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9/19/09

Insider sellers, insider buyers

ECU Silver (ECU.to) still bailing to the suckers who still lunatic enough believe in this POS

ECU Silver Mining Inc. (ECU)

As of September 18th, 2009
Filing Date Transaction Date Insider Name Ownership Type Securities Nature of transaction # or value acquired or disposed of Unit Price
Sep 18/09 Sep 11/09 Bélanger, Clifford Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -10,000 $0.650
Sep 18/09 Sep 15/09 Bélanger, Clifford Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -10,000 $0.600
Sep 17/09 Sep 11/09 Thériault, Francine Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -10,000

Hank Van Alphen dumped 32,000 Int'l Tower Hill (ITH.v) shares on the market since September 10th this month, at prices from $4.38 upwards. This guy looks after himself and then number one then Henk Van Alphen and then later might have a moment for other people, so take the hint.

International Tower Hill Mines Ltd. (ITH)

As of September 18th, 2009
Filing Date Transaction Date Insider Name Ownership Type Securities Nature of transaction # or value acquired or disposed of Unit Price
Sep 18/09 Sep 15/09 Van Alphen, Hendrik Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -2,000 $4.500
Sep 18/09 Sep 15/09 Van Alphen, Hendrik Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -2,200 $4.580
Sep 18/09 Sep 14/09 Van Alphen, Hendrik Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -100 $4.584
Sep 18/09 Sep 14/09 Van Alphen, Hendrik Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -700 $4.580
Sep 18/09 Sep 11/09 Van Alphen, Hendrik Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -3,000 $4.750
Sep 18/09 Sep 11/09 Van Alphen, Hendrik Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -3,000 $4.580
Sep 18/09 Sep 11/09 Van Alphen, Hendrik Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -1,000 $4.600
Sep 18/09 Sep 11/09 Van Alphen, Hendrik Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -4,000 $4.640
Sep 18/09 Sep 11/09 Van Alphen, Hendrik Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -4,000 $4.480
Sep 18/09 Sep 10/09 Van Alphen, Hendrik Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -4,000 $4.440

Meanwhile, the B2gold chairman Robert Cross has suddenly taken a liking to his stock. He's never owned a share in BTO.to until this week and now here he is with 250,000 bought on the open market.

B2Gold Corp. (BTO)

As of September 18th, 2009
Filing Date Transaction Date Insider Name Ownership Type Securities Nature of transaction # or value acquired or disposed of Unit Price
Sep 18/09 Sep 17/09 Cross, Robert Melvin Douglas Indirect Ownership Common Shares 10 - Acquisition in the public market 150,000 $0.730
Sep 18/09 Sep 16/09 Cross, Robert Melvin Douglas Indirect Ownership Common Shares 10 - Acquisition in the public market 100,000 $0.740


And Sheldon is falling in love with Pinetree again. Just like starting over, no?

Pinetree Capital Ltd. (PNP)

As of September 18th, 2009
Filing Date Transaction Date Insider Name Ownership Type Securities Nature of transaction # or value acquired or disposed of Unit Price
Sep 18/09 Sep 10/09 Inwentash, Sheldon Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Acquisition in the public market 500 $1.640
Sep 18/09 Sep 10/09 Inwentash, Sheldon Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Acquisition in the public market 101,300 $1.634
Sep 18/09 Sep 10/09 Inwentash, Sheldon Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Acquisition in the public market 50,000 $1.678
Sep 18/09 Sep 09/09 Inwentash, Sheldon Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Acquisition in the public market 5,200 $1.650
Sep 18/09 Sep 09/09 Inwentash, Sheldon Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Acquisition in the public market 2,800 $1.644
Sep 18/09 Sep 09/09 Inwentash, Sheldon Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Acquisition in the public market 148,300 $1.644
Sep 18/09 Sep 09/09 Inwentash, Sheldon Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Acquisition in the public market 18,500 $1.660
Sep 18/09 Sep 08/09 Inwentash, Sheldon Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Acquisition in the public market 147,300 $1.673
Sep 14/09 Sep 04/09 Inwentash, Sheldon Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Acquisition in the public market 10,100 $1.641
Sep 14/09 Sep 04/09 Inwentash, Sheldon Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Acquisition in the public market 300 $1.640

Tom Raffanello and R. Allen Stanford

Tom Raffanello (for it is he)

Waaaaaaay back on the 19th February 2009, your humble servant wrote this post that mentioned a certain Tom Raffanello. At the time of the Stanford Ponzi blow-up, Raffanello was head of Stanford Financial Group's security department. Previous to that he was head of Miami's DEA. Here's how my post went:

There's a lot of speculation and chatter about possible connections between Cur Allen Stanford and the heady world of narcotrafficking this morning, but away from pure jawboning there is a solid and verifiable link between Stanford and the world of drugs.

