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10/17/09

Snow White, Australian beer style

Totally OT and unjustifiable in IKN, here's an advert for 'Jamieson's Raspberry Beer', an Australian brew that wants to convince the beer-drinking public over there (I hear there are one or two) that their product is "anything but sweet". You probably can't buy it where you live, but there's always 7-Up as an alternative....


Apparently Disney is pissed at them. Read more in this Australia Daily Telegraph report.

"only" four victims

In an amazing breakthrough for world democracy, Colombia's Center for Research and Popular Education (CINEP) reports that there have "only" been four deaths due to false positives in Colombia this year.

Yes that's right, folks. Whoop and cheer, because in 2009 only four innocent people were kidnapped by the country's armed forces, murdered in cold blood and then dressed as FARC terrorists by the state servants to make them look like victims of battles...so that the country's soldiers could reach their quota set by Uribe and company and get extra time off.

Your author's meek question: How can any number above zero be cause for celebration on something as jawdroppingly disgusting?

Here's an English language report on the issues, thanks to Colombia Reports.


Peru: Protests triple under Twobreakfasts

A good note in Gran Combo on the upsurge in social conflicts in Peru. According to the note and also according to the official numbers published by the (literally translated cos it's a good name) "defensor of the people" ombudsman, conflicts and protests have risen threefold in the last two years.


There are other charts on offer at GranCombo too, with one that notes the large percentage of the abovementioned protests generated by environmental and pollution issues.

10/16/09

The Friday OT: KD Lang, Hallelujah

A voice in a million? Nope, make that ten million.



About an hour ago I was busy doing my thing when 'constant craving' came over the local radio. I mentioned it to an IM pal and then said "hey, you ever hear kd lang's version of Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah'?". He gave the big thumbs up, so off I went looking to see if it exists on a youtube.

I'm glad to say I found this gem. KD Lang sung it to her peers at the Juno awards in 2005 and the crowd of professional musicos, quite rightly, go totally apeshit at the end. Spinechillingly excellent music, sit back and enjoy.

Trading Post (fishy edition)


Girly Stock (GRL.v) up 3.7% at $1.42. Glenchein has told the world the obvious, i.e. that it needs to raise 200 large ones to build the Morelos mine. Interesting to note that the special warrants book is currently being run with no price set on the issue. Will anyone dare to oppose TeamCanada™ and raise a headwind?

Crown Point Ventures (CWV.v) up 5.4% at $0.98. I'm now sitting on a double here (bar the second tranche bot at $0.75). Happy daze and more news coming for subbers sunday. DYODD.

Vena Resources (VEM.to) down 8.1% at $0.34 but volume überthin and the ask at 38c. All good things to those who wait. Love this stock at anything under 40c.

Rusoro (RML.v) up 9.3% at $0.59. I'm looking you straight in the eye, I'm lowering my voice to sound as serious as possible and I'm saying to you "this stock is going higher".

Troy Resources (TRY.to) up 2.1% at $2.39. Also good.

A sad day for the Ecuador knownothings


The mining jungledrums are abuzz with the news that Ecuador will ratify, confirm, sign, put into action or whatever you want to call it the new mining law on November 4th (and yeah, nov 4th 2009 before you ask). Here as an example is Cornerstone Capital (CGP.v) and its news release, but you're going to see plenty of variations on this theme today if you get autofeed PRs from miners.

MOUNT PEARL, NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR--(Marketwire - Oct. 16, 2009) - Cornerstone Capital Resources Inc. (TSX VENTURE:CGP - News; FRANKFURT:GWN - News; BERLIN:GWN - News; PINK SHEETS:CTNXF - News) is pleased to announce that at a meeting held yesterday in Toronto, the Government of Ecuador confirmed that the Regulations to the Mining Law will be approved by November 4, 2009 and exploration work will then be allowed to resume.

This announcement was made by the Ecuadorian Vice-Minister of Strategic Sectors, Mr. Luis Roman and the Vice Minister of Non-Renewable Natural Resources (ex Ministry of Mines and Petroleum), Mrs. Carolina Bernal. Both Government representatives are part of an Ecuadorian delegation that met with their Canadian peers in Ottawa the previous day. CONTINUES HERE

Shock! IKN discovers an interesting gold bug


Thanks due to kind reader 'HP' for headsup (no, that's not him above).

This article in New Scientist points the way to the research done by a team of boffins led up by Australian Frank Reith. These dudes have identified a bacteria that does nothing less than extract gold from its environment. Here's how New Scientist puts it
".....Frank Reith of the University of Adelaide, South Australia, has found that dissolved gold is harmful to the bacterium Cupriavidus metallidurans, as it forms a toxic sulphur-containing compound when it is absorbed from the environment. This compound inhibits the bacterium's enzyme function, prompting the distressed microbe to activate a cluster of "gold detox" genes that produce enzymes able to convert the soluble gold compounds into harmless particles of metallic gold."
CONTINUES HERE.

