Before we get started, I do need to remind you that some statements made today by the management team may contain forward-looking information. Our business involves a number of risks that could cause results to differ from projections and investors are urged to consider those disclosures and discussions pertaining to risks that can be found in Alexco’s SEDAR filings. It should also be noted that past performance discussed in this conference call is not indicative of future results.
So now I’d like to turn the call over to Alexco’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Clynt Nauman. Clynt?
Thank you, Vicki, and thanks to everybody for joining us today this morning or this afternoon. First of all, let me start by saying that the second quarter of 2012 full operations at the Bellekeno mine is not one that we intend to repeat and we will be talking about that. The write-offs, I’d like to offer you some longer term encouragements and that we have a plan in place that by the end of the year, we should be able to catch up on our earlier expectations stepping up primarily in the fourth quarter. Also we’ve invested a significant amount of cash during the quarter and I will address that as well.Back to the most recent quarter, the second quarter, as you know, our cash costs were $15.53 per ounce of silver net of by-product credits. This was a full 41% increase compared to the first quarter of this year and even higher than the same period a year ago with cost of $6.30 per ounce in just the commercial operations at Bellekeno.So let’s look at the reasons for the unit cost increases. A good portion of the approximately $9 per ounce increase compared to the second quarter of last year is due to the lower prices for lead and zinc. That decrease in prices has accounted for – and the base metal prices accounted for about $4 per ounce increase in the cash cost for the second quarter of this year.
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