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1/17/09

Monterrico Metals: How to contact the company

Bristow

Amazilia who runs the blog Peru Apartheid and has been doing a great job in following the Monterrico Metals (MNA.L) torture case in the Spanish language has just left a comment on Monterrico under this post.

Amazilia asked how to get in touch with the company. Find below the necessary addresses, telephone numbers and e-mails, but maybe you'd be more interested in contacting Monterrico's IR man Andrew Bristow directly as seems he is the likely source of the orders to torture the locals in the first place. His mail is

abristow@monterrico.com

As for the official contact info, here you are. Enjoy.

Corporate Head Office

Suite 1601, 16/F., Sino Plaza
255-257 Gloucester Road
Causeway Bay
Hong Kong

Tel : +852 2803 2738
Fax: +852 2803 0878
e-mail: info@monterrico.com


Peruvian Subsidiary Head Office

Rio Blanco Copper S.A.
Av. San Borja Sur 143
San Borja
Lima 41
Peru

Telephone no: +51 1 226 3322
e-mail: lima@monterrico.com

What's that one about imitation and flattery?

This joker is taking the feed from this blog and that of Gary biiwii and using it to create his own blog.

Now it's nice that somebody thinks I'm successful enough to steal from, but does anyone out there know how I can get his feed cut off and his site banned?

Petaquilla Minerals: Dissecting the press release of a rogue miner

The Molejon Mess

A gold mine is a hole in the ground with a liar on top.
(Benjamin Disraeli, though often mistakenly attributed to Mark Twain)

Press releases are the lifeblood of junior, exploration-stage mining companies. With no meaningful production these companies rely on PRs to keep shareholders interested and wave a "hello! look at me!" to the rest of the investment community.

PRs from straight-shooting, upstanding companies with good reputations and honest management can be read quickly and, for the most part, be taken at face value due to the respect and trust earned previously. Off the top of my head, an example from a company I follow but don't presently own is Chariot Resources (CHD.to) that only releases a PR when it has something to say and gives plenty of factual detail when it does say something.

However, there are also companies like Petaquilla Minerals (PTQ.to), a company with top management under charge of embezzlement in Panama and with a history of issuing PRs full of deception, doublespeak and lies wrapped in evase legalese to make them technical truths. When PTQ.to issues a press release it can only be taken at face value by people with more money than sense and must be examined closely, else you risk falling into the traps laid by its devious owners and believing something that may cost you dearly at a later date.

Here's the link to PTQ.to's latest offering and below I've pasted it out in full. However by way of an example I've also added my own comments in red between the lines of the PR in italics. So here we go with today's episode of "Spot the PR bullshit":

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VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(MARKET WIRE)--Jan 16, 2009 -- Petaquilla Minerals Ltd. (the "Company") announces that, further to the Company's news release dated November 28, 2008, the Company has established a working group to collaborate closely with the Autoridad Nacional del Ambiente ("ANAM"), the environmental agency of the Government of the Republic of Panama.

The news release dated Nov 28 is the one I pulled apart on this link. It's the one that PTQ.to used to imply that it had received its Environment permit and was commissioning its plant, with the first pour due in the latter half of December. Obvious BS as it's now January and no pour was made, but for further reasons why the Nov 28 PR was a pack of lies check the previous post.

On November 26, 2008, ANAM issued a resolution (the "EIS Resolution") approving the Company's Environmental Impact Study Category III (the "EIS"). The EIS essentially brings up to World Bank standards the environmental impact study prepared by the Company and approved by the Panamanian environmental agencies in 1996.

No it doesn't! The Cat 3 study is only one part of the full approval needed to start production. Also, 1996 regulations are a light year away from what is needed now; the 1996 approval may as well have been written on toilet paper and used by CEO Fifer for toilet paper's intended purpose.

The EIS Resolution sets out a number of conditions to be satisfied before the Company can attain full commercial production of the Molejon Gold Mine, which forms a small part of the overall project area.

Here we have the first number fudgery. When PTQ.to says "a number of", that actually means 45 requirements that have to be complied with before the EIS is approved. As for "a small part", that's a silly thing to say. Since when has a production plant taken up anything more than "a small part" of the total area of any mine?

On detailed review of the EIS Resolution by the Company, it became apparent that some conditions are inapplicable to the Molejon operation, and others have already been satisfied by the Company.

More number fudging. Of the 45 requirements, all we know is that "some" and "others" are not a problem. Is that 3 requirements? 27? 14? 42? We don't know, but given the history of deception and lies you can bet your sweet bippy that it's at the lower end of the numbers scale. And I've mentioned it before but I'll mention it again; just one of those 45 requirements is to locate, design and build a tailings dump at Molejon. To understand just how amateur this company is, consider it was seriously thinking of going into production without a place to put its waste. A tailings dump is not something you can whip up in the space of a couple of weeks; it's a complex piece of engineering and it will take a long time to get EIS approval, even once the mine gets it act together and submits a plan. These people are the Keystone Kops of junior miners.

The Company therefore established the working group to cooperate with ANAM to ensure that all conditions are satisfied or waived, so that full commercial production in 2009 will take place without delay.