This might sound a bit left-field, but if you do the right thing and check the original paper (IKN found it for you on this link right here, metalheads), there's a lot of solid science going on. As Frank&Co conclude
"The discovery of active microbially driven biomineralization may lead to the development of technical applications, such as biosensor- (34, 35) and for ore processing technology. Likely, the Au-specific genetic responses identified may lead to the development of Au-specific biosensor technology enabling in situ Au measurements that could revolutionize the exploration for Au deposits and improve efficiency in Au extraction and hydrometallurgical processes."

Clearly, these scientist dudettes and dudes have never heard of Jim Sinclair, otherwise they'd be holding the world to ransom by now. DYODD.

Charts of the day are....

...the major regional trade currencies versus the dollar, three month and 12 month charts.

This is the three month chart. In order of strength versus the dollar (i.e. from bottom to top) we have Brazil's Real (in green), Colombia's Peso (yellow), Peru's Sol (blue), Mexico's Peso (red) and then in level pegging over the last three months there's Argentina's Peso (black) and finally Chile's Peso (that mustardy-orange colour).


Here's the 12 month chart. This time the main appreciative trend is shared by four currencies, with Mexico (very high exposure to the US economy) and Argentina (very high exposure to idiotic politicians) showing a different trend.
For the others, it shows just how important it is to be a "make things and sell 'em" economy that isn't reliant on a "don't make things, only buy things" economy.

DYODD

10/15/09

Trading Post (post airport edition)

A fond farewell to our last overseas houseguest of the year. Thanks for all the fun you brought and safe journey home. What with see-offs at the airport, this Trading Post comes after the closing bell today.


Constitution Mining (CMIN.ob) down 8.6% at $1.225 and the penny begins to drop...talking of drops, still a long one to happen yet. I've had mails from people who've tried and failed to short this thanks to the myopic NYSE and its new policies. All the lack of short selling does is support scamster companies like this and makes their declines slower and more painful.

TheNewCrystallex (EC.v) UNCH at 40c. Talking of scam companies, the trials and tribulations of Ecometals' illegal and unethical activities in Brazil are now getting full and undiluted attention paid to them by the government of Ecuador, according to the jungle drums being heard Chez Otto. There comes a point when screw-you-just-gimme-the-money capitalism gets its comeuppance...that point is moving towards us quickly as regards Ecometals and its shameless support group pump artists. Wondering why this POS doesn't have its permits yet?

Minera Andes (MAI.to) up 2.7% at $0.77 and one of those days when I scratch my head but say thank you all the same. The news of the latest strike at the JV San José mine depressed the stock early on, but then volume and upmove and finished above the 75c line (where that recent financing was set) for the first time in a long time. It's probably up due to the all-singing-all-dancing-all poderoso Canaccord. MAI.to was featured by the Zeds in Metaland this week and dem zeds reiterated their $1.35 call. Every now and again i get to agree with a can'o'corn call and today's the day...bit spooky. Still, if it runs like this on negative newsflow, is it time for a decent run with positive news? Time will tell. Fundies make it look very cheap here, that's for sure. PolRisk a worry. I own.

Dynasty Metals (DMM.to) up 8.9% at $4.51 and had a good day on good volume. Good.

Peru: It's no use asking the lapdog media about the state of Peru, so who can you ask?

Hey, why not ask Peruvians?


The survey by reputable firm CCR and reported in El Comercio today, also notes 32% of Peruvians with difficulty in paying for basic services (gas, water, electricity etc), lots of planned spending delayed (e.g. home improvements, vacations).

But I was glad to note that CCR also took a "happiness poll" and found that 76% of Peruvians were happy, 19% neither happy nor unhappy and 5% unhappy. As pollster Ana Cecilia Matos explained, "People say they are happy because the happiness comes from their family relations", which explains just why the Peruvian people are so wonderful as a group and deserve far more than the pathetic governments they are offered. Remember that concept of money not buying happiness and how it isn't the centre of the universe? Well, it still exists on this side of the Darien Gap. I always have a little chuckle to myself when I hear the industrialized nations refer to themselves as the "developed" ones.

Fortuna Silver (FVI.v): What does Sprott think?

Cormark (Sprott by any other name) has just initiated coverage on Fortuna Silver (FVI.v). Here's how the note ends:
We are initiating coverage on Fortuna Silver Mines with a Buy recommendation and a target price of C$2.30 per share, which is based on a 1.0x multiple to NAV, in line with growing precious metals producers. Fortuna shares offer investors exposure to a high quality, junior producer with good leverage to the silver price and a rapidly growing production profile.
All I can say is "what took you so long?".


DYODD

Good LatAm politics interview with Emir Sader

Emir Sader (for it is he)

Emir Sader is a well-known Brazilian (born in SP) sociologist and left-wing political scientist. On this link he gives a very interesting interview that covers plenty of bases in the modern LatAm. Here below is the intro blurb from the interview, but click through for the Q&A session. Recommended reading for those who want to know what's going on in LatAm from the point of view of its inhabitants, not from Rupert Murdoch.

With the rise of center-left governments, the South American region has—almost universally—appeared to leave behind the pillars of the Washington Consensus and the neoliberal model. Fiscal adjustment has been replaced with an agenda marked by a social emphasis, and the projects related to a free trade area with the United States are veering toward a renewed emphasis on horizontal regional integration.

