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3/1/14

It’s Amazing What A Bump In Gold Prices Will Do For A Blowhard

Sorry! My mistake! Got the titles wrong, that should be "It’s Amazing What A Bump In Gold Prices Will Do for Optimism – IAMGOLD CEO". 

Must watch that spelling next time but anyway, you can see the report and video interview with FireSteve Letwin over on this Kitco link. Meanwhile consider this chart:



Fact: Steve Letwin is still employed by IAMGOLD (IAG) (IMG.to) $IAG

A cool 1942 map of South America

Via twitterpal Mark Healey, check out this most excellent 1942 map of South America published by US shipping company Moore-McCormack Lines. No pasting of the map here as it's best seen in-situ (you can zoom in and all sorts), but here's the little blurb that goes with it to give you an idea.
"Color pictorial map. A most attractively designed map by Ernest Dudley Chase, the cartouche featuring intricately drawn vignette images of important buildings, scenic spots in South America and portrait of Simon Bolivar. In addition, on the map there are small vignettes featuring the attractions of the countries: Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia, British, Dutch, and French Guiana. Shows Moore-McCormack cruise routes from New York to South America. The map is decorated with pink, black and yellow compass. Relief shown pictorially."
Go see here

2/28/14

The smartest thing I've read about the Crimea events so far...

...is this potted history and modern context by Russian historian Orlando Figes. It's basically obligatory reading. And it's not very optimistic, either. 

Y'know, I watched gold drop steadily the last two days and really wondered why that should be. And semi-on that thought, here's a livestream chart for Natgas. 

What is it with US news channels and complete mind-numbing ignorance about the rest of the world, anyhow?

Let it be known that the US left* is equally ignorant as the right, this is MSNBC and not Fox News:


Source here

UPDATE: Reader 'JE' mails in to agree and add a thought or two:
This has been a frustration of mine for many years. American news media, especially TV, is woefully ignorant on international affairs. So the average American knows next to nothing about what’s going on outside the US. This country is probably one of the most provincial in the world, and that ignorance extends to many in the government.  That should be frightening to you folks. Of course, many people outside the US think this country is accurately represented by our entertainment industry.


*Though let's be clear, the USA's idea of left wing is better described as something a leeetle leetle less right wing than the right.

The Friday OT: Tom Waits; Step right up

Earlier in the week I was exchanging with a couple of mining mailpals over the return of the rip-off merchants and scamsters to the junior sector (they weren't dead, just restin') when one of said pals added a link to this youtube as part of the debate:


Absolutely, totally nails it, so you get to enjoy Waits in full flow from 1977 as well. Great little vid too, the band take a while to get going and then Tom strolls on around the 1:40 point, strategically lit cigarette and all. 

Still nothing from Silvercrest $SVLC (SVLC) (SVL.to) about the gunpoint robbery at its mine

Maybe Silvercrest $SVLC (SVL.to) (SVLC) is waiting to release one of those late Friday evening NRs to explain to the world about how a gang of narcos stole all that silver-gold doré from its Santa Elena mine in Sonora State, Mexico.

Y'know, the NRs that everyone reads.

Kinda sad that the only English language outlet for this potentially gamechanging news is a pissant blog run by a snotty-nosed dumbass like me, is it not?

Colombia elections: Santos leads (and now even against the spoiled vote intention)

Colombia Reports has the info and a decent chart which shows how President Juanma Santos has stretched his lead as we close in on election day, now less than three months away.

The question now is whether he can snag a first round win, or whether it'll go to a second round. Either way, Santos is now red hot fave to get re-elected. Read all here

This Thing Is Not Like That Thing, Petaquilla Minerals (PTQ.to) edition

This Thing: From Petaquilla Minerals:

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Feb 18, 2014) - Petaquilla Minerals Ltd. ("Petaquilla" or the "Company") (PTQ.TO)(PTQMF)(P7Z.F) confirms the Company is in the advanced stages of a negotiation process, the conclusion of which will result in a major material event for the Company and its shareholders. All parties involved expect the aforementioned negotiations to close by the end of February 2014.
That Thing: From Minera Panamá, subsidiary of First Quantum (FM.to):
Note of Clarification
Recent newspaper reports in Panama (Panama America: February 13th, 20th, and 26th) have suggested that MPSA is engaged in mediation with Petaquilla Minerals. This is false. There is absolutely no mediation taking place. MPSA has complied at all times with its contractual obligations with Petaquilla.
Local authorities and the DNRM, a sub-section of the Ministry for Industry and Commerce, have sought Petaquilla and MPSA to work together to ease community concerns in the Donoso region. These concerns do not relate to the operations of MPSA.
PS: Tomorrow is March.