However, it's...err...ahem...on the other side of the ....errr...coin. A guy called Tom Raffanello is (or perhaps was) head of the Stanford Financial Group security department. The thing is that once upon a time......errrr.....how can I put this?...hmmmmm....he was head of the Miami DEA! Yep, true, here's a link to Google returns that show our friend Tom was a DEA guy way back then.

Now, of course, we all know that the Miami DEA fight drugs to man and never take bribes and don't have the slightest suspicion of wrongdoing in their illustrious and squeaky-clean history.

All the same, quite a coincidence, n'est pas?


Bad pennies are as bad pennies does. Last week Raffanello was indicted by the US good-guy-bad-guy people. Here's Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A security director for the shuttered Stanford Financial Group, and a deputy, were indicted for their alleged role in obstructing the probe of group's alleged $7 billion fraud, court documents unsealed on Thursday showed.

Thomas Raffanello, a former security director at the group's office at Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was charged with three counts.
And here's Reuters again
 FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Sept 11 (Reuters) - The security
chief accused of illegally shredding documents at Stanford
Financial Group was simply "taking out the garbage" and
committed no crime, his lawyer said in a court filing.
 Thomas Raffanello, 61, who before joining Stanford was
chief of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's Miami
office, was taken into a Fort Lauderdale federal courtroom in
shackles on Friday to face charges of conspiracy, obstruction
of justice and destroying records.
 Raffanello served as the global security chief for Stanford
Financial Group (SFG), the Texas-based banking company accused
in an alleged $7 billion Ponzi scheme that bilked investors who
bought certificates of deposit from Stanford's Caribbean bank.
 Raffanello, of Coral Gables, Florida, and a deputy, Bruce
Perraud, 42, of Weston, Florida, are accused of shredding
documents at SFG's Fort Lauderdale offices after the
court-appointed receiver for Stanford ordered company employees
not to destroy any documents.
 U.S. Magistrate Robin Rosenbaum granted Raffanello $100,000
bond at his brief hearing on Friday. Raffanello was set to
be arraigned on Sept. 18

So now that he's been arraigned, the word is on the street about Stanford's connection to the world of Miami drugs and the people he employed who were so keen on covering up for him....about seven months after IKN first broke the connection.

Just sayin'


Down down down

Toldya (about a thousand times)

LIMA, Sep 18 (Reuters) - Peru's central bank on Friday cut its view for 2009 economic growth to 1.8 percent from 3.3 percent as the global downturn hurts domestic activity, and said weak demand would keep inflation below 1 percent.

It also trimmed its 2010 GDP forecast to 5 percent from 5.5 percent continues here

And just to toot my horn again, this was my best guess chart for 2009 GDP waaaaaaaaay back on April 16th when the liars were peddling 5+% growth for the year.


As it turns out, it looks like I was being overly generous for the current June to August period. It's unlikely to break 1% growth for the year now.

9/18/09

The Friday OT: Jarabe de Palo, Bonito

Feelgood music at its finest.



Jarabe de Palo is literally translated as "syrup of pole" and is Spain Spanish slang for "spanking", for example, "vas a cobrar jarabe de palo" (you're going to get pole syrup, meaning "you're going to feel a stick across you nether regions" as spoken by a parent to a naughty child). But this 2003 song this shouts LIFE! and is so...well so bonito, really. Mumble along with the words right here:

Bonito, todo me parece bonito
Bonita mañana
bonito lugar
bonita la cama
qué bien se ve el mar
bonito es el día
y acaba de empezar bonita la vida
respira, respira, respira

El teléfono suena, mi pana se queja
la cosa va mal, la vida le pesa
que vivir así ya no le interesa
que seguir así no vale la pena
se perdió el amor, se acabó la fiesta
ya no anda el motor que empuja la tierra
la vida es un chiste con triste final
el futuro no existe pero yo le digo...

Bonito todo me parece bonito

Bonita la paz, bonita la vida
bonito volver a nacer cada día
bonita la verdad cuando no suena a mentira
bonita la amistad, bonita la risa
bonita la gente cuando hay calidad
bonita la gente que no se arrepiente
que gana y que pierde, que habla y no miente
bonita la gente por eso yo digo...

