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The Friday OT: Red Hot Chili Peppers; Dani California

Ten bands in one!

The Chilis do (in order) Elvis, Beatles, Hendrix, Funkadelic, Bowie, Pistols, Misfits, Motley, Nirvana and themselves....and then at 3:49 you get one of the best guitar solos of the decade. I can think of no finer way of rounding off IKN2010 then letting John F's guitar sizzle your eardrums, so enjoy the show and then turn that volume to 11 for the last blast. 

See you next year.

Bolivia is the subject of IKN's first prediction for 2011

Your humble scribe stares deeply into his crystal ball, goes all misty eyed, proffers up an offering or two to the Gods and says:
"You won't be hearing much about Bolivia's fuel hikes and protests one week from now. It's already blowing over, the "massive calls for Evo's resignation" as seen on CNN, Fox and other dumbass sources of information on all things LatAm amounted to about 20,000 people (and 20,000 does not a resignation make), the transport strike has already been called off, there are no runs on banks as the rabid right tried to suggest, Evo will take a temporary hit in the polls but will get through this just fine. So sorry Stratfor, sorry blood on the streets this time."

You get what you pay for in Colombia (and vice versa)

Today's LatAm weirdnews translation, from this report:

Condemned For Not Paying For Sex With Employee
In the city of Pereira, a man was condemned to pay his domestic employee for sexual services she had given him that had not been remunerated.
Judge Eisenhower Zapata, speaking on Caracol Radio, explained that the patron paid his employee her salary for housework and had also agreed a payment of 20,000 pesos (U$10) for each sexual favour.

The domestic employee "made note in a notebook how many times she had slept with him for four years until the relationship soured and she demanded the payments be liquidated."

The judge added that the domestic employee "had proven that she had slept all those times with the gentleman and that he didn't want to pay her."

The man was ordered to pay on consideration that "prostitution is age-old and is as respectable a profession as any other."

Chart of the day is....

...copper, monthlies.

Nuff said.


Chilean salmon: What could possibly go wrong?

Yes, of course you can pump farmed fish full of chemicals, ignore how nature works and expand your industry to cater for 50% of The USA's salmon consumption. It's progress, it's the 21st century and the way to measure success is growth and profit, not old fashioned concepts like health and sustainability.

Esp for setty

So what's your favourite part of the latest Mercer Gold (MRGP.ob) quarterly report, Otto?

Ooooh, probably this bit, all things considered:

Based on our current plan of operations as set forth above, we estimate that we will require approximately $1,000,000 to pursue our plan of operations over the next twelve months if we complete Phase I only, but approximately $2,000,000 over the next twelve months if we also proceed to Phase II during that time frame. As at November 30, 2010, we had cash and cash equivalents of $87,597 and a working capital deficiency of $186,987. However, we may require additional financing to pursue our plan of operations over the next twelve months. There can be no assurance that we will obtain any additional financing in the amounts required or on terms favorable to us. If we are unable to obtain additional financing, we may have to re-evaluate or abandon our business activities and revise our plan of operations.
We anticipate that additional funding will be in the form of equity financing from the sale of our common stock. However, we cannot provide investors with any assurance that we will be able to raise sufficient funding from the sale of our common stock to fund our plan of operations going forward. In the absence of such financing, our business plan will fail. Even if we are successful in obtaining equity financing, there is no assurance that we will obtain the funding necessary to pursue our business plan. If we do not continue to obtain additional financing going forward, we will be forced to re-evaluate or abandon our plan of operations.

Y'see, you guys out there can read all the soft soap bullshit on junior miners you want, cos there's plenty of that about thanks to the paid pump scene, idiotic bullboard posts and über-massaged corporate presentations. Personally, I like regulatory filings as my DD reading matter. And while we're at it, let's see how this scam fronted for stock fraudster Brent Pierce is doing in the markets, shall we?

Hmmm, all that and dilution to come, too. Just not happening, is it Rahim? Our  mucker Jivraj is doing his reputation wonders for the future. Lie with dogs get fleas, my man....

A Flash update...

...was sent out to subscribers a few minutes ago (before 11am EST). We have made over 100% in a position in less than three months and we're taking profits on it.

And a very prosperous new year to you, too.

Coro Mining ( and Owly

First, Coro Mining's ( news release:

Press Release Source: Coro Mining Corp. On Thursday December 30, 2010, 9:10 am
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Dec. 30, 2010) - Coro Mining Corp. ("Coro" or the "Company") (TSX:COP - News) is pleased to announce that the Interdisciplinary Commission for the Environmental Evaluation of Mining Projects ("CEIAM" in Spanish) of the Province of Mendoza has completed its compilation, collation and evaluation of the previously completed sectoral reviews; the outcome of the public hearing and public consultation process; and the results of additional hydrological studies completed earlier this year, and has recommended that the EIS be approved by the provincial government. The CEIAM is comprised of the various entities which completed individual sectoral reviews of the project in 2009 and 2010, together with representatives of the pertinent Provincial Government ministries.
The recommendation of approval is conditional upon the Company's Argentinean subsidiary, Minera San Jorge ("MSJ"), complying with the highest standards of environmental protection, control and monitoring prior to, and during the construction and operation of the project, including the requirement for the paste tailings deposit to be made impermeable with a liner. The CEIAM's report will now be submitted to continues here
Now, our friend the owl gives us worthy analysis on the situation:

The funny thing about this whacky world of markets is that you don't have to be right about everything all the time; all you need to do is be right about the battles in which you choose to participate. DYODD, dudette. DYODD dude.

