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More on the Cusco floods

Reader 'Roy' has just left a comment on this previous post about the flooding in the Cusco/highlands region of Peru and I think it's worth sharing with the larger audience. It's written in caps (hey...i didn't write it) but it's definitely worth your time. The last line is exactly right, Roy. Thanks for taking the time out.






The Friday OT: The known universe

IKN is clocking off early today...going to do things in town. So let's leave you with this simply stunning video which cannot be recommended too highly.

No further comments from me. Just sit back and enjoy.

Nadagold (NG): Rick! is as Rick! does


It didn't take long for the leopard to show his spots. Here's how Rick! Van Alphabet thinks a CEO should act, keeping down expenses and showing a lead to his troops and all robbing his shareholders blind again.

NovaGold Resources Inc. (NG)

As of January 28th, 2010
Filing Date Transaction Date Insider Name Ownership Type Securities Nature of transaction # or value acquired or disposed of Unit Price
Jan 28/10 Jan 21/10 Van Nieuwenhuyse, Rick Direct Ownership Options 50 - Grant of options 231,250 $6.400

That's $1.48m added to the costs of Nadagold (NG) this quarter, to please the greed of its top man. Fulp's phrase about 'mining the stock market' springs to mind. Another one is "Shareholders: If they can't take a joke f*** 'em."

h/t fulp

Lefties can be total dumbasses about Chávez, too (this week's coveted award)

h/t to delacour over at Latin America News Review for this one.

Nikolas Kozloff over at Counterpunch has managed to fall for the classic trap of believing somebody else's bullshit, just because it's written down. Kozloff's latest column is all about the "story" that Chávez thinks the Haiti earthquake was caused deliberately by the USA and some secret nefarious doomsday device used by its military command. Here's how his stuff starts:
"...Chávez has another zinger: the United States intentionally created the earthquake in Haiti through means of a secret weapon.

Chávez seemingly believes he’s in the middle of the Mel Gibson movie, Conspiracy Theory. According to Spanish paper ABC Chávez has joined the ranks of the truly paranoid, declaring that the earthquake was the result of an insidious U.S. naval test. Ultimately, Chávez believes, Haiti served as a test case for further U.S. machinations.."

Unfortunately, as explained to the world by two far better and more diligent bloggers, first broken by duderino over at Abiding and then by the all-conquering Borev, the whole story was total bullshit from start to finish, created as somebody's flight of fancy and then picked up by others in a global version of the telephone game.

As Abiding points out:

"This all sounds fishy, so I did some more Googling, but luckily for me I speak Mexican so I ran across this piece which had an image of the original conspiracy theory article in question.

"The conspiratorial article happens to have been briefly be posted on Venezuelan community participatory TV's website under the anonymous byline "Patria Grande". As the posting on Rebelion explains, the rightwing Spanish ABC news agency then wrote up a story claiming Chavez had made the conspiratorial claim, which then got picked up by Fox News (among others) and ended up being posted on my blog by some anonymous anti-Evo wingnut.

"Hugo Chavez said nothing of the kind. Spanish ABC news simply lied and others followed. You will remember ABC news from other such lying fiascos like when they made up the existence of a shadowy conspiracy behind the Bolivian and Venezuelan constitutions, which was later repeated by the Washington Post." continues

And as Borev says.

"1. Some Venezuelan blogger wrote a weird story about the U.S. causing the Haiti earthquake with some sort of earthquake weapon.

2. A website operated by a Venezuelan state TV channel included a link to the post in their roundup of Haiti coverage from all over the country.

3. Some right-wing newspaper in Spain published a story about the link, referring to it as a Venezuelan state "press release."

4. Fox News reports the Spanish story, saying the earthquake weapon claim comes from "Hugo Chavez' mouthpiece."

5. Randomly, Vladimir Putin's English language teevee channel Russia Today claimsall over thefucking place, Drudge sirens!! that Chavez himself made the statement. This video report is picked up

6. Right wing news "analysts" opine about what level of threat this represents to the United States." continues

So Nikolas Kozloff, you win this week's coveted award. Not doing your DD before opening your fat mouth makes you look well, well stoooooopid. Enjoy, dumbass:

UPDATE: Kozloff issues one of those retractions-that-is-not-a-retraction and Duderino at Abiding pulls him limb from limb.

Going to Peru to do Machu Picchu soon?

Then make it via the Inca Trail, cos the train is out of action for two months, according to El Comercio today. Above photo from here

It must have been tough for the cossetted gringo tourists to have had to experience what Peru minus comfy transport, plentiful food and warm beds is really like...FOR TWO WHOLE DAYS, TOO! Poor souls. Mind you, the other side of Peru was in evidence too, as two Chilean tourists stuck there told how they paid a U$300 bribe to their travel agency to get them out on one of the helicopter rescue flights before the supposed first flyers of elderly and sick. Viva investment grade, baby....

