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6/28/14

An amicable wager on a game of Association Football

For the record (i.e. no big deal for blog readers):

@felixsalmon calls Colombia to win vs Brazil next Friday and advance to the semi-finals of the World Cup.
@incakolanews (i.e. me) calls Brazil to win vs Colombia next Friday and advance to the semi-finals of the World Cup.

The bet is on the eventual winner, so if it goes as far as penalties it's still a deal. I've given Salmon odds, so it's my U$100 versus his U$50. Deal struck here. If I'm fortunate enough to win, the cash will be sent here. If he wins, I hope he buys something red protected by a cork. 


A window on the internet

This...


...is something that should be taken into account on several levels. And yes, its psychology applies to something as banal as stock promotions, too. Seriously, think about this one. From here

6/27/14

The Friday OT: The Chemical Brothers; Hey Boy Hey Girl

Still the greatest video of all time.



Repeated on IKN, yup. Play At Eleven.

Great Panther Silver $GPL (GPR.to): Just when you think you're all alone...

...and the only person that can see the mediocrity of management for what it is, the world and its shareholders surprise you with...
"Shareholders voted not to approve the Company's combined Restricted Share Unit and Deferred Share Unit Plan."
...and takes away the feeding bottle from the people who've been so crap at running this mining company.


6/26/14

How Chinese Mining Companies Sustain Organized Crime in Mexico

Vice is running this story, and compelling reading it is too, about how miners are being extorted in Mexico by the Knight's Templars drug cartel.


Thank you Canada, your new anti-spam e-mail law is the best thing ever and today proves it

It's been fun to see the juniors to which I'm mail-subbed write in an ask me to click on their link because if not, Canada's new anti-spam law will stop them from mailing me as of next month. It's also been good to weed out the companies I no longer care about.

But today something marvellous happened. I got a mail that started like this:

5 Awesome Reasons To Confirm AGORACOM E-mail List


Oh thank you Canada! You guys rule! For years I've tried everything to get rid of these Agoracom scamming fuckers, every unsub link, all to no avail. But as from next week they'll stop cluttering up my mailbox with their promopump shit. Bye bye forever, crudbags.


A Flash update...

...has just been sent to subscribers this Thursday morning, 8am local time, half an hour before the opening bell. Still thinking copper.

Timmins Gold $TGD (TMM.to): The skinny on the boardroom battle and how Argonaut (AR.to) fits in

Blog reader GA writes in to ask how the boardroom moves on Timmins Gold (TGD) (TMM.to) might affect the share price in the near future. OK GA, here it is, simple as you like (assuming of course you've read PS Dave's good primer on the current TMM management and other things, right here):
  • Sentry wants control because...
  • ...TMM has a bunch of entrenched executives running the show and...
  • ...they're not adding value or being nice to shareholders or...
  • ...remotely interested in doing a M&A deal that will wrest them of power so...
  • ...Sentry (along with others wants them out because...
  • ...the plan is to let Argonaut Gold (AR.to) buy them out because...
  • ...Sentry and Argonaut are best pals and AR.to wants this badly because...
  • ...it's dug itself into a hole by owning the going-nowhere San Antonio plus the marginal-at-best Magino and needs a deal to expand.
Bottom line: Sentry wins this proxy battle and TMM.to shares go higher because they're bought out afterwards, most probably by Argonaut. And as Mr Market isn't stupid it's not going to wait until the deal happens before bidding TMM up. Which also means (of course) that if the jungledrums suggest current TMM management can fend off the proxy attack, the share price won't rise any further or may well drop.

It is also, of course, one of the reasons why AR.to has traded like a total piece of crap in 2014:


And that despite the non-stop pumping of just about every brokerage and house in Canada, insto-fave and warrant distributor that it is.

Any further questions, GA? :-)

Full disclosure: I own Timmins Gold (via TGD ticker), done so for a couple of months, doing ok on the deal, will sell them in a heartbeat for the right price, not telling you that price, subbers know it though.

Chart of the day is...

...copper, dailies:


Looking healthy.

6/25/14

Gregorio Santos jailed

He's just been remanded into custody on judge's orders. Read all about it here in a few minutes' time.