What Evo Said

Here's last night's EvoSpeech to the Nation on the fuel price rise, what it means, the spoonfulls of sugar that he announced and all things in between.

It was a pretty good speech all told, explaining the situation in terms and providing the love via 20% salary rises for police, teachers and healthcare workers (eg doctors and nurses). However the main use of the money is a positive-looking grain purchase plan that will buy produce from farmers at 10% above the market rate....that one gets the large rural population onside quickly.

So the transport workers will strike today and try to make their 100% price increases stick, while the government insists they only have the right to hike prices by 30%. The jury is still out, but the timing of the fuel subsidy cut and the populist moves in Evo's speech last night are scoring good points for the government side right now...chances are that Evo will get his way once the militant mood dies down.

Chart of the day is....

...road traffic deaths in Latin America.

We know the region is batshit crazy when it comes to the way it drives, but here we get an idea about which places are the batshittiest craziest of them all. Leading the field are Venezuela, Peru and Mexico, all showing more that 20 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants per year. The next batch see Guyana, Paraguay and Brazil all pretty batshit, then things start to trail off. Unbatshit crazy drivers in the region are Ecuador and Colombia, with a death-per-100000 rate lower than that of The USA.


Peru's luck-based economic growth, part 562

Here are the monthly production numbers for gold in Peru, 2009 to date (November's numbers out today):

Here's that gold in dollar value per month (using the average London Fix for each month, data from kitco).

So, Peru produces less and less gold but thanks to world market prices gets more and more money per month. And be clear how important gold production is to Peru, as it currently makes up 22% of all the country exports by value. The story in copper (Peru's number one export) is very similar, with stagnated production figures made to look far more impressive by the world price hike. My word, all this sounds like a recipe for a successful long-term economic plan*.

*yes, that's irony

OT: Lost (and found) in translation

IKN NerveCentre™ has kind of a busy day in store and posting is likely to be light after this one, but before we get on with life here's a fun post. Reader HA send in this photo, found at this post.

The post is good reading, as it explains where the "rice-flour noodle" translation derives from (go see for yourself) and ended with a line that rang very true for your humble scribe.
My friend in China theorizes: "I guess all the public sign translations in this country are done by lazy bureaucrats, with the help of Google Translate." It will be sad when these finally go away.

Indeed. The quality of Spanish/English public translation has improved these last few years and your author's encounters with funny Spanglish aren't so common these days, but even though less common they do still happen and every one is cherished. The best always have to have a pretzeled logic between what the person wanted to say and what they actually said (so the park sign once spotted that asked me not to wank on the grass was funny, but not an A1 example). The one I wish I'd taken a photo of at the time was in a restaurant menu in a small town in Peru which offered "Familiar Chicken", still my all-time favourite (knowledge of how Spanish works is key). So three cheers and a hearty Viva! for Spanglish and a thought set aside for what happened to the population of Babel all those years ago.

China's Rare Earth Quotas:

I'm not aware of too many things
I know what I know if you know what I mean
'What I know', Edie Brickell & the New Bohemians, 1988

I know nothing about Rare Earths, something made plain in the past on these pages and also in the subscription weekly. However, I do know when I'm being fed uninformed bullshit by a whole bunch of people that pretend they're now suddenly experts on REE and this week your humble scribe's NumericalBullshitGeigerCounter™ has been going haywire thanks to the announcement out of China for REE export quotas for the first half of 2011.

Typical BS is on this link from the WSJ, who start with "China Cuts Export Quota on Rare-Earth Metals" and then feed the fear with quotes from those who really, really want you to get worried about supplies and how that superduper US defense system or that superduper Japanese flatscreen is under threat. You can tell just by looking at the phonies The WSJ is getting for quotes that neither interviewee nor interviewer has the first clue about what's really going on. So let's go to the numbers and see a bit about what's been happening with China REE export quotas, starting with this chart.

This shows the six-monthly quotas for REEs since 2009, including the latest one for the first half of 2011. Put simply, they had a lot to ship out in 2009, cut that drastically in 2010 and have pitched for a similar sort of level (slightly lower) this year, but also a level that's much bigger than the second half of 2010 (the bit we're still in). However, dig a little deeper into the figures and you see that the dreaded and fearmongered supply crunch....well, that just isn't gonna happen, folks. Here's the 2009 quota total stacked with the actual amount of REE exported by China in 2009:

2009 quota limit 50,145mt
2009 quota used 26,770mt
2009 excess 23,375mt

Yup, there was a quota limit, but in the end the amount exported by China to feed that overwhelming world demand didn't even get close. So since then the Chinese have been working the demand to their favour without choking off supply to those who need these REEs (and before we continue, let's note that 45% of all REE exports out of China are of one REE, Lanthanum (La) a fact that skews any fearmonger's supply/demand idiocy even further out of shape) by keeping quota limits to where world demand is pitching itself...after all, if you own 97% of all the REE out there you're not going to let anyone else start hoarding it, are you?

