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9/1/12

Peru gov't lifts State of Emergency in Cajamarca region

A few minutes ago on this warm and pleasant Saturday afternoon, the Ollanta Humala government decided to lift the State of Emergency that has been in force in the three hot zone anti-Conga protest areas of Cajamarca region, Peru. This means that political gatherings, marches etc are not illegal but the government said when lifting the State of Emergency that the region would still be closely monitored and any acts of violence would not be allowed.

Thoughts on what this means to the overall picture in IKN174, out tomorrow.


Timminco: How Eric Sprott got solar burn

Andy Hoffman of The Globe & Mail has filed a great piece of long form journalism today, entitled Timminco: How Eric Sprott got solar burn. Top quality (long) weekend fodder and you can find it right here.

Five days of metals and miners; September 1st

Our regular Saturday slot of the last five days' worth of action in the gold bullion ETF (GLD), the silver bullion  ETF (SLV), the miner ETF (GDX), the junior miner ETF (GDXJ) and the copper ETF (COPX).


A pleasant week for those of us that were on the road Monday thru Thursday and only got to witness the action on Friday (eg me). Particularly glad that my busiest day was Thursday, with nary a minute to check in on the market. So anyway, SLV came out the best with GLD doing very well overall. The GDXJ juniors ETF showed well Friday, did it not? A bit of belief starting to show through? A bit of money leaving the sidelines and entering the fray? It'd be nice to think so, at least

8/31/12

The Friday OT: Lego Let's Go (lego hardcore metal)

It had to be:






Codelco profits drop

According to today's filings, the "excedentes" (literally "surpluses", and the way in which the State-run company can be tracked for nominal net profits) at Codelco in the first six months of 2012 dropped to $2.391Bn, which is 31% less than the same period of last year.


Codelco blames the drop on a lower copper price, lower production, lower grades and higher costs, particularly in energy and fuel. A cute combo, no?


Stevie Wonder has an urgent message for The Philippines

And you guys over there have two hours to listen and act. Please do yourself a favour and find a hill to walk up, folks.

UPDATE: Only small Tsunami expected now, but still a good idea to take that walk, people...just to make sure. And I'm sticking with this excuse to post Stevie in killer form.

Read Bernanke's Jackson Hole speech here

Full script right here.

It's hinting at anything you want to hear. No surprises

Eike Batista and Chile are made for each other

I don't know how much attention this story has received over the last couple of days in the English language blabbersphere, but it's fun enough to get an airing on IKN anyhow. The back story is that Eike Batista is miffed at Chile for putting permitting blockages in front of his plans to build the Castilla power generation plant in Northern Chile. For some boring details about how it might fuck up the environment and piss off the people living there, the Chilean courts have denied Eike's MPX company the papers to move ahead. So according to reports, when the Chilean Supreme Court this week upheld the ruling by five votes to zero, no less, Eike took to his Twitter account and wrote (translated)...

"...that investing in Chile "is becoming impossible". In another message and in reply to another user, Batista wrote, "If they don't want us there, we'll go! Bye Bye". Both messages were erased yesterday afternoon from the businessman's official account..."

So what's really been fun today is watching the Chileans get all huffy and puffy about this upstart Brazilian dude who thinks he can tell them what to do, as the Chilean reaction has ranged from the quiet slights of the President of Codelco and his "the foreign investment figures [for Chile] give lie somewhat to Eike's statements" to others noting with glee how badly things are going for Eike this year and how he's lost 41% of his net wealth since March 2012. I mean, he's now down to a pittance of just $20.6Bn...however is he going to pay for that next hair appointment? Basically, Chile and Eike should kiss and make up as soon as possible, because under it all they're made for each other. A country full of arrogant gits who want to be the richest on the block and an arrogant git who's the richest on the block. 

Colombia's cabinet re-shuffle: We have a Mining Minister

Here's how the subscription IKN Weekly, issue IKN173 last Sunday, broached the subject:

"President Santos has said that he’ll take his time in naming all changes to his 16 person cabinet, though one widely expected now is to see the current Interior Minister Renjifo moved to Mining and Energy Minister (he was once mining vice-minister there)."