Bonito, todo me parece bonito

Qué bonito que te va cuando te va bonito,
qué bonito que te va

Bonito, todo me parece bonito
La mar la mañana, la casa, la sombra,
la tierra, la paz y la vida que pasa.
Bonito, todo me parece bonito.
Tu calma, tu salsa, la mancha en la
espalda, tu cara, tus ganas el fin de semana

Bonita la gente que viene y que va
bonita la gente que no se detiene
bonita la gente que no tiene edad
que escucha, que entiende, que tiene y que da

Bonito Portet, bonito Peret
bonita la rumba, bonito José
bonita la brisa que no tiene prisa
bonito este día, respira, respira
Bonita la gente cuando es de verdad
Bonita la gente que es diferente
Que tiembla, que siente
Que vive el presente
bonita la gente que estuvo y no está.

Bonito, todo me parece bonito.

Qué bonito que te va cuando te va bonito,
qué bonito que te va.
Qué bonito que se está cuando se está
bonito qué bonito que se está.

Bonito, todo me parece bonito

Yankees go home

click to enlarge (cool hi-res photo that gets big)

Today, anticipating the closure of its Eloy Alfaro 'Manta' military in Ecuador by about six weeks (official handback date is November) the last US Air Force personnel left the base.

Enjoy Colombia, boys.

Peru to Venezuelan criminals "Come on over, you're all welcome (bring cash)"

Perez. Boo hiss we don't like you

This week a certain Oscar Pérez Torres arrived in Peru from Venezuela seeking political asylum. His arrival comes on the back of other recent Venezuelan opposition runaways such as the ex-governor of Aragua state Didalco Bolívar, the Maracaibo dude Manuel Rosales.

Oscar Pérez, a well-known political figure in Venezuela, calls himself the principal advisor to Caracas mayor Antonio Ledezma. However he's also a thug and if Peru grant asylum to this scumball it would have uppd the ante in its "we accept anyone with money who claims persecution in Chavezlandia" policy of late. Guys like Rosales have a patchy record and have very likely been up to neck in corrupt activity for quite a while. But that's hardly anything new in LatAm politics, so the timing of his call to courtroom does smack of political witch-hunting, at least to a certain level. Personally I think Rosales desreves plenty of time behind bars, but Vzla oppos will at least debate the dude's circumstances with an opinion that cannot be thrown away in seconds.

No so Pérez. The guy is nasty. He's the leader of a crime syndicate in Caracas that has dealt in stolen cars. He's the guy behind the recent violent behaviour of opposition marchers (who tend to make noise but not much else when scumballs such as Pérez are involved). He has an arrest warrant out on him because he's broken the freakin' law! That's all. This isn't politics, this is delinquency and the will to pass bribes to government figures in the name of freedom.

If Peru takes this guy in, its moral capital will go directly to zero. A bellweather case well worth following.

ATW Gold (ATW.v): Once a Canaccord broker, always a Canaccord broker

Luke Norman (for it is he)

On Sept 11, ATW Gold (ATW.v) came out with this PR that contained stock-dumping news. The badstuff was basically wrapped into this section....

As a result of the drill program, supplemented with recent underground mapping, multiple northeastern fault splays previously not recognized in earlier drilling were identified. These splays have a profound effect in controlling mineralization and recent mining has encountered vein offsets of up to 15m.

This complexity is currently affecting the mining dilution which is negatively impacting the mill head grade. This structural complexity affected the last two gold pours of August, returning only 1,865 fine ounces of gold for the month. Production for September is forecast to be in the order of 2,100oz.

...that explained the company had hit a geological wrinkle at its Burnakura mine and that production would be problematic for a while until the geological structure was understood and they knew where to dig to continue mining their mineral vein. Ok, fair enough, mining isn't an exact science, these things happen. It's certainly not the end of the world for a decent operator like ATW.v and the mining is very likely to get back on its full course in the future, but on the other hand the stock sell-off was clearly justified under the circumstances.


What isn't justified, however, is an insider dumping half a million shares on the market just before the news came out.

ATW Gold Corp. (ATW)

As of September 17th, 2009
Filing Date Transaction Date Insider Name Ownership Type Securities Nature of transaction # or value acquired or disposed of Unit Price
Sep 17/09 Aug 27/09 Norman, Luke Anthony Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -500,000 $0.540


Luke Norman is a director and the VP of Corporate Development at ATW.v. But as leopards have spots, Norman showed his formation to all the world. He started as a trainee stockbroker at the tender age of 16 and worked at the par excellance me-first-screw-you dealers, Canaccord, for four years before joining ATW.v. So rather than maintain a dignified attitude towards his salary generators (ie ATW and its shareholders), Norman reverted to his mean, dumped a large chunk of stock before anyone else had the chance and then waited until after the Sept 11th press release to late-file his trade. Since Luke Norman's sale, ATW.v has dropped 25.9%.

