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4/6/13

Chiquita Brands (CQB), going bananas to stop public disclosure of its ties to Colombia terrorism

Via Greg Weeks' twitterfeed, your humble scribe reads this report and passes it on via today's post.

Charlotte-based Chiquita sued the Securities and Exchange Commission, seeking to block the release of documents related to payments the company made to terrorist groups in Colombia to protect its banana-growing interests.
The company paid the Justice Department a $25-million fine in 2007, after admitting that it had given Colombian paramilitary groups the U.S. classifies as terrorist organizations more than $1.7 million. Chiquita has maintained that it was extorted by the groups and made the payments in an attempt to protect its workers.
But a lawsuit by thousands of Colombians who claim their relatives were killed by the paramilitary groups is still working its way through federal court in Florida. The plaintiffs allege the paramilitary groups helped keep labor unions out of the banana fields and brutalized workers.
Current and former employees of Chiquita and its former Colombian subsidiary Banadex are also facing a criminal investigation in Colombia related to the payments.
Chiquita’s newest legal action, filed Thursday in federal court in Washington, D.C., attempts to block the SEC from releasing continues here

Happy Birthday Mister President

Rafael Correa, President of Ecuador, turned 50 years old today April 6th 2013. And judging by this photo (at the very recent big Vatican bash with new Pope in foreground to show you I'm not cheating) he's dapper for his years. We could get picky about the slightly receding hairline and rounding of the jawline, but all the same, the dude is looking pretty sharp. 


What happens when you choose a job with no stress factors, I suppose.

4/5/13

As for the markets...

...anyone else noticed how most copper juniors are still getting hammered here? Rather than watch the relief rally in PMs built on the shaky foundations of a relatively soft US jobs number, that's the main takeaway I've had about today's action. Things are getting interesting (in that Chinese times way) and a couple of trade ideas have floated to the surface these last 72 hours as well. And they're both shorting opportunities. One of them is a nailed on certainty but may be difficult to get a lend, the other is a much easier stock to go short with and is starting to look like great value, both will get a mention in IKN205 this weekend, subbers. It fits in with the way good setcor news is being used as a decent excuse to liquidate positions and go to more cash too, or at the very least instead of concentrating on long calls and watching the market droop, we can try a bit of reverse psychology on this pesky wabbit market, stick on a couple of extra short positions and then watch as the long side rallies.


Drinking deeply at the fount of junior mining news release bullshit

Tamerlane (TAM.v) brings a classic to our doorstep today. This NR just released is all "we got this legal thing going on in Peru and things are developing well and we're all optimistic about the way it's going and look forward to more good news in the near future" and is pretty standard-type blather, until you get to the end of the NR:
Tamerlane also announces that the Company has not made the US$1,500,000 principal payment on the senior secured bridge loan, which was due March 31, 2013. The Company is currently engaged in discussions with the senior secured lender, Global Resource Fund which is managed by Renvest Mercantile Bancorp Inc., regarding alternate arrangements.
It's like "Oh yeah, by the way, we've defaulted on senior secured debt as well.....just thought it'd be a good time to tell y'all chauthanksbye!". And to illustrate a little, the "alternate arrangements" mentioned may well involve equity holders, a bar of soap and a squatting position.

Lionel Messi and Dani Alves warming up before the match with PSG this week

No further comment necessary




Setty on Humphreys on Fino > Humphreys on Fino > Fino

I had plenty of eyerolling moments on reading Tommy Humphreys' article on Serafino Iacono (and Frank Giustra, hanging around at the back and buying half a million dollars' worth of paper on a whim), which could be re-titled "The View of Colombia From Inside Fino's Colon By Tommy"  but when it's seen through the filter of this post by the wonderful Setty, things get palatable enough to make mention here at IKN. The only things I'd add would be about Gran Colombia Gold (GCM.to) and why "the market is unimpressed" (errr....something to do with the non-stop BS and failures, perchance?). Oh, and not a peep about the unholy mess that was Alange Energy? Oh, and nothing about the Coalcorp Mining scandal (main actor a certain Serafino Iacono)? Oh well, must have slipped Tommy's mind back there, what with all the freebie fruity rum punches on tap...