Here's the decent English language new service on the country, Colombia Reports, on the latest today:


"...Santos on Thursday announced he has appointed his interior minister to lead the Mining Ministry and has replaced the health minister.

Former Interior Minister Federico Renjifo, a close ally of the president but heavily criticized over the way he handled recent indigenous unrest in the southwest of Colombia, was moved to the country's Mining and Energy Ministry..." continues here


So no surprises, either for the name named or for the lentitude of the Santos decision. Fact is, he can take all the time he wants as long as the secret talks with the FARC, so secret that everyone in Colombia is talking about them, continue to make all the headlines. And for the record, Renjifo is a decent enough choice as Mining Minister. Let's just hope the changeover in team at the building doesn't delay the paperworkings too long because it's getting Peru-like in Colombian mining bureaucracy already and they haven't even got any mines going yet.

Now I have to decide...

...whether to tune in on C-Span or live streaming FedTV for the Benny B Jackson Hole speech, or whether to stick to my normal three hours of morning bargain offers on The Shopping Channel. 

If I base my viewing choices on economics that affect my life then it's TSC every time, but as it's nice to tune into a widely viewed sporting occasion (Olympics, Prince Harry, Eric Sprott's quarterly filings) I think I'll make an exception today and watch Ben publicly laugh until blood starts runnning from his nose about Paul Ryan's gold standard.

UPDATE: Iwnattos makes a better case for watching the Jackson Hole keynote speech today:
"...be prepared for gold and silver and everything else to wobble around like crazy at 10AM. None of it is important. In a healthy market, we don't worry about dumb shit like central bankers speaking. But whatever blather he says, the market's immediate wild gyration might throw you off what's really important. So watch it!"
No argument with that.

Chart of the day is...

...Goldquest (GQC.v) over the last 10 days:


Not because the company is a bad one (it isn't) and not because the recent drill results are disappointing (they're not). We feature GQC.v today because Louis Lobito Little Wolf James has been making himself look like a right twat over the stock in the last week and a half. Details later, but thanks for the guffaws so far Lobito, keep up your public display of masturbation now, won't you?

8/28/12

Responding to some Eco Oro (EOM.to) mailbag...

...via a post on the blog instead of replying to the mails, further to our succinct translation of the company's NR last night and the company PPS drop of over 50% today*.

The main repeated issue to address is that no, this doesn't affect your life in any way, unless of course you were stupid enough to believe the BS story that the new controllers of Greystar Eco Oro (EOM.to) spun you (and i bet if that's you, you're actually reading the "forward looking statements" page on a corporate presentation for the first time ever today). It doesn't even affect you if you own shares in other Colombia based juniors, because the EOM.to thing is a company-specific problem and the ruling against that band of jokers is no reflection on the Colombian government's attitude towards the mining industry. Of course EOM.to management would like you to believe otherwise, but guess where they score on the credibility-o-meter these days?

So don't throw babies out with scuzzy, mucky, smelly, dirty bathwater, folks. No reason to sell Colombia juniors just because a single company run by arrogant fools tried to pull the wool over your eyes. 

*Hey, you know those annoying bastards who say "hah toldyaso"? Well...toldyaso, and hah.


Wakey wakey

El Misti, the dormant volcano located* just a few miles from Peru's second largest city Arequipa, may be waking up. This report in Peru's newspaper of record El Comercio today notes that 224 seismic movements were registered by the local geols who watch over the zone, the most amount of activity for five years. Misti last blew its top 540 years ago, before the arrival of the Conquistadores, and its geothermal activity is used to generate electricity today.

 Kaboom?


*well to be accurate Arequipa located itself next to Misti, but you know what I mean

Chart of the day is...

...the silver-gold ratio on Gary's blog this morning. Check it out here because after all, the dude's smarter at charts than I ever will be.