However, recently some of the elements of the current Latin American context have begun transforming. In addition to the international financial crisis—which has had less of an impact on Latin America than in other regions, but has had an effect on external trade in several countries—the region has seen many new political changes. The persistent coup d'etat in Honduras; the major losses incurred by the Kirchners during the latest elections in Argentina, and the weakening of the government's position in relation to agribusinesses and the media that followed; the endorsement of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) for Alvaro Uribe to authorize the presence of U.S. troops at seven bases in Colombia, after President Rafael Correa decided not to renew Ecuador's contract with the United States for its base in Manta, and despite the fact that the bases violate the agreements of the South American Defense Council, to mention just a few. In an interview with CIP Americas Program, Emir Sader, professor, sociologist, and executive secretary of the Latin American Council of Social Sciences (CLACSO), explains the roots, repercussions, and possible challenges that these changes present.

FULL INTERVIEW HERE

The Peru GDP sweepstakes

We get Peru's GDP reading for August published today by the nice stats people at the INEI. Here's how the country has been faring since 2008....


...and my oh my, can't you see the strength, the resilience, the way that "Peru is armour-plated against the financial crisis" (Twobreakfasts dixit)? Today's consensus is for another drop, by the way. The average is for -0.5% with the recent scales-from-eyes people at Morgan Stanley punting for -1.1%. If you ask me I'd pitch around -1% as well, but in the end a monthly snapshot of GDP reading isn't a reliable number and can vary like crazy one way or the end. It's the trend that's your friend and that trend is easy to spot in the above chart. So rather than run a sweepstakes on the actual number, today's big question is:
"How long before Spongebob is quoted by the media channels as saying "This time we really have touched bottom and the only way is up. Really. Honest, guv. not kidding this time."?

Your choices:

  • one hour after GDP number is published
  • one day after GDP number is published
  • he announces his resignation instead
  • i like pie
UPDATE: The numbers are out and according to the INEI, Peru's GDP grew by 0.25%!! We're supposed to take them seriously, too. The amazing country called Peru, where exports, imports, tax collection and manufacturing can all drop by large amounts and the GDP still goes up. Welcome to Argentina.

Chart of the day is....

...LME copper warehouse inventories, 60 day chart.


353,225 reasons to laugh at anyone that thinks copper demand is tight and that the current price has anything to do with anything except the dollar.

10/14/09

Uruguay 0, Argentina 1

minute84, the relief goal

I've deliberately not written a word on futbol these last couple of weeks so as not to put the hex on Argentina. But it's all over now, Argentina has escaped and is going to the World Cup Finals in Africa 2010. But my stars, they made me suffer. Argentina has been a mediocre-at-best team all year but to give them due, played well tonight. However they'll have to improve significantly to win the whole caboodle next year.

The South American teams with a safari ticket are Brazil (who look very good), Paraguay (always solid, good team), Chile (the revelation, manager Marcelo Bielsa has created a fine looking, attacking, stylish team) and Argentina (squeaked into the last direct place today). Uruguay can also make it but have a playoff series to play with either Costa Rica or Honduras.

News on Ecuador and mining


Thanks due to reader 'T' for the headsup.

So of course there won't be a government approved mining industry in Ecuador. All they want to do is build massive hydroelectric power stations to create capacity specifically for the mining industry... and then refuse to give out the licences for miners. Makes perfect sense.

At what point will you start calling the Ecuador naysayers and knownothings stoooooooopid, now or later? Here comes the report from the specialist website hydroworld and includes this pearl:

Ecuador has world-class precious metals deposits that have yet to be exploited and increased electricity capacity could help lure investors. "The mining industry demands a lot of electricity. We are proposing to increase the electricity supply precisely for mining uses," Castelo said.


DYODD

Trading Post (jungle drum edition)


Rusoro (RML.v) up 26.7% at $0.57. Aha! it had to happen someday. Methinks there's good news around the corner for this company. In fact, memorethanthinks. The move is being put down to the strength in the VEf parallel rate by many, but there's more to it than that, be sure. DYODD.

Constitution Mining (CMIN.ob) down 7.8% at $1.30....on a day like today, too. Hoodathunkit.

Troy Resources (TRY.to) up 3.1% at $2.35. There's a neat little piece on TRY and its boardroom shenanigans over at minesite today. FWIW* i agree with the take as laid out by "our man in oz". Here's the link, but if you're not signed up you won't be able to get through. It's free to join though and worth your time.

TheNewCrystallex (EC.v) down 2.5% at $0.39.....on a day like today, too. Hoodathunkit.

Pediment (PEZ.to) down 6.1% at $0.92. it's not trading well, gotta say.

*not much

Quiztime! Which South American currency has strengthened by 29.3% against the dollar since August?

Here's a clue.

Watching dumbasses make fools of themselves over all things LatAm financial is my guilty pleasure, of course, but it comes triplesweet to read the stupidity written about the VEF in the last few weeks.

Stick to your myopic mumblings on inflation next time.

Regarding Dynasty Metals (DMM.to)


In the intro section of The IKN Weekly issue IKN24 published last Sunday there was included a piece on general thoughts about Dynasty Metals (DMM.to). By the looks of the mailbox it went down quite well with subscribers, so just for a change let's put it up here on the blog too and spread a little feelgood happiness about a really cheap, misunderstood gold mining stock. By the way, as you can see above the stock is flying today on great volumes, too.