But anyway, go read Setty's take and then you can link through to the original piece from his site.


Candente Copper (DNT.to) and Cañaris tomorrow (Saturday April 6th)

Tomorrow in Cañaris sees the third round of official negotiations of all those involved in the Cañariaco copepr project, near Cañaris, Lambayeque, Peru (full postal address available on request). As for the  pre-show atmosphere in the town, for some strange reason Peru's government has seen fit to send 350 police officers, heavily armed as usual, to the zone for the weekend's fun and games, with the officer in charge already making ominous sounds:
"...[Colonel Jorge Linares Ripalda] recommended that the community leaders should not incite the local population, so that the police do not have to use force in order to maintain calm during the negotiation session."
Does that sounds a little ominous to you? Yeah, me too. As the first two rounds of these official sit-downs went off without incident (though precisely zero was achieved in both and nothing by way of meaningful agreements reached) it's a bit of a head-scratcher as to why the government wants to send so many of these infamous brutes who regularly use violent and repressive tactics to a small and rather isolated town. 


Roger Ebert is dead

Your humble scribe lines up behind Eric Garland and his tribute to Roger Ebert, right here. Well said indeed, Eric.


And let's remember how the U.S jobs report affects gold

Good jobs numbers ----> QE3 ending soon-----> gold drops

Bad jobs numbers ------> recession looms------> gold drops

UPDATE: Well blow me down with a feather, gold's up $15 on a weak jobs report. That'll learn me

4/4/13

"There must be a special course in the MBA program called "Missing Your Target 101" that every mining CEO aces"

That title line quote is from this Vancouver Venture post today, with which your humble scribe heartily agrees. In fact it's about Santacruz Silver (SCZ.v), a junior that has been passed over on several occasions at IKN, mainly due to the first mail ever received on the stock from a trusted source that read (and we quote the mail's title) "Canaccord likes this".

But PS Dave over at Vancouver Venture could be talking about any number of companies, from the fanboy Henk van Alphen stupidities to the ones that have suckered me in as well (as well as having no shame, I have no hidden corners). Good examples of "CEO wot I haz trusterated" recently include Aurcana (AUN.v) and Lachlan Star (LSA.to) (LSA.ax) though luckily I ducked out of that second one (at a loss) a few weeks ago before the worst of the waterfall or the fuckoffnoshame-stupid 10k oz Au production for 1q13 was announced today. And also, amazingly, mouthopeningly, the company announces an equity placement and in the same fucking bleeding bloody fucking breath, tells us that it plans to pay dividends in cash or GOLD to its shareholders. Errr, excuse me LSA guys, but if you have the cash to pay divis what the fucking bloody bleeding fuck-faced fuck are you fucking doing diluting the sharecount, asshole fuckers?

Oops, did my language get a bit fruity? Sincere apologies.

The junior management world is full of complaints about the state of the present market. That's fair enough, but it's high time these lying assholes who promise and never deliver took their share of the blame for their own shitstate, instead of blaming anyone who's smart enough to point the finger at them. 


Anyway, you should read Vancouver Venture. A good blog and an honest voice in a world of forked tongues.


The Trevali (TV.to) serial bullshitters quietly move the goalposts

These Trevali (TV.to) people have no shame whatsoever. After the multiple timeline failures and assuring the world on multiple occasions that the Santander zinc mine would be up and running by the end of 1q13 (let alone the several missed deadlines that were scattered throughout 2012), we now have this from the company, slipped in all sneakily at the end of this unrelated NR:

"In Peru, the Company is nearing production at its Santander zinc-lead-silver mine where commissioning is expected soon and subsequent ramp up to the planned 2,000-tonnes-per-day production is anticipated by mid-year 2013."