 OT: Meanwhile, just how stupid is this?
"The reserves held by a central bank have no influence on the associated currency's purchasing power and very little influence on its exchange rate. Today's currencies are not 'backed' by central bank reserves. The reserves are holdovers from a previous monetary system and are anachronistic under today's system."
I've had plenty of people telling me that Steve Saville is smart about money before. Personally I've had and shown my doubts about his theories of what's valuable and what's not (even back in the days when I was a timid little thing) but with utter financial kookiness as in the above quote, he's now just one less to worry about. If he thinks that, his ideas have less worth than the fiat currencies he rails against. I'd add that if his opinions don't change after about 20 minutes of study on the history of South American currencies he really isn't reading the right books. Dumbcluck stupidity that's so wide-reaching it's difficult to know where to start, so long and thanks for all the fish, Steve.

8/27/12

Mining PRs and the Ottotrans™, part 61


Here we go with another of our occasional series and we're back in economy mode on this one, as we manage to take over 1,100 words in the Eco Oro Minerals (EOM.to) NR this evening and translate it using just three, yes a mere THREE words (applause etc):
This is what they wrote:
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire -08/27/12)- Eco Oro Minerals Corp. (the "Company" or "Eco Oro") (EOM.TO) announces that the Company has received a decision of Colombia's national mining agency (Agencia Nacional de Mineria or "ANM"), contained in Resolution VSC 002 dated August 8, 2012 (the "Resolution"), regarding the Company's application for an extension of the exploration phase of the Company's principal mining title, concession contract 3452 (the "Concession"). In the Resolution, the ANM indicates that approximately 54% of the Concession is located in what they regard as Santurban paramo based on the cartographic information contained in the National Mining Registry prepared by the Von Humboldt Institute (Instituto Alexander Von Humboldt or "IAVH")) and, on that basis, have extended only the remaining 46% of the Concession for 2 years, until August 8, 2014. In addition, the ANM is requiring that the Company revise the technical report detailing the Company's current and proposed exploration activities on the Concession, which was submitted with the Company's May 4, 2012 application for the extension, such that the Company's activities on the Concession are limited to the areas of the Concession that are the subject of extension. The Resolution also provides that the Resolution should be forwarded, once it becomes final, to the area of the ANM responsible for the mining contracts and titles to take appropriate measures to have the areas of the Concession not subject to the extension returned. The portion of the Concession that was not extended and that is to be returned, pursuant to the Resolution, contains approximately 70% of the Company's Angostura deposit.
Under Colombian law, the ANM had until August 8, 2012 to provide the Company with a response to the Company's application for an extension of the exploration phase of the Concession, failing which, the ANM's "positive administrative silence" acted as tacit approval of the Company's request and the exploration phase (for the entire Concession) was extended to August 8, 2014. On August 14, 2012, the company filed a request before the ANM to register this extension in the National Mining Registry, which registration is pending.
In the opinion of the Company, as the ANM failed to notify the Company of the Resolution on or before August 8, 2012, it had no authority to issue the Resolution or to decide any matters relating to the Company extension application. Furthermore, the ANM's position, as stated in the Resolution, as to areas constituting paramo, is inconsistent with Colombian law and the position of the relevant Governmental ministries, including the Ministry of Mines and Energy, as understood by the Company, which understanding is summarized below.
On June 16, 2011, the Colombian Congress enacted Law 1450, 2011, known as the National Development Plan. The National Development Plan forbids mining activities in paramo ecosystems and requires the Colombian Government to determine the boundaries of the paramo ecosystems based on technical, social, environmental and economic criteria. The determination of the boundaries of the paramo ecosystem is the responsibility of the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development and they are currently considering those boundaries in relation to the Company's mineral titles. Pursuant to the National Development Plan, the IAVH Atlas of Paramos is the minimum reference for the paramo ecosystem while the Colombian Government determines the ultimate boundaries. The Atlas of Paramos is a document prepared by the IAVH in 2007 that contains a brief description of certain ecosystems in Colombia, including paramos. According to the Atlas of Paramos, the region in which the Angostura Project is located is defined as the Santurban Jurisdiction, which is comprised by 5 ecosystems being superparamo, paramo, subparamo, high Andean forest and Andean forest. According to Resolution 769, 2002 from the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, a paramo ecosystem is comprised of three ecosystems being the superparamo, paramo and subparamo ecosystems. According to this resolution, the high Andean forest and the Andean forest are not within the definition of paramo.
On December 22, 2011, the Ministry of Mines and Energy issued a non-binding opinion to the Regional Autonomous Corporation for the Defense of the Bucaramanga Plateau (Corporacion Autonoma Regional para la Defensa de la Meseta de Bucaramanga) regarding the declaration of a regional park in the area of the Company's Angostura Project. In that opinion, the Ministry of Mines and Energy considered that paramo ecosystem comprised three ecosystems: superparamo, paramo and subparamo, and that the high Andean forest and the Andean forest (i.e. the ecosystems below subparamo) should not be considered within the definition of paramo ecosystem. Based on the Atlas of Paramos issued by the IAVH, the Company's Angostura deposit is located in the high Andean forest and the Andean forest.
The ANM's position, as stated in the Resolution, is inconsistent with the above in that the ANM is including high Andean forest and the Andean forest (i.e. the ecosystems below subparamo) in the definition of paramo ecosystem.
The Company will file for a motion to reconsider the Resolution within the following 5 business days, as provided under Colombian law. Until this motion to reconsider is resolved, the Resolution is not in force and has no legal effect on the Company's ability to conduct its planned activities. The Company will also will take all other legal steps necessary to protect its legal rights in relation to the Concession. The Company will provide updates on this matter as significant developments occur.
About Eco Oro Minerals Corp.
Eco Oro Minerals Corp. is a precious metals exploration and development company currently working its wholly owned, multi-million ounce Angostura gold-silver deposit in northeastern Colombia. Eco Oro is committed to developing the Angostura Project in an economically viable and socially responsible manner.
Forward-Looking Statements
Certain statements in this news release are "forward-looking" within the meaning of Canadian securities legislation. They include statements about taking legal steps, including appealing the Resolution, and the impact on the Company's activities. Forward-looking statements are necessarily based upon the current belief, opinions and expectations of management that, while considered reasonable by the Company, are inherently subject to significant business, economic, competitive, political and social uncertainties and other contingencies. Many factors could cause the Company's actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements. These factors include, among others, political influence, government regulation as well as other risk factors set out under the heading "Risk Factors" in the Annual Information Form dated March 26, 2012, which is available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. Investors are cautioned not to put undue reliance on forward-looking statements due to the inherent uncertainty therein.
The Toronto Stock Exchange has not reviewed and does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this news release.
Contact:

