third party company approximately five or six years ago.

It was actually because of that work that Alexco attracted the attention of the Canadian government and when the Keno Hill Silver District became available for purchase. We were the preferred purchaser as defined by the Canadian Government.

So, we'll go through that a little bit and it is just another example of how our skills on the environmental management and environmental remediation side of the business that helped us leverage into major assets such as the Keno Hill Silver District.

So what is Keno Hill? Well, it is a very large silver district, it is probably the largest silver district or it is the largest silver district in Canada, comprised 35, 40 historic mines producing silver, probably about 217 million ounces of silver were produced from this district. So, on a global basis that is not a terribly large business, terribly large district, areas like Fresnillo in Mexico are some of the Peruvian examples, cord lanes, all produced as a district more than a billion ounces of silver.

So, this is not a large district in terms of the amount of silver that has been produced today, which doesn't necessarily relate to what might be produced in the future. But the most important thing about the Keno Hill Silver District is the average grade of production.

Average grade of production here was 40 ounces of silver per ton. And on a global basis that would be one of the highest consistent amounts of silver that have been produced from this number of mines over this period of time.

So, I put it in the top 1% or 2% of global silver producers. It was in production from 1913 through 1988, it was shutdown. The district itself was shutdown in the late 1980s, due to a combination of price pressures, cost pressures, but more importantly environmental problems.

They had tailings down failure here; they actually had a couple of criminal convictions on the environmental side. So, the federal government in 1988 just simply moved in and shutdown the mines they were operating in this district and they sat there from 1988 until 2006 when Alexco came by.

The arrangement that we have is that with the federal government of Canada it is quite interesting; we acquired all the assets in this district from the federal government of Canada. We are indemnified from all the historical liabilities in the district, so no legacy problems attached to it.

We have no preconditions on moving back into this district in putting mines back in production and most importantly we are the sole-source clean-up contractor for the district.

So, federal government of Canada is going to pay us to remediate and cleanup this district. Now, we don’t know exactly what’s the cost of that? What that is going to cost in, but it is probably going to be in the order of $50 to $60 million. So for a small company that is a major piece of business for us, it is very good piece of business and it simply goes – it very easily goes hand-in-hand without redevelopment of the district.

When we arrived at Keno Hill in 2006 there was a remaining historical resource or as I did say it was on the books of the mines when they were shutdown originally, it was scored reserve, it doesn’t qualify as reserve, but there are simply ounces on the books that were left there, when the district shutdown and they total about 30 million ounces.

About 70% of those ounces were in three separate deposits, one of which was the Bellekeno Mine where we have been able to drill-up a small resource here and we are moving it towards a construction decision in 2009.

We have drilled in this district about close to 50,000 meters now, but a third of that has gone into the Bellekeno deposit, there has been a number of exploration discoveries. So, we are trying to systematically, technically understand, and move forward this entire district and put it back in production.

So, this is what the district looks like. Everything in yellow here is a land position that we acquired from the Federal Government of Canada. Most important thing to note here is the size of the district. It is about 15 miles to 20 miles long east to west, 10 miles to 15 miles wide north to south, each of those little red dots represents a former producing silver mine, mines producing away from a couple of million ounces of silver, all the way up to the very largest mine, which produced 90 million ounces of silver and that mine is centrally located in the district.

The average grade of production in the district range from 35 ounces per ton silver on the low end, all the way up to close to 90 ounces per ton on the high-end. So very, very robust metal budget in this district.

Another interesting thing about the district is, on the right-hand side there is a scattering of blue – little blue squares and they represent operating plasma mines – operating gold plasma mines. So, these family-owned gold platters that operated in the summer time and yet there is no gold story that has – that’s ever been told in the Keno Hill Silver District.

So, when I look at this type of gold that those miners are retrieving from those Creeks, the gold grains are flat, flaky, shiny, raggedy little grains and that wouldn't indicate that that gold is relatively close source, it hasn't – it is not rolled off and beaten up and all and so there is definitely a gold overprint in this district, which has not been understood yet, we don't understand it, but certainly there will be almost certainly there will be gold discoveries in this district as we start to focusing on it.

Just to give you some idea of the former producers, most of the silver in the district was produced after the Second World War between 1950 and 1990, so there is half a dozen there. There are larger mines in the district produced 90% of the silver, produced just those few mines, there are six or seven of them produced by the 190 million ounces of silver at an average production grade of 42 ounces a ton.

So just gives you some sense of the robustness of the silver systems of the mineralizing systems and also you understand that these mines are spread over a distance of about 20 miles. So, it is a huge mineralizing system.

The one deposit that we are going to focus on is called the Bellekeno deposit, it is located in the southeast portion of the district and this deposit was in production in the 1980s and it was just getting in production actually when the entire district was shutdown, including this deposit.

