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Chile earthquake: President Bachelet speaks

Michelle has just appeared on "cadena nacional" TV in Chile to inform on the earthquake. Here's the video (she starts at minute 1:09).

It's Spanish-only this time folks, but noted are some of the figures used of 214 dead, 15 missing, around 2 million people affected, half a million homes damaged and hospitals, airports etc damaged and out of action, but nobody will really have a full idea of the losses for another 48 to 72 hours.

The Berkshire Hathaway 2009 Annual Report

Here's the link to the PDF so go get your annual fix of homespun capitalism. Nobody writes 'em like Warren writes 'em and here's just one example of this year's cheese portion:
Long ago, Charlie (Munger) laid out his strongest ambition: “All I want to know is where I’m going to die, so I’ll never go there.” That bit of wisdom was inspired by Jacobi, the great Prussian mathematician, who counseled “Invert, always invert” as an aid to solving difficult problems. (I can report as well that this inversion approach works on a less lofty level: Sing a country song in reverse, and you will quickly recover your car, house and wife.)

Latest on the Chile Earthquake

As this USGS map shows, the main quake has already seen plenty of aftershocks.

This corner of cyberspace is not going to keep up a running commentary on the Chile quake today, as world media will do all that and a lot more. This post is a simple compilation of what we know so far.

  • The area hit is 325km South of the capital, Santiago at 3:34am local time (06:34 GMT) The epicentre is being placed at Bio Bio. Here's the paste from the USGS report for distances:
100 km (60 miles) NNW of Chillan, Chile
105 km (65 miles) WSW of Talca, Chile
115 km (70 miles) NNE of Concepcion, Chile
325 km (200 miles) SW of SANTIAGO, Chile
  • Magnitude is noted at 8.8. On the Richter scale it's being put at 8.5. That is a very, very big quake by anyone's standards. Depth is put at 35km, quite shallow and therefore even more damaging.
  • President Bachelet has confirmed 78 deaths as a preliminary figure and has said they expect "many more". She has overflown the region this morning. The death toll, fortuately, will not reach Haitian standards, however. Firstly the epicentre area is not densely populated and secondly Chilean buildings are normally built with earthquakes in mind and are far more resistant than the pancaked constructions of Port Au Prince.
  • It was big enough to cause some structural damage in the capital, Santiago (fissuring of buildings being reported, but no collapses) and also general panic (though apparently no casualities).
  • There was a large Tsunami and initial reports say some of the Chilean offshore islands (very sparsely populated) were affected. However the Tsunami alert for the Chile/Peru coast has now been dropped. The tsunami is rolling out to sea and may affect Easter Island, some 3,500km off the coaast of Chile. Partial or full evacuation is being organised right now.
  • There have already been aftershocks on this one and you can bet the house on plenty more to come.
  • Anglo has shut down operations at two of its mines in the region, apparently due to lack of power supply than any major damage. Reuters report here. Codelco is "checking for damage" at its local area mines, including the big El Teniente. Here's the Reuters page for that one (the links are likely to be updated through the day if Reuters works in its normal way). The big big mines in the North of Chile have not been affected (La Escondida, Atacama region mines etc).

Update (the only one): Here's a photo of a collapsed bridge in concepción. That's 115km (70 miles) from the epicentre, so it's safe to say you really, really didn't want to be standing on top of exactly where it happened.


A weird news release from Colossus Minerals (

Returning to the desk, your humble scribe notes this news release from Colossus Minerals ( that says:

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 26, 2010) - Colossus Minerals Inc. ("Colossus" or the "Company") (TSX:CSI - News) Colossus is issuing this press release to respond to rumours circulated earlier today regarding the status of the environmental approvals for the Company's Serra Pelada project.

Earlier today the Brazilian environmental agency Para State, COEMA (Conselho Estadual de Meio Ambiente), responsible for evaluating and approving or denying environmental impact studies met to consider the environmental application of Colossus and Coomigasp for the Serra Pelada project.

While Colossus anticipates a decision will be made shortly, no such decision has yet been rendered or made public.

Rumours my ass! Why the company says that is beyond me. As noted at 2:40pm on this corner of cyberspace (i.e. 55 mins before the stock was halted) the vote happened and Serra Pelada's enviro permit was approved. Just to make sure, here's the local Pará newspaper with the same news. The vote was eight in favour, two against. Permit granted, end of story. Here's an excerpt (original language)
Aprovada licença para mecanização de Serra Pelada
Em votação, nesta sexta-feira (26) os membros do Conselho Estadual de Meio Ambiente (Coema), aprovaram por oito votos contra dois, a Licença Prévia (LP) para o Projeto de Extração de Minérios Metálicos de Serra Pelada, de responsabilidade da Companhia de Desenvolvimento Mineral (CDI), instalada no município de Curionópolis, no sudeste paraense, a 536 km da capital, Belém.
Maybe Ari just wants a quiet weekend without the phone ringing every five minutes.....