Chart of the day is...

...compares the S&P500 against, gold, silver, miners and juniors (each via their proxy ETFS), 12 months:


Just in case you come across some chipper IR guy in a PDAC booth in the next few days who tells you how wonderful things are. 

2/27/14

Kinross (K.to) (KGC) to raise half a billion in unsecured debt

This diagram is offered for better understanding of what it might mean to you, dear and kind retail shareholder:


Any questions?

In the matter of Cutfield Freeman, Hanlong, and General Moly (GMO)

A sharp-eyed reader notes that things have changed all of a sudden and quickly over at the Cutfield Freeman transactions bragging page. Until very recently, they had this to say about their involvement in General Moly (GMO) dealings (via the wonders of Google caché):
  • General Moly Inc Advice in relation to financing of the Mt Hope molybdenum project, USA, culminating in the strategic investment by Hanlong Group, and offtake rights, accompanied by commitment to procure long term project debt from Chinese banks; stage 1 of investment completed.
But now it says just this
  • General Moly Inc Advice in relation to financing of the Mt Hope molybdenum project, USA.
So the question arises, why should Cutfield Freeman be so keen to have culled mention of Hanlong from its pages all of a very sudden? Oh wowsers, maybe it's something to do with this Feb 20th news report:
(Reuters) - China unveiled dramatic details of charges against a former mining magnate on Thursday, accusing him of crimes ranging from murder to gun-running and extortion as part of a "mafia-style" gang he led.
In an announcement carried by the official Xinhua news agency, prosecutors in central China said they had laid charges against the former chairman of Hanlong Mining, which had tried to take over Australia's Sundance Resources Ltd.
Police last year announced the detention of Liu Han and an investigation into his younger brother Liu Yong - also known as Liu Wei - on suspicion of criminal activities.
Prosecutors in the Hubei province said continues here

And this Sam Lin guy is an interesting character. Hoodathunk an ex-Goldman Sachs analyst would find a job at Cutfield and then meet great success with his dealings for Hanlong, eh?

Silvercrest (SVLC) SVL.to $SVLC and its curious manner of respecting shareholders

Apparently, Silvercrest Mines $SVLC (SVLC) (SVL.to) is under the impression that having a whole shitload of doré stolen from your mine in Mexico by narco terrorists isn't a material event and therefore needs no disclosure to the market. Not a peep out of the company, no NR, no statement, nothing.

Anyone care to differ with them on that assessment? TSX? BCSC/OSC/ASC? Anyone?

Why First Majestic Silver (FR.to) (AG) is dropping at the open

That'll be this:


It's ok to take impairments, it's also ok to make a pre-emptive on your tax requirements. But there's no disguising a drop in operating margin. 

Mining PRs and the Ottotrans™, Part 83


It's time for another installment of our irregular series, with today's another example of a classic genre in the world of highflying sophistry and bullshiteration we know (and my stars we love) as junior mining. We also get to feature and old IKN flame, South American Silver (SAC.to):