Chart of the day is....

.....the Chilean Peso (CLP vs US Dollar, 3 month chart.

The CLP has dropped nastily versus the greenback in the last few days. This Bloomie note on the deal gives us the lowdown:

“There’s a bit of a trifecta going on in Chile,” said Benito Berber, an economist at RBS Securities Inc. in Stamford, Connecticut. “The external backdrop isn’t helping, with concern about China decelerating, along with the changes in the AFP regulations, which indicate an increase in dollar buying through the next 90 days.

“And today we got disappointing industrial production and sales data,” he said. “It’s going to be a noisy, jumpy recovery, both externally and domestically for Chile.”

So fears of the dreaded W aren't just confined to the North; LatAm's wannabe serious country is getting the jitters too, tycoon saviour at the helm or no.


Another classic from Uribe's model democracy

This one has the makings of big news.

Plan Colombia has the story again, about a mass grave made by the Colombian national army that contains as many as 2,000 (yes, that says two thousand) unnamed and unmarked bodies. Not some relic of the past either, as the bodies have been deposited there in the period 2005 to present day. Here's a quote from the report:
“The Army commander told us that they were guerrillas killed in combat, but the people in the region told us of a multitude of social leaders, campesinos and community human rights defenders who disappeared without a trace.”
And guess what folks? Yep...
La Macarena, the site of the grave, has been a very important site of U.S.-aided military operations since the mid-2000s. In this area, the U.S. government supported and advised the Colombian Army’s 2004-2006 “Plan Patriota” military offensive, and since 2007 has supported the “Plan for the Integral Consolidation of La Macarena” or PCIM, part of the new “Integrated Action” framework that is now guiding much U.S. assistance.
Plan Colombia and Beyond is must-read material today. Here's the link again.

Death by natural causes, Colombian style


Yes indeed, heartwarming news from that most enlightened of democracies, Colombia. The excellent blog Plan Colombia and Beyond breaks today's news on the Colombian Secret Service (DAS) illegal wiretapping whistleblower, Jaime Fernando Ovalle, in this way:

Posted to the website of El Tiempo, Colombia’s main newspaper, early this morning:

  • Revelations of Jaime Fernando Ovalle, key witness to resolve the case of the ‘wiretaps’ [in the Colombian government's presidential intelligence service, or DAS]“

Posted minutes ago to the website of El Tiempo:

  • “Jaime Fernando Ovalle Olaz, key witness in the DAS ‘wiretaps,’ dies“

The report of his death says he died "of natural causes" by the way. Y'know, kinda 'well, it's natural that his heart stopped beating after what we did to him, isn't it?'. For the record, Jaime was trying to set the record straight about the DAS operations that illegally wiretapped NGOs in Colombia starting in 2003, who then mysteriously had key members of their organizations assassinated shortly afterwards.

Here's the link to PCAB, go see.

So how's that Constitution Mining scam coming along in 2010, Otto?

Weeeeell, it could have seen a better start to the year, I'd readily opine.

There's been a ton of comment from this humble scribe about the gold sands joke dressed up as opportunity known to the world as Constitution Mining (CMIN.ob) on these pages already, so let's just leave it to a finer and more succinct analyst to sum up today's chart on CMIN:
Thanks owly.

Fronteer Development Corp (FRG) ( an observation

On Jan 25th I posted on Fronteer Development Corp (FRG)( noting a decent news release and the share price pop it got as a result. since then the stock has managed to perform badly, dropping by about 10%. Dem's da breaks. I like the stock, its story, its assets and its future and have skin in the game here, so the drop is on my mind...not worried, just wanted to know a bit more about why it should perform this way.

So here's a thing. Check out the year-to-date chart on FRG and we see that......
......every time it's released news to the market this month, the price has performed well. But every time the news is incorporated, the PPS has dropped away afterwards. To make it easier, here are the links to the NRs on Jan 6th, the second on Jan 6th, then this on Jan 11th next this one on Jan 15th and finally this on Jan 25th. A fairly large amount of significant news for a single month.

What to make of this? Well, it does point to the general inertia in the gold junior sector, but it also says that FRG has plenty of good news to feed to the market and when it does that feeding, the market likes what it reads. All in all, it adds up to plenty of short term trading opportunity for the nimble amongst you, I'd say. Personally, I'm good about simply holding through this choppy season...but that's just me.

DYODD, dude.

hypertense Lula

Brazilian Prez Lula da Silva (aka Yoda) was about to board his plane to go see the other jetsetters in Davos yesterday when he succumbed to an attack of hypertension (likely brought on by overwork and job stress, say the docs). He didn't make that flight and was instead taken to a local hospital where I'm glad to say he's recovering well. Here's the photo from early this morning to prove it.

