Exploration, Development, and Production Practices at United Keno Hill Mines, Limited

CIM Bulletin, 1952


The Mayo-Keno Mining District has ,grown from a small high-grade camp into one of the most important base-metal production centres in Canada. The operations of United Keno Hill Mines, Limited, have, to date, been by f.ar the most important factor in this development. The geographical location of the Keno Hill area is remote from any large centre of population and the climate is severe. Impetus to exploration was given by the Klondyke 'gold rush', since which time the area has been gradually prospected and developed. Geologically, the country is an extension of British Columbia. The rocks in the immediate area are Precambrian. Structural control has net been fully worked out but progress is being made. Possibilities for discovery of new orebodies are excellent .and extension to depth appears probable. The ore is exceptionally high-grade. Mining in general follows conventional methods except that very heavy timbering is required due to the soft, friable nature of the vein material. Chief production to date has been won from the Hector mine, which has been developed .to ,a nominal depth of 400 feet with a winze now being sunk to develop a further 500 feet. The ore is concentrated flotation, with production of a read and a zinc concentrate, the latter carrying about one per cent cadmium. A cyanide plant, to recover silver values in the flotation plant tailings, has recently been added. Water supply is a serious .problem. Transportation facilities, very meagre in the past, are ,being improved by new road construction. United Keno Hill Mines operates its own truck fleet between Whitehorse and the concentrator. Handling of concentrates and handling ,and warehousing of incoming freight is a major factor in o,perat1ons. Power production is by Diesel engine, with a government-financed hydro-electric plant scheduled to be completed by the end of 1952. The Company operates a number of services not normally part of a mining operation, due to the remote location. These include a complete logging and lumbering operation.
Keywords: adit, country rock, Treadwell-Yukon Company, United Keno Hill, zinc, Cost, Costs, Mine, Mines, Ore, Ores, Plants, Veins