Dynasty Metals (DMM.to) and valuation on fundamental analysis

I have, quite rightly, had more mail in the last two weeks from subscribers on Dynasty Mining (DMM.to) than on any other company. This because 1) it has continued to underperform while 2) I continue to highlight it as a top pick. By way of example, here’s what one subscriber wrote on Friday evening:


Hi, as you know I rarely request content for the weekly report, but am curious whether you'll be talking a lot about Dynasty.

I find the market's current assessment of DMM.to puzzling, to say the least. And no I never just blindly rely on you are anyone else, taking my own look at the company I also don't see why it's valued the way it is, especially relative to other producers.

If you can give it a discussion this Sunday, would appreciate it.Best, XXXXXX


So let’s have a few lines on the company here.

  • We’ve run the numbers using a more conservative cash cost level than that used by DMM in its own projections and have the company netting one loonie per share with gold at U$1,000/oz once commercial production is achieved. I know of no 100,000oz gold mine out there that runs at a PE of sub4X, so we can safely assume that the business economics are not the problem here.

  • We known that the company enjoys good mineral resources, a long potential mine life and potential upside from either doubling production capacity at Zaruma (for no more than an extra $3m or so in capex) or adding production at its Jerusalem or Dynasty projects.

  • We know that although late on the ramping timeline (mostly for reasons out of his control), CEO Washer now has a producing gold mine on his hands. There are even photos of the first pour available at the company website for those into gold porn. With the move now towards commercial production well underway it would seem there are only minor teething problems left between DMM and a fully functional mining company.

  • Therefore (bar the possibilty that the market is utterly ignorant of the stock’s existence) the only thing that can be holding it back is the political risk. After all, as some of you have already said to me “If this mine were in (choose your own favourite location) the stock would be in double figures by now”. A moot point perhaps, but true enough.

So what is there to say about political risk? Well, let’s start with the fact that I think Dynasty is worth CAD$6.50 (12 month target) and the market says it’s worth CAD$3.74. This clearly means that I think there is less risk in Ecuador for DMM than the market believes. The law is now in place, the region in which Dynasty operates is not one of the “hot zones” and prone to environmental battles, the company has clear approval for its operations from the government, it is happy to comply and be a “responsible mining company” and it doesn’t have to wait for any sort of permit to be delivered by a government now entering its latest round of talks with the indigenous local communities.


In other words, I believe DMM is sorely misunderstood by a market that simply lumps all miners in Ecuador under one sort of political risk. There is no way in the world I’d recommend to you a project in one of the greenfield, virgin jungle areas of Ecuador right now, but the place where DMM.to sits at Zaruma is slap bang in the middle of a valley that is full of mines, full of miners, full of mining families (all of which, it’s worth adding, will benefit from the environmentally responsible practices brought to it by DMM instead of the normal muck and nonsense left behind by the artisanal mining practices of the region) that know what mining is all about, the good and the bad and the indifferent. If you tried make a chunk of the Florida Everglades into a potato growing region you’d have seven types of hell to pay, but set up a field in Idaho and nobody would bat an eyelid. Same thing here.


But in spite of all the evidence that includes a first pour at the plant, all permits in place and approved and, most importantly, a new mining law that is now on the statute and gives a clear rulebook for all concerned, the investment community still sees risk in DMM as an investment. It worries about a windfall tax being set when the tax cannot be set lower than the current spot price and DMM will absolutely rake in cash at current prices. It worries about the rules being changed when the whole point for going through the last two years was to create a stable law that would be recognized by everyone. It worries about an uncertain state tax burden when the government has made it crystal clear that the total burden (everything, from income tax to VAT to worker participation to royalty and all stops in between) will be around the 51% mark, leaving 49% or so for the company. It worries about indigenous protests when there are no protests whatsoever in the place where it operates.


There is little left to say that hasn’t already been said. But the final point is about how your author operates as a fundamental analyst. When I make a valuation call on a company I do not know when the market will make the same valuation discovery as I, but what I do know is that (this point repeated from a previous rant) that I would be a fool to assume that the rest of the world will discover my great discovery about a week after I personally make it. Sometimes the wider realization comes early and sometimes it arrives late. Those people that crunch numbers of mining companies for a living are sure to know that DMM offers great fundamental value right now, but what I can bring to the table (being quite frank and with no false modesty) is a better understanding of Latin America than the rest. That’s what you’re paying me for, in the end. When you fork out that U$25/month you want to get an edge on the game. And that, dear and esteemed subscriber, is exactly what I am convinced I’m offering you when recommending Dynasty as an investment right now. It may revalue next week or it may need the first quarter results in 2010 before others begin to believe. But they will and I’m staking my professional reputation on that call. Sometimes it might grate on me a little that the stock isn’t moving up on my personally preferred timescale but there’s no way in the world that I’m selling, so my day-to-day emotions are of very little consequence. DMM.to is a strong buy at this current price level and will be higher once people catch up to the fact that Ecuador will allow them to do good business. I don’t know when that moment will be, but it’s coming all right.