So the award of 'global statesman' that the suits at Davos were going to pin on his chest will have to wait for another day, as Lula is looking happy enough being pampered by pretty nurses.

Chart of the day is....

...the Brazilian Real (BRL) forex with the greenback, weekly candles:

Even the world's best performing currency in 2009 gives way to the greenback these days.


OT: The 6 Most Statistically Full of Shit Professions

Over at Cracked dot com, we are treated to a linkbait special and for once I'm falling for it. The article is called "The 6 most Statistically Full of Shit Professions" and it's well worth a visit to check out the fun rant on each. Here they are, from six to one....
6) Stock Market Experts
5) Wine Tasters
4) Art Critics

3) Criminal Profilers

2) Weather Forecasters

1) Sportswriting
....and the only surprise for me is that Stock Market Experts are not numero uno. Here's the link, go have a look.

h/t Salmon (who must be bored shitless himself in Davos if he's linking to this kind of thing)

Fortuna silver ( has a new presentation out....

...and you can get yours by clicking right here.

Mel has left the building

Following the inauguration of Porfirio Lobo as President of Honduras, ex-Prez Zelaya got to leave the Brazilian embassy this afternoon and before getting on his plane bound for Dom. Rep was met at the airport by the new mandate, Lobo (translation 'wolf'...just sayin'). Here's Honduras Coup 2009 with a bang up-to-date report. I'm only putting up a few lines here to get you to go over to the author's page cos that's fair, so click through for the rest:

Manuel Zelaya Rosales went by car from the Brazilian embassy to Toncontin International Airport about 20 minutes ago and arrived at the airforce base there. He was accompanied by his wife, a daughter, Rasel Tomé and escorted by President Porfirio Lobo Sosa, fresh from his inauguration ceremony, President Colom of Guatemala, and President Fernandez of the Dominican Republic. At the same time, the other people within the Brazilian embassy who (continues here)

Honduras had a 2009 in the limelight thanks to the coupmonger Micheletti stomping all over its citizens' fragile sense of democracy. And so with today's events done with and some sort of quasi-normality restored, Honduras can go back to its previous role of being a corrupt little country that nobody gives a shit about.

The difference between the flooding in the Peru highlands region last year and the flooding this year is....

...that a bunch of gringos got trapped at Machu Picchu this year. Thus it's headline news. Last year it was just a load of poor peasants that got their houses washed away, so who cares, right?

Minera Andes ( A thought on its last quarter

This is the kind of stuff that goes on in the Weekly sometimes, but as we dropped Minera Andes ( from coverage a few weeks ago (at about the same time the Zeds over at the can of corn started pumping it, in fact) here's a little blog rundown of MAI's latest set of production numbers for San José, out last week. It should be remembered that MAI holds 49% of San José (the other 51% held by Hochchild (HOC.L)) so apart from the last chart, all the numbers are pro-rata for Minera.

This chart shows the evolution of throughput tonnages at San José, and as we can see the quarter well sucked.

The plant is built to run at 1,500 tonnes per day (tpd) which would mean that in a perfect world, the 92 days of the last quarter would have seen 138,000t crushed and processed and what-have-you. In the end, throughput totalled just 100,460t. San José was on strike for 15 days in 4q09 and that explains quite a lot of the underperformance, but the company also suffered a reported 8 day strike in 3q09. So if you do the math you find that on the days San José wasn't on strike in 3q09, it ran the machine at 1,456tpd but on the days San José wasn't on strike in 4q09 the average thoughput was much lower at 1,304tpd. That's not so good and therefore there must be other reasons (as yet undisclosed by MAI) as to why tonnage throughput was so low in 4q09.

This chart shows production and sales of silver in the four quarters of 2009. Unsurprisingly after noting throughput tonnages, Ag production sucked.
But also, you'll note that in the last couple of reported quarters silver sales were higher than production, this because San José had a whole chunk of unsold inventory that helped boost sales. It doesn't have that luxury any longer and so the drop in sales between 3q09 and 4q09 is a very hefty 794,000oz

This chart shows production and sales of gold in the four quarters of 2009. Again, that production drop is one thing, but the drop in sales is even heavier and in 4q09 San José sold 8,910oz less than in 3q09 due to the end of the inventory sales.

However on a comparative basis gold production held up better than silver in the last quarter because the ore was better grading, as this chart shows.

As for financial results, MAI is going to get away with a lot of this production disappointment because both gold and silver spot prices were much higher in 4q09 compared to the previous qtr. This chart shows how revenues have been and makes a forecast for the reveneus from San José that are due to MAI. Be clear that this is not predicting the MAI profit, but the amount of cash MAI will receive from San José. MAi has all its own operations to pay for as well.