Notice that flourish at the end, "without delay"? Laughable. This is the same company that promised production (and check these links cos I'm not making this up) "in the first quarter of 2008" then "in fiscal year 2008" then "in the latter half of December 2008" and then "in the first three months of 2009". As each deadline passed, the production start was booted forward. And now the company has the brass neck to say it will start production in 2009 "without delay". Are you beginning to see why these jokers can't be trusted?

The working group has met with the ANAM representatives on four occasions, and the Company is very pleased with progress to date. ANAM has received the Company's presentations in a spirit of cooperation and the Company is committed to working with the agency to resolve all outstanding issues.

Yeah, so what? Want to tell me what the alternative to this is?

ANAM has recommended that it, the Company and the Republic of Panama Ministry of Commerce and Industry ("MICI") work on a tri-lateral basis to fulfill the terms and conditions of the EIS Resolution, and this collaborative effort is underway. MICI is the Governmental organization with overall jurisdiction over the Molejon Project.

This is where the interesting political angle raises its head. On May 3rd 2009 Panama has its Presidential election and Fifer's friend Torrijos loses his job. One of the hot issues in the election will be the environmental mess caused by dirty miners such as Fifer at Molejon and its very likely that the new President (whoever he or she may be) will not let Molejon move ahead (after all, it's only got this far due to the 'close relationship' between Fifer and Torrijos). With MICI in on the decision process, politics is about the get difficult for Fifer&Co.

The Company has advised ANAM that it has reached the stage of pre-production testing and equipment calibration at the Molejon Project Site and, at ANAM's request, has provided ANAM with a comprehensive data package describing such testing procedures, which will include the production of gold. The Company anticipates that its on-going consultation with the Governmental Agencies will result in a smooth transition into full-scale commercial production in 2009.

Check those links above and remember how many times PTQ.to has 'anticipated' things that have not come to pass. Also note "include the production of gold". How much gold are we talking here? Otto wagers about 5 to 10 ounces as part of the test runs, but whatever it is it's about as likely to be commercial as a flying pig.

The Company has been advised that ANAM has rejected a reconsideration request by the Company and its subsidiaries and Minera Panama S.A., (formerly Minera Petaquilla, S.A.) against a US$1 million fine imposed by Resolution dated November 13, 2008, for alleged violations by such companies of environmental laws that took place on the main Petaquilla Copper Concession in 2005. The Resolution also assessed damages in the amount of US$934,694.54. The Company has been advised by Panama counsel that there are several grounds on which the validity of the Resolution can be challenged. The Company is currently assessing the situation to determine what action, if any, should be taken. Consequently, the amount, if any, that may ultimately be payable by the Company cannot be determined.

This is the bonus prize, removed even from the ongoing EIS compliance procedures. What we're supposed to believe is that ANAM fine PTQ.to $1.93m, then ratify and confirm that decision, but then PTQ tries to make believe it can get out of paying the fine and get final EIS approval from the same people at the same time! Anyone who thinks this is remotely possible knows nothing about Latin America.

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And here endeth the lesson. Why you should believe a single word of what this company says is beyond me. It's run by an accused embezzler, has a loathesome environmental track record, refuses to pay its fines, can't design a paper aeroplane correctly let alone a mine, its share price is constantly propped up by CEO Fifer's insider buying and has a proven track record of delays and deception when informing its shareholders. Nuff said.

Related Post
Petaquilla Minerals: "Oops, we forgot to tell you that we're a bunch of lying shits."
Petaquilla Minerals (PTQ.to) update: Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire
More Petaquilla Minerals (PTQ.to)
Top of the Props
Petaquilla delays its first pour: surprising for Reuters readers, not for IKN readers


1/16/09

Nadagold (NG): Just follow the instructions on the shampoo bottle.....

.......and everything comes out clean, bright and sparkling.

rick!

And those instructions are LATHER, RINSE AND REPEAT.

Hey Look! Our lucky pal Rick Van Nieuwenhuyse has just awarded himself 838,000 new stock options to replace the ones he claims "he had to sell due to a third party margin call".

Totally unrelated thought for the day: Not all thieves wear black and white striped sweaters and carry bags labelled 'Swag'.

Trading Post (wrap the week edition)


Fortuna Silver (FVI.v) up 8.6% at $1.01 and did hit $1.07 briefly. If you listened to your table-banging Otto when this stock was floating around in the 50c to 60c range and picked up a few, it's time to take some profit. We're now at the point where the market cap is close to 1.0X NAV. At current metals prices the company will do just fine and is solid, but it's not going to make much profit in 2009. Also, the thing was pumped by Proactive Investors this week in an article that didn't bother to mention to its sheep the 2008 hedge is now all done and 100% of Zn and Pb produced will be sold at present spot prices. We still like this stock just fine, but profit taking is the wise course here. If it drops significantly it's one to buy back, for sure. DYODD, dude, and remember it's a site sponsor.

Los Andes Copper (LA.v) UNCH at $0.065. LA.v came out with this PR today that announces its options payment have been spread out to make them easier to pay. This is good news. There are worse pennycrappers out there, but if you buy you'll be betting that copper recovers more quickly than I personally think it will.