The Friday OT: A great card trick by James Galea

Sent in by my mother (so the taste is impeccable), this is a great show of cards.

I'm not usually very hot on these kind of things, but the performance by Aussie James Galea here is excellent, not just the impressive trick.

Colossus Minerals ( permit approved

This just in: The votes against the enviro permit for Serra Pelada (from the Public Ministry and from an NGO) were easily outweighed by the pro-votes from other members of COEMA. Colossus Minerals ( has its permit approved.

So you still get a scoop from IKN, but one that's good for CSI and not bad. Also, eighty minutes before the closing bell and way before the company says anything. And good news ties in with today's stock strength, that's for sure.

Colossus Minerals ( denied permit by Brazil government (info now updated; see note)

Note: Colossus ( has had its applicaton for the EIA approved by majority vote. please see latest post here

Thanks due to reader 'NK' who alerted IKN to the original Public Ministry article

According to this report just out, Colossus Minerals ( has been denied a key environmental permit for its Serra Pelada project due to "grave omissions" in its application. IKN will get a decent translation of the Portuguese language story asap. Watch this space.

UPDATE: My Portuguese is not as good as my Spanish so please bear in mind that this may not be 100% accurate...but I'm pretty sure it gets the main gist of the situation correctly. I have a call in with a Portuguese expert and if I get a better translation from him later I'll put in a second update, then you can compare the two translations yourself. Mine was done with no recourse to auto-translators, so you might want to run the original note through one of those online things as well. Here's my translation:

Belém: Public Ministry opposes the Installation of Serra Pelada Project

The State Public Ministry, via the two magistrates Nilton Gurjão das Chagas and Raimundo de Jesus Coelho de Moraesc, today manifested itself against the environmental licence application of the Serra Pelada project, in the municipality of Curionópolis, South-East Pará, operated by Serra Pelada Companhia de Desenvolvimento Mineral (SPCDM), whose objective is extraction and sale of gold, palladium and platinum.

According to The Public Ministry, the Environmental Impact Study/Environmental Impact Report (EIA/RIMA) presented contains graves omissions, such as the lack of provision and analysis of environmental impact caused by mining activity. Also, the study makes no mention of the demands of public policies during the construction and extraction phases of the project.

The distribution of profits from Serra Pelada with Cooperativa de Mineração dos Garimpeiros de Serra Pelada (Coomigasp) was another point questioned. According to the EIA/RIMA, the garimperos participate in just 25% of the company as well as a payment for kilo of mineral sold. The Public Ministry wants a more equitable participation for Coomigasp in the company.

According to the magistrates, there is also "non-compliance and non-procedure of the Environmental Laws of Pará as regards the participation of the community in the elaboration of the terms of reference of the environmental study as presented".

The public ministry is part of the State Council for the Environment (COEMA).
UPDATE 2, about half an hour later: I've been trying to find out what's going on. Apparently COEMA is a thirteen person committee and the Public Ministry (PM) people have two of the thirteen votes. The PM were given until today to pronounce opinion on the Serra Pelada permit and were expected to approve the licence. Their decision was unexpected, but it should be understood that they are just two of the thirteen votes.

The current strong PPS action in CSI points to positives for CSi and not negatives. Let's see how this one is announced by the company. Disclosure: no position in

Trading Post (Joannie Rochette edition)

Best bronze medal ever.

Antares Minerals (ANM.v) up 3.7% at $1.97 on low volumes cos the world hasn't worked it out yet. We'll be taking a good look at the news and what it means for the stock in IKN43, subbers.

B2Gold ( down 1.5% at $1.35 after a nice little zoomy move on strong volumes yesterday. Still doing volume today, but not as much.

Evolving Gold (EVG.v) up 15.6% at $0.89 after opening higher. Good volumes here, too. A reader who knows what's what in drillcores told me to look again at yesterday's "non-lawsuit" presser cos the numbers were strong, deep or not deep. But good rocks or not I'm just allergic to anything giving money to Grandich in order to pump its story, that's all. This is a charlatan-free zone.

Apoquindo (AQM.v) up 4.9% at $0.86 on low volumes, but the first news release out of the company today showed its Zafranal option project growing a bit more once again. Then the 2nd NR came along to announce it's raising $20m at $0.85 with a half warrant kicker at $1. If AQM sells the overallotment we're adding 27m to the shares out column. It looks like AQM will soon start a more aggressive step-out campaign and then we'll really find out if it's gotta good one happening. Due to the big, big cheeses at mgmt level there are plenty of eyes on this stock. DYODD.

