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4/5/14

Trying to Buzz Aldrin

Beats me why anyone would want to to shoot up a junior mining big honcho's house, they all seem such fine upstanding members of society who would never annoy anyone or play dirty at business matters, or anything untoward that might end up with drive by shootings. Anyway, via reader S here's The Vancouver Sun report and here are a couple of excerpts:

METRO VANCOUVER -- Officers raced toward the North Vancouver home of a former investment adviser and the now head of two Canadian resource exploration companies after a shooting in that city’s Highlands neighbourhood early Friday morning.
Mounties received multiple 911 calls from the 3800-block of Sunnycrest Drive around 12:35 a.m., including a call from someone inside a house that had been hit by multiple gunshots, said Cpl. Richard de Jong, a spokesman with North Vancouver RCMP.
And then:
The registered owners of the taped-off residence are Johnathan More and Taylor Rae More, listed on the property title as an executive and a consultant, respectively. It is not known whether either owner was inside the $3-million home at the time of the shooting.
Johnathan More is president and CEO of Aldrin Resource Corp., a junior uranium company that is listed on the TSX Venture Exchange. The company recently announced its crews had begun drilling in search of uranium at its property in Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Basin.
He is also named as a director of Athabasca Nuclear, another Venture-listed uranium explorer, and the CEO and director of Mira Resources Corp., an oil and gas company with projects in West African countries Ghana and Angola.
Whole thing right here.

A quick illustration as to why Chile's 8.2 mag quake is no longer big world news

Your humble scribe was rummaging around the internetwebpipes looking for other things and came to this newswire front page. On it (while looking for something completely different) an automatic video newsreel started running. It was a Spanish language report on the clean-up process now underway in Iquique after the big quake and as I watched, this image showed up:


See that Rebar? That's what good buildings have in seismic areas (for example, the house in which your humble scribe is currently typing these words, as it was built by us) and it's precisely that kind of building standard that allows the very big quake and its aftershocks in well-built Iquique to become a minor news item just days after the event. Because that building was put together correctly, the very large and heavy concrete roof sheared and wobbled horizontally, causing the damage seen, but didn't break off and pancake the house to nothing. Meanwhile, we're still talking about the 2010 Haiti earthquake which measured at 7.0 mag, precisely and exactly because nobody could be bothered to put rebar into any of the concrete columns. Result, 220,000 dead bodies.

Putting quality rebar into columns costs money (I remember the cash outlay very clearly, but knew then and know now when money gets well spent), which may be why best estimates, by people who only get interviewed on TV after a big seismic event and are then quickly forgotten, are that around 70% of buildings in the Lima/Callao conurbation (pop ~9m) of Peru are not built to the necessary standards and won't withstand a major localized earthquake. I sincerely hope it never has to be tested in either location, but I'd bet that a major (i.e. 8+ mag) quake just off Santiago de Chile would cause hundreds of deaths, while one just off Lima would get them counting in the tens of thousands.

No news is good news and the way the big Iquique quake has dropped off the world's news headlines is credit to the way in which Chile has prepared for such an event.

PS: Mickeyman over at World Complex commented this:
Sometimes the rebar is in the concrete, but not anchored to anything. After the pancaking, the columns still look fine
That's true. Architectural standards are very much part of the standard/substandard argument, who builds the house is as important as what goes in it. As another example, I've seen buildings being put up nearby with 1/4" rebar (four per column), when the absolute minimum for a one storey building in a seismic zone should be four 3/8" rebars in each column and preference is for 2X 3/8" and 2X 1/2" in each column. The difference in rebar widths and quality shows up in the price you pay for each bar (1/4" bar is cheap, 1/2" bar is not...again, I remember it well) and a housing developer can shave a lot of cost from any given project (the cash saved going into his back pocket and not the ticket price of the building, of course) by using a lesser quality piece of metal. Again, I'd be utterly unsurprised to read of architects and/or construction empresarios in Peru spending years in jail for negligent homicide cases if a big one hits a big population zone on the coast. 