Amerigo Resources (ARG.to) up 4.7% at $0.335. Same copper story as LA.v, but this thing is well managed and has said it now has cash costs down to the $1.50/lb or so range. You need to take a good look at its operations because this is no ordinary dig-it-up-and-process mining operation.

Gold Reserve (GRZ) UNCH at $1.06. GRZ yesterday released the worst PR I've seen in ages which should have been entitled "We're Desperate and Grasping At Straws". Perhaps the retail world would have dissected it for nutrition, but I can assure you that the larger holders of GRZ have been wincing with embarrassment over the attitude taken by GRZ management. I bought GRZ today because I now believe RML.v will be successful in its hostile bid and i'm looking for a quick flip profit. DYODD and don't bother with the hatemail this time just because somebody dares to have a different opinion than yourself, Vzla nutbars.

The Monterrico Metals Torturers: Bad news Bristow, this case is not going away

Bristow, we don't like you very much.

Two developments to report, with thanks due to regular reader Matt for the headsup.

1. On Peru's CNR radio this morning, Andrew Bristow (Monterrico Metal's IR person and glorious piece of shit) said the following:

"I am not going to go into this situation (story), it doesn't seem appropriate to me. Anybody can make accusations of any type and I'm not going to get into some kind of media debate about it..... I'm not going to participate. I repeat, the company Río Blanco Copper will have to make a decision (first)."

All this was connected with the clear case of torture we've covered here over the last week (see below for previous posts). It was also connected with declarations made by the journalist Julio Vásquez who was kidnapped along with the 28 indigenous locals. Vásquez said on the program that while being held and tortured at Majaz (now called Río Blanco) for the three days, he heard one of the Majaz people say that they were tortured "on orders from Bristow", who was at the time operations manager at the mine.

2. Today Otto received the following e-mail (via the kind Matt) from the Human Rights National Coordinator of Peru (CNDDHH). It also came with a very interesting attachment that you can access yourself by clicking right here.

The good news is that CNDDHH (who is the bigboy Peru national body...this is not some scrawny NGO people, these people are the real deal) is sending a representative over to London next week to spread the word about the disgusting Monterrico Metals and their torture tactics in Peru. This story is not going away, Bristow (and I already know you read the blog, you fat slob. Otto got good spies).

Here's the mail in full; feel free to contact Baraybar on the mail address provided.

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Dear Friends:

I am writing you from the Human Rights National Coordinator of Peru; a non profit organization who works on the protection of the human rights in our country. I’m writing in regard of the latest event’s in the “Majaz Case”, where some security officers of the Majaz Mine and a group of Peruvian police officers tortured a group of peaseants.

Please, find enclosed the letter that the Executive Secretary of our organization are sending to many internationals institutions in the effort of showing to the International comunitee this emblematic case.

Also, we hope you can express your concern about the problem of the torture, and the importance of an in-depth investigation in the case we have made reference in the letter enclosed, to the Peruvian authorities.

One of our collegues, Mr. Juan Pablo Baraybar from the Peruvian Equipment of Forensic Anthropology (EPAF)will be in London during next days. For further information you can contact him at baraybar(AT)epafperu.org

Yours Sincerely,

Carmela Chávez Irigoyen
Responsible of International Affairs
Human Rights National Coordinator of Peru
Phone: 00511 419 1111 extension 111 / 00511 9 9995 3745 (cel phone)

Fax: 0051 1 419 1112
Address: Pezet y Monel (antes Tupac Amaru) 2467 Lince Lima – Perú
www.dhperu.org

Gary BiiWii, gold and a trade


Gold: It goes up, it goes down. Then it goes up again. Then it goes down again. And then it goes up. It's a dollarstory, of course, confirmed by the way base metals are coming along for the ride today.

While i'm thinking about it, Gary BiiWii deserves a serious shoutout and w00t for the way he's been calling the market recently. He said "HUI 300" when it was way below that number and that was the top almost to the penny. He then said "HUI 250" and sure enough it returned to where he said it would, again almost to the penny. This links to his site, and this links to his useful blog (part of the site).

He also does a paid subscription service and you might want to check it out, as if he keeps whacking out these winning calls the $26 monthly price will pay for itself multiple times over (and yes he's a pal, but I don't get anything in the way of commish or fees for recommending his service. As with everything that happens on this blog, I'm just straightshooting you). Here's the link to go find out more.

Finally, I've been buying today. I picked up small amounts in GRZ (for the love of the sweet Lord, protect me from myself), DMM.to (a small trading position that I'm not going to mentally mix in with the larger, longer-term chunk I still hold from the low prices) and JAG (the idea is to start building a position here...consider this the first lump). If you want to know why, send me a mail. I've also taken out a short position in a gold mining stock by way of a hedge against other exposure but I'm not going to disclose which one. Again, it's only a small chunk and won't affect the world.

Bullying journalists: This one is unlikely to pop up on Fox News Americas

Raul Weiner and his gagging order (photo courtesy of 'La Primera')

In November 2008, the journalist Raul Weiner of Peru's daily paper "La Primera" ran a story about how 13 members of left-wing organizations were being investigated by police for connections to the Colombian FARC (yep, it's that magic laptop again, the one with zero e-mails and planted photos). We're not talking illegal groups here, but heads of established social bodies such as unions and recognized committees. All were being threatened with custody under the same type of vague anti-terrorism legislation now used in the serious countries as the latent bullyboy threat to anybody that dare criticize governments too much or to loudly.