And here's Roque Benavides' reaction:

B2Gold (BTG) (BTO.to) changes its deaths at work disclosure policy

Before they'd die at B2Gold (BTG) (BTO.to) mines and you wouldn't hear about it. They'd bury the whole thing and wait until they absolutely had to tell you about it in the regulatory filings (one cheer for the SEC, none for OSC)

Now they die and BTG doesn't mind telling you straight away. 
  • Because of IKN?
  • Because they're not miners who died on the job this time?
  • Because they've finally decided to be a decent, transparent company instead of hiding things?

You be the judge.


The best view of Luis Suárez's bite

As this Vine shows, it was totally intentional, 100% deliberate.



Chart of the day is...

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


One of the very few charts I truly care about is saying today that if the downtrend doesn't continue for a couple more click it's the end of this miners' rally. Sometimes this ratio can be ignored, other times it needs to be front and centre. Right now, the latter applies.

6/24/14

Attention Argentina: Judge Griesa, according to his colleagues at bar

Via @HealeyParera , this page of the lawyers website The Robing Room, which gives those at the bar the opportunity to comment anonymously on the qualities of peers, makes for most interesting reading and should be taken into consideration by readers from the merry republic of Argentina. Rather than use the comments left on the Argentina vs Vulture funds case, let's see what lawyers, barristers and judges said about him in the years prior to today's high-profile judgment and on different cases to the hot-topic one:

6/27/2006Criminal Defense Lawyer
Unpleasant personality. Does the government's bidding.

 
9/21/2007OtherJudge Griesa is shockingly lazy and irresponsible. He simply never reads briefs or letters to the court, so everything is decided at oral argument. He puts off making the simplest decisions for months and is constantly cancelling hearings, often at the last minute. Things that should take a few weeks instead take years with him. 
On top of all that, he is clearly biased towards certain lawyers, particularly those from high-profile firms. He is impatient with the others and gives them little opportunity to change his mind. 

10/11/2007Civil Litigation - PrivateJudge Griesa sat on my case for two and a half years without reading any of my pleadings, motions or briefs. The defense wasn't required to comply with discovery or even local filing rules. He then swiftly granted the defense's summary judgment without giving any serious consideration to my opposition.

12/14/2007
Civil Litigation - Private
Should have retired long ago and should be ashamed to continue to collect a paycheck. A judge fully worthy of contempt. 

5/13/2008OtherJudge Griesa is extremely lazy and doesn't bother reading any briefs or letters. He must have the shortest trial days in the Southern District- stops at 4:30 on the dot even if in the middle of closing arguments. He should be ashamed to be on the bench.