So 1q13 is now officially out the window and it's also clear that the first week of 2q13 hasn't brought these jokers much luck, either (and we always love seeing that word "soon" about timelines in Latin America, it's so reassuring). Well, at least it means I can take down the count-up clock. As for the chances of the newly delayed timeline being respected, one of them one of these days is going to become fact but at the moment I'd estimate that it has the same chances as a prediction using TA (see below).

UPDATE: The sure sign of pain is here: The Henk van Alphen fanboyclub is troll-mailing your author again! Hooray! With chunks extra special hush hush inside information to boot! Hooo RAH! Oh, i wonder where they get their extra special hush hush super duper inside information from? 

They say technical analysis doesn't work?

Well that's a lie, a big fib, a cock and bull story made up by people who don't want to recognize the facts. It works 50% of the time. Exactly, precisely 50% of the time.

One for Nicolás Maduro

Here's the latest birdie quote:

"I admitted to something that's very intimate. Everyone has their own perceptions. I have the right to feel what I felt. I felt the spirit of Chávez, he blessed me. To those that mock "Maduro's little birdie", let the Lord pardon their hatred, their badness! Bourgeois, inhumans, disrespectfuls!

Here's the dedication



(saying) This is my message to you

4/3/13

La Plata, Argentina

Think you're having a rough day, metals person?

one of a thousand aftermath photos. The ones of dead bodies found under cars aren't so picturesque

La Plata, not far South of Buenos Aires, is one of the largest provincial cities in Argentina. It's also the location of a disaster zone today after a stupid amount of rain fell in just two hours last night during a storm and flash flood of biblical proporations. At this point the body count is now at least 40 dead (and it's been climbing all day), still more missing, thousands with their homes quite literally washed away, about half the town still currently under water, 290,000 people without electricity and untold millions of dollars worth of damage. 


The big problem with this juniors and miners sell-off...

...is that it isn't coming on the type of volume you'd expect for a capitulation bottoming-out scenario. Of course, that could mean it's a retail-only panic and the bigger boys are just sitting back laughing at teh stooopid (e.g. let's recall that insider purchases have been moving up quite strongly recently). It's definitely gold bullion related though, as the metals (led by the metal) are undoubtedly leading the miners right now.

For what it's worth, I bought a few Bear Creek (BCM.v) in a small, near-term trading play yesterday at $2.66, only to see my hand promptly and cleanly severed from my wrist by a whole bunch of falling knives. Yeah well, call me teh stooopid too, but I've just averaged down a touch at current prices, if only to give this near-term flip idea a ghost of a chance of making a profit. I will say, however, that the resignation and negativity of buying then watching an immediate 5% sink in the price is a good lesson in just why, psychologically at least, bigger money isn't trying to call a bottom by buying in. If my pissant bet gives me the blue funks, the good Lord only knows what losing half a million on a $10m move in under 24 hours would feel like.

Anyway, all eyes on gold spot folks (well, 1.5 eyes, leave half an eye for copper). Gold and gold alone will tell us if there's a chance of a juniors turnaround.

UPDATE: Mmmmmmm...... ...the Iwnattos therapeutic salt-rub ....mmmmmmmmm... ...feels gooooooooooood... ...mmmmmmmmmmmm....

Colombia to ban imports of mercury

This is very good news for Colombia's environment. Not so great for illegal gold miners there, though. Translation below

The Minister of Mines and Energy, Federico Rengifo, said that the importation of mercury will be prohibited in order to help prevent the pollution of water sources by illegal mining. 
The ministry chief underscored that this prohibition would apply only to the mining business, so as not to affect national industries that need mercury for the fabrication of thermometers, for example. Continues here



Bloomberg's really good note on the Argentina bonds situation

What Katia Porzecanski does in this Bloomie report is to offer up the current situation in plain English, look at both sides and, perhaps most importantly, harvest the right quotes from the right people on all sides of the issue. It adds up to balanced coverage of a tricky subject and is the epitome of good bizreporting. Read this and in four minutes you'll be on the pulse about it all. 