Cut to this week, and Raul Weiner was summoned by Peru's judiciary to defend himself against the very same charges of "crimes against the public peace" and "terrorism", simply because he dared to do his job and tell people what was going on. Weiner was served with the order to attend on Tuesday and his hearing was yesterday, but true to form we do not know and will not know what happened in the courtroom because a gagging order was slapped on proceedings due to "reasons of national security". If this guy is a terrorist, we may as well all go to our local police station right now, form an orderly queue and turn ourselves in. He got wind of a story, he reported on it. The government didn't like the fact that its shady undercover games were made public. The government tries to shut his mouth. That's what's going on here, pure and simple.

Yet again, if all this had happened in Venezuela you'd know about it in realtime on fifty-seven channels, Bruce. But as it's happening in Peru and against a left-wing newspaper the only link in English to this story comes from 'Reporters Without Borders', doing its good, non-partisan work as usual.

Soybeans: The penny is starting to drop

H2O please, nice Mr. Farmer

I really wasn't kidding on November 6th. Brazil's soybean harvest was already in trouble this year due to fertilizer issues and my call that Argentina would soon announce problems turned out to be correct. And you might have missed this post on December 26th due to a hangover, but the soybean chart was already very interesting three weeks ago.

But now the key word down here is drought. Rather than link stories here, just go to Google, plug in the words "soybean, corn, drought, Argentina, Brazil" (or preferred combination thereof) and check out the action for yourself. Suffice to say here that in Argentina yesterday futures contracts were very heavily traded and rose sharply. India went limit up overnight.

Bottom line: Put the bean on your radar. It might develop into the story of 2009.

Chart of the day is...

.........LME copper warehouse stocks, five year period.

Holy Moley.

1/15/09

Latin America says goodbye to George W. Bush

In a solemn ceremony today, Evo Morales helped President Lula Da Silva unveil Brazil's official parting gift to his counterpart, George Walker Bush, forty-third President of the United States of America.

Short interest in gold stocks rising


As trading drifted into its last hour today, your humble correspondent received a short'n'sweet mail from A. Person, here reprinted in its entirety:

From Bill Fleckenstein's The Daily Rap:
"It's worth noting that the short interest in many gold-mining stocks continues to climb. Obviously, those who believe that deflation will carry the day and that gold needs to collapse in that environment are expressing their viewpoint."
For those unaware Bill Fleckenstein has been writing his paid newsletter on all things financial since 1996, which is not exactly Richard Russell longevity but still highly laudable. "Hmmm", Thought I, "Dat true?", and after rootling around for a few minutes came up with this chart of the major high traded volume pure gold producers quoted in the USA.

Click to enlarge

Yep, it's true. That chart shows 16.42m shares were added to the short side in these eight companies in the period October 2008 to December 2008. And by factoring in today's closing prices that adds up a U$445m of short interest recently added to eight pure gold plays. Now this might not sound so much to you due to regular financial headlines that include the word 'trillion' but I can assure you, intrepid janissary of IKN, that even in this day and age half a billion dollars is a fair chunk of change. Especially in a relatively specialist sector such as gold mining stocks.

So add this to the recent drifting drop in the price of gold, season with recent headlines from the tinfoilhat brigade that those nasty horrible manipulators are at their Comex gold games again, then mix thoroughly and bake in a medium oven for 45 minutes.

Ricardo Montalbán, 1920 - 2009

Montalbán, c.1957

I was going to write a few words about today's sad news but they would now be redundant. Instead, please follow this link and read an excellent obituary at The Mex Files. A good job of writing and a fitting tribute to a life less ordinary.

Q.E.P.D

The Axis of Poodle

This one stands to reason. In fact I should have seen it coming moons ago. Now that things seem to be winding down in Iraq (the USA will claim a technical draw like it did in Vietnam, I suppose), British ex-PM and world's favourite poodle Tony Blair seems to be suffering withdrawal symptoms. With no more unjustifiable wars in the MidEast to apologize for, Blair has had a quick scan round the globe and found his methadone; Colombia.

I loved The Matrix, didn't you? Great movie, all that adventure and
excitement and twists in the plot and ......err......................stuff

Today EFE Bogotá reports that Blair is to take an advisory role and "make recommendations and suggestions regarding the final document concerning the Colombian government's international political policy so that the country has a more audacious presence in the global community." You can find an English language report on this link.

More audacious? Yep, this is the hands down winner of this week's 'Can't Make This Shit Up' award. I mean, even a expert in world-stage "misleading statements" such as Blair will have his work cut out explaining away 'false positives'. In fact the less mentioned of Colombia's seedy underbelly in polite circles the better it will be for the country. Colombia should be aiming for LESS audacious, not more, as flashing bells and whistles that might get mainstream media to (finally.....at LONG last) examine Uribe's human rights record is not a smart tactic.

But Tony feels lonely and he's found a war to stick up for. All in the name of freedom and democracy, as usual.