11/5/2013Criminal Defense LawyerIn 2009 there were public hearings held at the State Capitol concerning the level of public dissatisfaction at the Appellate Division First Department Disciplinary Committee (the Committee that oversees attorneys in New York) and the State Commission on Judicial Conduct (the Committee that oversees judges’ misconduct). I testified. 
I testified concerning attorneys at the DDC. I had requested the DDC’s assistance because attorneys I had retained were not sending me copies of checks that they were required to send. One of the attorneys was formerly employed as an attorney at the DDC; the other was a former Chief Counsel at the DDC. The DDC attorneys were claiming they were obtaining the copies of the checks from the bank — the DDC attorneys were telling me this for three years. Everyone knows it does not take a bank three years to send checks. When I realized that the DDC attorneys were not being honest, I filed a complaint in the NY State Court in order to obtain the copies of the checks. The presiding judge was the Hon. Joan Kenny, and she dismissed the case, calling me frivolous by attributing cases to me that were not mine, and then publishing the decision on the front page of the NY Law Journal. The checks that the DDC eventually turned over to me were forged. The Chief Counsel of the DDC, Thomas Cahill, closed the case and stated that the attorneys had turned over the checks to the DDC when I filed the complaint with the DDC. This was inconsistent with what the DDC attorneys were telling me for three years. 
At the hearing, I testified about the expert’s report I obtained concerning the forged checks. The expert also investigated the curriculum vitae of Judge Kenny, which she found on the judge’s campaign website; she found material misrepresentations such as: inaccurate and false information about participation in law school activities, her licensure date and legal employment, and her professional experience. 
Many people who testified filed Federal Court cases. I filed a federal complaint, and the case was assigned to the Hon. Thomas P. Griesa. 
Judge Griesa called me and the Attorney General in for a conference, prior to me serving the complaints. At the conference, a court reporter was present and Judge Griesa said the following: 
“And what I wanted to tell you is that the complaint appears to be without merit; we’ve reviewed it and I am not going to authorize service upon all of these defendants.” 
It is not clear to whom he is referring to when he says “we.” He goes on to say: “When there are many defendants, such as state court judges and so forth, there is nothing to be gained by having a lot of people served, not that it’s a huge burden, but, you know, if the marshals have to do it and so forth, why, I don’t want to engage in that.” 
Judge Griesa further guides the Assistant Attorney General by saying: “I would think that there could be an appropriate motion, but what do you think?” She starts speaking, but Judge Griesa then interrupts her and advises her how to proceed, saying, “No, don’t do a letter motion,” adding, “I mean, it doesn’t- it is not a lot of trouble to have a formal notice of motion and a brief memorandum.” He then interjects his personal strategy on how to view the case: “But what I would do is, to anybody who communicates with you about the case, if they have received something by mail, “ then catches himself and says, “why, you use your judgment as to what you want to advise them.” 
Judge Griesa is clearly guiding the Assistant Attorney General to take his advice and do what he believes is right. He has abandoned his role of being a neutral and detached judge, and instead has become an advocate, thereby violating Canon 2A of the Code of Conduct for United States judges. 
In the complaint, I also questioned the constitutionality of a state statute. Article VI, Section 22 of the Constitution of the State of New York established the State Commission on Judicial Conduct (SCJC) to receive, initiate, investigate and hear complaints with respect to the conduct, qualifications, fitness to perform or performance of official duties of any judges and may determine that a judge be admonished, censured or removed from office. The powers of the SCJC are a constitutional obligation. The State Statute, Section 44 of the Judiciary Law, was unconstitutional, in that it violated the due process and equal protection clauses, since unbridled discretion had been given to the SCJC to determine which allegations of a complaint are without merit, and whether to dismiss them. It allowed for complaints filed against a judge with the SCJC not to be made public, and therefore the legislature abrogated its constitutional responsibility by giving a constitutional obligation to an organization that is not subject to review or oversight. 
Judge Griesa is ignoring a truism central to American Constitutional jurisprudence: that state laws that are repugnant to the Constitution are absolutely null and void, and of the well-established principle of American Constitutional Law that Federal courts have jurisdiction to evaluate the constitutionality of challenged state laws. However, Judge Griesa was preventing me from serving my complaint. 
I withdrew the case, and refiled it. The case was consolidated with many others and assigned to Judge Shira Scheindlin. Read my review concerning Judge Scheindlin to see what happened next

 
1/1/2014Criminal Defense LawyerThis judge should have retired a long time ago. I tried a criminal case before him, and it was unbelievable. He was a second prosecutor doing the government's bidding. He is the worst judge ever. 