So this quick, dirty and patchy analysis of San José is done. It had a bad quarter and the results are very unlikely to impress the market, folks. All in all (and even though it went higher after we dropped the stock) I'm happy that it's not part of the 'Stocks to Follow' list any longer. Once the debt is paid down at San José and the opertaion is running more smoothly, it might be worth a revisit. Not until then, though.

Troy Resources ( ( updates on Casposo

Troy Resources ( ( is out with news today, an update on the progress made at its Casposo project in Argentina. Things look good, has to be said, but rather than me making a whole bit-by-bit rundown of the NR, here it is below so read it yourself.

As the chart up there shows, TRY stock has been in the doldrums for quite a few weeks, slumping the high $2s and recently going under the two loonie mark again. It's one of my favourite gold plays and as such I've been suffering this quiet period along with the rest, but quiet is what sometimes happens to your positions when you target over a 12 month period. Here's the NR, and do check out the link TRY offers at the bottom, showing the latest photos from Casposo. A visual reminder that they're not BSsing anybody and the mine is getting built.
PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA--(Marketwire - Jan. 27, 2010) - Troy Resources NL ("Troy") (TSX:TRY)(ASX:TRY) -



- Further 8% reduction in expected project capital to US$41.5M.

- Processing plant delivered to site.

- Site work well advanced, including concrete and tank works, office construction.

- First ore tested in the pit pre-strip confirming high grades - including 4m at 28.4g/t gold, 714g/t silver.

- First production expected in September 2010 quarter - just 12 months after project construction commenced and 18 months after project acquisition.

Growing junior gold producer, Troy Resources NL is pleased to report excellent progress in development of its Casposo gold-silver project (Casposo) in San Juan province, Argentina.

Troy CEO Paul Benson said the Company had achieved a number of milestones in the past month which had further de-risked the project, and it remained on track for plant commissioning and first production in the September quarter 2010.

"The project team led by Troy's Executive Director Ken Nilsson, has successfully moved the processing plant from Cobar NSW to the Casposo project site where assembly has commenced," Mr Benson said.

"The delivery of the plant and the advanced stage of the concrete and tank works has given us confidence to reduce the assumed project contingency cost, allowing us to reduce forecast construction costs by 8% from US$45M to US$41.5M.

"When put in the context of the capital cost estimate of US$86M when we acquired the project, this new estimate brings the total reduction in project construction capital to 51%.

"We have commenced earthworks to establish the initial open pit and it is always pleasing to see some nice high grade at the start of the project. Initial in-pit grade control of the Aztec Vein included 4m at 28.4g/t gold, 714g/t silver. Our aim is to build up a stockpile of over a month's mill feed before commissioning commences in the September quarter 2010.

"Following the previously announced 32% increase in the Mineral Resource, the importance of the underground mine has increased. It is important that we get the interface between the open cut and underground mines optimised. We currently expect to be able to release a new Mining Reserve and schedule in April 2010.

"The safe and efficient progress to date is a credit to the project team. We look forward to the first production in the September quarter 2010."


With the successful delivery of the Cobar plant to the site and the advanced stage of concrete and tank works, Troy has reduced project contingency and thus the forecast project capital construction cost. The forecast capital cost for the Casposo project is now US$41.5M. This represents approximately an 8% reduction over Troy's initial capital estimate of US$45M published by in August 2009. The new target also represents a 51% reduction over the capital cost estimate in the public domain at the time Troy acquired the project in May 2009.


Troy's strategy has been to relocate significant portions of the gold processing plant it held in storage in Cobar, NSW, Australia, to form the core of the Casposo facility. The use of existing, near-new plant components contributed significantly to the initial 47% reduction in the revised capital development budget for Casposo, as announced on 5 August 2009. Additional plant, both new and refurbished, is also being sourced.

The Cobar plant has now been successfully transported to the Casposo project site. The plant was shipped from Newcastle NSW to Buenos Aires using a ship charted for the project. From Buenos Aires the plant was trucked more than 1000kms to the project with 75 semi trailer loads being delivered over a 21 day period which included the Christmas break.


Significant progress has been made on the project site works since the last project update to shareholders on 9 October, 2009.

- Concrete work for the crushing, grinding and general plant facilities are well underway.

- Local manufacture and delivery of leach tanks to site are almost complete and construction and installation of tanks is well advanced.

- The site office construction has commenced.

- Water bore field and associated pipe work currently undergoing testing and commissioning.

- The first stage of the camp for construction workers was opened. The current workforce is 140 and it is expected the peak will be 225 in May of this year.

- Work has commenced on the assembly of the Cobar plant.