Eleven point seven billion reasons to like Antares Minerals (ANM.v)

Err...that's a lot of copper, dudes. Higher grading than before, too. Here's the news release linked and here's the quote from CEO John Black:

"We are very pleased by the substantial increase in the size and grade of the Haquira resource. The total amount of in-situ copper at Haquira expanded by 38% from 8.5 billion lbs to 11.7 billion lbs and average grades increased for both primary and secondary mineralization. The total resource at Haquira has now surpassed a critical threshold of over 10 billion pounds of contained copper metal, making Haquira one of the largest undeveloped copper projects controlled by a junior exploration company. We are particularly pleased that the average grade of the measured and indicated primary mineralization now exceeds 0.6% Cu at a cut-off grade of 0.3% Cu. This higher grade will serve to distinguish Haquira from many other known large copper projects. The presence of near-surface secondary copper mineralization is another feature that distinguishes Haquira from other copper development opportunities. We are now in the process of evaluating the potential for a two-staged copper mining operation whereby the mine commences with a low-capital, low-cost SX-EW copper-leaching operation producing LME_grade copper cathode followed by a larger-scale, mill/concentrate operation producing copper and molybdenum concentrates with a significant gold byproduct. Our goal is to report the results of this preliminary economic assessment next quarter."

Dorato Resources (DRI.v): A total coincidence, of course

Yesterday this humble corner of cyberspace made mention of a horrendously bad pump piece in this week's edition of Northern Miner about Dorato Resources (DRI.v). Totally biased, unable to address the long-standing social issues that have now come to a head and only getting opinion from one side of the story, it was a shameful piece of hackery (I'd reprint here but NM get all bolshy and nasty about their copyright protection). It also came at the same time as the rise in DRI.v stock, which was full of rather dubious market action with a whole bootload of smallish "seller anon" "buyer anon" trades, all with the same volumes and coming within moments of each other all the way from 65 to 75c.....which then prompty disappeared. Y'know...nothing you can put your finger on in a legal sense but the typical HenksWhores kind of action.

So it was amazing, incredible, spooky and coincidental to discover the background of the IR guy over at Dorato. Here's the payline:

Steve Stakiw
Position: Manager - Corporate Communications

Steve is a geologist and has been involved in many facets of the mining and mineral exploration industry, both in Canada and internationally, for more than 20 years. In addition to several years in the field, he has research and finance market experience and was involved in the formation of an industry-leading mining information service. Steve's diverse range of experience also includes serving as the western editor of The Northern Miner from 2006 to 2008.
So, the rescinding of licences is ignored by the world of Canadian markets because the brokerage analysts and investment advisors were let in on the sweetheart 60c offering. Then the only coverage of the DRI saga in the main mining press up there is an abysmal pump piece in Northern Miner. And it turns out the IR dude at DRI.v is a NM old boy.

Are these facts somehow related? Inquiring minds etc...........

Ridgway heart Ridgway

No further comment needed:

Radius Gold Inc. (RDU)

As of February 25th, 2010
Filing Date Transaction Date Insider Name Ownership Type Securities Nature of transaction # or value acquired or disposed of Unit Price
Feb 25/10 Feb 16/10 Ridgway, Simon T.P. Indirect Ownership Common Shares 10 - Acquisition in the public market 30,000 $0.350
Feb 25/10 Feb 09/10 Ridgway, Simon T.P. Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Acquisition in the public market 80,000 $0.325
Feb 23/10 Feb 16/10 Ridgway, Simon T.P. Indirect Ownership Common Shares 10 - Acquisition in the public market 6,000 $0.370

If I see 35c again I'm a buyer.

Chart of the day is....

.....copper, weekly candles.

I'll take $3/lb forever, thanks. No need for $3.50 or $4 as long as inflation doesn't start eating into profits at FCX or SCCO. Meanwhile, here's an interesting little snippet from Reuters on its daily copper wrap-up report from yesterday.
London Metal Exchange copper warehouse stocks fell 2,450
tonnes to 550,225 on Thursday, while canceled warrants --
material earmarked for delivery out of warehouses -- rose to
16,600 tonnes versus 14,000 tonnes.
Real upmove in physical demand, eh?


Evolving Gold (EVG.v): Keeping the Wolfus from the door

Some very strange stuff going on around the heavily pumped (by none other than arch-bullshitter and market shiller Peter Grandich, surprise surprise) gold explorer, Evolving Gold (EVG.v).

All in one day we've had the company filing its quarterly reports, issuing results from the latest round of drilling (that has good grades and might impress...right up til you see how deep the intersects were found) and then getting a lawsuit slapped on its ass by one of its own directors!
Hi Danny!

Here's the funstuff from that NR:
VANCOUVER, Feb. 25 /CNW/ - Evolving Gold Corp. (TSXV: EVG) (FSE: EV7) (the "Company") reports today that Daniel E. Wolfus, a director of the Company, has commenced a lawsuit against the Company, in the state of California claiming fees of approximately $300,000 allegedly owed to him in respect of the Company's recently completed private placement.

It is the Company's position that Mr. Wolfus in his capacity as a director of the Company is not entitled to remuneration as a "finder" or broker in respect of any private placement of securities. The Company intends to defend the claim vigorously. The directors and management of the Company believe that the claim being made by Mr. Wolfus is groundless as no agreement or understanding existed to pay Mr. Wolfus a success or finder's fee, and to do so would require the Company to contravene the TSX Venture Exchange policies.