In essence, what China is doing is sticking to its own policy of keeping REEs inside China and promoting the construction of Rare Metals applications factories inside the country. It's using its near-monopoly on REEs to promote its own economy, but what it isn't doing is choking off world supply and harming other country economy; it's letting out enough REE for the rest of the world, but no more than that. when the 2h11 quota comes around, we'll see China adjusting its export quota, up or down, as a function of the actual exports and demand (and prices) seen in 1h11. So apologies to those who like to drum up hype and/or blame China for their own shortcomings, but you're talking out your butts....again.

Chart of the day is....

....the gold/oil ratio.

The tinfoilhatter goldbugs amongst this audience might not like the idea, but the development of this ratio in 2009 and 2010 really does say "no inflation out there".


Good news: The horse is feeling fine

This evening Ex-President of Colombia Alvaro Uribe fell off a horse, got kicked by the animal in the knee and was immediately taken to hospital for surgery on said joint. 

Here's the flash out of Colombia's RCN which shows Uribe showing off by riding and holding a cup of coffee. The clip was taken just before the unscheduled dismount and leg-crappery, so no moneyshot. Unconfirmed reports of the horse's stable being wiretapped by the DAS were immediately denied by government security forces. We'd also like to make clear that any relation between this accident and the traditional mafia culture punishment of kneecapping is purely coincidental.

UK local time, 00:55am Wednesday December 29th 2010

For those that understand.



With Buenos Aires, Argentina, currently sweltering through a humidity worsened heatwave that has the temperature sensation hitting 40º and the electricity system overload from all the aircon units causing regular blackouts in the city, IKN sends out a message to friends stuck in the horridness.

Go Palito!

Goldfails, 2010

In a year like 2010, when gold bullion hit new highs and the world finally began to wake up, smell the coffee and look at gold as a decent safehaven alternative, anyone who aimed some cash at the junior gold producers should have been on a good winner, right?

Well maybe yes but maybe not, because amongst the leveraged wins there's a group of gold producers with more than one thing in common:
1) They're small gold producers working in Latin America
2) They have a dubious track record of promising more than they can deliver
3)  Their share prices have all performed much worse this year then their main product, gold.
4) They all quote on the US exchanges
5) They've all, in their time, been pumped to death by brokerages and analysts who care more about the commissions and cheap shares thrown their company's ways than decent, unbiased analysis

So a warmly sarcastic round of applause as we ask these three 2010 goldfails to step forward: Give it up for Minefinders (MFN), Gammon Gold (GRS) and Jaguar Mining (JAG):

The chart shows the 2010 year-to-date performance of MFN, GRS and JAG compared to GLD, the gold ETf that serves as an accurate proxy to the metal. So Minefinders has managed to scrape out an "unchanged on the year" performance due to a late year rally, but it's still some 20% under an investment in gold, certainly not the type of performance that wins friends an influences people in junior mining. As for JAG and GRS, it just goes to show (once again) that you gringos will buy anything, especially if it's available on the NYSE and has the word "gold" in its corporate title.

Wikileaks Panama: Superb coverage from Bananama Republic on the Martinelli leaks

The reaction from the recent Wikileaks revelations in Panama may mark the first case when the leaked cables have significantly weakened a current government administration and a country President. Okke over at Banamana Republic has done a great job of stringing together the scandals so far and the three posts over at his site are today's required reading.

The first post is on how the country's Veep called the the current Panama Canal expansion "a disaster", which is interestng enough but nothing destabilizing. However it was a mere hors d'oeuvre for what followed in....

...the second Banamana Republic Wikileaks post, an absolute gem. Here we get a great rundown an analysis of the big scandal currently hurting President Martinelli and his government, how he tried to strongarm the US into giving him illegal phonetaps on his political enemies, plenty more rogue behaviour detailed and a character assessment of the Prez dude from the US ambassador that will remain for the ages; "His penchant for bullying and blackmail may have led him to supermarket stardom but is hardly statesmanlike. He risks losing the good will of his backers in the Panamanian elite and business communities. Martinelli is not a member of Panama’s traditional elite, and he could be on thin ice if his “anti-corruption” measures end up being seen primarily as shake-downs for fast cash."

Then yesterday we had the third installment of Bananama Republic's Wiki-coverage, with the fallout from the wiretap revelations and more on the DEA in Panama.

Go read them all now, especially that second one. Top stuff and we very heart Bananama Republic.

Chart of the day is...., daily candles.


What is a mining engineer?

Sent in by reader 'J', somebody who knows what he's talking about on this subject:

click to enlarge.

UPDATE: George leaves this in the comments section, also very likeable:
I like this quote from the Chairman of Scottish Branch of the Institution of Structural Engineers (1946) “Engineering is the art of modelling materials we do not wholly understand, into shapes we cannot precisely analyze, so as to withstand forces we cannot properly assess, in such a way that the public at large has no reason to suspect the extent of our ignorance.”

Dead journalists in Latin America, 2010

The Press Emblem Campaign is out with its totals for world journalist deaths in 2010 and of the 105 reporters murdered this year, 36 are from Latin America (making it the most dangerous place there is for the job) but to comment on the story like a good gringo, please follow the instructions below very carefully:

1) Wring your hands over Mexico's failed State.
2) Ignore Honduras
3) Ignore Colombia
4) Ignore Brazil
5) Make a big song and dance about the two deaths in Venezuela, even though both murders were non-work related and happened when both were victims of car robberies.