Zinc story

Yesterday China opened its new zinc stockpile plan by buying 59,000Mt of the stuff from seven of its local producers. A real disappointment.

Why so? Because the original plan was to move immediately to 100,000MT and then eventually to 300,000MT of stockpile, but smelters and miners weren't attrcted by the low bid made by their government. As DJNW reports here, "The volume suggests the bureau may be unwilling to spend more to prop up smelters."

The result can be seen in today's metals prices. Zn had been threatening to break away from the sub 60c/lb funk it's been in for the last months but it's doing nothing but falling back to resistance again.


And stocks like the heavily Zn dependant Breakwater (BWR.to) that popped on expectations last week have fallen back again.


The bottom line is that the demand slump looks set to continue. With the People's Government of China taking just 59,000Mt away from a world that consumed around 11 Million MT last year, they're going to have to get more Keynesian than that to move things in any great style.

Another thought on Peru's "growth" in 2009

"Maybe next year, hey?"
(Click to enlarge by the way. Nice Hi-res)

Despite all that we have been led to believe by the delusionary Standard&Poors, still desperately trying to justify hiking Peru to "investment grade" last year, Peru has not diversified itself away from reliance on commodities. In 2008, metals such as copper, gold, zinc, etc accounted for 60% of the country's total export revenue. Because of this, the country's trade balance will certainly be negative in 2009. And if you take away the motor, the car stops running. No more construction boom, people. No more new cars sold. No more midweek treats at the new all-you-can-eat Chinese restaurant that just opened. Et cetera ad infinitum.

We're already seeing the effects of this deficit. Yesterday the Central Bank (BCRP) sold U$213m dollars into the forex market to shore up the local currency, the Nuevo Sol. With Peru's international currency reserves standing at U$32Bn at end 2008 it doesn't take a mathematics professor to work out they won't be able to do that kind of stunt too many times on the trot before people start asking "Hey? Where's all that money gone?", and the only answer the gov't will have is "Err well, big businesses wanted to buy a lot of dollars so we had to sell them else watch the currency weaken."

The idea of the currency safety net is to protect Peru and Peruvians, not the multinational mining companies that remit profits back to the USA, Canada, Australia, Switzerland and the UK, isn't it?

Add to the mix the other sectors already under pressure. Asparagus, fresh fruits, fish meal (Peru is the world biggest in this sector and once again it's nearly all foreign controlled) and last but not least in this quick role call, tourism. When gringos tighten their belts, The Sacred Valley of Cuzco suddenly becomes two weeks at the beach in a 3star.

Finally, let's once again point out the lack of connection between GDP figures and bleedin' reality. The same week that Peruvian mining companies lay off 5,561 workers the government insists the country is growing. Notice anything odd about that?

Chart of the day........

.......records the rapid evolution of Peru's GDP growth forecasts.



  • On November 9th in the CADE conference (Peru's biggest gathering of muckety-mucks, as Mickey Fulp calls the high falutin' bizpeople) President Twobreakfasts received warm applause and love for stating that Peru GDP would grow 6.5% in 2009. Otto laughed his tragic laugh.
  • Last week (Jan 8th to be exact) Peru's central bank stated that GDP growth would be 6.0% in 2009. Otto laughed his tragic laugh.
  • This morning, Peru's newspaper of record El Comercio (mediocre though it may be, it's the "serious" one) has Prime Minister Yehude Simon saying that 2009 GDP growth will be "between 4% and 5%" (so I'm being generous on the chart, really).

Otto's still laughing at South America's worst government (that beats out fierce competition, too).

1/14/09

You just know Peru is a serious country

Really, I'm lost for words. This from Reuters today.

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Peru's top court says drunk workers cannot be fired

LIMA (Reuters) - Peru's top court has ruled that workers cannot be fired for being drunk on the job, a decision the government criticized on Wednesday for setting a dangerous precedent.

The Constitutional Tribunal ordered that Pablo Cayo Mendoza be given his job back as a janitor for the municipality of Chorrillos, which fired him for being intoxicated at work.

The firing was excessive because even though Cayo was drunk, he could still speak and write, and he did not hurt anybody, justice Fernando Calle, one of the justices, said on Wednesday.

Calle said the court would not revise its decision, despite complaints from the labor ministry.

"It's not a good idea to relax rules at workplaces," said Labor Minister Jorge Villasante.

Celso Becerra, the administrative chief of Chorrillos, a suburb of Lima, denounced the ruling.

"We've fired four workers for showing up drunk, and two of them were drivers," he said. "How can we allow a drunk to work who might run somebody over?"

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Brazil's economic turndown in one easy-to-understand chart

Holy Caipirinhas, Batman. Check out how Brazil's impex trade has just fallen off a cliff. Click this link to download the chart (sorry, I'm too dumb to work out how to peg a chart ripped from a PDF into a blog post). The chart is VERY scary and should send a shiver down the spine of every single LatAm economist and/or market watcher. It might even interest intelligent people, too.

A pity I can't work out how to put it directly on site. Any smart people know a way? The chart taken from the Datamar shipping weekly, who sourced it to Brazil's MDIC. You don't need any further comment from here, methinks. Is Mark Mobius still buying Brazil?