Or maybe you think a dyed-in-the-wool ex-stockbroker with the inside track on company matters who makes his first insider trading move since April 2008 by selling 500,000 shares just before a large slug of bad corporate news is a mere coincidence. My bridge is still for sale, by the way. Please send a mail.

Just another day in Canadian capital markets, folks. And the dumbass suits wonder why they have such a bad rep........

Chart of the day is....

...gold, weekly futures.

We've done this chart more than once in recent CotDs, but as today is quite an important one (on the technical side, at least) there's no worries about running it again Chez Otto.

So what we're looking for is a Friday close above previous daily closes (the candles, not the wicks). No more and no less. The London PM fix is a number being anticipated by charties all over. so, by the way, are the COTs out at 3:30pm EST. I'm sure Gary and Lucas will be all over that one in their weekend commentaries.

Me? I'm just Mr. StatusQuo. Staying nervy but climbing my own personal wall of worry with a defensively long mindset. It's boring and it hasn't seen me make a squillion in leveraged bull call option moves, but it works.


9/17/09

Trading Post (flushing toilet edition)


Fortuna Silver (FVI.v) up 1.3% at $1.52 and one of the few holding on to early gains in the sell-off. Anyone else note Ridgway has picked up a few of these? Fortuna treats its small SH with respect, unlike....
.
Endeavour Silver (EDR.to) down 10.8% at $3.07, another sneaky silver company giving its retail holders the KY Jelly treatment via a surprise financing. Oh they so care about you. Not.
.
Minefinders (MFN) down 6.5% at U$9.98 on the same kind of thing. To be honest the $60m bought deal at $10.65 isn't as SH-unfriendly as the EDR move today. It's a bot deal and priced strongly with no warrant overhang. But it still puts an stock overhang on things and it's certainly stopped the rally in its tracks.
.
Rusoro (RML.v) down 7.4% at $0.44 and gettin' no respect. The sharp drop in the parallel rate in Venezuela will help the comapany greatly, but that seems to have passed the market by. So be it. DYODD.
.
Ecometals (EC.v) down 4.8% at $0.40. No drill permit yet, boyz? I guffaw at BS-laden mgmt and at the idiot longs who'll still believe these shadies next time they come out with their jam tomorrow spiel.
.
Nadagold (NG) down 8.2% at U$5.16. Woof woof woof, a thousand times woof. In other news, today Rick! announces he's going all TinTin on us. Can't wait to see his new haircut.

Crown Point Ventures (CWV.v): Paydirt


Crown Point Ventures (CWV.v) is a company we've followed these last few weeks and watched it successfully hit oil in three from three drills it's put in the ground in Argentina. Now come the good part, as today this PR hit the wires that starts like this (and check out the bit I put in bold type):

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Sept. 17, 2009) - Crown Point Ventures Ltd. (the "Company") (TSX VENTURE:CWV - News) advises that it has successfully completed the EVx-19 well as a dual zone oil well. This well was drilled as part of a three well program in the El Valle field in the San Jorge Basin in Argentina. All three wells have been cased as potential oil wells and the EVx-19 is the first to be completed.

In the EVx-19 well, the Company has completed two zones; the first is a five meter thick sandstone in the Caleta Olivia formation; upon completion this zone tested light oil. The second is a four meter zone in the Canadon Seco. The Canadon Seco zone was fracture stimulated during swabbing and the subsequent production test freely flowed clean oil. The well flowed until it was shut down to run pump and rods. The well will be placed on regular production in the next few days.

"We are pleased with the completion results of the EVx-19 well," said Murray D. McCartney, President and CEO. "The completion of the EVx-19 well is an excellent indicator of what we can hope to see during the completion of the remaining two wells. It should be noted that all of the wells encountered numerous potential pay zones and the EVx-19 well has several other zones which have not yet been completed and evaluated."

Methinks CWV.v is going higher. Disclosure; I own a few. Not many, just a few.

Bolivian Cocaine: Facts versus Propaganda

Here are the facts:

Here's President Morales yesterday, and notice that last bit about Bolivia's willingness to buy surveillance planes from the USA to combat drug runners, but the US wouldn't allow the sales. It's actually worse than that; Bolivia also asked the Czech Republic to sell them anti-narco planes, but due to their defence pacts the Czechs had to ask permission from the USA to sell the planes. The USA refused permission. Bolivia didn't get the Czech planes.
Bolivian President Evo Morales said Wednesday that Bolivia has seized a total of 19 tons of cocaine so far this year, more than the 11 tons for all of 2005.

