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10/2/15

The Friday OT: Flans; Bazar

Mexico's answer to Bananarama (UK) or maybe The Go-Gos (USA), here's Flans (great name) with their all-time classic hit, "Bazar":



According to Wikipedia in English...
Flans is an all-female Mexican group, which enjoyed popularity from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s. Its members were the singers Ivonne Margarita Guevara García, Ilse María Olivo Schweinfurth and Irma Angélica Hernández Ochoa. They were generally known as Ivonne, Ilse, and Mimí.

...though unsurprisingly you get a lot more info on the trio at the Wiki Spanish language link, including how the group's going today (and yes, they're still milking their stardom period by touring, mostly Mexico). As for the song, a reasonable translation of the chorus is:

I fell in love with you in a shopping mall, in between pictures and magazines, t-shirts records and jeans.

Monday and Tuesday this week were more telling about the gold market than today's pop

A chart:



Sometimes gold mirror-images the broad markets and sometimes it doesn't, but at the moment and for fairly obvious reasons it's been the reasonably faithful opposite. The above chart shows that, but also shows how gold got walked down earlier this week. 

Now that's fine by me, I'm not into the spittle-mouthed ranting about The Powers That Be or Bilderberg Grays ruling us carbon based life forms. What it shows me is that there's more upside left in gold for next week. Maybe 2%, so let's pencil in U$1,160/oz or 1165. These things wash through quickly when the trader jocks see easyquick money on the table.

Kitco silver math

Gotta love this report on US bullion sales out of Kitco yesterday, "U.S. Mint Posts 181% Jump In Gold Coin Sales, Silver Sales Hit 29-Year Record High In Q3". All gushing pumpy stuff of course (these people have merch to shift) but after a while the math kind of...well...it gets a little fuzzy. Included is the line...
According to its latest data, the mint sold 14,268,500 ounces of its American Eagle silver coin in Q3, almost double the 9,715,000 ounces sold in the second quarter of the year.

...and that's just wonderful guys, just the type of thing you want to see from a company that works with numbers for a living. Apparently, according to Kitco, selling 9,715,000 troy ounces of silver in one period of time, then selling an extra 4,553,500 troy ounces of silver in the comparative period, is "almost double" the quantity. 

Or if you prefer percentages 46.87% is almost, nearly, not-quite-but-we're-soooo-close to 100%. Darned close, guys.

Last year 854m ounces of silver were produced and mined. , a rise of 3.8% on 2013 (around 32 m oz). How far selling an extra 18m oz of coinage per annum to gringos will affect that supply/demand/Adam Smith thingy is up for debate.


Jaime Pinto's obsession with a blogger

At the beginning of this week, your humble scribe exchanged a few mails with Jaime Pinto, non-executive chair of Minera IRL (IRL.to) (MIRL.L). On September 29th at 6:04pm, your humble scribe wrote his final mail to Jaime Pinto explaining that due to his disgusting behaviour towards his employees, i.e. making an executive decision not to pay his company's employees for the month just gone out of pure spite, there was no point in continuing any further correspondence. The precise final words of that last mail were:
"Not paying your own employees is the lowest of the low.

Don't bother replying, because I won't even open your mail."
Since then Jaime Pinto has sent no fewer than five e-mails to IKN Nerve Centre with the latest arriving just this morning. However I have no idea of any of those five mails' contents because true to word (a concept lost on people such as Pinto) I've simply deleted each one without opening them.

You would have thought that after sending four mails and receiving no reply after getting the above as your last message from a counterparty, that the penny would drop and you wouldn't bother mailing any more. But no, not Pinto, a fifth mail this morning seems to indicate he's more than a little obsessed with IKN and its author.

10/1/15

(UPDATED) A short post designed to explain to the readers of IKN the moral bankruptcy of the current Minera IRL (MIRL.L) (IRL.to) board of directors

This week, the board of directors of Minera IRL (MIRL.L) (IRL.to) decided to refuse to pay the company employees. Not for the lack of cash in treasury or for any other reason than pure schoolboy-level spite.