The original resource here that was on the books, so the reserves were on the books when we arrived with about 120,000 or 150,000 tons of 34 ounce per ton silver and 12% lead was 7% zinc. And the great majority of that resource was located centrally in that pinkish colored blocks that you see there towards the 99 zone.

2006, we started drilling in and around this deposit and we drilled a lot of the holes on the left-hand side of the section there in 2006 and discovered and began to out line what we call the Southwest zone.

2007, we came back and worked on the eastern side of that resource and discovered the east zone and we put all that together in 2008 to give us a resource here of 537,000 tons of a thousand grams per ton silver with 15% lead and 10% zinc.

So that is about 29 ounces, 30 ounces per ton, 537,000 tons and most important thing though is that on the left hand side, the combination of the southwest zone of the 99 zone, it equals about 350,000 tons or 1,200 to 1,300 grams per ton silver with 19% lead and 5% zinc.

So about 42 ounces a ton, exactly typical of what is being found elsewhere in this district. So a total here combined 16 million ounces of silver, or in a silver equivalent basis approximately 35 million to 40 million ounces of silver.

This is what the district looks like, low rolling hills all the infrastructures in place, obviously because it was a former producing district, all the roads are there, the government maintained roads, there was a hydroelectric dam that was built specifically to service this district still in place, lots of excess power, we are on the grid.

So, all that risk is really out of the project. Now on the right and side there is an indication of the underground mineralization. We just recently opened this backup again, when we went underground, but we opened this in the underground workings in 2008 and in 2009 we are busy underground with a couple of drills drilling off as resource. Now one of the things that we did open up is an area of mineralization as see in the right hand side here, where we drive through the middle of the Southwest (inaudible) and we were able to see 6 meters of 57 ounce per ton silver.

So, very spectacular mineralization underground, some acid galena, some texture hydride in a (inaudible) and the ore viewers is hosted in a core side. That is some of the work that we did in 2008, we – although we were opening up these old workings and getting back into the old mine underground, we actually put in a new deep line and made that deep line big and also we get modern equipment in the air and so that if we transitioned from exploration to production, we don't have to go back and modify the workings or any of the infrastructure we put in place.

So, we can move smoothly from exploration to production. Process circuit or the metallurgical circuit at Keno Hill and Bellekeno specifically is very simple. It is a simple crushing and grinding circuit, two stage conventional flotation circuit producing a lead concentrate and a zinc concentrate that’s traditionally what we have done here.

The recoveries – the silver recoveries are in the mid-90% and most important in this district nearly 90% of the silver that is in the ore find its way into the lead concentrate and that is important because people that are running these multi-element deposits, these polymetallic type deposits of which Keno Hill could be viewed.

It is not only the metallurgical recovery of the metals that you recover that is important; it is where the metals end up when they go to the smelter. And for example, silver in a lead concentrate delivered to a smelter will result in a payment so the producer to us, have about 95% f the value of the silver.

If your silver ends up in your silver zinc concentrate, then the silver payment is probably 65%, so you don't want silver in your zinc concentrate. So, just things to keep you mind when you are evaluating these types of deposits.

So having put all these pieces together by – in mid-19 and the mid-2008, we try to figure out what the Bellekeno deposit would look like if we put it in production. We were – we figured out that they are delighted to move forward with this deposit would be just be producing 250 tons a day, so very, very small operation, maybe scale that up to 400 tons a day in year three or year four.

Even at 350 tons a day or just less than a 100,000 tons a year, this mine would have the capability of turning out more than 3 million ounces of silver a year, significant amount of lead and zinc.

Capital required to put it in production is right around $58 million Canadian and that includes about $10 million of the money that’s been spent to date in the underground work.

Operating cost around $200 a ton and 11-odd [ph] dollar silver market, the value of it all in the ground, net of transportation and smelter cost, is around $600. So, you've got a margin there of $300 to $400 a ton in these type of deposits.

So, it is a very robust deposit. Silver production cost life for mine around zero, which means that you byproduct credits offsetting all of your operating cost. So, the credits that you get for the base metals lead and zinc are offsetting the operating cost as the silver production cost are approximately zero.

Having put all this together in summer of 2008, not very long ago actually it was pretty obvious to us that the credit markets weren’t going to be a friendly place to be and so we undertook a discussion with Silver Wheaton and we put together an arrangement with Silver Wheaton where by and we would agree to sell them 25% of the silver that we produced in the Keno Hill Silver District that they would buy that 25% of the silver produced from us for $3.90 an ounce that give us $50 million up front in a couple of different tranches, the first 15 million has been invested already, and that we would mutually come to an agreement on how we were going to develop this deposit and once we have come to that agreement than Silver Wheaton would pass the other 35 million, we will go ahead and put it in production.