Preparation for mining the Kamila open pit commenced including construction of haul road and levelling of the initial mining area which is the peak of a topographic high. The mine plan envisages establishing the pit and building up an ore stockpile of around 40,000t before mill commissioning. Grade control blast hole sampling of the initial exposure of the Aztec Vein returned high grade results, including:

- 4m at 28.4g/t gold, 714g/t silver;

- 3m at 7.3g/t gold, 69g/t silver; and

- 5m at 2.8g/t gold, 28g/t silver.

Holes were drilled vertically on a 3m x 3m pattern to a maximum of 8m depth. Fire assay with gravimetric finish on a 50g charge analysis by Alex Stewart (Assayers) Argentina at the Mendoza Laboratory. These results are in line with expectations from the ore block model.


Work continues on detailed mining planning and calculation of an updated Mining Reserve. With the 32% increase in the Mineral Resource announced in July 2009, the amount of ore produced from the planned underground has increased and detailed planning is currently focusing on the open cut/underground interface and optimisation. It is now expected that a new mining plan and Reserve will be completed in April 2010.


RC drilling has commenced and is initially focussed on the 150m long "Kamila - Mercado Gap" which until now has been sparsely drilled due to topographical constraints, but due to the presence of heavy earthmoving equipment drill positions have been established. In December 2009, 4 RC holes (295m) were completed. All holes intersected the of Inca-Mercado Vein structure. The brecciated - banded quartz veins were noted over downhole intervals ranging from 3m to 5m in both rhyolitic and andesitic host rocks. Alteration comprises moderate to strong silicification (illite-smectite-pyrite) in the rhyolite that changes to propylitic (chlorite - epidote - pyrite) in the andesite. The veining is situated at the rhyolite - andesite faulted contact or directly below in andesitic underlying the flows. Drilling recommenced in January 2010 after a holiday break. Assays are pending.

A diamond drill rig is expected to commence deeper drilling starting in the September quarter 2010, following a geological and structural review of the Casposo project area conducted by an independent geological consultant. This review highlighted areas of increased prospectivity for extensions to the existing Casposo Resource.

Geological mapping and sampling, as well as earthworks in preparation of drilling have commenced at the Julieta Target located 5km northwest of the Kamila Deposit. RC drilling is planned to commence at Julieta later this quarter. This RC program will include both infill and step-out holes which if successful will provide adequate drilling density to enable an initial mineral resource estimate to be completed later in 2010.

Geological mapping and interpretation has commenced on the Castano Nuevo project. Troy is earning into this project and anticipates drilling to commence later in 2010 when all statutory approvals have been received.

Information of a scientific or technical nature in this report was prepared under the supervision of Peter J. Doyle, Vice President Exploration and Business Development of Troy, a "qualified person" under National Instrument 43-101 - "Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects", a member of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy. Mr. Doyle has sufficient experience, which is relevant to the style of mineralisation and type of deposit under consideration, and to the activity he is undertaking, to qualify as a "competent person" as defined in the 2004 edition of the "Australasian Code for Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves". Mr. Doyle has reviewed and approved the information contained in this report. For further information regarding the Casposo project, including a description of quality assurance programs, quality control measures, the geology, samples collection and testing procedures in respect of the Casposo project please refer to the technical report entitled Troy Resources NL: Casposo Project, Argentina" dated July 2009, which is available under the Company's profile at

This report contains forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements reflect management's current beliefs based on information currently available to management and are based on what management believes to be reasonable assumptions. A number of factors could cause actual results, performance, or achievements to differ materially from the results expressed or implied in the forward looking statements. Such factors include, among others, future prices of gold, the actual results of current production, development and/or exploration activities, changes in project parameters as plans continue to be refined, variations in ore grade or recovery rates, plant and/or equipment failure, delays in obtaining governmental approvals or in the commencement of operations.


Troy Resources (TSX:TRY)(ASX:TRY) is a dividend-paying junior gold producer, with a clear growth strategy. The Company has two producing gold operations; at Sandstone in Western Australia and the Andorinhas Mine in Para State, Brazil and a gold-silver development project, Casposo, in San Juan province, Argentina.

Troy has an experienced Board and management team with a portfolio of successful, fast-track mine development and low-cost operations.

Troy has an annual exploration budget of $5 million and a proven track record in exploration discoveries and strategic acquisitions.

Troy is currently focused on developing its Casposo Project, which it acquired in May 2009. With the acquisition and development of Casposo, Troy is entering a renewed growth phase which will again lift the Company's annual gold production above 100,000 ounces of gold per annum.

The Company maintains a robust balance sheet, is debt-free and forecasts continued strong cash flow from its current assets. Troy's gold production is unhedged; allowing its shareholders access to the full benefit of current and future gold price upside.