4/3/14

Daft Punk: Harder Better Faster Stronger Alive 2007

Instructions:

1) Volume 50% higher than you normally set it
2) That bass control you normally don't touch, jack it right up*
3) Now, go back to that volume control and add a couple of notches
4) Hit play



5) Repeat as necessary

(and yeah, that yesterday was Wilfred Owen)

*you'll find out why at 0:31

4/2/14

travel

It's been somewhat quiet and content-light on the blog this week, which will only get worse in the next two days. Your humble scribe is on the road, with two familiar meetings and one strange meeting planned. Posting light until the weekend.

Strange Meeting

It seemed that out of battle I escaped
Down some profound dull tunnel, long since scooped
Through granites which titanic wars had groined.
Yet also there encumbered sleepers groaned,
Too fast in thought or death to be bestirred.
Then, as I probed them, one sprang up, and stared
With piteous recognition in fixed eyes,
Lifting distressful hands as if to bless.
And by his smile, I knew that sullen hall
By his dead smile I knew we stood in Hell.
With a thousand pains that vision's face was grained;
Yet no blood reached there from the upper ground,
And no guns thumped, or down the flues made moan.
"Strange friend," I said, "here is no cause to mourn."
"None," said that other, "save the undone years,
The hopelessness. Whatever hope is yours,
Was my life also; I went hunting wild
After the wildest beauty in the world,
Which lies not calm in eyes, or braided hair,
But mocks the steady running of the hour,
And if it grieves, grieves richlier than here.
For of my glee might many men have laughed
And of my weeping something had been left,
Which must die now. I mean the truth untold,
The pity of war, the pity war distilled.
Now men will go content with what we have spoiled,
Or, discontent, boil bloody, and be spilled.
They will be swift with the swiftness of the tigress.
None will break ranks, though nations trek from progress.
Courage was mine, and I had mystery,
Wisdom was mine, and I had mastery:
To miss the march of this retreating world
Into vain citadels that are not walled.
Then, when much blood had clogged their chariot-wheels,
I would go up and wash them from sweet wells,
Even with truths that lie too deep for taint.
I would have poured my spirit without stint
But not through wounds; not on the cess of war.
Foreheads of men have bled where no wounds were.
I am the enemy you killed, my friend.
I knew you in this dark: for so you frowned
Yesterday through me as you jabbed and killed.
I parried; but my hands were loath and cold.
Let us sleep now . . . ."

Goldcorp (GG) and its halted operations at the Los Filos mine, Guerrero, Mexico

Here's what the company says:

Goldcorp suspends operations at Los Filos mine pending renewal of land occupancy agreement 
VANCOUVER, April 2, 2014 /CNW/ - GOLDCORP INC. (TSX: G) (NYSE: GG) announced that its Los Filos mine in Guerrero State, Mexico has suspended operations following unsuccessful efforts with the Carrizalillo Ejido to reach a negotiated settlement to renew the occupancy agreement that expired on March 31, 2014.  Certain activities related to environmental safeguards and site security will continue during the suspension.
The Company continues to hold discussions with Ejido representatives to expeditiously resolve the situation with the goal of ensuring the long-term sustainability of operations amid a lower gold price environment and significantly higher Mexican tax obligations.  The Los Filos mine directly employs more than 2,600 people from the surrounding communities with an estimated 10,000 additional jobs created as a result of the mine's presence in the region.
Since 2007, the 176 Ejidatarios (members of the "Ejido" landowner group) receive 2.5 ounces of gold for every hectare of the 1,200 hectares of land that Goldcorp rents, athough the rent was agreed two years after the start of formal operations.
On Sunday March 30th, an assembly of the Ejido Commission was called to discuss renegotiation terms for the contract with the Canadian company, at which the corporate representative Francisco Ballesteros Corrales was present.
Although the vote was not unanimous, the assembly authorized representatives to seek an improved deal with an initial offer of 6 ounces.
On Monday morning the offer was lowered to 4.5oz with the intention to reach an deal, however the proposal was rejected by company executives. Due to this, from 6am today the inhabitants of Carrizalillo decided to block access to the large scale mine.