Due to this decision, a whole group of people who have been working diligently have not received the salary they are due. Many (and I'd dare say most) of these people are not well-off, certainly not at an executive pay level and depend on their monthly to pay their bills, buy normal human essentials, etc. 

The board made the express decision to withhold payment but they are now internally trying to blame their nemesis Diego Benavides for their own call, a person who is not a member of the board of directors and had no part in the decision at all. Utter madness.

The company CFO Brad Boland (also not part of the board) resigned earlier this week due to this board decision. However, the company still hasn't bothered to reveal this major material event to the market even though two days have passed since Boland threw in the towel.

However, Daryl Hodges still managed to draw his $15,000 "consultancy fee" last month. The person who tells all and sundry he wanted to bring transparency and equity to the company continues to suck it dry, while the rank and file go without pay.

And as I told Jaime Pinto in a mail on hearing of the above, not paying your employees is the lowest of the low.

UPDATE: IRL has finally got round to telling the world that which IKN readers knew two days ago. This out half an hour ago:

LIMA, PERU--(Marketwired - Oct 1, 2015) - Minera IRL Limited ("Minera IRL" or the "Company") (IRL.TO)(MIRL.L)(MIRL.L) announces that Brad Boland, CFO and Corporate Secretary of Minera IRL, has resigned from his position, effective immediately. The Company has commenced the search for a replacement.
The Board would like to thank Brad for his service to Minera.

link here

Chart of the day is...

...the US Dollar index, weekly:


And then suddenly it all went quiet.

9/30/15

Lima downtime photoshow

The wrinkle about finally having spare time in a city often visited is that the things you want to check out are normally off the beaten path of the tourist track. So what with having a air ticket stub and having being dicked around at the last minute by a guy who can't be trusted, the business trip was off but I decided to do the trip anyway and get some R&R. It all started with a pleasant plane ride into town...


...and by way of a travel hint for tall people, make sure you get the emergency exit seat row on these flights and the extra legroom in the row next to the wing (though you need to be a Spanish speaker to sit in the emergency rows, so that's no use for Daryl Hodges).

So to the first stop on my slightly off-beat daytrip, the "Gianfranco" café on the road known as Angamos in Miraflores.


This is the coffee shop frequented by ex-President Alan García (he wasn't in today) as well as many other less famous and far more mediocre, untrustworthy lawyers (García's a lawyer and still practices). A very decent espresso doppio, can recommend.

Second port of call was somewhere I like to get to on occasion, but as it's on the other side of town to the mining office district it's not such an easy visit normally.


Today with time I got to hang around the Jockey Plaza shopping mall and buy some nice things (all the expensive shops are there, the place is superbly designed, it's almost as if you're in a serious country. And of course while mall-ratting there's always time for another coffee, this time Starbucks and OH LOOK!, the barista got my name wrong!


How the devil did that happen? And of course you'll notice that's a copy of today's paper, Jaime. Y'know...just in case any assholes are tuning in and think this is a bluff...

And then the best part of the day (as well as getting outdoor time with the sun our for a change), a trip to a place I've always wanted to visit but have never done until today, the MALI art museum.


For a S/30 entry fee (just under U$10) you get a couple of hours' worth of excellent museum, with the main exhibit tracing Peruvian art from Pre-Columbian ceramics and fabric art, through the Conquistodor period (excellent range of Cuzco School works) through late 19th century artists such as Carlos Baca-Flor, right up to the modern day living artists of repute. Here's my favourite of the show, one of two Fernando de Szyszlo works.


So there you go, a day out in the big city. The MALI museum highly recommended, too.

Dedicated to all my friends at Minera IRL.

Annals of junior exploreco BS, Barisan Gold (BG.v) edition

This is a copy of the mail that Alex Granger, CEO and main bovine excrement distributor at Barisan Gold (BG.v), sent out to a whole bunch of market commentarists, mining parasites, Venture exchange carrion eaters and junior sector hangers-on in a mail this morning that was designed to supplement this NR from the company before the open today.