With the recent Casposo acquisition, Troy is positioned to continue its path of strong growth and profitable operations and is well on track to achieve its vision of becoming a highly profitable mid-tier gold producer with a portfolio of quality long-life assets.

Troy is a responsible corporate citizen, committed to the best practice of health and safety, environmental stewardship and social responsibility.

ABN 33 006 243 750

To view the photos and map accompanying this press release, please click on the following link:

Chart of the day is....

...silver, via the silver ETF (SLV) over a three year period.

I was asked to run this chart by a mailer. So here we are. The first caveat is that I'm not a TA specialist (or much of a believer, bar the more basic observations that charts can give us). With that said, those red lines scribbled in show the channel Ag has been in since the Lehman hoo-hah hit upon us and it's been a pretty solid and regular upwards march for 2009 plus a month before and a month afterwards.

The other horizontal line is there because my untrained eye spots a potential zone of resistance around $16. So what with the bottom tramline of the upwards channel indicating a touch over $15 (best-fit it can play around with these things for hours if so inclined) the current droop to $16.50 for silver spot may have a little more to run (but keep in mind that SLV normally sells at a slight discount to spot). Or then again it may not and SLV might just reverse and go back to $18 lickety spit. Charts, eh.......


The Gold/Silver Ratio

click to enlarge

Ready for the dumbass silverbugs and their "illuminati manipulation" screeds?

Mo' Colombia: Of drugs and lovers

A must-read on the upcoming senate elections in Colombia is to be found on this link to the excellent English language resource, Colombia Reports. Here's how it starts, click through for the rest:

Senate candidate: My campaign is financed by 'faggot' not drugs

Monday, 25 January 2010 12:11 Adriaan Alsema

A Senate candidate for the newly founded ADN party denied allegations that he is sponsored by drug money, claiming on Monday that "a faggot from South Africa who is in love with me is sending me money." ADN, the party of former Colombian ambassador to South Africa and current senatorial candidate Carlos Moreno de Caro, has been criticized for the large number of candidates who have family members under investigation for links to paramilitaries. According to continues here

Message to Canadian mining analysts covering Colombian gold stocks

This post is for all those analysts in all those Canadian brokerages, shops, houses and newsletters that cover junior goldies in the Norte de Santander department of Colombia, for example Ventana Gold (, Greystar Resources (, Galway Resources (GWY.v) amongst a lot of others. And really it's more of a question for you guys up there, because I'd really like to know why you refuse to inform your clients about the unstable political situation in that region, why you refuse to pass information on the social upheavals and misery being caused by far-right wing paramilitary terrorists, why you refuse to tell people about the drug trafficking, the mass killings, the attacks on civilian populations, the displacement of entire villages under duress and the underaged girls forced into prostitution.

Why do you stay totally silent about the enormous political risks currently suffered by Norte de Santander? Do you really think that encouraging a bunch of wealthy Canadians to pour money into such an unstable region is a good idea? It seems to me that by not passing on important information about this region you are either ignorant of Norte de Santander and shouldn't be covering the stocks in the first place, or you are deliberately misleading people.

Here follows a translation of this report in Colombia's El Tiempo daily dated to last weekend, featuring the Public Defender Ombudsman Volmar Pérez Ortiz, a man that so good at his job that he was re-elected by Colombia's congress for this important role for a third consecutive term in 2008 (which runs to 2012). This person knows about one thousand times more about Norte de Santander than the equities analysts that pump these stocks to their clients.

Public Defender Ombudsman Warns That Violende Impacts Vulnerable Population

Vólmar Pérez Ortiz says that violence generated by the actions of illegal groups in the Norte De Santander department has a direct impact on the most sensitive sectors.

The National Public Defender Ombudsman also indicated that the cases of violence that communities are exposed to include selective homicides, massacres, forced displacements, threats, attacks and combats using the civilian population as human shields, anti-personnel mines, use and recruitment of children and adolescents to the paramilitry and forced prostitution.

The functionary also said that the illegal groups that operate in the region such as the 'Aguilas Negras' and the 'Rastrojos' have shown a capacity of expanded control over the populations, particularly in the border areas.

"For the Defender of the People Ombudsman, the continued reality of forced transborder displacement in Norte de Santander is worrying , as in other zones of the extensive frontier with Venezuela", said Pérez, who added that the displacements do not have good estimated numbers due to the characteristics of the operations that affect undeclared refugees who do not report their situations to avoid being expelled or as a means of self-protection from the illegal groups.

Vólmar Pérez said that the forced displacements are principally as a consequence of threats and constraints from illegal armed groups on the civilian populations that live in regions close to the border.

Chart of the day is.....