"Also, in the first nine months of 2009, Bolivia eradicated 5,000 hectares of coca (cocaine's raw ingredient) without shooting a single bullet," Morales told a press conference in Quemado Palace in La Paz.

The country's anti-drug forces also discovered mega-factories of cocaine hydrochloride with sophisticated equipment, Morales said.

Morales stressed that Bolivia has achieved success in combating drug trafficking without cooperation of the United States.

Bolivia planned to buy planes with radars to detect aircraft with drug, but "the United States was against those buys," Morales added.

Here is the propaganda. Remember as you read this that Bolivia threw out the US DEA in 2008. Since the USA's "help" has gone Bolivia's cocaine seizures have improved dramatically.
WASHINGTON, Sept 16 (Reuters) - The United States has charged Bolivia and Venezuela with failing to do enough to fight the drug trade, but said it would continue aid to the two countries, both led by critics of U.S. foreign policy.

In an annual report, the United States said Bolivia -- the world's third-largest cocaine producer -- Venezuela and Myanmar had all "failed demonstrably" to meet their counter-narcotics obligations.
You guys up there actually think you live in a free democracy, don't you?

Media bias? What media bias!

A must-read post over at Plan Colombia and Beyond (a blog that should win awards it's so damn good at its subject) about how the US censors stories and only allows "good news" stories from countries deemed 'US friendly' and "bad news" stories from countries with a bad relationship with TheWorldPoliceOfficer™

Shocked! Ah Wuz Shocked Ah Say!

PCAB quotes from this Washington Times report that's a fine piece of journalism. What a refreshing change to say that about Moon Daily. Here's an extract:

U.S. embassies are discouraging or suppressing negative reports to Washington about U.S. allies, sometimes depriving officials of information they need to make good policy decisions, current and former diplomats say.

One diplomat told The Washington Times that he has decided to resign in part because of frustration with “rampant self-censorship” by Foreign Service officers and their superiors that has gone so far as to ban “bad news” cables from countries that are friendly with the United States. …

Current and former Foreign Service officers said the censorship reached a peak during the Bush administration. They attributed its continuation to a risk-averse institutional culture.

“Even in highly classified cables, people in the [Foreign Service] are very careful not to speak negatively about their host country,” said the diplomat, who is resigning after three overseas assignments. …

The resigning officer said that, during one of his tours, his ambassador, a political appointee of President Bush, “flat out banned any ‘bad-news’ cables, and made it known at all levels that we were only to produce ‘good-news stories’ about our [host] country,” a U.S. ally.

The officer said he had written “several cables critical of senior leaders” in his host country and about “interference by the government in the electoral process,” but many of them “were either quashed or radically altered.”

On the other hand, he said, negative cables are common regarding countries with strained relations with Washington, such as Burma, Zimbabwe and Venezuela.


Fronteer (FRG), AuEx Ventures (XAU.to) and Long Canyon

News out from both companies about their JV asset, Long Canyon in Nevada.

The FRG version is on this link

The XAU.to version is on this link

Here's how the FRG PR kicks off (and after reading the first para, any minehead will want to click through and read the whole thing).

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - 09/17/09) - Fronteer Development Group Inc. (TSX:FRG - News)(AMEX:FRG - News) announces today that new drilling along Long Canyon's intensely altered West Zone has extended high-grade oxide gold mineralization an additional 200 metres along strike.

The West Zone is one of five parallel elongate gold zones that make up the evolving Long Canyon deposit. Examination of drill core from the West Zone suggests that alteration intensity is increasing westward, and additional drilling may lead to identification of a feeder zone or zones toward the west. Highlights from important new step-out holes from the West Zone include:

- 7.39 grams per tonne gold (0.216 ounces per ton) over 12.7 metres, including 28.70 g/t (0.838 oz/ton) over 2.7 metres in LC285C;

- 12.52 g/t (0.366 oz/ton) over 12.5 metres, including 40.10 g/t (1.171 oz/ton) over 3.6 metres in LC291C; and

- 2.50 g/t gold (0.73 oz/ton) over 23.0 metres, including 9.62 g/t (0.281 oz/ton) over 3.0 metres in LC292C.

The IKN Weekly subscribers know how much I like both stocks; quality mgmt, quality assets, serious juniors. And by way of a reminder, Nevada is where Newmont (NEM) is looking to gather resource ounces in the future. Yeah, that's the same Newmont that has just raised U$2Bn for expansion and M&A reasons.

Chart of the day is....

..Troy Resources, Aussie listing, 12 month chart.


That's cos we had another 52 wk high last night.

This humble corner of cyberspace has held its TRY position for eight months and about 200%.

Just sayin'.