And it looks as though the pump job has worked, for today at least, because the wretched thing is up 100% on 2m share volume. But my stars, what kind of BS is this? Just to start at the most brazen moronity, how anyone can write "ZERO political risk" for any project in Indonesia is beyond my ken. I mean, shouldn't the BCSC be looking at this sort of guff and nonsense from a company freakin' CEO more than trying to cross Ts and dot Is in public NRs? It's utterly shameless.

As one very experienced market pal said, after guffawing loudly at many part of the mail's contents, "Honestly, for anyone who likes this deal there are a couple of Nigerian entrepreneurs who are looking for some backing to get some millions out of a sealed bank account".

Avoid Barisan (BG.v) like the veritable plague, kind IKN reader.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Good morning All!
 
A landmark deal has been signed by Barisan this morning. We’ve locked up one of the strongest most influential Indonesian conglomerates to help us develop our world-class copper-gold projects in Indonesia.
 
The Indonesian conglomerate has agreed to spend 100% of all money required between now and the issuance of  mining licenses (we currently have exploration licenses). This includes exploration, feasibility studies, permitting, etc… Based on our internal calculations that amount is estimated at upwards of US$25 million over the next 3 years. In exchange, they get 80% of the project area (Barisan will maintain 20%, fully carried interest).
 
What does this mean?
 
1) ZERO Permitting risk. These guys know what they are doing in country
2) ZERO Political risk. Our partner is one phone call away from the Indonesian President and his people.
3) ZERO Financing risk. Fully financed by the partner.
 
We’re going from owning 80% of a spectacular project that was deemed impossible to finance in the current market environment to owning 20% of a fully-financed without political risk world class project.
 
More importantly, the value accretion to Barisan shareholders is breathtaking. The number of shares that would have been needed to be issued to self-fund that US$25 million would have been astronomical. And on top of that we would have needed to carry the potential political/permitting risk which is now a non issue. Spectacular outcome for all of us shareholders (of which I am the second biggest)!
 
As per the press release, we’ll be raising a small $500,000 to bridge the gap before the transaction closes as required by the terms of the transaction. This is most likely the last private placement of Barisan Gold for the next 3+ years as the projects are now fully funded. I expect the private placement to close within a few days. We’ll make sure all our loyal historical friends get any allocation they want but please reach out to Shawn, Michael or I quickly as this will close in quick order.
 
Barisan is about to become a sought after commodity. Who wouldn’t want to own 20% fully-funded interests in world-class copper-gold assets that are hugely economical at even the current commodity prices.
 
As always, I am available to chat anytime for anyone looking for more colour.
 
Regards
 
Alex Granger
Chief Executive Officer
Barisan Gold Corp.
Hong Kong Cell: +852 6070 6211

Posting will be light today because...

...your humble scribe is currently enjoying a day out in Lima. Rather than waste an air ticket, you see. People who can't be trusted screwing up plans, you see. But no matter, it's going to be fun to schlep around with no work stuff on the agenda for a change, just a bit of overdue R&R. Maybe we'll do a little photo show later, highlighting a few of the sights and smells.

GMO: Glencore working on de-listing

Glencore to go private again? That's what the intrepid AW over at Global Mining Observer says. Go read his scoop right here.

Nevada Copper (NCU.to): A world class news release

Ah, NCU.to just made my day. This one's got everything and its use of corporate-speak would have George Orwell applauding, whooping and shouting "In The Hooole!" or "Go Team!" or something. So many pieces of wonderful, but these stand out:
"...the Amended Loan Facility will provide more-than-adequate time, in light of current market conditions, for the Company to consider the optimum development and financing strategy for the Project."
Ottotrans: We got no money. And a special shout out for the hyphenated 'more-than-adequate'.
"Pumpkin Hollow represents the only large, fully-permitted copper deposit in the Americas not currently owned by a major."
Ottotrans: Nobody's bought us yet, guess why.
"...it is the appropriate time to re-engage on the financing front."
Ottotrans: Seriously, we got no money.