Bolivia raises fuel prices and there's trouble in store

Pretty big economic news out of Bolivia over the Christmas weekend, as the government of Evo Morales (with Veep Garcia Linera in charge while Evo visits Venezuelan flood victims) has bitten the bullet and slashed the government subsidies on vehicle fuel prices. Here's how Reuters covers the story:

LA PAZ, Bolivia, Dec 26 (Reuters) - Bolivia's leftist government raised fuel prices on Sunday by as much as 83 percent to foster oil production and cut state subsidies, in a politically tricky move that set off a transportation strike.
To offset the measure's impact, the government also froze public utility rates and said it will promote wage increases that top the 6 percent inflation estimated for this year.
In 2006 Bolivia's socialist leader Evo Morales nationalized the energy industry, which is centered on natural gas exports.
"We are bringing fuels up to international price levels ... State subsidies cost $380 million a year. We don't want this to continue. We buy expensive diesel fuel and sell it cheap," said Vice President Alvaro Garcia, who is standing in for Morales during the president's visit to Venezuela.
"We had to raise prices so energy producers feel the need and incentive to produce (oil), so there will be more diesel and gasoline and we will import less ... in one, two or three years, we won't have to import any gasoline or diesel at all," Garcia said.
Diesel prices will rise CONTINUES HERE
As for prices, these charts show you the before and after of the subsidy cut and in three different dosages (for ease of comprehension). First in litres... in standard gallons (4.546l)

...and here in US Gallons (3.785l)

Be clear, this is a big move by the Morales government and the strike they knew they'd generate as a result isn't one that will roll over and die in a couple of days. This government isn't one that just makes a big decision like this one on the spur of the moment, either, so there's clearly strategic thought gone into the timing of this move (one thing that springs to mind is that tourist and citizen transport is greater than business/economic freighting and shipping over the Christmas/New Year period).

Economically speaking, it does make sense on a few levels. Firstly, Bolivia is a net exporter of natgas but produces little liquid hydrocarbons itself and is a net importer of diesel, gasolines etc. The subsidy that was being paid by the government was a clear net loser for the treasury. Also, the country runs on public transport (private car ownership is low), a medium that can absorb a huge percentage increase more easily. Thirdly, this subsidy cut, somewhat strangely, does appeal to the Socialist leanings of the Morales administration because a fuel subsidy is in effect a subsidy for those who can afford a car etc (the same 'tax break for the rich' argument is often used as a critique of Venezuela's heavily discounted fuel).

So this is a story that's worth watching in the next few days, a real test of the authoritive power of the Morales admin and one that will bring out transportists on a strike that may get ugly. Maybe a negotiation and semi-rollback of the subsidy is the eventual outcome? I don't know, but watch this space. 

UPDATE: An example of US analytical mediocrity: Of all the quotes on this issue that "academic" Greg Weeks could have chosen, he goes for the one that makes himself look like a total dumbass. A better example of total non-comprehension of South America would be difficult to come by.

Chart of the day is....

...the 2010 performances of silver (using SLV, the silver bullion ETF, as proxy) and gold (using GLD, the gold bullion ETF, as proxy).

Or in other words, if your gold miner didn't move up by more than 20% or if your silver play didn't beat 63% this year, you shouldn't have bothered. Yes Wistar, that includes your dumbass silver play.


The IKN Weekly, out now

 a year to remember

IKN86 has just been sent to subscribers. Guaranteed turkey-free.


Wikileaks quote fun quiz thingy

Which South American President yesterday said the following about the quality of information relayed to the USA by its ambassadors abroad and revealed by Wikileaks? 

"The poor ambassadors they send here have a very limited capacity and this is why afterwards they end up bombing a country (and) looking for weapons of mass destruction that don't exist."
"They told me there was an atomic bomb in Iraq, (but) it was all rumours. This has cost Mr Tony Blair, who believed the rumours, very dearly."
 Was it:

a) Hugo Chávez
b) Alan García
c) Rafael Correa
d) Lula da Silva
e) Evo Morales
f) Cristina Fernandez
The answer is here, so guess first and click second.

The Friday OT: Robert Earl Keene; Merry Christmas from the Family

The best Christmas song ever.

Kyle over at the now defunct Trend&Value introduced me to this tune and now there can be no other. If you know the song, kick back and enjoy it again (because you know you will). If this is your first time, prepare for a wonderslice of real life Christmas.
Carve the turkey, turn the ball game on.

A media agenda for Venezuela? Surely Not!

Part of the daily routine at IKN Nerve Centre™ is to check on news stories doing the rounds in the region and to help that along, your humble scribe has a Google News widget that separates news stories by country. It's always Spanish language reports, but for some unknown reason this morning the whole Google feature had lapsed into English language (I have no idea why...first time ever).