So how's that Peru economic miracle coming along, Otto?

Hmmm, not so well, actually.

The Peru stats dudettes and dudes at INEI released their impex numbers yesterday and the result is above. Imports were down a whole bunch YoY (natch) but for the first time in 2009, the import number failed to beat the previous month's figure (EDIT 10 mins later: clearly not true, as May 2009 was very weak for example. I need to stop sniffing glue while writing).

As for those exports, let's just remind ourselves how utterly reliant Peru is on mining.
And just as a thumbnail example to explain how little of all that wealth is seen by Peru's people, a full 13% of the mined metals above are gold bars shipped directly to Switzerland and stuffed into some vault in some bank. Yup, that's gonna aggregate value, innit....

Economists, pundits and experts (epithet used very loosely) have made fools of themselves all year by talking up Peru, but now even the overly proud stuffed suits have been tasting humble pie...to a certain extent, anyway. Take, for example, Daniel Volberg of Morgan Stanley who wrote yesterday....
"Peru has proven less resilient to the downturn than we had expected after we revised up our regional outlook back in June."
....which is an economists way of saying "we were total idiots about Peru and were stupid enough to believe all the hype". But it doesn't stop them from talking up the country in 2010, either. Ever hear the story about the boy who cried wolf, dumbasses?

Constitution Mining (CMIN.ob): Only 41 suckers


Looks like Constitution Mining (CMIN.ob) has ended up with meagre pickings in the way of working capital. According to the latest filings, of the U$5.2m in new shares they tried to palm off onto the innocent amongst you, only U$1,051,050 worth has been sold (to 41 people).

Ok, a million is a million, not bad and all that. But the problem is that CMIN.ob still has to pay large chunks of money to secure the asset (if that's the right word). U$3m was due to the optioners by the end of September so the fact that CMIN.ob had less than $150k at bank is why this smoke'n'mirrors operation was so keen on raising $5.2m right now.

So let's do the math: one hundred and fifty thousand + one million = less than three million. Yep, I've checked it twice and it looks like there's a problem, Houston. No 25% of sand for you.

Moral of this story: Do not invest in start-up mining companies that have market caps ten times larger than their assets. Ever.

Aquiline (AQI.to) and PAAS

No further comment

Pan American Silver Corp. ("Pan American") (TSX:PAA - News)(NASDAQ:PAAS - News) and Aquiline Resources Inc. ("Aquiline") (TSX:AQI - News) are pleased to announce that they have signed a support agreement (the "Support Agreement") pursuant to which Pan American will make a formal take-over bid to acquire all of the issued and outstanding shares of Aquiline (the "Share Offer"). Contemporaneously with the Share Offer, Pan American also proposes to make formal take-over bids for each outstanding series of Aquiline warrants and the Aquiline convertible debenture (together, the "Convertible Security Offers"). The transaction value implied by all of the offers is approximately $626 million.

The Share Offer will be made on the basis of 0.2495 of a Pan American common share, plus 0.1 of a Pan American common share purchase warrant for each Aquiline common share. Each of these warrants will entitle the holder to acquire one Pan American common share at a price of $35.00 per Pan American common share for a period of five years after the date on which Pan American first pays for Aquiline common shares tendered to the Share Offer (the "Five Year Pan American Warrant"). The consideration offered pursuant to the Convertible Security Offers will consist of replacement Pan American securities, exercisable to acquire Pan American common shares, with similar terms to the respective Aquiline securities, subject to an adjustment based on a 0.2495 exchange ratio.

Chart of the day is....

....the monthly chart of gold. The looooong view.


When you take a few steps back and observe the big picture, it all seems so simple, doesn't it?

10/13/09

Tanzanian Royalty Exchange (TRE)(TNX.to): Look who's selling again


Don't worry about it JimFlock, he's probably just buying gold with his TNX.to ..... to be safe and all that. After all, it's only two-thirds of a million bucks...a trifle.

Tanzanian Royalty Exploration Corporation (TNX)

As of October 12th, 2009
Filing Date Transaction Date Insider Name Ownership Type Securities Nature of transaction # or value acquired or disposed of Unit Price
Oct 12/09 Oct 09/09 Sinclair, James E. Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -25,000 $3.136
Oct 12/09 Oct 08/09 Sinclair, James E. Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -46,000 $3.004
Oct 12/09 Oct 07/09 Sinclair, James E. Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -27,800 $2.994
Oct 12/09 Oct 06/09 Sinclair, James E. Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -47,900 $3.024
Oct 12/09 Oct 05/09 Sinclair, James E. Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -27,800 $3.072
Oct 12/09 Oct 02/09 Sinclair, James E. Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -46,400 $3.084

Well, at least it's the first time he's dumped any of his own shares...since August. But it's funny how he makes these "I will kindly donate $1m of my money to a PP" when the only money he's putting up is money that was already in the damned stock! What a maroon!

The US dollar index chart: the fight to hold 76

It's the whole waxball right now. Make sure it's front'n'centre on your trading screen, too.

The USD got as low as 75.76 this morning (I think) but has crawled back over 76 again. The above chart is the December futures variety, 15 min bars, cos it's a better way of gauging (the futs run more volume).