This is what they wrote:
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Feb 27, 2014) - South American Silver Corp. (SOHAF)(SAC.TO)(TSX:SAC.B) (the "Company") is pleased to announce that it will be changing its name to TriMetals Mining Inc.The Company believes that the new name, TriMetals Mining Inc., more accurately reflects the Company's expanded focus in terms of both metals and jurisdictions, particularly following the expropriation of its Malku Khota silver-indium project in Bolivia in 2012 and the acquisition of High Desert Gold Corporation and its Gold Spring gold-silver project along the Nevada/Utah border in late 2013.The name change is expected to become effective in late March after the PDAC. The Company will continue to be listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and, once the name change is completed, will trade under the new trading symbols "TMI" and "TMI.B". The trading symbols on the US OTCQX are still pending and will be announced once they are known.According to Ralph Fitch, President and CEO of the Company, "Given that the Company is now focused on the exploration and development of gold and copper projects in the Americas, along with the international arbitration case against the Bolivian government, we feel that a new name and image is appropriate. We believe that this new name and image more accurately reflect the focus and activities of the Company."The Company will be participating in the upcoming Toronto PDAC Conference from March 2-6. Visitors to the SASC Booth #3030 at the PDAC are encouraged to visit and discuss the Company's activities with the SASC management who will be attending the Conference.About South American Silver Corp.:


And this is what it means:

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Feb 27, 2014) - South American Silver Corp. (SOHAF)(SAC.TO)(TSX:SAC.B) (the "Company") is pleased to announce that it will be changing its name to TriMetals Mining Inc.
The Company believes that the new name, TriMetals Mining Inc., more accurately reflects the Company's attempts to hide its abject failures of previous years, particularly following the expropriation of its Malku Khota silver-indium project in Bolivia in 2012 and the Stone Soup acquisition of High Desert Gold Corporation and its Gold Spring gold-silver project along the Nevada/Utah border in late 2013.
The name change is expected to become effective in late March after the PDAC. The Company will continue to be listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange because the market authorities accept bribes and, once the name change is completed, will trade under the new trading symbols "TMI" and "TMI.B". The trading symbols on the US OTCQX are still pending and will be announced once they are known.
According to Ralph Fitch, President and CEO of the Company, "Given that the Company is now trying to bullshit everyone with already-failed projects in North America as well as South America, along with the international arbitration case against the Bolivian government that we will ultimately lose and even if by some miracle we get something from Bolivia they'll never pay, we feel that a new name and image is appropriate because we have fuck all else to do in this office apart from play around with designs for new logos. We believe that this new name and image more accurately reflect the focus and activities of the Company."
The Company will be participating in the upcoming Toronto PDAC Conference from March 2-6. Visitors to the SASC Booth #3030 at the PDAC are encouraged to visit and laugh at the Company's activities with the SASC management who will be attending the Conference.
About South American Silver Corp.:

2/26/14

Silvercrest (SVL.to) (SVLC) $SVLC robbed by Mexican narco gang

Word from Mexico is that Silvercrest (SVL.to) (SVLC) $SVLC Mines' Santa Elena flagship property in Sonora State was victim of a gang of narcos, who strode in and stole a large quantity of the company's doré bars. We will of course expect the company to give full details in a news release, as attacks from bands of gun-toting criminals should not be kept quiet.

And perish the thought about this theft being kept quiet, right guys?

Jeff Berwick surfaces in Chile

Just the most wonderful MoJones article on the Chile's Libertarian outpost Gult's Gulch today, with Dollar Vigilante Jeff Berwick centre stage. Click here, read and you will enjoy, oh yes you will.

And in case you were wondering how to buy your slice of Chilean enclave paradise, Bitcoins are accepted (but if I were you I'd hurry on that offer).

Venezuela news: Nicolás Maduro has just five days left in power

According to Reinaldo Dos Santos, the Brazilian mystic, soothsayer, seer and self-proclaimed "Prophet of the Americas" who has a better track record for predictions than Nostradamus...according to Reinaldo Dos Santos.



He then continued his mystic fortune seeing thing with, "Block the roads for four days and the regimen will fall. Do it for your children. Sacrifice four days of your life and avoid four years of tyranny", he said. Which explains how he can make that call, of course. When the people don't do his bidding, Maduro doesn't fall and he's not responsible for the failed prediction. In other words, he's just like a junior mining analyst.