UPDATE: One smart reader later, here's the chart. No need to click that download link now.


Thanks, 'R'

Trading Post (flushing toilet edition)


I dunno 'bout your screen, but there's a whole lot of red on my screen.

There are two ways of being conscious we're in a bear market; either remind yourself every day, whether the stocks go up or go down, and take your profits whenever you can, or feel a lot poorer on a day like today and say to yourself "dash and botheration, i shudda taken profits".



TRY.to down 4.7% at $0.81. I filled up all i wanted to fill yesterday and have my position all set now. Sure enough the stock dumps some more the day after. So be it. Now we wait. The main catalyst (apart from the 2q09 and 3q09 reports) should be the news that Troy has reached its main underground vein and has reached commercial production levels.This is expected February or March.

Jaguar Mining (JAG) down 4% at U$4.12. I was swapping mails with smart people yesterday about possible M&A action in the pipeline. IMHO, this is at the very top of the list of buyout candidates in the LatAm region and for one simple reason; why buy a greenfield and spend hundreds of millions on development when you can buy JAG and get two profitable working mines and a third that needs a few million spent on it to get it efficient? JAG also benefits from comparatively low political risk factors. It's at $4, but would be cheap at $8 in an active merger situation. I don't own (yet) but i have in the past. DYODD dude.

MAG silver (MVG) (MAG.to) down 2.7% in US trading at U$4.90. I read a Motley Fool article that talked about how the Fresnillo U$4.54 deal was now dead because of the recent price spike, but I think the author (who is long MVG) is a dumbass. Firstly, volume traded has been a fraction of the 49m shares out. Secondly, Fresnillo already owns 19.8% of MVG and another suitor is very unlikely (consider the geography and history and the mere fact the buyer would have to JV with a rather miffed Fresnillo on the project). Thirdly, in the current climate FRES.L won't be in a hurry to expand operations and can wait MVG and its shareholders out while MVG burns its cash and withers on the vine. Fourthly, why should FRES.L pay any more for the mine? It's the only possible buyer of the property in a buyer's market. If I held MVG I'd sell at this premium now and move on.

Dynasty Metals (DMM.to) down 5% at $3.70. I am not happy that I sold well (if that makes any sense). A TA appreciating e-mail pal yesterday mentioned in passing that the stock would probably fill the gap back to $3.50 before moving forward. Y'see, there they go again talking about these silly "gaps". On the other hand, if it does retrace to where it was pre-mining law passage I'll buy back the chunk sold, no doubts. Right now just watching and waiting and still plenty long.

Rusoro (RML.v) up 1.7% at $0.61. There's no way round the fact that its 4q08 operational results contained in this pre-earnings update are good reading. With a cash cost of $358/oz the company is doing well.

A little in-house post about the free subscription services


Otto has had his back-office hat on this morning and after studying the recent site stats for....oooh, must be 47 seconds or so I've noticed that there are plenty new readers on board lately that have turned into regulars. That's really wonderfully wonderful and it's great to have you along for the ride. So here's a quick post to point out a couple of 100% free and very easy ways to keep up with the blog, namely the free e-mail subscription system and the RSS feed. You'll find the links to both services up there on the top right of the page.
  • With the free e-mail subs service, all you do is click on and put in your e-mail address. Then check out your inbox for the confirmation mail. Once you click on the confirmation link included you receive a a mail every day at around 7am EST (kinda midday to 3pm in Europe) that includes all the previous day's posts. Couldn't be easier!
  • With RSS, you click on and then confirm which kind of internet reader you want to use (personally, I use Google reader via my iGoogle homepage...very neat and convenient). Once you're on board you receive the posts as they happen (ok, there's a bit of a lag, but it's normally just a few minutes). Again this method is 100% free, gratis and for nothing.
Also please note that the service provider is Feedburner, part of the Google family. This means that I can give you full guarantee that neither myself nor the service provider will hand on your mail address or any other details to third parties. Take that to the bank. So if you feel like signing on the buttons are over there on the top right. Great to see new people here, and even if you don't decide to use the subscription services it'll be great to see you returning directly to the site.

Chau for now, Otto

South American humour roundup

why so serious?

Joke one is from Ecuador, where FinMin Viteri yesterday announced that the 2015 Global bonds weren't under default after all and paid the necessary coupon. GPB at MktMemo sums it up nicely when writing "Don't expect bondholders to be as lenient with Ecuador as they were with Argentina a few years ago"

Joke two is from Argentina, as yesterday the Klishtina government had the brass neck to announce that Argentina's 2008 inflation came in at 7.2%. Triple that number and you're getting closer, according to anyone with a functioning brain that knows the country.

Joke three is from Venezuela, as Crystallex shareholders still believe their company has a future in the country's gold mining sector. Wrongo! The only future in store for KRY is centred on bankruptcy and civil litigation courtrooms.

Freedom, USA-style

Ah, how wonderful, it's that time of year when The Heritage Foundation, a US-based think tank with the mission (and I quote from the website) "to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense", tells the rest of us proles just how bound and gagged we really are.