6/12/2014Criminal Defense LawyerMuch like the president that appointed him (Nixon) Griesa obviously believes he is above the law. He has dragged out a copyright/fair use case that should have been decided by summary judgment at the onset of the lawsuit and managed to drag it out to over three years now which included a five day JURY TRIAL- these kinds of copyright cases are almost always decided by a judge- rarely if ever by a jury. Griesa spent two years denying summary judgment motions in perfunctory "opinions" which cited cases to "back" his opinions- problem was the cases he cited had nothing whatsoever to do with the opinion he was espousing- not even remotely. 
But here is the kicker: at the trial- after two years of handling this complex copyright case- he was completely disoriented and kept asking lawyers and even a witness what the law was. He had no idea. Then when he was told by the lawyers, he dismissed the laws as "meaningless." In his jury charge, he instructed the jury on completely erroneous law, introducing a brand new and utterly absurd legal concept that totally undermines the very foundation of copyright law- a principle that has not one case in the history of the U.S. court system to back it but has dozens - decided by the 2nd Circuit- which directly oppose the concept. He then went on to describe the four factors the jury should consider when deciding 'fair use'- except he only described one- the factor about the amount and substantiality of the portion taken- basically saying there was no limit- and then he didn't bother to mention the other factors because according to him the other factors were "without content or meaning." 
There are three possibilities that might explain the behavior of this judge: 1) he is maniacally insane and power crazed, 2) He is extremely corrupt or 3) he is succumbing to what many people his age (84) suffer from- dementia (senility as it is also called). 
I don't say this out of spite- as someone who just witnessed an aging parent begin exhibiting signs of dementia, it is a serious issue for me and I don't speak of it lightly. Judge Griesa clearly is exhibiting signs of deteriorating mental abilities very often (not always) associated with aging. 
Look at the mess he created with the Argentina case- wherein the U.S. Government, the IMF, the Federal Reserve, England, France and many other countries all submitted amicus briefs on the side of Argentina urging the 2nd Circuit to overturn Griesa's draconian ruling which threatens the whole world of international finance. Now the U.S. Supreme Court has to deal with it. UNBELIEVABLE.....and in 2008 the 2nd Circuit had to reverse a decision because Griesa did not instruct the jury properly, calling the well established precedent a waste of time." Judging from the comments below Judge Griesa has been wreaking havoc with the law for some time now......and guess what- nobody can do anything about it because these federal judges can sit on the bench until they die and there is no recourse to monitoring them, never mind retiring them. They could sit there sentencing people to death for shoplifting and there isn't a goddamn thing anyone- including the courts can do about it. Federal judges cannot be fired and have no mandatory retirement age. 
Because of this I have been trapped in a surreal and Kafkaesque legal abyss where statutory law is twisted into a grotesque inversion of itself and case law is simply disregarded. Early on when we tried to appeal to the higher courts for a summary decision Griesa wouldn't allow it. If we tried to change judges- he definitely would not allow it. You can't appeal pre-judgment decisions without the consent of the judge who make the decision! There is no recourse. You get stuck with a senile judge or a judge who's power has so gone to his head that he thinks he is above the law. And there is no way out. THIS SYSTEM MUST CHANGE. The number of judges over the age of 80 has tripled in the last twenty years. Does the justice system really believe these people are some kind of deities who are immune to natural human frailties. No doubt many of these octogenarian judges are still sharp as tacks but there must be some acknowledgement that not all judges are resistant to the normal claims of aging. There has got to be some accountability and some quality control installed in the court system. 
There are several more examples of absolutely illogical rulings and bizarre behavior by Judge Griesa- for instance at the end of the trial he emphatically urged us for a new trial on the jury award that he thought was outrageously high and then denied our motion for the new trial when we submitted it. He can't even follow his own opinions consistently never mind the opinions of the higher courts. And yes there more but I will stop now. 
It's just to disgusting and demoralizing to think about..... 



Timmins Gold $TGD (TGD) (TMM.to) gets the PS Dave treatment

Vancouver Venture does nice job in pointing out the obvious deficiencies in the "don't sack us please" argument put forward by Timmins Gold (TGD) (TMM.to) as they face the proxy slate sponsored by big holder Sentry, right here. 


The Gregorio Santos show

Tomorrow (Wednesday 25th) at just after 9am, a judge in Lima Peru will decide whether an arrest warrant should be issued against Gregorio Santos, governor of Cajamarca region, for alleged crimes committed such as corruption or nasty things. If issued and applied, Santos would be thrown in prison on remand until his trial comes up.
  • Yes, the same Gregorio Santos who's the central figure of the anti-Conga protests.
  • Yes, the same Gregorio Santos who's the single largest pain in the butt for the current national government.
  • Yes, the same Gregorio Santos who's running for re-election in Cajamarca right now as is one of the three frontrunner candidates (according to the polls) with the vote coming in October. 

Hilarity ensues.

UPDATE: To add to the fun and frolics, the day before the hearing Santos's defence lawyer has resigned and the judge has handed the case to a public register lawyer. 

Cost creep in big copper projects, Teck $TCK (TCK) edition

We could do this in a lot of words, but let's not. Let's do it in two simple lines:
  • The last time we heard from Teck (TCK) officially, it earmarked capex at its Relincho copper project in Chile at U$3.9Bn (no updates since February, you'll notice).

So now you know. Before Teck tells you. Expensive place, Chile.


Elliott vs Argentina: Felix Salmon's take

He's been watching the whole affair closely for years and he knows his stuff about bonds, so I for one have been waiting for Felix Salmon's op-ed on the latest developments in the Argentina vs Vulture Fund spat. And here it is (it's behind a freewall at Foreign Affairs, sign up for zero cash if you haven't already). 

Bottom line: If you're following the story, it's essential reading.

Chart of the day is...

...silver, dailies:


Apparently, a lot of the technical analysts out there wanted to see U$21/oz on silver. Well people, now you have it do we get your confident predictions on something?