Canaccord manning the pumps again

Remember Canaccord's "Peak Gold" and "Peak Silver" calls? Remember how they priced in stupid numbers for the underlying metals then made extravagant target prices on their whole metals universe? Remember how moronic they looked afterwards and how the analysis team "decided to resign"? Well, it's like freakin' catnip to these dudes, anything for a slice of those bot deals right people? Here's today's missive from Can of Corn Nerve Centre, just in time for the PDAC fleshpress too. Oh how coincidentally lucky and fortunateration.
Subject: Exploration and Development - Rising gold price environment prompts target revisions - Gold price curve revised up 4-5% to a LT price of US$1,445
 *   Rising gold price environment prompts target revisions - Gold price curve revised up 4-5% to a LT price of US$1,445
Joe Mazumdar, 604.643.0272
Scott McLean,
John Kratochwil, 416.869.6592
Gold price curve revised up 4-5% to a LT price of US$1,445
At the time of our last review we revised our forward curve slightly lower as the gold price had only risen 4% year-to-date at the time. At the time of writing, the gold price has risen 11% year-to-date to ~US$1,340 per ounce. In an effort to keep our targets and recommendations up-to-date in the face of a changing market environment, we revised our gold price curve again. This revision was higher (4-5%) leading to a long-term (LT) forecast of US$1,445 per ounce versus our previous LT forecast of US$1,391.
Average upward revision of 15-18% in target prices with recommendations in tact
This resulted in a positive impact for the majority of our coverage universe with upward revisions in the target prices up to...(and it continues on and on and on)

At least real whores don't try to hide it.

Yes I know Colombia isn't Venezuela...

...and it's already selling you loads of oil and coal and coffee and your Valentine's Day cut flowers and all sorts of other stuff via your favoured North American companies who make profits and pay taxes and have plenty of cash for lobbying, so you are not going to be instructed to care. You're getting told anyway.

Two gunmen shot and killed Yonni Steven Caicedo, a 21-year-old Colombian cameraman for TV Noticias and Más Noticias, on Feb. 19 in the Comuna 12 section of the city of Buenaventura, according to the the Press Freedom Foundation (FLIP).
Caicedo started receiving death threats seven months ago, which forced him to flee from Buenaventura for some time, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said. He had just returned to the city last month.
Although the police had encouraged the journalist to leave Buenaventura and offered some initial protection, RSF criticized authorities for not continuing to protect him.
“The police are well aware that the environment in which journalists operate is a minefield. Those investigating this journalist’s murder must actively consider the possibility that the motive was linked to his work,” said Camille Soulier, the head of the RSF's Americas desk.
Colombia's National Protection Agency (UNP) condemned Caicedo's death but said it had not been informed about the existence of death threats against him and
continues here

When you start giving a shit about real press freedom in the Americas, the type that does NOT make squealing sounds on your TV because it truly cannot speak out for fear of death, then I'll give a crap about your injustice du jour, gringo.

2/25/14

Some interesting quotes about Peru Prez Humala and his new ministerial cabinet today

Local news channel Canal N got the following quotes about Ollanta Humala, his wife Nadine Heredia and the new cabinet, now led by Prime Minister René Cornejo (since ex-PM César Villanueva resigned for being insulted in public):
"Everybody knows that Nadine not only has outsized power (in the government) but also illegitimate power, because it doesn't come from the voting booth" 
"René Cornejo is a minister who's been house-trained by by Nadine Heredia, he's been domesticated by her. He knows the way the President works, that's to say that everything has to go via Nadine. That's his style of government, it's not going to change. Nadine has shown all her power (in the latest events)." 
"All ministers are now more afraid than ever of Nadine because they see that she exercises the real power in the country, not the President and even less so the Prime Minister." 
"We've elected a commander who only has the badges of authority, but sadly has no real authority."

And the source of these quotes? That's Ulises Humala, elder brother of Ollanta Humala.

That rare thing: An online petition worth signing

U.S citizens, please consider going over to this YouGov link and signing the petition therein. To give you a headsup, here's the contents:

WE PETITION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO:

To tell Uganda to go fuck themselves.

I would like Barack Obama to go on television and tell Uganda that their new anti-gay law is an outrageous crime against mankind and that they should go fuck themselves. I want him to keep saying "fuck you Uganda" until it is clear he is tired. Them I want him to say it one more time.
Created: Feb 25, 2014

Thank you in advance for your patriotic support.