And for those of you versed in the tongue of Cervantes, this report provides lots of background as to why the locals want more from the company: Broken promises, dry wells, contaminated water supplies and things such as...
He (the Ejido committee member) admits there's a feeling of regret among the Ejido members for allowing the mine operation to happen, however they assume that it's too late to demand the closure of the mine."

...on offer. 

My fave Iquique earthquake video

It's a store CCTV (the classic shows tend to be), this edition in the pharmacy:



  • Note the guy at 0:12 who's pushing the baby in the pram; As the people head for the exits in a pretty calm manner, he just reaches out and grabs a 'souvenir' from the shelf, cool as you like.
  • The guy just behind him at 0:15, too. Just wonderful.
  • Then at 0:25, with all people clear, the products do exactly what you want them to do and fall off the shelves in unison. Yay, rumble.
  • We cut to 0:33 and the store manager guy who's all "ok folks, remain calm" until 0:46 and it's "get the fark outta here".


There was another CCTV video of a bar in the city, but I'm not showing you that because it's way more scary (though nobody was injured in the end). By the way, we're now allowed to be amused by things such as the above youtube because although there was damage, it wasn't too great. That's a combo of the fortunately mild tsunami and the very good organization of the Chilean people, who got no fewer than 900,000 people to higher ground in a matter of minutes. That organization includes señor armwave in the above video and really, he should be proud of the way he managed the situation. Still makes for good videos, though.

Yamana: A White Knight for Osisko

Woah!

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - April 2, 2014) - YAMANA GOLD INC. (TSX:YRI)(NYSE:AUY) ("Yamana") and Osisko Mining Corporation (TSX:OSK)(FRANKFURT:EWX) ("Osisko") are pleased to announce they have entered into an agreement ("the Agreement") pursuant to which Yamana will acquire a 50% interest in Osisko's mining and exploration assets for C$441.5 million in cash and 95.7 million common shares of Yamana having an aggregate value of C$929.6 million (the "Yamana Consideration"). Upon implementation of the Agreement, each outstanding Common share of Osisko will be exchanged for (i) C$2.194 in cash, (ii) 0.2119 of a Yamana common share, and (iii) a new common share of Osisko. 

Whole thing here

We have met the enemy and they are ours. Two ships, two brigs, one schooner, one sloop and bunch of call options in GLD

Gary Biiwii has been thinking about the dynamics of the gold market and gold ownership, I like it when he does that because he's at his best when he steps back and reflects on the psychological aspects of the sector, particularly from a U.S citizen point of view. This is a good piece because it should set you thinking, too. Recommended reading, read it here.

What I learned yesterday

Twitter beats normal media sources into a cocked hat when there's a big and fast developing news story, such as the Chile earthquake yesterday. Three or four years ago I would have added a whole bunch of updates to a post, yesterday it was time spent informing people who really wanted to know things of the details as and when they appeared.

It's not a perfect news source and when raw news is gathered and relayed on a near-instant basis, mistakes get made. For example, at one point there was talk of a big wave hitting the coast North of Iquique which, very happily, turned out to be false (the biggest tsunami wave last night was around 2.1m high, which means it can do some damage to the immediate coastline but isn't much worse than a storm swell). Another error that did the rounds was that authorities had evacuated the women's prison in Iquique, when the fact was that some 300 took the opportunity to escape (you get the feeling that the round-up won't take so long on that one). Use of Twitter as a source during a fast-breaking story that affects a large chunk of population is going to have its ragged edges every time, but overall the medium is worth its weight in gold at times like last night. The speed, flexibility, the range of sources that quickly congregate, and above all the mountain of genuinely useful and reliable information from people who want to help others and have an outlet at hand which helps them do just that; that good info vastly outweighs in quality and quantity the occasional bad rumour that gets propagated or jerk-off who decides to throw some bullshit into the mix.