Magical stuff, Guido. Truly magical:

9/29/15

The latest BS lie from Minera IRL's (IRL.to) (MIRL.L) Hodges/Higgins lackeys


LIMA, PERU--(Marketwired - Sep 29, 2015) - Minera IRL Limited ("Minera IRL" or the "Company") (MIRL.L)(MIRL.L)(IRL.TO) announces that its half-yearly report for the six months ended 30 June 2015 will not be published by 30 September 2015 as required under the AIM Rules for Companies due to the previously announced temporary compromise of control within the Company's two Peruvian operating subsidiaries, Minera IRL S.A. and Compañía Minera Kuri Kullu S.A.

"Temporary compromise of control", oh how we laughed. In fact, the company isn't going to file its numbers because the CFO, Brad Boland, today resigned in protest at the board's decisions and pathetic way it's running the company (into the ground). 

Subtle difference, no?

And it seems the company's CFO resigning isn't a material event in the warped world of Hodges's lackeys. Not a mention, even though the news is all round Lima already.


Understanding capital market teminology and concepts: Part 34, "the Dead Cat Bounce"

Thanks due to Ari Sussman, Continental Gold (CNL.to), but above all the people that thought its recent permitting news wasn't so very important and the company would be just fine afterwards. Because you guys are so cute.


And remember, when you write in with the hatemail there's no U in Colombia this time. We good?


Chart of the day is...

...gold dailies, as straightforward as they come:


9/28/15

Las Bambas Peru: Two dead and 15 injured in protests against the mine

But hey, helps cut that copper supply surplus 2016 onwards, right? Right?

Story (Spanish language) and photos here. And more photoshow here.


UPDATE: Make that three dead

B2Gold (BTG) (BTO.to) news: The El Limón mine in Nicaragua on strike

Here's a link to the EFE news report dated Monday September 28th (i.e. today), here's a translation of the top of the report:

Workers at a Canadian mining company today protested in front of the El Limón mine in the department of León, Northeast of Managua, due to the dismissal of three employees "in an arbitrary manner" according to union representatives.

"The workers are on strike due to the arbitrary dismissals made (by the company)" Humberto Rivas, union leader and ex-employee of B2Gold told EFE.

The peaceful protest started last Friday and some 220 workers of the company are participating, as well as community members who support the cause, said Rivas.

The origin of the protest came when the Ministry of Labour (Mitrab) on September 25th published a resolution in which three leaders of the 'Pedro Roque Blandón' union were fired.

The resolution, signed by the legal advisor to the mining company Jorge Martínez and supported by the Nicaraguan Minister of Labour, Alba Luz Torres, "is a violation of rights" because it was not published according to the law, said Rivas.

However, the mining company said the whole process had been realized with respect to the laws of Nicaragua and with company regulations.

B2Gold said that the three dismissed workers who have had their contracts annulled "have broken the disciplinary rules contained in the Workers' Code (of Conduct) and the internal regulations of the company". Continues here


x



"El Ministerio del Trabajo de León, luego de evaluar el caso con todas las partes interesadas, determinó que la solicitud de B2Gold Mina El Limón está debidamente justificada y resolvió aprobar por causa justa la cancelación de los contratos de estos tres trabajadores", indicó el representante legal de B2Gold Mina El Limón, Jorge Martínez.

Según la empresa, la cancelación de los contratos de los tres trabajadores fue por "causa justa".

Asegura que estos trabajadores perjudicaron económicamente a la empresa y mostraron indisciplina en el cumplimiento de sus funciones.

Inicialmente, la solicitud fue sometida ante la comisión bipartita de B2Gold Mina El Limón, de acuerdo con la cláusula cuatro del Convenio Colectivo, y posteriormente el caso fue llevado ante el Mitrab en León, indica la empresa.