Eco Oro Minerals Corp.
Joao Carrelo
President & CEO
+1 604 682 8212
carrelo@eco-oro.com
Eco Oro Minerals Corp.
James Atherton
Vice President Legal & Corporate Secretary
+1 604 682 8212
jatherton@eco-oro.com
www.eco-oro.com

And this is what it means:

we are fucked

On The Road


Your humble scribe is travelling on work-related doings until late Thursday evening. Some blogging is possible during that time, but things are likely light until back in the office. We leave you with a commentary fit for a 21st century Kerouac:

"Work it, Make It, Do It, Makes Us, Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger"



The louder you play the above, the more you'll thank me afterwards.

Looks like mining is becoming a little safer in Peru

By taking the mine fatalities data from Peru's Mining Ministry and chopping the figures supplied into six month chunks, we get the following chart of how many deaths have been reported in mines in Peru since the year 2000:


This type of data is always going to be statistically choppy, but the moving average line shows a drop in the rate of fatal accidents in Peru over the last couple of years. We know mining is a dangerous occupation, we know that anything above zero is not a good result and we know Peru's mines vary from some of the safest and highest standards in the world to some of the poorest, depending on who you work for and what your boss is like, but at least the tendency is going in the right direction and at a time when more people are being employed by mining companies, too.

Chart of the day is...

...South American Silver (SAC.to), 12 months especially for the guys over at Hartgeld.


Political risk is what it is, my Teutonic friends. It matters, just like management teams and geology matter.

8/26/12

The IKN Weekly, out now


IKN173 has just been sent to subscribers. It has 14,945 words but as my wife repeatedly tells me, size isn't everything. 

Photos from the Amuay refinery explosion, Venezuela

Setty gives your author the headsup on this set of photos that offer some idea of what the force of the blast must have been like.