Anyway, one shrugs one's shoulders and gets on with it. As usual I skimmed across the various country buttons such as Brazil...
Bogota – Brazil and the International Committee of the Red Cross agreed to provide logistical support for the planned release of five Colombian public ...
Fox News View related stories »
...which had the usual mix of bizstuff, a bit of Lula-talk, political bits and bobs etc. And so it continued with Peru....
BY KIMBER SOLANA • • December 24, 2010 About a dozen Salinas High School students will welcome the New Year in Peru by working ...
The Salinas Californian
...and its general, newsworthy infromative mix, then to Colombia....
Bogota – Brazil and the International Committee of the Red Cross agreed to provide logistical support for the planned release of five Colombian public ...
Fox News View related stories »

...and the same kind of thing, even Paraguay...

By PEDRO SERVIN AP ASUNCION, Paraguay -- The Paraguayan government worked closely with the DEA earlier this year to expand its capacity to spy on cell phone ...
Washington Post

...and Bolivia got the same type of journalistic, no-nonsense information-first headlines that keep you up to date with things happening in the country.
(RTTNews) - Latest in a trend of growing Latin American political support for the Palestinian people, Bolivia recognized Palestine as a "free and ...
RTT News View related stories »

But then I clicked on the Venezuela button:
by Anna Mahjar-Barducci Due to the Venezuelan flood emergency that resulted in more than 130000 homeless nationwide, the Parliament gave President Hugo ...
Hudson New York View related stories »

Notice anything different about the coverage, folks? This was all a bit of an eye-opener to me, because I usually get the Google news service piping me Spanish language reports and features which never hold this amount of obvious media bias. For sure they'll cover the polemic issues out of Venezuela, but there's no obsession on Chávez, pseudo-human rights issues and general vitriol towards the country, because Venezuela has all its own business, political and social affairs worthy of report and comment. In Spanish language reports, headlines will tell you what to expect in the report, they don't immediately try to enforce an image that's been built up around a country. 

No wonder you guys get South American affairs so wrong.

A chart of the GDP of Latin American countries

Here, with data from the CIA factbook, are the GDPs of all mainland states of Latin America as measured in 2009 and in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms in US Dollars.

This is to remind certain bloggers with more strength in academia than economics that countries such as Uruguay and Costa Rica count their GDPs in the billions, not millions. Let's just hope a Texan doesn't take offence at being labelled an academic ;-)

Chart of the day is....

..crude oil, monthlies.

Because today I read that crude hit a 27 month high. You'll note it'll have to jump $10 or so and get over $100/bbl in order to make that a 28 month high. By the way, I watched Wall Street Money Never Sleeps (aka WallSt2) last night. Apart from a decent acting display by Douglas, not much to recommend. Certainly not a patch on the original.


Lard for laughs

For RickB and all who understand that Mickey Rourke is pop star.

Because it's Christmas week.

Toronto Stock Exchange Christmas opening hours

Just in case you were wondering (and I was), here's the rundown of when the TSX is open over Christmas 2010.

2010 Stock Market Holidays - Stock Markets Closed

  • Christmas Day - December 27, 2010 (in lieu of December 25)
  • Boxing Day - December 28, 2010 (in lieu of December 26)
** Please note that the TSX and the TSX Venture Markets will close at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, December 24, 2010. The Extended Hours will begin at 1:10 p.m. until 1:30 p.m. on this date.
** On December 31, 2010 regular trading hours will be observed.

Pretty bizarre all told. They open tomorrow Friday 24th for 3 1/2 hours while the US is closed, then shut up shop until Wednesday 29th.

Randgold (GOLD) has a message for the violent gangs of Ivory Coast currently running amok in the country

"Hey guys, this is the exact place where we're producing and storing a whole heap of gold bullion."

 Form an orderly queue right here, gentlemen. AK-47s may come in handy.

And thusly Randgold's IR dep't scores low marks on the common-sense-o-meter. Today's NR here, excerpts below:
"Randgold Resources said today the effect of the continuing political impasse in Côte d'Ivoire on its Tongon mine and a below-target contribution from its Loulo complex would have a negative impact on its fourth quarter performance and its year end results."

"....the company has revised its production guidance for Tongon and stated that assuming the supply chains could be managed and the situation on site remained as it is today, the mine was planning to process approximately 350 000 tonnes of oxide ore at a grade of 3.4g/t to produce approximately 35 000 ounces for the year. Bristow added that given the current situation and the resultant delays, gold sales were expected to differ to production." CONTINUES HERE

Meanwhile, check out WaPo on the post election violence on this link. Over 200 dead now, we hear.

A digital nativity

With thanks to reader 'P' for the headsup, this is witty, cool and nicely festive.

PS: don't miss tomorrow's Friday OT: Best Christmas song ever coming up.

Mickey Fulp, CNBC teevee star

Ace metals dude, standup guy and site friend Mickey Fulp is in the bigtime media swimming lane nowadays, as shown by his appearance later today on CNBC. In fact, there are two lined up and here are the details:

Thurs Dec 23rd 5:00pm EST Live TV CNBC Fast Money with Melissa Lee.

So today The Mercenary Geologist gets a five minute slot on Fast Money. Then next week....

Mon Dec 27th 6:35-6:50pm EST Live TV CNBC: Asia Squawk Box with Martin Soon.

....Mickey gets 15 minutes to shoot the breeze on metals, a slot that will also air on CNBC World. 

So make sure you watch Fulp today and then write in to CNBC to tell them it's nice to have a bit of commonsense about metals on their channel at last. Personally, I just want his autograph......