9/16/09

New site sponsor, Verdmont Capital


This humble corner of cyberspace has taken the plunge and accepted (after kindly refusing a few offers) a new advertiser on site. Click on that banner above and you'll be magically whisked to the website of Verdmont Capital. Here's a bit of the spiel from Verdmont's website:
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Your correspondent has accepted this advertiser for four main reasons. Firstly they offer a good alternative and access to specialist capital markets. For example, you can trade Australia's stock market, something more than useful for mining investors. Secondly I did my DD, checked them out in my own time and liked what I saw and heard. They have a good reputation in their field and satisfied customers already on board. Thirdly, I feel there is no conflict of interest for me in accepting this sponsor (e.g. I've refused mining company sponsorship for this very reason). And lastly they're paying me a shekel or two for the space.

So please take time out and visit Verdmont Capital's website. Thank you for your attention.
.

The Venezuelan Currency and this week's coveted award

Here's the chart:

And thusly, this week's coveted award goes to all the prophets of doom that predicted 10:1 for the VEF vs the greenback. All those financial dumbasses that used the word "Zimbabwe" to explain what was about to happen to Venezuela. You are so pwned, dudes, all you have left is, "Yes b-b-b-b-b-but he's not doing it properly, is he?", the financier's equivalent of foot-stomping and pouting. So just do us all a favor and...

Ecuador and Mining: The mining minister speaks (and says very nice things)

Pinto (for it is he)

A significant interview with Germánico Pinto, Ecuador's Mining Minister, was published today by ALBA press. You still think Ecuador is against mining? You think foreign companies are not welcome? You think mining isn't going to happen in Ecuador? If so, you live in World Of EpicFail. What you're about to read is a man who's clearly gearing up the country for the imminent arrival of modern mining to Ecuador. And Canadian mining companies are fully welcome. Don't say I didn't tell yaz, dudes.

The IKN Weekly Subscribers got the following full translation of interview (done by yours truly) sent to them just after 1pm EST. They had three hours of open market to act on this. Now the market is closed it's your turn to copypaste, stick it on a bullboard without a link (as per usual) and claim kudos for yourself. Enjoy.

The New Mining Law Allows the State to Control Non-Renewable Natural Resources

The Minister of Mines and Petroleum, Germánico Pinto, in an interview given to ALBA, stated that the with new mining law the State gains the capacity of control, regulation and management of non-renewable natural resources.

The minister also explained that an effective system of royalty collection has been established for the exploration and exploitation of concessions so that they can be redistributed to the communities that may be affected by mining projects.

Among other things, Pinto emphasized the need the socialize the sector, to have integral and effective plans and to have all sectors involved in the decision-making process to avoid affecting the environment, to push forward with the creation of he new State Mining Company, to identify the benefits of responsible mining and the new mining project envisaged for the country.

Q: What are the changes contemplated by the new mining law proposed by the government?

The important point of the new mining law is the establishment of new rules that allow the State to assume a regulatory and controlling role in all aspects of mining, as established in the constitution, to generate an adequate and effective direction of mining in Ecuador.

Q: How is the socialization (i.e. public awareness campaign) of the new law working?

We have spoken with many groups, communities, municipalities with a view to discussing the application of this law. We believe that it is important to converse with all people and indicate the way in which we propose having the dynamics of mining here in Ecuador. With the new law we will be more careful with the environment and communities that are around projects will be the first to benefit from those projects. Among the townships we have visited is Zamora, where we had dialogue with the Shuar community, mayors and the prefecture. It was an interesting dialogue with the small-scale miners. I think the way in which we continue these conversation allows us to be understood.

Q: Regarding the creation of the State Mining Company (Empresa Nacional de Minería, ENM), what are the objectives and benefits?

The ENM will be the equivalent of PetroEcuador (note: state oil company) in the mining sector. This entity will be charged with the control of the main mining projects and will run all the strategic agreements and alliances with different types of organizations, including the local communities, to achieve a better development of mining in Ecuador.

Q: What does 'responsible mining without affecting the environment' mean?

The environment will always be affected by any human activity. What we are looking for is responsible mining, with the least environmental effects possible, via the use of technology, by adequate mining methods and evidently in terms of safety of workers and security and health of localized communities.

Q: Have dialogues have been started with different communities regarding mining exploitation?

We have established a cluster of strategic projects around which we are going to begin this new project being put forward by the government in which the State has direct talks with the communities. We have started in the Zamora region and we are going to start in various zones of coastal Ecuador in order to develop in a correct way this process that is fundamental for the development of the country.

Q: What are the economic benefits once mining investments arrive in the country?