Citic buying into Pascua Lama

Word on the Southern Cone jungledrums is that Chinese mining bigboy Citic is in negotiations to partner Barrick (ABX) on its troubled Pascua Lama gold project on the Chile/Argentina border. The source, who to the amazement of all readers prefers to remain anonymous, says that ABX will retain operator status but the negotiations are now more about the size of percentage to flip out to Citic than whether or not there's a deal to be done.  This news comes after Chile's parliament recently sided with ABX on whether it needed to completely re-start the environmental permitting process from scratch or not, a decision that's expected to influence the decision of the key EIA committee on Pascua Lama, who opened their case investigation yesterday. Assuming ABX doesn't need to start the permitting process from scratch, the Chinese cash will flow. So now you know as much as I do. Decent source, by the way.

How anybody can take John Doody seriously...

...as a gold stocks analyst after the way in which he couldn't see the most basic truths about Gold Resource Corp (GORO) is utterly beyond my ken.


The junior mining company news release

All saying this:


No more than this. Yup, PDAC is with us

Lawrence Williams is an idiot and a danger to any mining investor naive enough to believe his ridiculous tripe

Read this to see why, because apparently this dumbass thinks write downs are "just a financial accounting mechanism" and that "the big falls in reserves and resources noted in the headlines are not real". That must be candidate for the "I Can't Read Financials But WTF It's Mining So Who Cares" analysis award for 2014. 

Apparently, write downs are JUST a financial mechanism. They don't represent anything apart from a few numbers changing on a balance sheet, or an impairment taken on the P+L, right Larry? You're telling us they're nothing to do with companies taking shareholder cash or diluting shareholder's percentage ownership, then way waaaay overpaying for something, then finally realizing how dumb they were and admitting to the world that the money they spent would have been better used somewhere else....like dividends...or not issuing vast amounts of shares....or even running share buybacks. Y'know, things that improve the freakin share price of these pathetically run companies?

And aparently the mark down of reserves and resources "are not real". Where do us normal, well-adjusted people who understand a bit about company fundamentals start with this pearl of dumbassery? Because it seems the major problem will be putting the concept into words (1 or 2 syllable max) that will register some sort of synaptic recognition in your malfunctioning fizzog. All that cash these miners used to prove up those ounces is spent, but WTF...who cares right? Or "Hey there! Buy our shares!!! because we have 100m ounces!!! ready to mine and it's going to be great!!! and....oh, sorry, only 50m there now but thanks for being a loyal shareholder". Got it yet? Oh my lordy lord...

Lawrence Williams, prepared to be laughed at while attending PDAC. Though knowing the cowardly manner of the industry's participants, they'll probably just do it behind your back. 



2/24/14

Peru's new Minister of Energy and Mining

The one piece of good news from today's Peru ministerial farce is that Jorge Merino has been replaced as Mining and Energy Minister by Eleodoro Mayorga. Partly because Merino's a dick without the first clue about how to go about advancing his sector, and partly because Mayorga is the right man for the job (and has been for years). Notably, the new Min is more energy than mines and knows his way around the Amazon basin hydrocarbons projects (which is surely why he's got the nod).

Here's his CV from this page, where he worked until today (Update: took that screenswipe just in time because his company, the law firm Laub & Quijandría where he worked as a partner, has wiped the page clean as well as removing any mention of the dude on the website. UPDATE 2 oh look! It's all back again!)


Eleodoro Mayorga Alba
Lima – Peru, 1947.