Colombia Porn Bandwidth Congress Government Shock Horror Scandal

Your humble scribe has decided not to include a picture with this post. Not much  in the way of comment either, as the story speaks for itself. What you get, no more nor less, is a translation of this story today. Enjoy.

Excess of visits to pornographic pages collapses internet in Colombian Congress
In the  last week there have been 5,000 visits to web pages with adult content and 3,000 websites to find partners.

The multiple visits to pornographic pages and partner search pages have made internet access difficult in the Colombian House of Representatives, according to an analysis made by IT systems engineers reported today.

The newspaper 'El Tiempo' says that the revision was done due to complaints from users about the lack of speed of the system. The experts found that in recent days there has been consultations made from computers installed in Congress of more than 5000 pornography pages and 3000 partner search pages.

Directors of the House of Representatives said that from this point onwards internet access would be restricted for those that do not belong to Congress.

"The objective the administration is looking for are simply to cleanse the system and to avoid access to pages that do not bring benefit to work practices, such as porn pages, person-to-person programs, downloading free program, messenger, yahoo messenger and other improductive services not required in the daily legislative work", said the Lower House in a communique.

The administration of the House of Representative cause controversy at the beginning of the month by censuring the use of internet that offered free e-mail and social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. The measure was called 'absurd' by the House president, Carlos Zuluaga, who rescinded the order.

UPDATE: Reader Hanuman Bismarck comments, your author agrees:
"Directors of the House of Representatives said that from this point onwards internet access would be restricted for those that do not belong to Congress." Gee, THAT's going to solve the problem!

Chart of the day is....

...zinc spot price, five year period.

You want a call for 2011? Ok, here's a call for 2011: Think Zinc. We'll be expanding on this thought in the next few issues of The IKN Weekly, subbers.

A Flash update...

...was sent to subscribers about 15 minutes ago (50 minutes before the opening bell). It's one of those actionable ones too, folks.

DYODD dudettes and dudes.


OT: Some music

Faith No More's 'Evidence'.

Because it's Christmas week

IKN recommends: Fixing The Economists

So last night I got sent a link to a note entitled 'The Deleuzian Philosophy of Julian Assange' that only  got clicked on because it was sent by a pal, avoiding as I do most of the Wikileaks stuff'n'nonsense (except those leaks that pass our criteria of 1) LatAm and 2) fun).

But click on the above I did and it turned out to be well worth the trouble, firstly because the excellent and perceptive post from author Phil Pinkington woke up a rusty corner of my brain that had been asleep for about 15 years. Secondly because the whole site, Fixing The Economists, is a well-written, witty and intelligent source of brainfood (e.g. anyone that uses Spinal Tap references while talking about the Irish economic situation is automatically good in my book).
It's not LatAm, it is economics, it's also fully recommended reading. So go see for yourself.

Asset Allocation

Interesting graphics from Reuters today. Link here.

click to enlarge

Mailbag on the Vancouver Cambridge House mining conference, January 2011

IKN Nerve Centre™ gets all sorts of mail and mailers, but 'JM' is one that's always good for raising a laugh. Here's what your humble scribe received from JM yesterday evening (I'm sure he won't mind):

Wow, the Van Cambridge 2011 in January sounds like a who's who of folks that you've heard of.
Thom Calandra. Marin Katusa. James West. Bill Murphy from GATA. Um... then Grandich and Jay Taylor. Um... then Fulp and Cook.
I guess you really can't choose who you share a room with when it comes to the Cdn mining analyst biz, eh? Fulp and Cookie both even get to be on a panel with Louis James.
I almost want to go.... Are these things good fun? Do they let you take video or audio recording gear in? Is it easier to smuggle it in than at a Marilyn Manson show?

Indeed, it'll be interesting to hear Cook and James on the same "Yukon area plays" panel, especially when the subject of the Katusa-fuelled Casey bullshit pump on Bayfield (BYV.v) comes up, the one that made Katusa and his pals hundreds of thousands of dollars in commissions on the $1.40 remember that one, dontcha Lobito?

Greystar ( gets a thumbs down (but not THE thumbs down)

Here's Reuters version of the news:

BOGOTA Dec 21 (Reuters) - A Colombian state ombudsman on Tuesday recommended the government consider rejecting a license for Canadian miner Greystar Resources (GSL.TO: Quote) to develop a gold project because of environmental concerns.
The national Inspector General's recommendation is not binding, but the ruling could bolster those who argue the Angostura gold mine project would impact the delicate paramo ecosystems in northeastern Santander province.
"The Inspector General's office has requested the ministry... study the possibility of not authorizing the environmental license for the mining project Angostura," said the ombudsman CONTINUES HERE

Meanwhile, here's the link to the procurator general's press release (Spanish language). What? You're long GSL but need a translation because you can't speak the language? Well in that case Have A Nice Day :-)

PS: Talking of people who don't speak Spanish, I wonder how Nicholas CampbellSoup over at the Can of Corn will feeling about this news out of Colombia? After all, he's the dude that reiterated his spec buy on GSL with a $9 price target.....on November 19th....when the stock was at $5.19....and now it's going under $ have a nice day too, Soupy.

Disclosure: no position in (because I may be slow but I ain't stupid)

Chart of the day is....