The Company has not yet filed any defense in respect of the action and is considering with legal counsel its options in respect of jurisdiction and defenses. The directors have requested that he resign his position as a director, due to the obvious conflict of interest represented by Mr. Wolfus' lawsuit against the Company.

Now perhaps I'm jumping to conclusions, but would this Daniel E. Wolfus be in any way related to the Daniel Edward Wolfus who's been bailing his stock hand over fist recently at prices way higher than today's 77c (when trading was halted this AM)?

Evolving Gold Corp. (EVG)

As of February 24th, 2010
Filing Date Transaction Date Insider Name Ownership Type Securities Nature of transaction # or value acquired or disposed of Unit Price
Feb 23/10 Feb 23/10 Wolfus, Daniel Edward Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -293,000 $0.918
Feb 23/10 Feb 23/10 Wolfus, Daniel Edward Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -2,000 $0.910
Feb 23/10 Feb 22/10 Wolfus, Daniel Edward Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -55,000 $0.930
Feb 23/10 Feb 22/10 Wolfus, Daniel Edward Direct Ownership Common Shares 51 - Exercise of options 350,000 $0.440
Feb 23/10 May 28/09 Wolfus, Daniel Edward Direct Ownership Common Shares 00 - Opening Balance-Initial SEDI Report

Funny how these things kinda happen at the same time, innit? Looks like another Grandich sheep-shearing exercise went on here. I hope Cal's paying you well, Peter.

UPDATE: This is how the cute bullshit spilled from the Grandich less than a fortnight ago:
Evolving Gold (EVG-TSX-V $.91 ) – Outside of a significant drop in metals prices and some unknown calamity that occurs on its project in Wyoming, I don’t see much downside risk in the current share price.
Here we are, two weeks later, 15% lower, heavy inside selling and the caca hitting the ventilador in the boardroom. What say you, oh wise owl?
Yes indeed retailers, you've been Grandiched again. Break out the KY Jelly

Trading Post (politically correct edition)

Dorato Resources (DRI.v) up 25% at $0.75 thanks to an amazing, one-sided hack special over at Northern Miner published today. Truly the worst piece of mining journalism I've seen this year and a shame on the once well-reputed NM. Unfortunately for the bullshitters the effect will only be temporary and the paid-for pump brigade won't be able to fight the truth of the matter forever. Avoid this stock like the plague.

Antares Minerals (ANM.v) up 2.8% at $1.85 with a 100k cross registered at GMP today. That'll help Gordon Leask out with his cash flow troubles.

Andina Minerals (ADM.v) down 18.8% on heavy volumes because last night the company finally decided to tell the world that its previous mining plans were total bullshit and created as a fantasy to hoodwink people like Steve Saville who thinks that a 10m oz inferred resource means that a company "has 10m ounces of gold". How you feeling about that statement now, Stevie? Moral of this story; don't be a dumbass.

MAG Silver (MVG) up 2.8% at U$6.21. Definitely signs of life in this stock. Being patient here (one of the few things i'm good at). DYODD, dude.

Dying to visit the Nazca Lines

monkey gonna gitcha

Today another light aircraft that takes tourists on overflights of the Nazca Lines in southern Peru crashed, the death toll at six (not three as first reported) includes the pilot and FIVE (not two as first reported) foreign tourists (as yet unidentified). So add this one to the five French tourists killed on the same trip in April 2008 and the litany of crashes at this tourist attraction over the years. You only get to hear about the ones that kill people normally, but the amount of emergency landing incidents far outweigh the bleeds/leads stories.

I've been on the overflight tour myself, as my brother will witness. I've never forgiven him for getting me on that plane (and he'll now send me a snarky mail to remind me of my face colour when we got out the craft).

We now know that the crash killed seven people, including the pilot, three Peruvian nationality tourists and three Chilean nationality tourists. We offer our sincere condolences to their loved ones.

Peru's stock market update

Here's a chart of the Lima Stock Market main General (IGBVL) index year to date as it compares with the S&P500.
The mining heavy IGBVL shot off to a great start in the first two weeks of Jan'10, but since then it's been downhill. Risk aversion to EM exposure it what it looks like from this angle, with the gap between the IGBVL and the SPX closing all the time.

Meanwhile, on a longer view of the two indices that runs for two years and takes in the early 2008 peak, then the crisis trough, the 2009 recovery and the fist two months of this year.....
......the performance of the IGBVL has been remarkably similar to that of the SPX. Now all we need to work out is why and what it means (sorry, I'm too dumb for that).

Uribe and Uribe

On the left, Mario Uribe. On the right, Álvaro Uribe. Let's see what they have in common:
  • They are cousins
  • They are close political allies and confidantes
  • They are both powerful politicians in Colombia. One is Prez (duh) but the other is a stalwart of the President's inner circle and was also Head of the Senate for two years (2000 and 2001).