Yep, it's the 2009 Index of Economic Freedom, cooked up by such level-headed and totally unbiased commentators as Mary Anastasia O'Grady, a woman who doesn't believe that speaking Portuguese or Spanish is necessary for a deeper understanding of Latin America. Anyway, Otto has eschewed the unimportant parts of the world because in the end only LatAm matters (AND YOU KNOW IT) so here's how Amerika's backyard did in this year's amazingly objective poll.

Click to enlarge

And here's the region's countries in table form, just to make sure.

Country World Rank Freedom Score
Chile 11 78,3
El Salvador 33 69,8
Uruguay 38 69,1
Costa Rica 46 66,4
Mexico 49 65,8
Panama 55 64,7
Peru 57 64,6
Colombia 72 62,3
Paraguay 79 61,0
Nicaragua 84 59,8
Guatemala 87 59,4
Dom Rep 88 59,2
Honduras 91 58,7
Brazil 105 56,7
Bolivia 130 53,6
Ecuador 137 52,5
Argentina 138 52,3
Guyana 155 48,4
Venezuela 174 39,9
Cuba 177 27,9

By the way, according to the think tank a Freedom Score™ of 100 is free-as-a-bird and 0 is locked in a dungeon forever. Top score was Hong Kong with 90,0. Now notes on LatAm:
  • Yep, El Salvador, with the world's highest murder rate per capita is second in the whole region, folks. It must be something to do with the way NRA people applaud other country's attitudes. You go girl!
  • Oh look! Evo Morales finally unshackles 3/4 of his population from illiteracy and subjugation while running his economy to the favour of all Bolivians. The reward is a magnificent 130th place (out of a total of 179). Thanks, guys!
  • Great News! The country with the best healthcare system in the region (if not the world), zero illiteracy, thousands of people on the internet using channels of free speech to denounce they have no free speech and no deaths in conflicts for the past 47 years or so just manages to beat out Cholera-ridden Zimbabwe and North Korea...Phew! For a moment there I thought Cuba would get last place.
I could go on. I won't. That's because this humble corner of cyberspace tries its hardest to treat you as an intelligent human being. Under such a burden it's almost impossible to comment too much about this survey. The end.

Chart of the day is.........

........Linear Gold's (LRR.to) three month price chart.

Your social Otto has had two separate conversations about this stock since it announced its merger with Central Sun (CSM.to). The first one was just after Christmas when the stock had moved a bit, then the second was on January 6th when the stock moved a lot. (I hope the first person bought some and I hope the second person didn't).

But then after it moved again, and fast. "Really strange to be a sleeper that long and then suddenly ping 50% or so". That was until yesterday's news of the $15m bought deal. It's just the houses playing their little games after all.

Bottom line; if you like this stock, maybe wait a while longer cos the recent price run-up was a Bay St. special. DYODD dude, but one thing i'll add is that I'm glad LRR.to has taken over CSM.to because now there's a chance there abysmally contaminating Limon mine in Nicaragua cleans up its act. I don't own either stock and never have.

1/13/09

VenRus: a new word for your mining dictionary, care of Hugo


In his national assembly speech, Hugo Chávez said the following:

"In 2008 we created the mixed company (joint venture) VenRus with Russia, a Russian and Venezuelan company. A JV for the deposits of Las Cristinas."

So come on everybody, one last chorus with me. We're not going to get the chance to sing this one again..............

"19 bottles of beer on the wall, 19 bottles of beer...take nineteen down and pass 'em around, there's no more bottles of beeeeeer on the waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaall."

Monterrico torture update: Reuters Lima RULES

Andrew Bristow, maker of large IR mistakes

A large w00t and shoutout for Reuters, the first large English language news organization to pick up on the story of the Monterrico Metals (MNA.L) torture and the revealing photos. Here's the link, so go read it yourself.

And finally someone has managed to get a squeak out of the company, so full kudos goes to the reporter, Dana Ford. And the quote might be short, but it's a real beauty. Monterrico's IR dude Andrew Bristow said it was: "One of an enormous number of things that have happened in terms of opposition activity to the project."

LOL!!! You mean this is only one of the tactics MNA.L has used over the years to beat peaceful protestors into submission? Priceless! File this under "can't-make-this-shit-up-of-the-week". A report out today said that 5,500 jobs have been lost in Peru's mining and metallurgy sector due to the world downturn. Let's make that 5,501 because when Bristow's bosses find out what kind of shitstorm he's just unleashed you can guarantee a pinkslip in his mailbox.

So anyway, nice job Reuters for getting there first. The more people know about the disgusting actions of this company the better for everyone. Except Bristow. Hah!


UPDATE: AP just added copy on the story. C'mon boyz, let's make more noise.

The Monterrico Metals torture case: Who is to blame?

Julio Vásquez

That there was torture committed against 29 Peruvian nationals at the mining camp of Monterrico Metals (MNA.L) at Majaz (now named Rio Blanco) is now beyond dispute. But one of the issues is whether the protagonists were the personnel of Monterrico Metals or the officers of the National Police Force present that day. We know that both took part in the three days of torture against peaceful demonstrators who were lured into the trap under false pretences, but who gave the orders?

Today, light was shed on this part of the crime. Julio Vásquez, the reporter on the scene who was tortured along with the rest, spoke to Peru's state-run CNR radio station. Here is an extract from what he said:

"The police had orders to torture us from the people in charge of the mining camp......"