...a 2010 comparative of the five most traded stock markets in South America via their headline indices, namely Brazil's Bovespa, Chile's IPSA, Argentina's Merval, Colombia's IGBC and Peru's IGBVL.

With 2010 wrapping up very soon, the writing is on the wall and Peru's market has fared the bext of the lot in 2010. Second place comes Argentina, third is Chile, fourth is Colombia and a long way behind in fifth place and only just scraping a win on the year, is the supposed darling market of them all, Brazil's Bovespa.

So to borrow from that terse instruction often seen in exams; Discuss.


How beer consumption in LatAm MUST BE reported by the English language media

BS Newswires Dec 21, Miami: Peru's National Industries Society (SNI) today reported that beer consumption in Peru has risen from 20 litres per person per year in 2000 to 39 litres pppy in 2010. Country analyst Anne Eejit remarked from New York that the upsurge in beer consumption "was a clear indicator of the vibrant and ongoing growth in the country being enjoyed by all social strata."

BS Newswires Dec 21, Miami: Beer consumption figures are out from Latin America today, with Venezuela topping the brew-guzzling charts as they knock back 100 litres, man woman and child, every year. When consulted on the latest figures, LatAm economy expert Anne Eejit remarked from New York that "the overconsumption of alcohol in Venezuela is a clear indicator of the country's decadence, sense of hopelessness and lapse into industrial inertia we've seen since the quasi-dictator Chávez seized power." 

IKN back: BS Newswires doesn't exist, but the stats do and are from this report in today.

Updating Pachamama (PMA.v) vs Regulus (REG.v)

As we mentioned yesterday, there was a decent arbitrage on display between these two. Here's the updated chart.....
...and it's all but disappeared now, thanks to the move in REG from 70c to 90c in a touch over 24 hours. So we'd like to thank Axemen Resource Capital for giving us lil' retailers the chance some easy money winnings as fruit of their price propping (because it's usually the other way around, ain't it guys....).

UPDATE: REG.v now 93c, market cap at $33.67m, arb now under $2m

UPDATE 2: Ok, to stop the mystery play here's part of a long note about REG.v that appeared in IKN85 last Sunday. Basically, subscribers knew that the 70c and 75c prices offered up yesterday were a bargain and a decent little quicktrade was in the cards.

  • Now for the arbitrage calculation with Pachamama Resources (PMA.v), holder of the other 50% of the Rio Grande project. At Friday’s close for PMA.v of $0.80 and via the 44.3m shares out at the company, PMA’s market cap stands at $35.4m. PMA has a similar amount of cash at bank as the new REG.v (not exact, but close enough), so the two treasuries basically cancel each other out.

  • If we assume REG.v’s 50% of Rio Grande is valued the same as PMA’s 50%, REG.v should trade at a little under $1 next week.

  • This presents a potential opportunity, ladies and gentlemen readers of The IKN Weekly. It’s possible that REG.v sees selling tomrrow morning as people cash in on the new issue and turn paper into cash. We went through this argument with Renaissance  Gold (REN.v) when it was spun out of AuEx Venutes and it didn’t happen and we also went through it when Canplats spun out Camino Resources (COR.v) and it did happen, so if it does tomorrow your author would be interested in adding REG.v at a price that shows a significant discount to that of PMA.v.

  • On the other hand, it’s perfectly possible that REG.v is bid up tomorrow morning, as a price of above $1 (pretty close to ‘fair value’ accoridng to our line through PMA.v) would mean there were less pressure from any large institutional holders of REG.v to dispose (recall that some instos have a “no holdings under $1 rule” and may feel forced to sell if REG.v trades lower).

  • It’s difficult to say which way the wind will blow on the trading tomorrow (e.g. at the table last night, the Antares team had split opinions and could see both sides of the equation) but we should keep an eye on proceedings as there is at least the potential for a bargain.

What about this chart? Would you buy this?

We did on August 1st, then sold it mid September for a 41.5% gain, then bought it back a month later and have ridden it up since then. 
So...would you buy this chart now?

Would you buy this chart?

The IKN Weekly and plenty of its subscribers bought this chart:

Mind you, we did buy it in March and we're now 211% up on the trade in nine months. So would you buy the chart now?

The flushing sound of Nature's Call (NATC.ob)

Reader 'CHM' gave your author the headsup on a new junior exploration stage company so let's start out with the basic info. The new junior mining scam in town is named (one I still can't get over fully) Nature's Call (NATC.ob).