Now let's see the main difference between the two:
  • Yesterday Mario Uribe was (again) arrested on charges of close links with far right paramilitary death squads in Colombia.
  • Álvaro Uribe hasn't been arrested for his links with the paramilitaries. Not yet, anyway.

Remember folks, these are the very same paramilitary groups that are not a problem at all in Colombia, according to those bullshit mining newsletter idiots. I mean, just as one example of thousands, it's easy to ignore the recent reports out of Norte de Santander (home to Ventana Gold (, Greystar Resources (, Galway Resources (GWY.v) etc etc) because the confirmed 3,000 deaths in that single region at the hands of the rightwing paras (which look like rising to over 10,000 and be clear, are continuing to this day) don't count.....cos they weren't killed by the FARC....and rightwingers are never as bad as them lefties, are they?

Here's the BBC on Mario Uribe's arrest yesterday:

A cousin of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has been rearrested over his alleged ties to paramilitary groups.

Mario Uribe Escobar, a former senator, was detained following an order from the Colombian Supreme Court.

Mario Uribe, who denies any wrongdoing, was continues here

Zootime in Argentina

Here's a pretty little photo....

....taken at the Buenos Aires Zoo yesterday. To commemorate the 8th International Childhood Cancer Day a whole group of kids that aren't feeling so well along with family members (there were 4,000 people there in total, apparently) got invited by the local Fundación Natalí Dafne Flexer to check out the animals, see the sights, eat something tasty, watch special performances by well-known children's entertainers in Argentina as well as the jugglers, magic shows, fancy dress parties, dances and present-giving. Here's a report on the day in Spanish.

Let's hope that after reading this you go away and count your lucky stars in the same way that your humble scribe did. Some necessary perspective, please.

We heart Bananama Republic

The tag line at the top of Bananama Republic's page is 'Panama In All Its Glory' which neatly sums up this megablog. Since it revved back up recently BR has been nailing some hugely entertaining stuff, but none better than today's commentary on a big news story broken by Panama's daily 'Panamá Ámerica' in Spanish language.

It turns out that the new chief of police in the country was arrested on war crimes charges (not kidding...serious ones, too...unless taking US civilians hostage doesn't count as much these days) and then thrown out of the police force in disgrace in 1992. Read all about it at Bananama Republic's take on the juice, right here.

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

click to enlarge

There's a big difference between being a goldbug and being bullish on gold. An enormous one, in fact.


Desjardins, bullish on copper

John Redstone and his pals over at Desjardins are still very bullish copper. The Feb 23rd note out of the house was headed up by their "controversial calls" bullet points this way:

• Controversial call #1: Real demand for copper in China is growing at a faster rate than consensus

• Controversial call #2: The level of unreported copper inventory in China is declining at a significant rate

• Controversial call #3: Declining copper inventory in China’s bonded warehouses is a key event

• Controversial call #4: LME copper inventory should decline through 2Q10

• Controversial call #5: Declining copper imports into China should not impact the LME copper price

You can see how the argument develops on each of these points in the full report, available as a PDF download right here. We aim to please.

Trading Post (make mike jealous edition)

Special message to reader MR: Acabo de morfar un tacu tacu c/salsa de mariscos y era DPM, asi que jodete full, boncha :-)

Antares (ANM.v) up 1.7% at $1.80 and higher earlier, all on good volumes. Elmer still huntin' wabbits.

B2Gold ( UNCH at $1.28. Since The IKN Weekly bought back into BTO last week, this stock has done pretty well (without setting the world on fire) in the face of spot gold pressure and volumes, though not the megastuff seen late last year, have been clicking a bit higher, too. Expect decent newsflow in the next two weeks from this one. We like.

Chariot ( down a penny at $0.59 but lots of interest in the stock since mgmt told the world it's in exclusive negotiations with a bunch of Chine...OOPS!!!...with a bunch of totally unidentified third party potential buyers. 60c looks about right to me, can't see it going that much higher.

Radius Gold (RDU.v) up 11.1% at 40c and this time I've missed the upmove (though the low 30s seen last week did tempt in a theoretical-only way). Let's see what announcements it can come up with pre and during peedac.

Dorato Resources (DRI.v) down 4.7% at $0.61. Tell em, owly:
Thanks, owly.

vete al carajo

The insult used by Hugo Chávez against Alvaro Uribe at lunch during yesterday's CELAC summit meeting (the best chronology of events I've found is in this Clarin report, which has Uribe calling Chávez a coward first) was "vete al carajo", a phrase which is difficult to translate but I suppose the general gravitas equivalent in English is "go to hell".

But the origins of the phrase are interesting. On a ship, "carajo" is Spanish for "bird's nest", the little spot at the top of the tall mast where some sailor sits as look-out. In the days of the tallships, pirates, plundering, conquistadores and all that jazz, one of the punishments used by the ship's captain on a long transatlantic voyage was to send sailors to the bird's nest for an extended period; no water, no food, exposed to direct sunlight etc. Since that time, the punishment order, "Go To The Bird's Nest!" (in Spanish 'vete al carajo') has passed into Spanish slang as a "screw you" type of insult.

