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Here’s the entire text of the Q&A from Hecla Mining’s (ticker: HL) Q3 2005 conference call. The prepared remarks are here. We recognize that this transcript may contain inaccuracies - if you find any, please post a comment below and we’ll incorporate your corrections.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Operator

[OPERATOR INSTRUCTIONS] We'll take our first question from Mr. Anthony Sorrentino or Sorrentino Metals.

Anthony Sorrentino - Sorrentino Metals - Analyst

Good morning, everyone.

Phil Baker - Hecla Mining - President & CEO

Hi, Tony.

Anthony Sorrentino - Sorrentino Metals - Analyst

Hi. To put things into perspective, for 2006 would you be able to give us a rough idea by property which properties will be producing more, which ones less, which ones about the same as what you expect to produce in 2005?

Phil Baker - Hecla Mining - President & CEO

Sure. I can do that roughly. We are in the budgeting process, so we're not yet prepared to put out estimates. But I think you'll see Greens Creek to be about the same. You'll see Lucky Friday increase. You'll see La Camorra unit increase.

Ron Clayton - Hecla Mining - VP

Phil, Greens Creek could be slightly lower.

Phil Baker - Hecla Mining - President & CEO

Okay.

Ron Clayton - Hecla Mining - VP

Wouldn't be a lot, but -

Anthony Sorrentino - Sorrentino Metals - Analyst

Okay. With regard to exploration, do you believe that the Hugh Zone is the underground feeder system at the San Sebastian property?

Phil Baker - Hecla Mining - President & CEO

Let me let Ron answer that question.

Ron Clayton - Hecla Mining - VP

I think it is a little early to say that definitively, but it is pretty likely that it is. And the nature of the sulfide minerals, the zinc, the copper is implying that it has a -- a intrusive nature to it. So I think that is a good assumption.

Anthony Sorrentino - Sorrentino Metals - Analyst

Okay. Fine. All right. Thank you very much.

Phil Baker - Hecla Mining - President & CEO

Thanks, Tony.

Anthony Sorrentino - Sorrentino Metals - Analyst

You're welcome.

Operator

[OPERATOR INSTRUCTIONS] There seem to be no questions at this time.

Vicki Veltkamp - Hecla Mining - VP

All right. Well, thank you, everyone -

Operator

I apologize. Anita [Soniette] from Merrill Lynch has joined the queue. I do apologize.

Anita Soniette - Merrill Lynch - Analyst

I have a question. Based on the nine months actual results in 2005 guidance, it appears to be looking for Venezuela to show a sharp decline in gold cash costs in Q4 '05 for the [inaudible]. Can you explain why there is going to be such a large decline in cash costs?

Phil Baker - Hecla Mining - President & CEO

Yes, I mean it's essentially a function of bringing material up the shaft. It is a function of the improved productivity that we have already seen in October and into November. It is a function of even more material coming out of Mina Isadora. So you put all of those factors together and you'll see a dramatic increase in -- decrease in the cash cost. And because we're going to have more ounces coming out.

Anita Soniette - Merrill Lynch - Analyst

Okay.

Phil Baker - Hecla Mining - President & CEO

It is not the cost of the inputs. Those, you know, are projected to be very similar to what we've had over the last nine months. It is productivity. It is number of ounces coming out of the ground.

Anita Soniette - Merrill Lynch - Analyst

Okay. Thank you very much.

Phil Baker - Hecla Mining - President & CEO

I'll take our next question from Barry Cooper of CIBC.

Barry Cooper - CBIC - Analyst

Yes, a question probably for Ron here. With respect to Lucky Friday, recoveries for zinc are at 45%. Where can you get that to, because unlike most operations, that one seems awfully low, relative to what I would have expected?

Ron Clayton - Hecla Mining - VP

Yes, consistently we have not paid a lot of attention to the zinc. It's been a pretty small player here. The -- one of the things that has happened in the gold hunter is that zinc has become more prevalent and a bigger player in the game. I can't remember exactly what -- what we're projecting there, but to expect something in the 50 to 55% range would be fairly common out there for this type of flow circuit.

Barry Cooper - CBIC - Analyst

Okay.

Ron Clayton - Hecla Mining - VP

And I'm not uncomfortable with those kind of numbers.

Barry Cooper - CBIC - Analyst

Right. Okay. Then, Phil, you didn't come out and say this but, you know, I would say that you indirectly did. You implied that you would put more investment into Venezuela. Do you think that's the right thing to be doing at this point in time?

Phil Baker - Hecla Mining - President & CEO

Well, I mean, we're doing it selectively, Barry, things that we see as being very, very perspective. And then, frankly, if we're going to do something more significant, we're looking for ways to increase everyone's comfort that it's well spent. The bottom line, though, Barry, is that we do not feel that Venezuela is really materially changed what it is looking to -- for foreign investment to do in that region. So we think what we do, how we're operating -- well, they told us. They said you guys are the poster child of investment in the mining sector in Venezuela. And we want others to come in and invest in the same way and conduct themselves in the same way this you guys have done. So we think that -- once everything settles out, we think that because of our history there and the country that there's going to be opportunities for us. I mean, there's ground we've been interested taking advantage of and exploring or producing from that, frankly, the title issues have been so difficult we haven't been able to do anything. Well, with this change in their structure there, their scheme, there might be the opportunity to do things on that ground. We're going to be -- we're going to be cautious. We understand the markets, the unsettled feeling the market has toward Venezuela. and we've got to respect that.

Barry Cooper - CBIC - Analyst

Okay. So just basically, if I were to paraphrase it, you're a lot more comfortable with it than what the market seems to be worried about at this point in time?

Phil Baker - Hecla Mining - President & CEO

I think that is a fair paraphrase.

Barry Cooper - CBIC - Analyst

Right. Okay. Thanks a lot.

Operator

[OPERATOR INSTRUCTIONS] At this time, I'm showing no questions. I'll turn the call back over to the presenters for closing remarks.

Vicki Veltkamp - Hecla Mining - VP

Well, thank you all. This has been the Hecla Mining Company third quarter 2005 conference call. If anyone has any further questions, please feel free to call me, Vicki Veltkamp. My number is 208-769-4144. So thanks to call of you for joining us today and have a good day. Operator Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for joining us on the call. You may now disconnect your phone lines.

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