.....the performance of Peru's currency, the Nuevo Sol (PEN) in the last decade.

click to enlarge

The data come from the BCRP (Peru Central Bank) website and December 2001 is used as the start date because that's what the BCRP uses to begin its indexing. What we see is that although the mass wisdom (aka hypnosis) of the PEN getting stronger is true, it's only really true against the US dollar. The multilateral basket of currencies that the Peru Cenbank dudettes and dudes use to measure performance has come back with a clear UNCH result after all this decade is done.

So Peru's Sol is stronger? Nope, it's the US Dollar that's weaker. But you hardly need to go visit Peru to know that one, do you? Peru's Sol is just your actual straight-down-the-middle average perfoming currency, nothing else.


Something about a recent gold call that I'd like to get off my chest

if you look closely you might be able to spot a trend here

As part of an article by Reuters out today entitled "Gold rises on renewed buying but investors wary", the reporter decides to get Robert Prechter's view on what is to come.

What Reuters writes is:

Robert Prechter, president of Elliott Wave International, said that gold has hit a top and could fall 40 percent from its peak in a deflationary environment.

Gold "is over-owned and overvalued and is about to resume a bear market, if hasn't already," said Prechter, the technical analyst known for predicting the 1987 stock market crash.

What Reuters doesn't write is:

Robert Prechter, president of Elliott Wave International, said that gold has hit a top and could fall 40 percent from its peak in a deflationary environment.

Gold "is over-owned and overvalued and is about to resume a bear market, if hasn't already," said Prechter, the technical analyst known for predicting the 1987 stock market crash and also known for being a permabear who has been utterly wrong about the market for the last freakin' decade except for a couple of months in mid-2008 and then resumed his bad calls in 2009 with the normal misleading bullshit based on squiggly lines





and only benefit his own back pocket via wildly overinflated subscription fees paid to him by the most ignorant sheep investors out there.

I just wanted to get that off my chest. Thank you for your patience. Crazy pills served. The end.

¡Aguante Salvador Cabañas!

the x-ray

Bad news out of Mexico today. Salvador Cabañas, star forward for America de Mexico and for his national side Paraguay in the run-up to the World Cup (and a player respected by all the continent) was shot in the head in what seems to be an attempted robbery while at a nightclub with his wife last night.

He's in a very serious condition (in Spanish it was called 'grave y delicado', which needs little in the way of translation) after two emergency operations. The bullet is still lodged in his neck as the surgeon didn't want to risk further damage by retreiving it during the second procedure. At the presser after the operation the doc said "We need to have faith and hope" and I highly doubt he was being melodramatic.

This video of his top ten goals in the 2008 season shows how good this guy is.

Wishing you the very best, Salvador.

Surgery of the Day Award

News today from the Sabogal Hospital in Callao, Lima, Peru. A direct Translation from this report:

In Peru's Sabogal Hospital, Callao, Doctors Amputate the Wrong Leg of a Man

According to family members of the octogenarian man, the hospital has given no explanation for the error. A medical committee will be formed to determine whether there was negligence.

Monday 25th January 2010, 12:42pm: An octogenarian who went into Callao's Sabogal hospital for a leg amputatation due to an inoperaable ulcer had his other leg mistakenly amputated by by the surgeons in charge, according to family members.

"When he came into the room where I was waiting for him, it was a tremendous shock when I lifted the sheet and saw that they had amputated the left leg", Carmen Villanueva told RPP Radio, whose father Jorge Villanueva Morales, aged 86, was the victim of the negligence.

The daughter that that on advising doctors of the error she was given no concrete explanation and immediately proceeded in amputating the diseased right leg to avoid the advance of the infection.

According to Carmen Villanueva, who has already made a formal complaint, authorities at the Sabogal hospital only told her that the case was being audited.

In respect of the case, the hospital indicated that a A medical committee has been formed to determine within the next 48 hours whether the operation on Villanueva was subjected to the normal rules and administrative procedures.

Directors at the hospital guaranteed the if any irregularity is proven, the guilty parties will be severely sanctioned.

El Salvador: No mining, no way

Here's a small section from yesterday's IKN38 that catches up with the mining scene in El Salvador. For more on the activist murders, click the link and visit the full CIPSES report.

El Salvador: Is this clear enough for you?

Here’s part of a speech made by El Salvador’s (popular) president, Mauricio Funes, on January 12th 2010 and translated by CIPSES (15):

“There can be no misunderstanding; my government will not authorize any mining extraction projects.

“No one has convinced us that there are ways to extract minerals and metals, especially metals, without contaminating the environment and affecting public health. We are not going to [authorize extraction permits].”

Also, I expect Pacific Rim ( was very glad to close successfully its $2.35m placement on January 14th (16) because PMU was specifically mentioned by Funes in the same speech, in relation to the recent murders of three anti-mining activists opposed to the PMU projects in the country. Funes Said:

“I have personally given instructions to the Minister of Justice and Security and the Director of the National Civilian Police to investigate those cases,” Funes declared, pledging to shed light on “the motives that are behind these assassinations.” The president stated that those killed had “sacrificed their lives in pursuit of a better environment and a better quality of life for Salvadorans.”