Ecuador is going to enter into an important process of resource management and once the exploitation begins it will mean an income flow for the State. But not only for the State, also for the communities that live around the projects. This is very important because it implies an effective change in the quality of life for the people in these zones.

Q: What are the new projects of mining exploitation that will start in the country?

We have various types of projects. Some are projects that are currently developing with Canadian companies, this due to the fact that in Ecuador we do not have much experience in the mining sector, but simultaneously we want to begin developing projects managed by the state via the ENM and in conjunction with other countries. For example with Chile and its CODELCO company we have an agreement to begin mining development in certain areas. Therefore we have many ways to establish the mechanisms through which we will develop mining exploitation. The State can also establish agreements with mining organizations in those zones we consider convenient. That is to say we have a wide and diversified vision in the way we are looking towards mining and we believe that mining must be developed here in Ecuador. At the moment we have agreements with Canada that has some investments that are beginning to happen, with Chile and we hope to amplify these agreements with several other countries.

Q: Will the ENM be charged with regulating and controlling the programmed mining projects?

No. The regulation and control of all aspects of mining will be done by the new Agency of Regulation and Mining Control (Agencia de Regulación y Control Minero). This new organization will, in the name of the State, have the task of regulating and controlling mining at all levels. The responsible and adequate development of mining is something that very much favours the State and Ecuador. We believe that by doing it in an adequate way, exactly the way we propose, taking into account care for the environment and that the communities obtain direct benefits from these projects, it will have a very positive and important impact to the future of Ecuador. For this reason we believe that in general terms the proposal of mining development we are putting forward is a proposeal that is totally different to the way mining has been managed up to now in Ecuador. We are building a different country, transforming our country and also its mining.

Trading Post (target rich environment edition)


Today's Trading Post could list about four dozen names and wax lyrical on them all, so there's little point really. All we're going to do today is to say that Dynasty Metals (DMM.to) is going higher very soon, that subscribers found out why about 45 minutes ago and that I'll put up the reason why on a post here after the bell. Watch this space.

DYODD

UPDATE: For the record, this post was published with a timestamp from Google of 1:47pm EST. In other words, right here:
Spooky, huh?

Bookstaber on regulation and capitalism

Rick Bookstaber is always worth a read, but this time he's penned a thoughtful piece entitled "Regulation in Defense of Capitalism" that is definitely worth your time. As well as the argument, it's nice to remember (amidst the disgusting behaviour and greed-laden screw-you attitude of today's WallSt) the true benefits of capitalism when it's done well. Bookstaber's asides in this article are the material of prompt.

It's tempting to paste the last paragraph by way of a sample but this time I desist, as really you need to see the whole argument building in context of the full post. Go read.

An interview with Rick Brown of Amarillo Gold (AGC.v)

Your humble correspondent recently caught up with the the COO of Amarillo Gold (AGC.v), COO Rick Brown. Along with Buddy Doyle, Brown is very much the driving force of AGC.v, especially in its exploration and development activites at its Brazilian assets. This interview was first published in IKN20 last sunday and Rick has kindly given permission for it to be repeated here on the public access blog. No more blahblah from me, on with the action.

Otto Rock: Hi Rick, and thanks for agreeing to do this interview

Rick Brown: Happy to answer your questions Otto and hope to catch up with you next time I’m over your way.

OR: So down to business. What is it like running an exploration junior in Brazil? You have plenty of experience of other countries, so how does Brazil compare as an environment to do business?

RB: Modern mining and exploration, even by foreign companies, has political and social/ community support throughout the country and except for parts of the Amazon basin generally excellent infrastructure and very tolerable working conditions. The only other country on the continent that can boast those conditions is Chile and that’s a lot more mature as far as exploration opportunities goes. The one notable negative in Brazil is the pervasive bureaucracy which is one of the worst in Lat Am, but once you’ve scaled the learning curve its manageable.

OR: And what about it as a place to live, as it’s your home base if memory serves?

RB: That’s right and a very easy place to live (except when that dreaded bureaucracy gets in the way). First world convenience and comforts if you got a professional income and all over the country people are welcoming and friendly.

OR: As for the company, Amarillo Gold, we understand that it has two main projects moving forward at the moment. Would you give us a general overview of both, starting with the Posse project.

RB: Posse is a million ounce resource in all categories about 60/40 indicated/inferred. Location couldn’t be better, 11km from main N-S federal highway and within a few hours drive of five other major mining projects. The deposit was previously mined on a small scale by WMC in the early 1990’s with about 80,000ozs extracted. The mine represented a major source of employment in the small town of Mara Rosa and the people were able to observe that environmental impact can be managed without any long term effects. So we have the happy situation where the locals are eager for a new mining operation to commence and start employing people again, and from the authorities point of view there has already been a mining operation and subsequent environmental rehabilitation all with the requisite approvals.

