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3/27/17

Cobalt juniors are for suckers

Your humble scribe notes with interest the way the sell side community is going full-court press on cobalt juniors, urging you "to consider" a whole bunch of junior miners with cobalt deposits that will provide a hungry world with the Co it needs for a new generation of batteries. Because science. Unsurprisingly, one of the main sources of this pumpage are the minions that scurry around under Arthur Richards Rule IV (you might know him as self-made man Rick) over at Sprott and the chief mouthpiece at the moment is one Sam Broom, recently imported from Oz to tell us (and we quote), "Why Cobalt (Not Lithium) Could Be The Battery Boom's Big Commodity Winner" as well as his most recent pump piece, "The Cobalt Thesis" (oh...it's a thesis...so academic).

It's all bullshit. Two reasons:
1) Anyone who has investigated the sector carefully (e.g your humble scribe a few years back, the last time this silly sub-sector was pumped to the mouthbreather end of the market) will know that the producers have no sway at all over the supply side of the Co equation. That's something tightly controlled by the refiners and, the China black box aside, that means Freeport and Glencore. The big players have a good thing going with cobalt and they're not going to let anything as radical as free market economics ruin that for them.

2) There are a few dedicated cobalt mines around the world, but the lion's share of the stuff is produced as a by-product, not a product. In that way it's similar to silver, a metal with a price these days driven by the ultra-low costs of being a by-product (we've discussed this before, in August 2016 to be exact). But it's even worse for Co because it's a purely industrial metal, it doesn't even have the rabid guns'n'freedom idiots to back it up. The upshot is that 99.9% of these "cobalt opportunities" that Spott and others will "suggest" to you don't have a snowball's in hell of prospering because they'll never be able to compete on price when the big boys slam the door.

So just forget about this latest pump, it's silly, but Sam Broom does at least have one sensible thing to say in his pump pieces to the unknowing. He writes:
"It’s thus extremely important to speak with a qualified investment professional before jumping into the sector."
 Very true, but if you do and that qualified investment professional does not immediately shout "RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY!" when you ask him for a good Co trade, he's not an investment professional. He's a bullshit speculator professional. Thus endeth the IKN cobalt rant.