Will 76 hold? Will the greenback laugh in the face of its naysayers and refuse to die? Will it snap down to the next clear resistance point of 72? Time will tell.........

Trading Post (risky edition)


Great Panther (GPR.to) up 9.5% at $0.92 and US Silver (USA.v) up 10% at $0.165. That leverage factor is making all the difference today, as the market works out that even the high cash cost vehicles can make decent money at these prices.

ECU Silver (ECU.to) up 9.5% at $0.69 as yet again the market proves it's full of saps that will buyabsolutely anything. I can't wait for the 3q09 earnings report guys! Only another $2.31 to go before the losers at GATA are saved from its half priced 2010 bonanza.

Ecometals (EC.v) down 3.6% at $0.40. Well there's a thing...on a day like today, too. Hoodathunkit.

Rusoro (RML.v) up 3.4% at $0.455 which is by no means the biggest mover of the day, but the two million shares traded really grabs the attention. Regular reader (and all-round smart dude) RB wrote in today and said (extracted):
You have posted lately that the Parallel rate is dropping. I thought that this may have a positive effect on RML's bottom line if I am correct in my theory about exchange rates

I agree, RB. The lower parallel rate should (repeat 'should') mean that RML suffers a lower discount to spot than in 2q09 (when it ran at a whopping 34%). We're looking for something in the 15% to 18% to give RMl some sexy bottom line numbers. For sure the Venezuela exposure makes it not everyone's cup of tea, but it's way way cheap at today's PPS. DYODD.

Ecometals (EC.v): Bribery, corruption and criminal charges in Brazil

According to the Ecometals company website, "Mr. Lisboa (above) is a Geologist with a Masters degree in Mining Engineering and more than 25 years of experience in all phases of the minerals industry, from exploration, mining and processing. Mr. Lisboa is the country manager for Ecometals Mineração do Brazil, the wholly owned subsidiary of Ecometals concentrating on iron ore exploration and development of manganese resources. Mr. Lisboa was instrumental in establishing Ecometals in Brazil and acquiring the current portfolio of projects and negotiation of agreements."

I might have mentioned a couple of times that Ecometals (EC.v) is a company to be avoided like the veritable plague. Well, it seems its chickens are coming home to roost at last as the company's sordid history of dirty deals, shady practises and accusations of highly illegal activity have now come to light. The list of fun and games includes

  • The admission of having bribed officials to do business in Brazil
  • Receiving death threats from the people that are supposed to be the company's joint venutre partners
  • Accusations of smuggling, racketeering etc
  • Lying in front of a judicial inquiry

On September 27th , Brazil newspaper Jornais published this report of a meeting with Pedro Lisboa, EC.v's man in Brazil. In the report he talks of bribing officials in the local Amapá regional parliament (the Legislative Assembly or 'AL') so that EC.v could export its manganese ore. Apparently the going rate is between $2 and $5 for every metric tonne that leaves the state, paid as "a royalty" to the governing body. Calling this "a royalty" is like calling the second world war a border dispute between nations. This is bribery, plain and simple, and Ecometals' main man admitted to the world that they bribe people in order to do business in Brazil.

But then the fun really started, as in the same interview Lisboa also accused Jorge Augusto de Oliviera of Tocantins Mineração of making deaths threats against him and extorting Ecometals into joining a company to its JV that had some $6m in unaccounted-for debt. It seems, according to Lisboa at least, that EC.v would have to bail out the $6m held by A.N Other person in order to do further business. The funniest bit about this is that Tocantins Mineração is supposedly Ecometals' joint venture partner in its manganese business there in Brazil! Have a guess as to whether EC.v is going to prosper and flourish in this JV, folks...

Unsurprisingly Jorge Augusto, who is a lawyer as well as the head honcho of Tocantins Mineração, went apeshit. He filed criminal charges against Lisboa and Ecometals. Here's the list of charges that Ecometals and its people now now in Brazil:
  • Racketeering
  • Conspiracy
  • Forgery of documents
  • Influence Peddling
  • Smuggling

He also asked for Lisboa and the others accused to be remanded in prison until trial, due to the severity of the charges. The document submitted with the criminal charges includes some pearls. too. Here's some extracts translated, and remember that the person making the accusation is the head of the company that's JVing with EC.v in Brazil. If he doesn't know how this company operates, who does?

"The biggest headline scam is the crime of mismanagement practiced by (Ecometals management, with nationality in brackets) Paulo Lisboa (Brazil), with Robin Slaughter (Australia) Fran Scola (U.S.), Nick Demare (Canada) and Joseph Lenzi (Brazil). Ecometals' main objective as a company is the acquisition of finances via the investment of innocent, unwary stock market investors."

"...... (Ecometals) is carrying out a major financial scam involving millions of dollars. Its companies have no assets and do not own mineral mining companies."

"Paulo Lisboa is the main coordinator of this mismanagement and reckless ness committed in collusion with others, to the detriment of unsuspecting businessmen mining Amapá.
It is a real gang, very well articulated for enriching themselves with other people's money. Paul Lisboa enjoys a life of luxury, with private security guards, travel, accommodation in luxury hotels, employees, cars, trendy restaurants, designer clothes, receptions, high performing sponsorship in favor of third parties, and other forms of showmanship."