So that is the process we're going through at the present time, drilling off the resource underground, re-estimating all the capital operating cost, etcetera, etcetera getting the smile on development plan in hand.

I know this was a good arrangement for Alexco, it finances us for production in a very difficult market, very difficult credit market. It is non-dilutive to shareholders, which is an important point for me and Silver Wheaton is a great partner, a great supporter, a great advocate, and it is certainly a significant endorsement for the company.

Turning to the economics, pretty straightforward, we did electronics in the middle of last year on a three-year trailing pricing model using $11.69 for silver, $0.81 for lead, and $1.24 for zinc that was a trading model at that time.

If it is fairly robust to MPV, one-and-a-half year payback, we also looked at a forward pricing model, which is a consensus type model, which more closely approximates today's prices $12.25 for silver, a little low $0.50 related $0.75 for zinc still have a very robust project with less than one-and-a-half year payback, so a credit robust product economically.

One of the things I tried to do was look at the grade of the Keno Hill deposits relative to all of the other major silver deposits in the world and that is what's on this scatter graph. Here on the vertical axis you have the silver grade, any deposit or district, prior again some horizontal axis for silver equivalent grade, so that would be base metals or gold converted to silver and on this back, if you have a deposit down in the bottom left-hand corner there you have a relatively low-grade silver deposit, but not a lot of byproduct credits so a relatively low value ore, if you have a deposit in the top right hand corner and you have got a high grade silver deposit, a lot of byproduct credit in a relatively high grade, relatively high value ore.

So, by any measure on this, in this particular view within the Keno Hill Silver District and the Bellekeno deposit specifically ranked in a unique population of very high-grade deposits in the world led along with one (inaudible) silver deposit and at the end of silver corp. deposits in China in one month.

Markdowns, pretty much as I have described, all the work is underway to make a production decision here. We’ve got a couple of three drills working underground the present time. I hope to have that work finished by the end of this month, with the first week of month, we have all the capital pulled together and we estimated all the operating costs, we have a schedule etcetera, etcetera and all that will be pulled together probably by August in which case were we sit down with Silver Wheaton and we make a decision to go ahead and build out this particular deposit.

Permitting is all underway, we are permitted to actually build the facility at the present time, with a couple of permits that have been through the environmental assessment process, which is now completed and is into the authorization process for these two remaining permits that we need to actually operate the mine.

So don't forget that we are the guys that are sort of in the permitting business, so we are very confident in the permitting arena. This is Silver Wheaton's view of what is going to happen at Keno Hill, they are investing $50 million U.S. there is no way, under normal expectation that they are going to see their $50 million return to them with any kind of a – with any kind of a benefit in the Bellekeno deposit of loans. So they certainly see the Bellekeno deposits either getting bigger or other deposits coming on streaming in the districts.

So they have a view, sort of a beads on the string view where volcanoes [ph] of those deposits to go back and production of the deposits come along behind that, and the entire district is rejuvenated pretty much on the lines, whilst historically albeit using modern mining methods.

And just, just falling along on that same, just a couple or three of the "exploration projects” that we have in the district, the very far eastern end of the district. There is a little mine called the Lucky Cuss mine, this was a mine back in the 1920s and 1930s produced about 11 million to 12 million ounces of silver from just a 120,000 tons of oil. So, average grade of 88 ounces per ton.

We have drilled a number of wells underneath and along stride from that red area, which is the mined out area in this deposit and it has got a number of multi-hundred ounce silver intersections however relatively thin intervals to be sure, but this deposit is made of silver deposits.

So, this is, we are actually quite spectacular of the ore, the core, the diamond drill core will come out of the ground here with wires and wards that are made of silver. So, it is one of the few places in the world were you get this type of silver account and certainly represents obviously a discovery or an area of mineralization we go back and check out.

Along with that just a couple of kilometers away from there, there is a mine called the Keno 700 mine, the way that we have got about exploring the district over the last two or three years, we just systematically moved around these 35 mines, 40 mines in the district, we have looked at 14 or 15 of them so far.

This was one that was just happened to be on the list to test last year and we drove down plunge of the silver mineralization on this district and loaned a hole got a couple of holes of anywhere between 10 and 50 grams per ton gold.

So, this would be the first indication that there is a gold story that were developed in this district as we move forward. All the way down the other end of the district, it is almost 20 miles away is an area that we drilled a silver cane to Husty Southwest trend, here you have a very large area of highly altered rocks, clay polarize and breaded shaded rocks with very thick intervals, within which we have the thin zones of higher grade silver with gold and no base metal.

So to a geologist what this means is there is lots of fluid, there was lots of fluids moving through these rocks that it is more likely to be associated with a much larger mineralizing system then we see at the eastern end of the district and so at the end of the day this would probably be a good place to look at start looking for a bigger deposit.