Nothing of the above will come as a great shock to people who've watched Twitter grow, I have no new insights to offer and the events of last night will go down as "another news story, could have been worse, clean up, move on", so don't expect candlelight vigils on April 1st 2015 to mark the anniversary. But for those of you who think Twitter is some disposable program that's only good for people who care about what some TV star had for breakfast, think again. 

4/1/14

UPDATED: Big Quake

North Chile

Updates on the way but damn, felt it here and got all the neighbours out of their houses too. And we're hundreds of Kms away.

UPDATE: USGS calling it an 8.0mag (local data initially at 7.8mag). Centre is off the coast of Iquique, North Chile. Tsunami warning for the Pacific coast has been called.

The USGS page is here, best place for maps and updates

Fuerza Chile, pensando en vds

Gold Resource Corp (GORO) files its annuals

Get your copy here. Read all about the company which claims a sub-$700/oz cash cost but records a $4.1m net loss for 4q13. 

Fascinating things, numbers.

PS: And just in case you can't be bothered to read to the bottom, here's KPMG's audit cover letter (your humble scribe provides the bold type):
The Board of Directors

Gold Resource Corporation:
We have audited Gold Resource Corporation and subsidiaries’ (the Company) internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2013, based on criteria established in Internal Control – Integrated Framework (1992) issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO). The Company's management is responsible for maintaining effective internal control over financial reporting and for its assessment of the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting, included in Item 9A(b), Management’s Report on Internal Control over Financial Reporting. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company's internal control over financial reporting based on our audit.
We conducted our audit in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States). Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether effective internal control over financial reporting was maintained in all material respects. Our audit included obtaining an understanding of internal control over financial reporting, assessing the risk that a material weakness exists, and testing and evaluating the design and operating effectiveness of internal control based on the assessed risk. Our audit also included performing such other procedures as we considered necessary in the circumstances. We believe that our audit provides a reasonable basis for our opinion.
A company's internal control over financial reporting is a process designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external purposes in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. A company’s internal control over financial reporting includes those policies and procedures that (1) pertain to the maintenance of records that, in reasonable detail, accurately and fairly reflect the transactions and dispositions of the assets of the company; (2) provide reasonable assurance that transactions are recorded as necessary to permit preparation of financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, and that receipts and expenditures of the company are being made only in accordance with authorizations of management and directors of the company; and (3) provide reasonable assurance regarding prevention or timely detection of unauthorized acquisition, use, or disposition of the company’s assets that could have a material effect on the financial statements.
Because of its inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting may not prevent or detect misstatements. Also, projections of any evaluation of effectiveness to future periods are subject to the risk that controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or that the degree of compliance with the policies or procedures may deteriorate.
A material weakness is a deficiency, or a combination of deficiencies, in internal control over financial reporting, such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of the company’s annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented or detected on a timely basis. Material weaknesses related to ineffective internal controls over income taxes and cash disbursements which were not complete and operating effectively, and ineffective monitoring and oversight of external service providers, have been identified and included in management’s assessment in Item 9A(b). 
In our opinion, because of the effect of the aforementioned material weaknesses on the achievement of the objectives of the control criteria, Gold Resource Corporation and subsidiaries has not maintained effective internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2013, based on criteria established in Internal Control – Integrated Framework (1992) issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO).
We also have audited, in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States), consolidated balance sheet of Gold Resource Corporation and subsidiaries as of December 31, 2013, and the related consolidated statements of operations, changes in shareholders’ equity, and cash flows for the year then ended. These material weaknesses were considered in determining the nature, timing, and extent of audit tests applied in our audit of these consolidated financial statements, and this report does not affect our report dated April 1, 2014, which expressed an unqualified opinion on those consolidated financial statements.
/s/ KPMG LLP