Today's Spanish lesson over. Three fingers of rum served. The end.

As for the Chavez/Uribe spat, this Bloomie note is pretty fair and balanced. Here's an excerpt:

Chavez told Uribe to “go to hell” during a closed-door lunch yesterday after the Colombian leader called him “a coward” and told him to “be a man” at a summit of Latin American and Caribbean countries in Cancun, Agence France-Presse said, citing a Colombian diplomat it didn’t identify. Chavez said today that he regrets the “painful” argument.

Mexico President Felipe Calderon announced at the summit that a commission headed by Dominican Republic President Leonel Fernandez will work to facilitate better ties between the neighboring Andean nations.

While lefties and righties champion their favourites in the fight, the people that really matter (Chávez and Uribe) clearly see how stupid and regrettable it all was. It'd be nice to think that that heated moment might become an ice-breaker and the two guys (who are known to have got on very well in previous years) can find some sort of solution to the current bad blood. Otto the Optimistic signing off.

ATW Gold (ATW.v): Harris flushes the toilet

On November 25th, Graham Harris, Chairman and conman of ATW Gold (ATW.v) said this about the so-called "strategic review" going on at his trainwrecked company that was put in the hands of Haywood Securities and designed to get as much value out of its remaining assets as possible:
"We are pleased to have Haywood Securities act as financial advisor during the strategic review of our Australian assets. Haywood's in-depth understanding of the global gold mining industry along with their extensive industry contacts will ensure maximum shareholder value is realized."

Thus today's insider filings can only be assumed as the scumball Harris's idea of gaining 'maximum shareholder value' for his own greedy screw-you-all self.

ATW Gold Corp. (ATW)

As of February 23rd, 2010
Filing Date Transaction Date Insider Name Ownership Type Securities Nature of transaction # or value acquired or disposed of Unit Price
Feb 23/10 Feb 23/10 Harris, Graham Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -161,667 $0.150
Feb 23/10 Feb 17/10 Harris, Graham Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -3,000 $0.170
Feb 23/10 Feb 16/10 Harris, Graham Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -36,000 $0.170

As noted in previous posts, ATW.v insiders Harris, Andrew Bowering and Luke Norman would all be in jail for previous frontrunning insider sales if there were any inkling of justice in the Canadian capital markets, so the latest round of MeFirstness should come as no big surprise. Neither is the non-action of Kidder and company over at the pathetic and laughable OSC.

Barclays on Venezuela

Here's the intro to a Barclay's report on Venezuela published yesterday (behind a paywall here):

During our recent trip to Venezuela, we met with officials from Banco Central de Venezuela (BCV), PDVSA, the Ministry of Finance, pollsters, and some independent economic and political analysts. Our target was to ascertain what could happen in 2010 with respect to credit (issuances) and to try to establish the implications of devaluation, the electricity crisis, the health of the financial system, the elections to the National Assembly, and other factors on Venezuela's economy.

Some of the highlights were that the shortages of the electric sector could have a higher impact on growth next year than this year. But oil production will not be affected by the electricity shortage, in our view. Additionally, authorities tell us that the government and PDVSA are not planning to issue in the coming months; however, we are less optimistic about what we heard, and we expect at least USD3.0bn of new issuance in the second half of 2010.

On the political front, most people we spoke to are of the opinion that the opposition and Chavistas are equal in the polls and that the National Assembly election will be straighforward, compared with the presidential election in 2012. Considering the fundamentals of the economy, its unquestionable capacity to pay, the positive effect of currency devaluation over fiscal accounts, and PDVSA's financial situation, we maintain our overweight recommendation on Venezuelan assets. But given that Venezuelan assets have already increased by an average of 8pp since the first week of December and the rise in the risk aversion sentiment in the market, our recommendation is less enthusiastic now. Basically, we have changed our recommendation from buy, buy, buy, on December 4, 2009, to just buy.

Money (Barclays) still talks and bullshit (O'Grady) still walks in this game. Ever wonder why TheFreeWorld™ rails against Venezuela but then says it's in good enough shape to invest in? I dare you to think about it.......all by yourself.......with no help from reading material.

Chart of the day is....

......copper LME inventories. Here's the latest numbers in close-up....
.....and here's the five year chart to give a bit of perspective.

Chinese new year rattling and humming now at an end, people back doing busy things at their factories and offices, copper wanted, stocks about to drop. You have been warned. The only thing that can possible go wrong is a whole load of people scrapping their crappy Toyotas and all that reusable copper coming on the market :-)

In fact....all that Prius fallout could cause havoc with the lithium miracle market (j/k)

a movie sidebar

The wife and I watched 'The Hurt Locker' last night. We watched 'Avatar' tonight (for the first time). We both agreed that Avatar is an amazing achievement, full of groundbreaking effects and dreamed up by a truly visionary director.