EDUCATION
Universidad Nacional de Ingeniería, Petroleum Engineering (1968).
Petrochemistry and Master of Industrial Management, Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium (1969 – 1972).
French Institute of Petroleum, Petroleum Economics, France (1974-1976).
Ph.D. in Mathematics applied to Economics, University of Paris X, France (1975 – 1977).
WORK EXPERIENCE
Laub & Quijandría Consultores y Abogados, Associate Consultant (since 2009) and Partner (since 2011).
The World Bank – Petroleum, Gas, Mines and Chemical Products Policy Unit. Senior Petroleum Economist (1993 – 2009).
The World Bank – Energy Division, Energy Expert (1991 – 1993).
Petroperú S.A., Economics Manager, Director and General Manager of the Camisea Project (1983 – 1991).
Trondheim Technical College, Project Evaluator (1977).
French Institute of Petroleum – Advanced National School of Petroleum and Engines, Assistant to the Academic Director (1976 – 1977).
Ministry of Energy and Mines, Hydrocarbon Sector Planner (1972 – 1975).
Petroperú – North-West Operations, Reservoir Engineer (1969).
AREAS OF EXPERTISE
Preparation of loan and technical assistance operations in the oil and natural gas sector, including the development of new policies and regulations o ensure efficiency and transparency in management of extractive industry projects, as well as environmental protection and mitigation of the social impact during prospecting, development and transportation operations; preparation of technical-economic assessments and assistance in the solution of complex problems in the negotiations of the financing of oil and natural gas projects.
ACADEMIC ACTIVITIES
Strategic Planning teacher, Master’s Petroleum School of Universidad Nacional de Ingeniería.
Has been a teacher of the Refining course, Universidad Nacional de Ingeniería (1973 – 1975).
OTHERS
Member of the Engineers Association.
Member of the International Association of Energy Economists, United States of America.
Former consultant of UNCTAD, ILO and UNDP.
Has published extensively on economics and energy. 
LANGUAGES
English and French.

Why the Prime Minister of Peru just resigned: Short answer and long answer


Long answer: A few days ago (now ex) prime minister César Villanueva (who was only recently shipped into the job to plug a hole, too) told the press and public that he'd been discussing a potential rise in the minimum wage in Peru with the Finance Minister, Luis Castilla.

Then yesterday evening, same Castilla went on one of the most popular weekend current affairs TV shows and said "Nope, haven't discussed that at all with him". Here's the vid, (or on this link, as people tell me the vid isn't showing) with the key section between 2:00 and 5:00 approx:



Thing is, as Prime Minister and cabinet chief, Villanueva is (in theory at least) Castilla's boss, so for an ostensible underling to go on TV and do what he did to the supposed #2 political power in the country (after the Prez) is a big political slap in the face. But this is where it gets politico-gossipy, because it's well known that 1) Castilla is the real power behind the throne 2) is first lady Nadine's fave 3) and he wouldn't have said what he did without his boss's permission (most likely Nadine, who then instructed the Head of State what was about to happen. In any normal government, this kind of dissent from an underling would mean the underling is sacked (and immediately), but in Peru the boss gets the boot and the Humala-family favourite right winger FinMin gets to stay and become even more powerful. The whole episode is a crystalline insight into how fragile and Nadine-centric this current government is, and it's impressive just how easily they could decide to throw their unimportant PM under the nearest bus. The Ollanta government is quickly turning into a weak joke.

UPDATE: Rumour now that Castilla is getting the boot, too. Shall see about that, but there's enough hoo-hah being kicked up by the event that might get Humala to do the right thing. Equally, there has beena  rumour floating around for a couple of weeks that Ghezzi is lined up for the Finmin's job. What a freakin' joke of a way to run a government, seriously.

UPDATE 2: Castilla's staying at his post, not going anywhere, we now hear. As you were, Nadine's Ollanta's made her his mind up.

Rio Alto's (RIO.to) (RIOM) resource upgrade

Glad you heard about it in today's NR

IKN Weekly readers started hearing about it in IKN246, dated January 26th. Excerpt:

In other news, I need to chase up on unofficial jungledrums picked up in the last couple of days and will do so, but there’s a suddenly positive tone coming from La Arena about the chances of resource life extension for the oxide gold operation there.
Just sayin'

Chart of the day is...

...copper, hourlies:

No Virginia, all metals are not the same.

2/23/14

The IKN Weekly, out now



IKN250 has just been sent to subscribers and that banknote is worth approximately U$1.16 at today's forex. Meanwhile, please take time to check out the Bloomberg report on Mexfiles regarding Chapo Guzmán's recent resignation as head of the local Mexican chemicals company. Fine stuff.

When bullish, read bearish

Screwtape Files is a good place to get some reasoned bearish views on the gold market. This post today is all about the "it's a rebound rally, not a new trend" line of thinking (though even GM is beginnning to let in thoughts of a trend change here). Worth your time, food for thought, go read.