  • It's a scam.
  • Really, I'm not joking, it's an obvious scam. Start by visiting the paid pumper report with all the hallmarks of the scamster mining pump. BigRedLetters? Check. Use of photos of gold bullion and of the US Flag? Check. Outrageous claims for stock price upside knitted into that ever-so-special copywriter's text which Green Laser Reviews explains so well? Check. And the list continues.
  • So just to make sure we're dealing with a scam, the first thing to so is go over to the SEC filings for NATC.ob where we see that as at its last quarter (ended August 31st) NATC had assets of thirty-nine dollars. We then find out on further reading of the 10-Q that NATC got loaned $150,000 at 5% interest rate by a certain Graeme Renton to start this scamball running and secure an option on 70% of the Los Amoles property held by Yale Resources (YLL.v), details of which you can see here
  • The next thing is to note the share price action:

So the pump starts, somebody who just happened to have about nine million shares of NATC hanging around decided it was a great time to sell and not wait for the $3 price that the newsletter pump promised and made off with...let's say..$2.2m in cash from the sales (a rough call, using 9m shares at an average of 25c apiece). which is more than enough to pay for the fees to the guys behind the BS pump:
"...(Cesari Services Limited C/O Hardtman and Associates) for coverage of Nature’s Call. Cesari Services LTD paid two hundred and ten thousand dollars to marketing vendors to pay for all the costs of creating and distributing this report online"

Would it surprise you to find out that Hardtman & Assoc is based in Nevis, The West Indies? Nah, didn't think so. As for the owner of the sold shares, it could have been most anybody on board beforehand, because just before this BS pump started the shares outstanding count was expanded via a stock split from 9.05m to 190.05m

To cut a long story short this one is an awful smelly scam. Avoid like the plague.

Chart of the day is....

...copper monthly candles.

That's a new ATH, folks. ¡Feliz Qhapaq Inti Raymi!


2011: One prediction per country

Today IKN joins the ranks of the hackneyed and jaded commentators and puts together a list of predictions for the new year, but instead of a whole bunch of things we're going to keep it sharp and aim one forecast per country in South America. so in alphabetical order.....

  • Argentina: Cristina is re-elected
  • Bolivia: GDP grows by 4% in 2011, nobody cares.
  • Brazil: The new Dilma government tries and fails to weaken the country's currency, the Real.
  • Chile: Piñera's popularity stays roughly where it is right now, bobbling around 50%.
  • Colombia: Santos comes under pressure from the USA to cool his new-found buddypal relationship with Chávez next door and diplomatically flips Hillary the bird as his reply.
  • Ecuador: Correa moves forward the country's mining industry and gets plenty of pushback from indigenous populations via protests, marches etc.
  • Paraguay: Another record soybean crop in 2011. Nobody will care.
  • Peru: Toledo wins.
  • Uruguay: Another good growth year for Uruguay in 2011 with no big problems in store.
  • Venezuela: The country will come out of recession in 2011 and post strong growth numbers. This will coincide with the precise moment when foreign journalists stop reporting on Venezuela's GDP growth numbers.

Remember to check back at this post in December 2011 and laugh about how stoooopid the author was.

recent buys

Away from the longer-term positions held by The IKN Weekly with their multiple-bagger wins, we've been adding new names to the list in the last three months. In total we've added eight buys to the list since September and here are the dates of purchase and the percentage change since we bought (something we track every single week for every company covered, be the results good or bad). The only things missing here are the names of the stocks...for obvious reasons. The percentages changes are good as at yesterday

stock added % change since buy
22-sep-10 54.5%
26-sep-10 48.3%
03-oct-10 45.3%
13-oct-10 20.5%
13-oct-10 59.1%
07-nov-10 16.0%
21-nov-10 52.4%
05-dec-10 34.7%

Just lucky I guess. DYODD

Good news and bad news for the Argentine economy

The good news is that Standard & Poor's has raised its ratings on eight large companies in Argentina covering many and varied sectors. The companies are Alto Palermo (shopping malls), IRSA (construction), Loma Negra (cement), Petrobras Energía (O&G), Telecom Personal (telephone), Telefónica de Argentina (telephone), Transportadora de Gas del Sur (gas pipeline) and Clisa (construction/infrastructure), with the reason for the upgrades is that (translated) "Argentine companies face a more favourable operative scenario thanks to our forecast of strong economic growth and a positive external backdrop."

The bad news is that nobody gives a toss about what S&P thinks these days after the pig's ear they made of the last few years.

Comparing copper explorers in Argentina

This one for those who are already briefed and know what it means:

DYODD, dude.

Chart of the day is.... that examines the essential ingredients of a family Christmas dinner in Peru.

The single most important item on the table come Christmas is panetón, a sweet bread with dried fruits that originates in Italy but is also popular in many places in South America. Then comes the hot chocolate that you drink while you eat your slice of panetón, with third place taken by the turkey, which has been getting more popular in recent years but still doesn't have the same fundamental role as in many northern countries. Data from this article in today's Peru21


The IKN Weekly, out now

kinda predictable, but I still couldn't resist

IKN85 has just been sent to subscribers. Time to party! Left side of the bus, please.

Far more important than kicking a ball around a field

When Andrés Iniesta scored Spain's winning goal in this year's World Cup final against Holland he peeled off his shirt to reveal a message underneath, "Dani Jarque, Always With Us", in homage to his close friend and fellow pro footballer who died of a heart attack aged 26 in 2009.

Jarque was captain of Espanyol, the other team in the city of Barcelona and bitter rival of Barcelona (as city rivalries tend to be, of course). This weekend, Espanyol hosted Barça and got a thorough 5-1 drubbing from the world's greatest club team (at the moment, anyway) but at the end of the match, when Iniesta was substituted, something special happened.

The Espanyol fans, normally without a good word for anything Azulgrana and on the receiving end of five goals from their enemy, remembered Iniesta's gesture to their dead captain and gave him a standing ovation as he left the field. The Espanyol players joined in, too. A moment in sport and life.