We also agreed that The Hurt Locker is a better movie.


Flooding in Buenos Aires

Record rainfall this year in Buenos Aires (most in one month since records began, 149 years ago) combined with an ever growing concreted area and sewage/drainage system that belongs to the Victorian era have made parts of Argentina's capital a very large outdoor swimming pool in the last week.

This Youtube is a great (and spectacular) visual of the weather there. This isn't in some outlying 'burb, either. It's the level crossing at Palermo, one of BsAs swankier hoods in the centre of town.

Impressive stuff.

The tide is out

The guy Buffett once said that 'only when the tide goes out do you discover who's been swimming naked', which may not be a perfect fit on what follows here but it sure does come to mind. We're going to return to the subject of Dorato Resources (DRI.v) but bear with me one more time because although ostensibly about DRI.v it's much more about the shady underside of Canadian Capital Markets and the people with voices of influence therein.

The recent travails of Dorato (DRI.v) with the Peru government and the locals around its Cenepa-based exploration project have shown that the company has been spouting utter bullshit about its supposed good relations with said people. Now that its operations have been indefinitely suspended by the highest authorities in the land (i.e. Cabinet Ministerial level) and with flat zip zilch zero chance of Peru changing its mind on this (reasons previously explained) you might have expected analysts and brokerages to advise clients to either avoid DRI.v like a nuclear fallout zone or if they were bought in to sell before too much damage is done.

Strangely, the news out of Peru has been largely met by a roaring silence from expert analysts (loosely used term here). Nary a word from the people at the can of corn, for example, who spent the latter part of 2009 pumping up the stock, using phrases like "the next Aurelian" in its Morning Coffee publication on several occasions, making wild rah-rah noises when DRI got its permits for a very limited drilling campaign and then (hey wow coincidence!) heading up the syndicate that ran two placements for DRI.v at $1.05 and raising nearly $15m for the company just days before the ceiling came crashing in.

Why should it be that suddenly Dorato Resources is not mentioned by the Canadian brokerage community? Why oh why oh why?

Would the following have something to do with it? Back in late 2007/early 2008 (you can see where on that chart above...before it all kicks off), Dorato Resources ran its $0.60 seed capital financing. A total of 17m shares were placed by the company, and amongst the people that bought in, here are a few of the names (and their jobs in 2008 or perhaps a little earlier) and the amount of DRI stock they bought:

  • Ali Pejman, MD Investment Banking, Canaccord Capital, 225,000 shares (125,000 shares directly, 100,000 via his wife Kirsten)
  • Wendell Zerb, Senior Metals and Mining Analyst, Canaccord Capital, 40,000 shares
  • Graham Currie, (via an investment in his wife's name, Cheryl), Senior VP Investment Banking, Canaccord Capital, 75,000 shares
  • Neville Dastoor, Mining Analyst at Canaccord Capital until 2006, 10,000 shares
  • Matthew Gaasenbeek, Head of Capital Markets N.Am, Canaccord Capital, 50,000 shares
  • Graham Saunders, Head of Canadian Institutional Sales, Canaccord Capital, 35,000 shares

My stars, a lot of names attached to the can of corn, no? Whatever can it all mean????? But wait, there's more! The role call isn't confined to just that one house:

  • Gary Bogdanovich, Investment Advisor, Haywood Securities, 285,000 shares
  • Lorinda Hoyem, Investment Advisor, Blackmont Capital, 50,000 shares
  • Dino Minicucci and Cal Everett, respectively Investment Advisor and Institutional Sales, PI Fincorp, 365,000 shares (via holding company 0811321 BC Ltd)
  • Linda Yule, Senior Investment Advisor, GMP Private Client, 100,000 shares

Forgive me if I missed a couple of names along the way, the full list of people taken in by DRI was long at 160 people. I also have no information on whether these people have held through on their purchases until today or whether they've either partly or fully disposed. But the point is that all these investment advisors, brokerage bankers, insto sales people etc etc are or were long DRI, so how on earth are they supposed to give people unbiased and straight advice on this scam if they have vested interests? For example, the Pejman family's holding in DRI.v (assuming ceteris paribus) was worth $303,750 less than two months ago and now it's down to just $146,250 thanks to the recent outbreak of reality as concerns the company's deeply problematic social issues (that haven't just sprang suddenly from nowhere, as the IKN series of posts make crystal clear).

This DRI.v episode is just part of the underbelly of Canadian capital markets, one small glimpse into what goes on behind the scenes. A company like DRI soft-soaps a whole sector of people with influential voices and gets them on their vested interest side. Then they can't say anything out loud and in public when the whole shebang falls apart. Dorato Resources (DRI.v) is a company that's now dead in the water with no chance whatsoever of ever building a mine or selling its assets to a higher bidder. It's done, finished, kaput, be in no doubt. But the people listed above and all their friends and colleagues aren't going to tell you that....for more than one obvious reason.