Hugo Pérez Hernáiz on the opposition leadership battle in Venezuela

The piece is entitled "Who Will Lead the Opposition?", the author is Hugo Pérez Hernáiz (Associate Professor of Sociology at the Universidad Central de Venezuela) and it's about time somebody with respected views on the country broached this subject and treated it seriously. It's unfair to show a single snippet here because the argument is built up through the piece and needs to be read as a whole, but it does do a good job in indicating the problems the opposition has in putting forward a united front and hints at the fractures behind the scene. This isn't new news of course, the whole subject of an inefficient oppostion to Maduro/PSUV has been tilled over many times before and it's accepted knowledge that the lack of a decent alternative in Venezuela is as least part of the problem.

Frankie Knuckles: The Whistle Song

Sadly not some type of April Fool, as according to his manager Frankie Knuckles passed away suddenly last night at the way too tender age of 59. 



Do yourself a favour and listen to The Whistle Song today. RIPFK.

UPDATED A Flash update...

...has just been sent to subscribers, Tuesday morning pre-open. Trying to make sense of the páramo de Santurbán.

UPDATE: A second flash update has just been sent, midday local time. More thoughts on the same subject

3/31/14

Today's junior mining company investment tip

Sell when others are buying, not when they're selling:


Great photo, from here

You may be wondering what's happening over at Petaquilla Minerals (PTQ.to)

According to the company, all is calm and they're in this somewhat protracted negotiation with First Quantum (FM.to). No matter that the company said they'd have a deal in February. And then by the end of March (hint: today's the end of March). All is well, you can trust us, we're a gold miner etc.

According to locals, the workers at the mine haven't been paid any monthly salary since before Christmas and now the company has sent the workers home, the mine is practically abandoned and the scumbag Fifer who runs the shop is trying to annul all its contracts. Oh, and he's busy writing $250k cheques to his wife that subsequently bounce. Oops.

And according to the books, PTQ owes a veritable shitload of money in financial loans due this year (working cap negative $111.5m as at Dec 31st). Which may be something to keep in mind.

This Thing Is Not Like That Thing, B2Gold ($BTG) (BTO.to) (BTG) edition

Less than a month ago, Clive Johnson of B2Gold (BTO.to) (BTG) proudly stood up before an invited audience and waxed lyrical on his company's "Commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility programs (which) continues to gain strength – B2Gold prides itself on their (sic) programs globally".

However, when something embarrassing happens at one of his mines that doesn't fit into his personal fantasy of corporate excellence (well, in fact multiple embarrassing things, as two deaths in one week at one mine isn't exactly indicative of world-class H&S on display), he's suddenly very keen to keep it out of the world's mining media. Funny that, innit?

Seriously, what makes Johnson think that multiple deaths at one of his mines isn't a material event?

But don't start calling The Clive hypocritical, please. No no no, perish the thought.

B2Gold (BTO.to) (BTG) $BTG sees two deaths and three serious injuries at its Limón mine in less than a week, but doesn't think them important enough to tell the world

Remember last Thursday afternoon, when IKN told you about the four mine workers who were badly burned by boiling water escaping from a pump tube at B2Gold's (BTO.to) (BTG) Limón mine in Nicaragua? Well one of the four died, but BTO still hasn't had the common decency to announce its accident or the fatality to the market. The death comes just days after another death from electrocution at the Limón mine, which means BTO is keeping the deaths of two of its workers away from the market, not just one.

This is not how a supposed world class mining company operates. It's how a pisspoor excuse of a company that tries to cover up its dirty deeds operates and the world is pig sick of this kind of attitude.

3/30/14

The IKN Weekly, out now


Little Throw

IKN255 has just been sent to subscribers. Abrazo de gol.

Vamos River

En pocas horas


UPDATE: It was never in doubt.