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As this long-term secular bull market for gold and silver continues to march onward, truly major moves from the sector's hottest growth stocks are bound to characterize the trend.
Alexco Resource (AMEX: AXU ) has really been on the move lately, and especially because it's a stock I own, I may be in a position to offer some Foolish context. Get ready to love this company's story.
Commissioning of the company's first silver mine is proceeding smoothly, marking Alexco's rite of passage into the club of primary silver producers. With silver prices above $28 per ounce, and the Bellekeno mine's prolific by-product of lead and zinc poised to keep costs low, Alexco's stock is beginning to track the scent of cash flow.
In timely fashion, Alexco has also heaped some exceptional exploration results onto this bonfire of growing interest in its stock. Bellekeno is but one deposit within Alexco's assets in the historic Keno Hill district of Canada's Yukon Territory, and nearby deposits like Onek (only one kilometer from the Bellekeno mill) are proving to be treasures in their own right. Back in October, Alexco reported bonanza ore grades across a wide (10.4 meters) intersection grading 1,518 grams of silver per ton (that's 44.3 ounces per ton!), 1 gram of gold per ton, 17.9% lead, and 3.2% zinc. Along with results from additional drill holes, exploration work at Onek has confirmed an ultra-high-grade deposit with at least a 400-meter strike length. In all probability, Onek will host Alexco's second silver mine.
Alexco's exploration success will come as no surprise to Silver Wheaton (NYSE: SLW ) , which holds a silver stream for 25% of Alexco's production from the Keno Hill district. Since that deal was signed in 2008, Silver Wheaton has touted Keno Hill's "immense exploration potential and future production upside," and anticipated "a long and prosperous partnership with Alexco." The area's potential was likewise known by NovaGold Resources (AMEX: NG ) , whose CEO Rick Van Nieuwenhuyse still sits on Alexco's board even after NovaGold unloaded most of its 16% stake in the company.
Precious metals stocks of all shapes and sizes have encountered terrific buoyancy as the metal prices surge, but Fools are reminded that the most resilient gains are to be found in the superior growth stories that set select operators apart from the pack. I recently highlighted Rubicon Minerals (AMEX: RBY ) as one such standout, while companies like Fronteer Gold (AMEX: FRG ) and Endeavour Silver (AMEX: EXK ) deserve a close inspection. Even following a stock surge of more than 150% just in the past six months, it's Alexco's ongoing exploration success, coupled with this imminent commercial production at Bellekeno, that keeps this Fool firmly entrenched in the shares. I'll have plenty more to discuss about the company going forward, and you can easily track all my Foolish coverage of the sector by bookmarking this link.