"There are suspicions that they are all involved in the crime of smuggling radioactive ore or other (materials)..."

"Samples of ore are shipped abroad by Paulo Lisboa in hermetically sealed boxes via Fedex without the knowledge of the IRS and other supervisory bodies. This is the crime of smuggling, tax evasion and money laundering."


There are plenty more accusations (including trafficking for favours, other types of tax evasion, etc). Paulo Lisboa is also accused of being a fraud when it comes to his professional qualifications. The document states that there is no record of Lisboa in the relevant professional body (the CREA/AP, or Regional Council of Engineering and Architecture) and as such is illegally practising his trade. That little list, dear reader, is no chopped liver. Put simply, jailtime awaits if any of those above charges result in a guilty verdict.

Meanwhile, the accusations of bribery by Ecometals to the state parliament caused an uproar in the area. An enquiry was called and last week they pulled Lisboa up in front of the assembly (crowded with locals in the gallery...it was big news) to see what he had to say. The thing is, although Lisboa talked about the death threats and everything, he refused to corroborate statements previously made on the record to Jornais about the bribery. He also refused to name names. This despite being recorded in his interview and even even having a DVD copy of the interview in his possession while testifying to the state parliament (that eventually wasn't even submitted as evidence by Lisboa). Due to this, and by definition landing the newspaper Jornais in the schtuk by refusing to confirm its already printed accusations, Jornais is now charging Lisboa/Ecometals with slander and false testimony.

Finally, there is now a full inquiry set up by the AL to try and get to the bottom of the whole affair. The current estimate is that it will take six months to reach a conclusion, so if I were you I wouldn't expect any income from Ecometals Brazil in that time!

Remember folks, these are the same people that are bullshitting you left, right and centre about the Zarza drill permits about-to-yes-but-not-quite-ready-yet-to-be-authorized. Frankly, you believe the word of a scam-laden company like Ecometals and you deserve to lose your money on the stock exchange. Do you want to be associated with liars that are up to their necks in bribery, corruption and criminal accusations? If you were Ecuador, would you let this kind of company operate in a politically sensitive area of your patch once you knew how they conducted their business?

Avoid Ecometals like the plague.

Racism and sexism in Latin America? Shocked ah wuz...SHOCKED ah tellz ya

The Inter American Development Bank (IADB) has just released a study on salary gaps between the sexes and between different ethic groupings in LatAm and you can read the English language synopsis here (or the Spanish language one here, if you prefer). The conclusion is yet another dose of 'No shit Sherlock'. Yup, whiteys make more money than those brown coloured people and men make more than women. But the best part of the survey (though admittedly I haven't studied their methodology) is that the samples are adjusted for education levels, too. This means you're really looking at like-for-like people and there's no escaping the racism and sexism that's part of LatAm society's fabric.

Here's the IADB chart for the salary difference between the sexes.

Here's the IADB chart for the racial differences.

No difference on this chart should be allowed, really, but I'd put my personal tolerance limit at 10%. This means that there are far too many states lined up on the wall of shame over these issues. But the funniest one is that of Brazil, so proud of the fact that there is no racism or sexism in its society. This study calls bullshit on that canard once and for all. The only part of "no racism" that is true is "no talk about racism, please". The only sexism stems from "she complains and we'll fire her".

Finally, you'll also note that Bolivian women earn more than Bolivian men. If you've ever been to the country you'll know why; those Bolivian women are a real hard-working bunch of people that just get their just desserts.

Troy Resources news (TRY.to)

TRY.ax closed up 1.3% at A$2.43 last night.
Here's the three month chart

Thanks due to kind reader 'M' for the headsup to the link. Here we have country standardbearing media source 'The Australian' reporting on the boardroom headbutting that currently going on over at Troy Resources (TRY.to)(TRY.ax).

No need to sample any of the text here, just click the link and go read it yourself. I'd just like to add that the photo of jones includes a very iffy necktie with yellow/black squares and interspersed flowers. Must pass as fashion in Oz.

Chart of the day is.....

The IDD "Latin America Democracy Index", 2002 to 2009

Click to enlarge

The chart is busy for sure, so if you want more detailed breakdowns and more about how this particular IDD group decide to measure democracy in the region, click here for the English language briefing.

To help you out, the key on the right of the above chart has the countries in order of preference for 2009, so Chile wins and Bolivia comes bottom of the pile.

Bottom line: The biggest takeaway I have from seeing the 2002-2009 figures all in one chart is 'same as it ever was' according to this survey. You look at the 2002 chart positions and you look at the 2009 position, you shrug, you say "yeah well, a minor shuffling of feet here and there, but nothing has changed". This is the obvious detraction from this latest slice of academic bullshit, because anyone with half a brain (and who lives here instead of using the place as their own personal petri dish) knows that on a regionwide scale, things are certainly better than they were ten years ago. If you can't show the improvement there's something wrong with your statistical model, not with the countries you're modelling.