6/23/14

Bloggers know the people who read Seeking Alpha on metals/mining are a bunch of naive tyros waiting to get ripped off

One of the advantages of running this blog is that it brings (what used to be) unexpected and useful insights into the habits of the investment and business population. Today I explain just one of them but before we get to the punchline, a little background is needed in order that you see things the way they are. So here comes the story, point by point, as seen from these backrooms.

1) Cam Hui, over at his blog Humble Student of the Market, ran this piece entitled "Have we seen this golden movie before" on Friday and at the end of his post, put in a link to this IKN post of yore. Before we go on, be clear that your humble scribe has no problem or issue whatsoever with Cam Hui; in fact quite the contrary, he's one of the best financial bloggers out there.

2) As a result IKN picked up quite a few hits from his blog, which is normal (plenty of people read his blog).

3) But then, as Cam Hui is syndicated over there, his post was picked up and run by Seeking Alpha thus gaining the eyeballs of a new and much wider audience. Here's the SA post (it's the same as the original) and as you'll see if you (can be bothered to) go over and look, the IKN link is still part of the gig.

4) So suddenly come Saturday morning, your author gets a whole bunch of click-thru visitors from Sinking Alpha. Which is where Google Adsense comes in. Now I run Adsense on this blog and have done so from basically day one because it provides a little (i.e. about U$5/day on average) extra income, pays the household bills, things like that. I know the vast majority of you ignore them but you'll get the occasional clicker and therefore a few pennies of revenue. All good, no problems. Thing is, what you notice over time is that when a link comes through from one of the high traffic websites such as Sinking Alpha, a high proportion of those that arrive will see and click on an Ad they find here. This brings a few extra dollars in clicks that day (which is fine but not life-changing) but it was a puzzle for a while, until it dawned on this humble scribe what was happening; these dudes are the ones who click on the bullshit ads. You know the ones, the Casey Research bullshit teasers or the Wealth Daily bullshit teasers or the "Gold To Reach $5k By Friday Morning Here's What You Need To Know" pumps from gawd knows who running a scam from Slovenia. 

5) I know that most adverts aren't like that and there are some that are even quite useful (hence Adsense stays and is welcome), but I also know that the ads placed against old posts such as the one Cam Hui linked to tend to be the cheapo fillers, the ones that are designed to tempt the market fools, the parasites in waiting for their next victim paying a few pennies instead of a few dimes for placements. Hence the influx of clicks on ads this weekend. 

6) Conclusion drawn: The Seeking Alpha readership are a bunch of mouthbreathers. They're the ones who'll read anything, believe anything, click on anything, send money to anyone in return for the latest incarnation of PT Barnum's American Dream. It's no coincidence that the ad revenue at IKN is as steady as it is, because its regular but niche audience is also numerically level and steady, day in week out. But the percentage of readers to advert clickers shoots sky high when a lesss sophisticated bunch of market sheep turn up and that's exactly what you get from the Seeking Alpha faithful.






Keeping up with the Barrick (ABX) / Pascua Lama / Citic story

Today we have this, from Chile's respected bizmedia Diario Financiero. Here's a translation of the relvant bit for our purposes, but there's plenty more about other aspects of Pascua Lama in the note (underline/bold type added):
The New Partner
However, the decision on whether the continue with the project also depends on other factors. One of those is containing project costs, that had risen previous to the stoppage to U$8.5Bn, although the industry says that when Barrick stopped all construction at the end of October internally they were talking about U$10Bn. 
Under this scenario, when at the same time the mining industry in Canada is not going through a strong financial period, the figure of a new partner to help pay for the investment seems necessary and even more so when the current problematic environmental backdrop could make debt financing difficult. 
Sources close to the company say that after several months of parallel negotiation with two Chinese investment partners, Barrick has not managed to close an agreement with either.
continues here
Yes, that's the same thing IKN has been telling you about since February. The main problem isn't the terms of the deal between ABX and Citic, it's the way the Chiense want a clear run at development once the deal is signed. That means Chile the country getting its house in order with ABX first so once the project has permitting green lights, the money will become available (in exchange for a large chunk of the project, of course).


Chart of the day is...

...three years of the gold/copper ratio:




That rare thing: A chart that matters

Boiler Knight on Altius Minerals (ALS.to)

This was a good read. Funny what these companies bury in their AIFs, isn't it?

The IKN Weekly, out now



IKN267 has just been sent to subscribers. Copper. And walruses.