Chart of the day is...

...the gold/silver ratio, 12 months:


The main reason that goldbugs hate Bernanke is that Bernanke is right, they're wrong and they're too full of themselves to admit the plain, simple fact of the matter.

Bellhaven (BHV.v) CEO resigns

NR here. Beats me why the guy who decided to hire proven securities fraudster Thom Calandra to do his IR work would "be resigned" from the company after just over one year:


Oh wait, that'd be it.

4/2/13

Still no news from Trevali (TV.to) about the Santander phantom start-up?

It's clocktime on Trevali (TV.to)!






See here for why these guys need to get their bullshit called out.

How can you not enjoy this Venezuela election campaign? (a cheep shot)

It's the single most wonderful thing in the world right now. Don't believe me? Take a look at this (translated):

[Presidential candidate Nicolás] Maduro also said that he felt the ex-President [Hugo Chávez, qepd] has appeared to him "in the form of a little bird" and had blessed him at the start of the electoral campaign on Tuesday. 
"I felt him there, giving us a a blessing, telling us that today the battle begins. Onwards to victory, you have our blessing. That's how I felt it in my soul", he said. 
The government candidate, accompanied by Chávez's brothers and the Vice-President Jorge Arreaza, brother-in-law of the dead President, said that while praying this morning in a small Catholic chapel and finding himself all alone, a bird appeared which communicated with him in chirps. 
"Suddenly a little bird entered, a tiny thing, and flew around [the room] three times above me" he said, pointing to his head and imitating the flight. 
The bird seemed excited according to Maduro, "it landed on a wooden rafter and started to chirp, pretty chirps" he said, imitating it. 
"I sat there watching it and then whistled back to it. "If you chirp then I will", and so I chirped. The bird looked at me strangely, no? It chirped a little more, turned round and flew off and I felt his spirit, that of Hugo Chávez", he said.


Calling Jeff Reeder of Duran Ventures (DRV.v)

Jeff dude, even by your high standards of bullshit, this one in the NR out now deserves an award:

"% Cu Eq - Copper Equivalent is the sum of the Cu% plus 6.756 times the Mo% based on an assumed 6.756:1 economic ratio of Mo to Cu selling prices (i.e. US$1.85 Cu to US$12.50 Mo). Metallurgical recoveries and net smelter returns are assumed to be 100%."
On a day when copper is selling at $3.36/lb and moly $11.10 in the spot market, a ratio of .....errrr....less than that? By my intricate calculations, the last (and only) time we had your stupid ratio for these metals was early 2009, when Eric Sprott was gaming the market with his moly fund. And still using 100% recovery assumptions? Thanks for the laugh* this morning, I needed one.

*And just to be clear Jeff; we're not laughing with you, we're laughing at you.


Mining PRs and the Ottotrans™, part 69




It's time for another installment, yes indeedy, another post that attempts to shed a little light on the pretzeled use of English in junior mining company news releases. Today's example comes to us from Soltera Mining (SLTA.pk), an OTC darling exploring in Jujuy Argentina.

This is what they wrote


April 02, 2013 09:15 ET
Soltera Mining Exploration Program Produces Very Satisfactory Results