"Los trabajadores pueden recurrir por la vía judicial, según los procedimientos legalmente establecidos. Sin embargo, la decisión fue ratificada por el Mitrab en su delegación central de Managua, conforme a derecho", expone la empresa.

Rivas precisó que si no se realiza el reintegro de los tres trabajadores las protestas continuarán en esa localidad.

A su vez, exigió la expulsión inmediata para el asesor legal de la empresa, Jorge Martínez, el gerente general, el peruano Martín Esparza, y la jefa de relaciones comunitarias de B2Gold Mina El Limón, Levinia Sequeira.

En mayo pasado, pobladores de la comunidad Mina El Limón realizaron manifestaciones violentas en protesta por el racionamiento de energía eléctrica, donde responsabilizaban a esa misma empresa.

Las manifestaciones provocaron varios enfrentamientos entre agentes antidisturbios y pobladores de ese distrito minero, con un saldo de 14 lesionados, incluidos seis policías, de acuerdo con la información oficial.

x




x

The Talented Mister Pinto (from IKN 333)

Here's a segment from IKN 333 out yesterday, giving a little background on the new non-executive chair of Minera IRL (IRL.to) (MIRL.L), Jaime Pinto. It formed part of a larger update on the comings and going at IRL in yesterday's edition. I've left the end off this piece too, for secret reasons.

And Jaime, we're just warming up round here.

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In order to get a handle on the new non-executive chairman of Minera IRL we need to travel back in time nearly twenty years (seriously) to the time of the Fujimori government, when dirty deals and institutional corruption were rife. If we do, Jaime Pinto's name pops up in the middle of one of the scandals. It's a long and complicated story (as are most multi-million dollar government corruption scandals) but the essence is simple and the M.O. is similar to the debt default fight we've seen in Argentina these last couple of years. The skinny is as follows:

·     In the mid-1990's Peru's economy was in trouble and its bonds were trading badly
·     In 1996, Elliot Associates (yes, the very same as the Argentina case, headed by Paul Singer and everything) bought (face value) U$20.6m worth of Peru debt bonds for U$11.4m. The seller was SBC (Swiss Bank).
·     In 1998, Elliot Associates sued the government of Peru for the full value plus interest plus damages of those bonds for U$66m. After a couple of years of legal beagling Elliot Assoc won the case and the appeal.
·     In October 2000 Peru settled with Elliot Associates For U$58m.

In other words, Elliot Associates "did a vulture fund" on Peru. They bought up distressed debt, the sued the country for the full amount and then managed to get a very lucrative settlement out of the deal, all in the space of just four and a bit years. So far so morally dubious, but the post-event uncovering of illegality of the case is another matter and that's where our nice Mr Jaime Pinto comes in (3). Follow carefully and follow the dates, too:

1) In the period 1994 to 1996, Jaime Pinto was working in the government at the Ministry of Economy and Finances (MEF). Amongst other matters, he was in charge of overseeing all transactions made by SBC (Swiss Bank).

2) According to Peruvian law, SBC could NOT sell its Peru sovereign debt holdings to a third party without first getting permission from the government. SBC had to sell them to the National Bank (Banco de la Nación) or at least offer them to the national bank first.

3) When SBC sold its bonds to Elliot Associates, it told nobody. That's naughty. However Jaime Pinto would have seen the transaction go through and having the power to do so he should have stopped it. He didn't. And then he should have rung the alarm bell on the deal to the government. He didn't do that either. These are gross derelictions of duty.

4) Then Jaime Pinto left the MEF (according to the congressional committee report he left on bad terms too) and after a brief sojourn in a different company was hired as a lawyer for none other than... Elliot Associates! Yes, amazingly he went to work for a Peru studio that worked directly for the Paul Singer company. There's no doubt that Pinto had a significant amount of restricted (inside) information about Peru's debt position, but went to work for a company that was trying to squeeze the country on that very debt.