OR: The other main area is Lavras do Sul. What can you tell us about that?

RB: Lavras do Sul is the best known gold project in the South of Brazil. The prospective area covers a 100km2 intrusion, plus some of the surrounding volcanic, of which Amarillo has optioned about 95% from three different titleholders. Mining commenced in the 1700s, and about 20 old workings dot the area. Over 20,000 metres has been drilled to date in 5 prospect areas, 16,000 by Amarillo. Four of the prospects have returned significant gold intersections of which the most promising are Butia and Cerrito. The best intersections are 232 metres @ 1.92 g/t, 227 metres @ 1.80 g/t and 120m @ 3.23 g/t, both at Butia. The next phase of drilling planned for October this year will aim to delineate an initial 43-101 resource for Butia and Cerrito. Drilling will continue on the other prospects in 2010.

OR: As long as I’ve understood correctly, Posse is the more advanced of the two projects. Last week (Sept 2nd) Amarillo announced it was running a third party metallurgical testing on Posse mineral. Can you tell us, layman’s terms if possible so that even I can understand, what you’re looking to achieve with this testing and the importance of it in the mine development track?

RB: The objective is of the tests is to maximise gold recoveries from any future mining on a cost/benefit basis. This will involve testing for example various grind sizes and applying different process flow parameters. During the previous mining at Posse, gold recoveries varied between 80% and 90%. In our 2008 scoping study we assumed the lower end of this range due to the fact that we had no historic data for the sub 2g/t material included in the expanded Posse resource. Since then we carried out some preliminary tests at a state run laboratory which indicate that we can hope to repeat these recoveries even in the lower grades and that finer grinding may be the key to higher recoveries throughout the grade spectrum.

However it must be stressed that these tests were a long way from even pre-feasibility criteria and didn’t include economic parameters such as cyanide concentration and energy consumption. For this reason we’re running this new series of tests which will be way more comprehensive and will give a much better idea of what kind of recoveries we can expect from a 21st century mining operation.

OR: Moving to the financial side of the company, you’ve recently raised working capital successfully via an equity offering. After going through the institutional process, what’s your feeling of the market right now or junior exploration-stage miners?

RB: You’d think with gold over $1,000 the gold juniors would be in fat city but the market is still very selective and this is reflected in the fact that the TSX venture index is still at August 2003 levels. One thing that’s noticeable this year is that good drill results will really move stocks – we’re hoping for same from our upcoming Lavras drill program - but apart from that the best thing you can do is get your story out.

OR: How long is the capital you raised in this last round expected to last the company? Will it see you through 2010, for example?


RB: For sure we could see through 2010 but that would mean a higher proportion of relatively fixed costs such as G&A, management, promotion and BCSC compliance and less actually going in the ground proving up more ounces and thereby adding real shareholder value. We’d prefer to aim for an 80/20 ratio which means more news flow, more chances of exploration success and more shareholder value.

OR: One problem that is seemingly raising its head in Brazil is that of the appreciation of the currency, the Brazilian Real (BRL) against the dollar. Is the strong Real affecting your company finances very much?

RB: While we’d obviously pefer a weaker Real bear in mind that the Company is financed in Canadian dollars which has lost just 12% against the Real this year and is actually at the same level – approx 1.7 – as it was 12 months ago.

OR: There are a number of shareholders of Amarillo reading this interview. Also, there are plenty of other potential shareholders. I took some straw poll opinion from AGC shareholders and, although they are in general relaxed about holding the stock on a longer term basis, the main complaint they have is the lack of promotion given to the stock by you the management team. Can you address this issue?

RB: We have been saying the same thing internally and for the first time we are developing a promotion strategy and budget starting with a Munich investment conference and presentation later this month.

OR: And as for the future, what can we expect from AGC by way of catalysts in the months to come? I for one am rooting for the company, but I’d like some solid newsflow to cheer me on the way and hopefully move the stock price forward.

RB: Newsflow catalysts up till end of year will likely be drilling at Lavras do Sul, interim results from Posse met (metallurgical) tests, further plans for advancing Posse pre-feas and exploration on other Mara Rosa targets, plus surface geochem and drill targeting at Lavras and Santo Antonio projects.

OR: Rick, thank you for the interview today. We can wrap it up here, but I’d like to give you the chance to say any last words.

RB: It’s worth mentioning that we never stop looking for new acquisition opportunities that will add significant shareholder value to our current portfolio..

OR: Thank you very much.