As clear as clear can be, Vásquez states for the record that Monterrico Metals was the brains behind the torture. How long will the company remain silent? Criminal charges need to be brought against this shameful company and damages should be paid to its victims. Is there a lawyer in the house?


UPDATE:
Thanks to this post in the blog 'Huanca York Times' (a finalist for Peru's best regional blog this year) you can see a report on Peru TV about the Majaz torture with an in-studio interview with Julio Vásquez. Recommended viewing for Spanish speakers, as it does a good job. Salu2 HuancaYork

Trading Post (profit taking edition)


I'm taking half profits on Dynasty Metals (DMM.to), currently up 23% at $4.08. This isn't because I've stopped believing in the company, this is just personal portfolio management. We recommended at it $1.22, my average position is $1.45, it's time to bank some of that. The rest can ride and I hope I'm proved wrong by selling 50% too early. Ka-Ching!

I'm also taking half profits on Cosan (CZZ) down 7.7% at $3.74. Again, the rest can ride. Again, I like this stock going forward. Again, I want cash in the a/c. I know I said I'd hold this for at least three months, but I'm fickle. Ok?

(Ottonote: eleven uses of the word "I" in the first two paragraphs. Ouch...how self-centred?)

Troy Resources (TRY.to) up a spot or two at $0.87. I managed to get some yesterday and I'm probably going to rotate some of the DMM money into TRY today.


And now the pitch: The NOBS report on Dynasty Metals published December 2nd 2008 has so far registered a 234% profit. It might be a little late for the big gains on DMM.to but I am equally bullish on the prospects for Troy Resources (TRY.to) and firmly believe the stock is capable of the same type of upward share price move as DMM (the DMM.to report is still available, by the way).

The NOBS report on TRY.to dated December 28th is still available, its price just U$10 payable by PayPal. So far 31 people have bought the report, details of which you can find on this link. If you're interested in finding out more about TRY.to and why I believe it to be a winning investment you can contact me at this address....

otto.rock1 (AT) gmail (DOT) com

......which is the same address as my PayPal account. If you deposit U$10 at this address you'll receive your report immediately. But if you'd like to enquire first, feel free to write and I'll answer any query you might have.

Let's make some more money together in 2009. It's started well for sure.

Mixed bag of fun

Quack Quack

Wow! Look at what UK blogger ten percent has found out about the crooked British ambassador to Peru, Richard Ralph (above). This is the same guy that was (and still is) up to his neck with Monterrico Metals, the company responsible for torturing Peruvians when they dare to disagree.

After a full two years in office, President Studmuffin has an approval rating of 70%. To celebrate, here's Correa as seen by the enormously wonderful blog Chiguire Bipolar in the new series "Pimp My Prez".

hat tip el chiguire bipolar

A new discovery is the great blog on Peru Notas Desde Lenovo. Spanish language, excellent insight, news behind the news, a top class read. Put it on your RSS, too.

Yesterday's note pointing out the boringly obvious political bias used by Bloomberg Venezuela gets comment from no less an authority than ex-Bloomberg Venezuela journalist. And guess what? Yep, he agrees with me.

Ecuador: Mining Law Approved

Yep, despite the protests from small but vociferous groups of treehuggers and the people that they'd either bribed or brainwashed, it's going on the books.

Last night Ecuador's new law passed its second reading and is now headed up to the executive (i.e. the Muffin) for final i-dottin-and-t-crossin. As this next part is a simple formality we can say for all intents and purposes that the law is on the books and miners can get back to doing what they do best; mining. Here's the official Ecuador Assembly report link.

So let's watch that DMM.to chart today and see if it can't get a bit closer to the gap shown in that previous post. And let's also spare a thought for the Aurelian shareholders who were royally screwed by a self-serving board of directors last year; what price ARU.to today if it still existed?

But my best and warmest thoughts are for Ecuador itself; it might have been an extremely drawn out process, but Correa has done great service to his country via this new law. It banishes the speculators and wide-boys from the scene, it protects the environment (I mean, woe betide any miner that tries to cut corners on this piece of statute) and it will allow Ecuador to grow as a country in a responsible way. Correa might have made a grand-scale error with the bonds issue but this law is a net positive for him, his eventual legacy and his country. Applause.

Chart of the day is.......

......Dynasty Metals (DMM.to) and a trip into the wacky world of technical analysis.

Nearly all proponents of Technical Analysis that I know say that they "don't like gaps". There's something especially weird about this in my view, as if a hole in a chart's pricing can attract a future valuation in some kind of mystic magnetic way. IMHO it's bonus mumbojumbo layered upon the normal TA mumbojumbo, but even the cream of chartists that I know...the ones I actually respect such as Gary over at BiiWii or the mysterious dude known to the world as "Grin" adhere to this hatred of gaps.

So there's a big fat gap for you, charties. Waddya say?

1/12/09

The last crummy reminder for your vote


Tomorrow at 10pm GMT, 5pm EST or 2pm PST the polls close for the Weblog Awards "Best Latino Caribbean or South American Blog". So this is the last time I'm going to bug you to vote, people.