10/12/09

IKN, now available on Amazon Kindle™


Jeesh, that Bezos dude must be getting desperate to drum up some business. News from the world of the interwebnetpipes is that this humble corner of cyberspace is now available to read via Amazon Kindle™. Lord only knows why you should want to fork out a buck ninety-nine (is that for a week?...a month? I have no idea) to read something that you can get for free anyway, but some focus group or another must have thought it a great idea at some point.

So anyway, if you have one of those funny plastic book walkaround thingies and really want to get IKN delivered to it, here's the link to click through. No swear words on the customer review section, please.

A positive: Peru begins to take Unasur seriously

The last time Peru turned up at a UNASUR meeting, the pathetic and highly unpopular Twobreakfasts (25% approval rating, out today) was an embarrassment to his nation. Rather than taking the meeting of the 12 South American nations seriously he decided to crack sexist jokes aimed at Argentina's Klishtina and try to brush off the serious work of debating the US military presence in Colombia with snide comments and barbs. Once his lamentable display was over, opposition politicos from Peru's left and right joined as one voice to condemn his actions (a rare thing indeed to hear Lourdes Flores and Ollanta Humala singing from the same songsheet). His display was that of a laughing stock, no more and no less.

So it was good to see this report from China's Xinhua news agency make the following available to English language readers of LatAm affairs; Peru's Internior Minister Octavio Salazar, currently under great pressure to fight back against the terrorist led upsurge in cocaine production in Peru, is looking to adopt the measures proposed by UNASUR in its last meeting and play its role in a pan-regional anti-drug trafficking council. Salazar dixit....

"We are going to implement all that was discussed there"

....which cannot be a bad thing. The more South American states work together, cooridinate their efforts and reject outside "help" (that usually causes more problems than it heals), the better the region will be. Peru has moved away from the majority consensus political line under the last two governments (Toledo and Twobreakfasts), especially in economic policy terms, but it should still take its role as one of the centres of the cocaine scourge seriously. The move to seek agreement with fellow LatAms is wise and should be applauded. Fortunately, the joke of a Prez won't be there at the top forever and Peru may eventually regain its lost credibility as a nation amongst the people that really matter; the neighbours.

Copper news


LME Week is here again (my how time flies) and here, from some RBS flunkey, is the best quote from the copper suits I've seen so far in their week of spotlight (in bold).

"The world economy is by no means out of the woods, but in our view the theme during LME Week will be the prospect of demand recovery in 2010," Royal Bank of Scotland said in a note.

"Yet we would still urge producers to be very cautious about embarking on price induced as opposed to demand induced reactivation."
This can be put into real English thusly: "There's an awful lot of idle supply waiting to jump back in, but if it does copper will sink so don't screw the roost and start ramping back up, pleeeeeeease.... cos I want my bonus".

Demand, eh? Supply, he said? My, the oldskool words are back in fashion! So how is that demand coming along (inquiring minds etc)? According to some flowery named dude over at Nexans:
"If you look at the physical market I see pretty depressed prices over the coming months. Prices are likely to fall this year and part of next year. It really depends on when growth will pick up."
The same note then goes on to point out an inconvenient truth or two, such as:
At the end of May, 21% of all copper in LME warehouses was booked for delivery. Today, the proportion is 2.6%.

With LME copper inventories now at 347,375MT and climbing, it really doesn't look very good from the underlying demand.


As the JP Morgan flunkey puts it (quoted in the FT):

Michael Jansen, of JPMorgan, said that he expected increases in metals stocks would be a "significant hurdle" to further price gains.

DYODD, dude.

Quest (QUC.v): Cash In on Rare Earths!

Let's say straight and up front that I don't blame this Peter guy and the other insiders at Quest Uranium (QUC.v) for selling a few shares inside these last few days. After a run-up like this.....

....and after holding what must have been a dire amount of boring, cheap shares for gawdknows how long, if fate smiles upon Strange Lake rare earths asset and plops a big win in your lap it's fair game to take a slice and buy your loved ones something nice.

But with a last name like "Cashin" and selling right at the top of the run (and just before a $7m placement is announced) it's impossible to resist! Cashing in? Bwahahahahaah!! Here's the juice:

Quest Uranium Corporation (QUC)

As of October 11th, 2009
Filing Date Transaction Date Insider Name Ownership Type Securities Nature of transaction # or value acquired or disposed of Unit Price
Oct 10/09 Sep 30/09 Cashin, Peter John Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -15,000 $3.500
Oct 06/09 Oct 05/09 Watson, Mackenzie Iles Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -10,000 $3.660
Oct 06/09 Sep 29/09 Watson, Mackenzie Iles Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -10,000 $3.250
Oct 06/09 Oct 01/09 Kay, Ronald Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -100 $3.930
Oct 06/09 Oct 01/09 Kay, Ronald Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -9,900 $3.920
Oct 06/09 Sep 30/09 Kay, Ronald Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -10,000 $3.580
Sep 25/09 Sep 18/09 Watson, Mackenzie Iles Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -10,000 $2.800
Sep 25/09 Sep 16/09 Watson, Mackenzie Iles Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -10,000 $2.600
Sep 24/09 Sep 16/09 Kay, Ronald Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -3,000 $2.610
Sep 24/09 Sep 16/09 Kay, Ronald Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -16,900 $2.600