In addition to that there is a large areas in the ore mineralization in this district that had cropped out on the sides of the hills, of tops of hills and we are simply followed by the early minors in the areas so they could see it, none of the areas that were covered were ever explored and all of the mineralization trends off in that direction.

So, in 2009 we are going to run a sort of a three prompt exploration program, we're going to continue to systematically look at deposits that we haven’t looked at yet. We're going to go back and follow up those deposits, where we think we can put a resource or reserve together to follow along from Bellekeno and we're finally going to launch off on what I call a blind exploration project where we are going to look for blind deposits in the district, survivors that didn't come to the surface that are undercover where they can’t be seen and certainly my target here in this district is to find another 100 million ounce silver deposit.

So, one of those types of deposits is going to be present, I think it is not a question it is just a matter of how long it is going to take to find, and how much it is going to cost to get there, and how soon that can be done, but we do have a great leg up on it in there. When we arrived in this district one of the major assets that we acquired was all the information that was available here.

There is a paper work of data, every single piece of paper that was generated in this district from 1913 has been kept, all of the year early sections and drawings around linens here not on paper and would digitize all that material, now we have bout 300 gigs of data and we are building these systematic three-dimensional model of the mines and the district as a whole, probably which will come needless other exploration targets.

So, turning back to around the circle, not to forget about the environmental business it drew about 7 million bucks this year, obviously it is clear $20 million business that can see in front, generates cash, and as I mentioned positions the company with this competitive advantage in the business, clean up for example Keno Hill, this is a project that is underway with the Federal Government of Canada at the present time.

The revenue stream that we would see from this starting 2010, 2011 anywhere between $12 million, and $15 million, $16 million a year. So, great job. We held margins of 25% to 28% in this business.

So it's a good business to be in. Cash as of the end of March, $20 million, $22 million were burning about $1.5 million in a month doing underground work and drilling in the present time. No debt, only have 43 million shares, 49 million fully diluted, 10% was insider's management group that has been around the mining business for a quite a period of time, and so finally I think that we heard in a financial in a reasonably good place were the 100% owner of the Keno Hill Silver District, which is a high-grade district, we have a short-term production opportunity here that, you know the strategy is to bring Bellekeno on stream and develop a string of high-grade deposits behind that and we generate cash flow from a environmental business.

So that is who we are and certainly willing to take any questions.

Question-and-Answer Session

Unidentified Participant

(Inaudible Question)

Clynton Nauman

That is a good question actually. The great majority of the mines in this district are less than 200 meters deep and there are no mines that persist below the topographic level of the valley. So, what happens here was a – there was a lot of mineralization obviously discovered on the surface. They would drive adits into the size of the hills and they would use gravity to drop out material and forward up the adits.

When the material was exhausted they move down the hill 200 feet and drove bit another adit and just simply continued to do that until I got to the valley bottom and then they would move on to the next one. So that was the way the district was developed.

The deepest mine in the district is the (inaudible) it is right around 300 meters or 900 maybe a 1000 feet, it is located relatively high up on the hill. So, even the bottom of that mine is well above the topographic level of the valley bottom. So there is an obvious story here in terms of continuing as a mineralization deeper, you know there was very little in the way of hoisting activity in this district, it was mostly adits and not a lot of internal wins as their employees or anything like that.

Unidentified Participant

(Inaudible Question)

Clynton Nauman

How far we drill? (inaudible) still only around 300, 400 meters, I mean we had them that's part of this process that will undertake starting in 2009, the cold blind exploration we will lift that drilling some deeper holes trying to understand, you know what this mineralization looks like as it gets deeper in the section.

Unidentified Participant

(Inaudible Question)

Clynton Nauman

This mineralization is highly zoned both laterally and also vertically. So, some areas that are more base metal rich other areas have no base metals. Some places there is more lead higher in the section, there are more zinc low in the section. So the value of the ore is changing, but generally the silver is highest in the lead rich portions of the district, if I could define it that way.

So, down the west-end of the district where we have got a lot of silver with some gold and no base metals, if we drill deeper in those areas as there are going to be high grade silver, I mean I don't know that there would a geological, our processes would indicate that something like that could happen.

Unidentified Participant

(Inaudible Question)

Clynton Nauman

That is another good question. You know we have done a lot of geophysics and trials we might, I mean we just don't get a good geophysical signature, with these types of deposits. The one thing we haven't done is gravity and we are thinking that maybe there is something to be gained by that. At the end of the day there is going to be some intrusive system and here it is driving this system. Some that is driving all these metals to be in placed in these rocks and we don't know where that is, we don't know what that is, but it is going to be there and we haven't yet been able to define a geophysical discipline that can further define that for us. Okay. Well thank you very much.

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