So get your big red marker pen out and put a large cross in the country of El Salvador for anything concerning mining, miners and investment.

Oh Mr. Sandman, bring me a dream......

....make it the cutest drillcore I've ever seen.

Fronteer released results from the ongoing exploration of the Sandman project in Nevada, with the headline number a real eyecatcher:

Sandman Delivers More High-Grade Gold to Fronteer's Nevada Platform With 90.28 G/T Gold Over 3.47 Metre

Yep, that's nigh on three ounces of gold per metre there and checking more of the drill highlights we get........
--  90.28 grams per tonne gold (2.633 ounces per ton) and 126.54 g/t silver
(3.691 oz/ton) over 3.47 metres in NSM-142;
-- 86.91 g/t gold (2.535 oz/ton) over 1.19 metres and 13.15 g/t gold (0.384
oz/ton) over 7.16 metres in NSM-141;
-- 20.03 g/t gold (0.584 oz/ton) over 2.99 metres in NSM-126;
-- 22.37 g/t gold (0.652 oz/ton) over 3.47 metres in NSM-123.
--  52.45 g/t gold (1.53 oz/ton) over 1.01 metres, in NSM-147;
-- 9.23 g/t gold (0.269 oz/ton) over 1.22 metres in NSM-146.

Mmmmmmm....tasty. So did the market like the news?

Sure did, that late day sell-off Friday is now ancient history and the stock has gapped up in style on good volumes this morning. Along with its Long Canyon JV (with, Fronteer has nailed some excellent gold prospects in the Nevada region and this stock, a mainstay component of The IKN Weekly Stocks to Follow list, is a nigh-on double for subscribers. Thanks due to Gary BiiWii for giving me the headsup on this quality junior around this time last year.

I love that line the Chordettes sing about Liberace, by the way. Beats the Metallica song hands down.

Google Challenge of the Day

Step one, Venezuela: plug in the word 'RCTV' into Google news and see how many responses you get. I tried it just now from the 'Google News Venezuela' page and got 4,323 returns about how last week the Venezuelan RCTV cable TV station has been pulled off the air (by the cable operators and not the government itself, apparently) because it wouldn't show the 'cadena nacional' Hugo segments.

Step two Peru: plug in the word 'Yurimaguas' in Google news and see how many responses you get. I tried it just now from the 'Google News Peru' page and got 75 returns, but only 26 stories about how last week the Peruvian Canal 8 de Radio Televisión de Oriente en Yurimaguas TV station has been pulled off the air (by government itself and via full licence revokal for technical reasons....something about not upgrading to new equipment, true for 95% of all Peru TV stations) but is really about the dissent towards Twobreakfasts' APRA shown by this station deep in the heart of the Amazon region of the country.

And hey, that's just with the Spanish language news services. When it comes to using Google News in the English language, the RCTV story gets 4,371 hits (up to now..more to come for sure) and the Yurimaguas story gets 2 (yes, two).

I wonder why?

UPDATE: Extra info on RCTV coming thru via Utpal in the comments section:
Btw, it's not just the cadena nacional, it's the whole shabang "Ley Resorte" thing (playing the national anthem, observing supervised hours etc etc). RCTV had avoided being subject to the social responsibility law by claiming to be "international", but CONATEL determined recently that it's programming was, like 90% Venezuelan, so it made no sense to claim that is wasn't "national".

I suspect they are gonna be back soon.

Toby the mining scambuster

Main man Toby Shute over at TMF has pulled another trick out of his bag. By way of some decent sleuthing, he's nailed another mining scam company to the wall, so go read all about the crudball background of Searchlight Minerals (SRCH.ob) right now, then put a great big fat red line through its name as regards investing opportunity once and for all.

Nice job, Toby.

By the way, Shute is a really good independent voice on stocks, and particularly good at the oil and gas sectors. You should really have him on your RSS feed by now, but if you don't here's the link to get him there, nice and easy. You're just two clicks away from getting his stuff piped straight into your click away.

Chart of the day is..... futures daily candle (again, I'm boring I know):

As soon as this higher low monkey gets off my back i'll be able to think about other stuff, promise.


The IKN Weekly, out now

The new issue IKN38 has just been sent out to subscribers (subscriber 'TG', your mailbox is still bouncing, sir). As promised we have a new gold exploration play featured and we also catch up on a lot of news that our favoured stocks have seen these last couple of weeks. Also, a whole thing about valuation of junior mining stocks using Net Asset Value. And lots more. And more besides.