JUJUY, ARGENTINA--(Marketwired - April 2, 2013) - Dr. Fabio Montanari, President and CEO of Soltera Mining Corp. (PINKSHEETS:SLTA) (www.solteramining.com), is pleased to announce that the 2012 field programs of bedrock sampling and geophysics on its El Torno property in Argentina produced very satisfactory results.
The 78 square kilometer El Torno property in the high Andes of northern Argentina contains a very large quartz vein system extending intermittently for 14 kilometers. Gold is found in narrow veins both within and outside this main system. The central parts have been worked since the Incas, resulting in about 1 km of underground galleries; and exploration programs in the late 1990s by mining companies, Penoles and Puma Minerals, concluded there is potential for 2 million ounces of gold to a depth of 400 meters (not NI 43-101 compliant.)
Previous Soltera geochemical surveys over the whole property indicated that gold mineralization occurred throughout the length of the vein system and in networks of small quartz veins away from the main system. Surface sampling in late 2011 and early 2012 then identified five gold 'hot spots' with gold values commonly more than 1 g/t gold.
The 2012 sampling program involved taking channel samples of bedrock from the walls of more than 400 surface trenches, and in an existing gallery 20 meters below the surface. The 11,000 samples were each between one meter and one and a half meters long and were analysed at a laboratory of international standing. The sampling was concentrated within a 12 square kilometer area over the central part of the vein system.
A ground geophysical EM-IP survey was also conducted over part of the sampled area and consisted of thirty 2 kilometer-long lines extending east-west and four 4 kilometer-long lines over the main mineralised continues here


And this is what it means:

April 02, 2013 09:15 ET
Soltera Mining Exploration Program Produces Very Satisfactory Results
JUJUY, ARGENTINA--(Marketwired - April 2, 2013) - Dr. Fabio Montanari, President and CEO of Soltera Mining Corp. (PINKSHEETS:SLTA) (www.solteramining.com), is pleased to announce that the 2012 field programs of bedrock sampling and geophysics on its El Torno property in Argentina produced very satisfactory results. 
We thought hard about how to qualify the results and as a result, "very satisfactory" was agreed upon. We have to tell you that they're more than "satisfactory" of course, because that sounds kind of weak, doesn't it? On the other hand, "really exciting" sounded too much, considering that we're only talking about a bunch of chip sample results. And "fucking excellent" is right out, obviously. So in the end after a few beers and talking it over we've gone for "very satisfactory" and we sincerely believe that it's got the right sort of sober yet encouraging ring to it. And by the way, we don't have any money to drill the property but we are at least planning a drill program so that's probably satisfactory as well. Though we didn't qualify that as it would have been pushing it a little to call a simple plan to drill "very satisfactory", don't you think?  


The thing I like most about the Kitco Live Gold chart is...

...that even a 0.75% move in the metal looks so spectacular.


You dial it up and go "Oh my stars! Severe Nymex dumpage! Sector laceration! Mommy it hurts!", then only later is it, "Hey wait up....what's $12 as a percentage of $1597 anyway?".

Gotta love tightly cropped Y-axes.

Chart of the day is...

...copper, which is looking ill.


But I think we're going to see a rally this month due to improvement in world fundamentals and the snap-back of cancelled warrants at the LME is flagging the rally, which is good right? Yep maybe, but sadly I also think that Sylvester Stallone is a good actor who's put in strong and underrated performances in some of his lesser remembered movies, such as Copland.

A flash update...

...was sent to subscribers last night (Monday, around 8:30pm). Forgot to mention it here and now I have. Hope you have a pleasant Tuesday.

4/1/13

The problem with The Gold Report

Today isn't the first time that The Streetwise Reports flagship site, The Gold Report, has done itself a disservice by interviewing and featuring another bullshit promo paid pumper of obvious bullshit promo paid pump and dump stocks, but this time the hyprocrisy dripping out of the Q&A is too much to bear. However and luckily, I don't need to rant any further because Iwnattos has already given it both barrels right here.

The Gold Report is a strange fish, because time and again it'll give up a decent interview with serious people , only to follow up with utter balderdash and tripe such as the Jeb Handwerger two-faced übercrap today. The people running the show either have no idea or no criteria at the moment of choosing their subjects. 

Really? Trevali (TV.to) missed another start-up deadline? Oh how surprising!