5) When the judicial decision went with Elliot Associates and against the State of Peru, the eventual payment was made (against the advice of Peru's own lawyers in the Fujimori government) because Singer was threatening to stop new debt emissions and bring the country into default (notably the very same strategy it's used vs Argentina). Pinto would have known about this weak spot in the Peru government's defence.

6) The U$58m payment was made by the government of Peru to Elliot Associates in October 2000. Just one month later, the government of Alberto Fujimori fell during the "Vladivideo" scandal and light began to shine on the corruption during his presidency.

As part of the investigations into the Fujimori era corruptions, a congressional committee was set up to look into cases of supposed fraud. The Elliot case was one of the matters they looked at. In July 2003, the congressional commission published its report on the Elliot case and came to two main conclusions. Here's the screenshot of the relevant segment of the document (found on this link (4), it's a long one in Spanish but feel free to dive in, it's fun)





That second recommendation translates as follows;

Press criminal charges against Dr. Jaime Pinto for having advised Elliot Associates between January and February 1998 with privileged (insider) information regarding the external debt of Peru. Currently, Dr. Pinto has been named by the Ministry of Economy and Finance as representative of the government of Peru at the Inter-American Development Bank.

In other words, the congressional committee found enough evidence to recommend criminal charges against Jaime Pinto for multi-million dollar corruption and use of insider information. What happened then is that we don't really know how, but the case got "lost" in the hurly-burly of the transition government and then the Toledo government and all kind of forgotten about until quite recently.




Inca One (IO.v): I love these guys

A $7m market capper apparently in "commercial production" now wants to raise $20m in debt. These are the things that only ever happen in the Canadian junior capital markets without a whole bunch of people laughing out loud.

And by the way, the reason commercial production is between speech marks up there is that I'm a bit of an old stickler and traditionalist about these things and my idea of "commerce" is when a company makes a profit. To date, Inca One has not posted a single quarter of net profits even though it declared itself in commercial production on February 1st. Though we should get the next set of quarterlies through from IO.v soon...there's always hope that commercial really means commercial this time. Right guys?

Chart of the day is...

...copper, monthlies:

This morning I've been thinking back to the 2008/2009 crisis moment and considering just why copper traded under U$1.50/lb around the turn of the year. And be clear, it might look like a sharp spike on this longer-term chart, but this is a monthly so that's a full quarter when copper was at those rock-bottom levels.

And here we are today. Glencore can close all the mines it wants, the obvious supply surplus now baked into the world of copper is going to kill weak players. Kill them dead and burn them with fire.

Message to new subscriber "SB"...

...who signed on last night (or early morning UK time):

There's something wrong with your e-mail address and everything I send is bouncing back. Please get into contact. Thanks.

Glencore and Horizonte: IKN kung fu is good

Last Friday September 25th on IKN (and during trading hours, begad):

On Monday Glencore will announce that it's selling its Araguaia nickel property to Horizonte Minerals PLC (HZM.to) (HZM.L), owners of their own nickel project just next door. The price will be around $8m. You heard it here first.

Today's news:

Horizonte consolidates Araguaia nickel project through acquisition of Glencore project


And the price, $8m. Any further questions?

9/27/15

The IKN Weekly, out now




IKN333 has just been sent to subscribers. Oh Jaime, you're such an interesting fellow.


The top three most visited IKN posts this week are...

...in reverse order:

Third Place: "What the Minera IRL (IRL.to) (MIRL.L) NR today means". This was he one that announced Minera IRL was suspending the trading of its shares. 

Second Place: "What there is and what there isn't in tonight's NR from Minera IRL". This was the one that announced Team Hodges was pressing formal criminal charges against Diego Benavides

First Place: "The latest from Minera IRL (IRL.to) (MIRL.L)". This was the one with the NR from Team Benavides, carrying the news that since September 8th there has been criminal charges against Team Hodges members. This one got the most hits because it's less available than the corporate-distribution messages.


In other words, three chapters of my upcoming novel.