It may be a list that's already been done too many times to recall but as another deadline passes us by and nary a peep from Peru's single biggest bunch of mining bullshitters, the Cardero Group, we commemorate yet another time that the Santander zinc mine project stays just that, a project (unless of course Trevali (TV.to) is holding back on the newsflow all sneaky like):

  • In November 2011 the mine was announced as opening in Q1 2012.
  • In February 2012 that re-schedule was for "Q2 or Q3" 2012. 
  • On September 12th 2012 Trevali said that "commissioning is anticipated in the fourth quarter (of 2012)".
  • Then November 27th 2012 saw TV.to with, "Trevali...reports that ongoing development at its Santander Zinc-Lead-Silver Mine in west-central Peru is in the final phase with initial mining and milling operations currently scheduled to commence in Q1-2013."
  • And as late as March 2013 (i.e. last month), TV.to was telling the world that Santander would be open and running before the end of the quarter.

And here we are, the start of 2q13 already with us and  all quiet on the Santander front.


Gosh, I'm surprised. And certainly hope that we get news tomorrow morning that negates the implications of all this. Time will tell.

IKN Recommends: Visual Capitalist

I came across this site Visual Capitalist, for the first time last week and liked it so much that I started asking questions of the team and as the good first impression was confirmed, here's a post on the site at jolly old IKN. What you have in a nutshell is an infographics service on all things metals and mining, plus a few other subjects, which concentrates on the Canadian resources scene. But even though it's eyecatching stuff and pleasing to read its content isn't dumbed-down at all; there's very smart insight available for your consideration on each presentation (for what it's worth I really liked this one, but it's only a case of picking outstanding vs very good so have a look at them all).

The only downside? The presentations are sponsored by companies like Endeavour Silver (EDR.to) (EXK), but to be fair the sponsorship doesn't seem to spill over into the editorial bias and on inquiring I hear that the Visual Capitalists plan to move to a new business plan other than this, which is probably a better idea. On exchanging with the boss man there late last week I was also told they're expanding and have just hired two new analysts, so good for them.

Anyway, go have a look for yourself because Visual Capitalist is fun reading and highly educational too. IKN reco, over and out. 

IKN's ad revs update

Here's the updated chart, as I know at least some of you wonky types are interested in this dataset.


Revenues have dropped off since I stopped ads on the RSS and e-mail feeds. It's not (and never has been) big money we're talking here and maybe if it drops much further I'll pull the plug, but ~$130/month still usefully covers incoming bills at IKN Nerve Centre™ such as electricity, internet etc, so they'll stay a while longer. For the time being, at least. 

ps: Yes, I've check the terms of service and disclosing this info is allowed.

Green Lettuce: In a shock development, Venezuelans discover that not everybody you might blindly send large amounts of cash to online is honest and trustworthy

I've had this report from Bloomie put in front of my eyes by four different people so far and now it's your turn. The short story is:
1) Persons of mystery set up black market dollar quote service for Venezuela via Twitter, calling it "Lechuga Verde" (literally "green lettuce", a slang term for U.S Dollars in Vennie and other places).
2) Lots of suckers people decide the service is trustworthy, follow the account.
3) Mystery persons then set up new service that offers to exchange your Venezuelan currency for dollars at a preferencial rate, all via email and online.
4) Teachers and street cleaners and car salesmen and suchlike send in their life savings to these unknown online Twitter email people (seriously).
5) Online mystery people suddenly disappear. With all the cash.

Though Bloomie, right here, tells it better than I do. Go have a look and remember PT Barnum all the way through the report. 

PS: Due to you having read this post and according to the tems and contractual conditions of the interwebnetpipes, you now owe me $2. Please send the cash to my Twitter account immediately.

3/31/13

Gmail evolves

The IKN Weekly, out now



IKN204 has just been sent to subscribers. Meanwhile here's a special bonus picture for JB, who found this lil guy hanging in Colombia and kindly sent the photo over.

O RLY?