Copper Fox (CUU.v) gets treasury

With our pal Ernesto Echavarria (he loves his CUU and PEZ, but don't mention ATW Gold if you meet him, willyaz?...might ruin the conversation) exercising his warrants position in Copper Fox (CUU.v), the company now has an extra half million dollars in the treasury pot for its development fun and games. Not a king's ransom, but quite auseful number for a $40m mkt capper.

Copper Fox Metals Inc. (CUU)

As of February 22nd, 2010
Filing Date Transaction Date Insider Name Ownership Type Securities Nature of transaction # or value acquired or disposed of Unit Price
Feb 22/10 Feb 16/10 Echavarria, Ernesto Direct Ownership Common Shares 54 - Exercise of warrants 6,666,667 $0.075
Feb 22/10 Feb 16/10 Echavarria, Ernesto Direct Ownership Warrants 54 - Exercise of warrants -6,666,667 $0.075

IKN Weekly subscribers know my views on this stock. DYODD, dude.

Black Swans, Mines, Guatemala

Jack Caldwell's I Think Mining has been on my list of links down there on the bottom right of the screen for at least a year and a half and I read his articles on RSS, which is a great little interwebnetpipes feature, btw. If you don't use RSS you don't know what you're missing and how much easier life gets by having your fave authors' stuff sent straight to you.

I digress. Back to Caldwell. He's a very experienced and knowledgeable minehead and shares his independent views on many issues (including opera), but the latest post from the man is well worth a visit. Called 'The Black Swan of Mining', it muses in a pragmatic way on enviro and social issues of mines. Fully recommended thinkpiece. Here's the link again.

Great news, Canada!

You might have been stuffed by the Yanks at hockey, but congrats on the ice dance gold medal. Buy that Scott Moir a Molson with a whiskey chaser!

Looks like Troy Resources' ( ( is up for higher insurance premiums next time around

This kind of thing happens occasionally in the more remote gold mines of this world and it's always a possible in the wild west show that is rural Brazil. TRY is insured (the comapny is quick to point out) but all the same it's a risk. Very glad that nobody was killed or injured in the incident.

Thanks due to readers MP, MM and HP who all sent in this story. Appreciated, people.

TROY Resources said today that armed robbers stole 2000 ounces of gold dore bars from its Andorinhas mine in Brazil after taking workers hostage.

Troy said three workers were taken hostage but released unharmed after the theft on Monday and the loss is fully covered by the company's insurance.

"A group of armed robbers took three site employees hostage on the road leaving the mine and returned to the Andorinhas site where approximately 2000 ounces of gold dore was taken," Troy said in a statement to the stock exchange on today.

"The hostages were then released, unharmed."

The loss is insured and the matter is being investigated by local police, Troy's chief executive Paul Benson said in a statement.

"This is obviously a very disturbing event," Mr Benson said.

"We are cooperating with the relevant authorities and will update the market when we receive a final report."

Major gold miners can process their gold-bearing ore at the site of the mine, producing low purity dore bars.

Dore bars can contain up to 90 per cent gold.

Spot gold was trading at $US1113.30 in Sydney today.

Chart of the day is....

...Affinity Gold (79F.f) (AFYG.ob), six month price chart.

Affinity is a stock first featured on IKN in this post, December 16th.

Just sayin'


Argentina: Beer and Deception for Export

I think we'll just link to the story so that you can check out the video there (and see how the thing works) then translate the report as stands and leave it at that.

An Acoustic cabin with diverse ambient sounds to deceive your loved one if they call you on your cellphone while you're in a bar with friends is the success story of an advertising campaign for a brand of beer in the Argentine province of Mendoza.

Called the 'Teletransporter', it has now been installed in various bars in Mendoza and is used by both men and women. According to Maxi Itzcoff, one of its creators, internet users in Mexico, Belgium and Germany have seen the adverts for Cerveza Andes on the web and have asked for similar cabins to be installed in their countries.

But how does the 'teletransporter' work? If your partner phones, you enter into the cabin and choose an ambient sound; perhaps a hospital, a gym, a park, a cinema, a bathroon, a baby crying etc. This makes your story credible and convinces the other person that you're not having fun in the bar.

More evidence of Bolivia's imminent economic collapse

From time to time you get talk in Englang biz circles about how demand for Bolivia's natgas has been dropping, for example the mail received by this humble scribe from some reader who is clearly a great fan and utter admirer of IKN (even though they did use a lot of swear words in the mail, made certain incorrect assumptions concerning the marital status of my parents at the time of my conception and also forgot to leave their name at the bottom of the missive).

The normal tactic from the Evo-haters is to take the highest spike in demand (back in mid 2008, when it was cheaper for Brazil to buy as much Bolivian natgas as possible under the contract terms than for PBR to actually pump it themselves), wait until it drops to 20 million cubic metres per day (that happens occasionally, as its the minimum amount that Brazil can buy in a contract that runs until 2019) and start shouting "END OF WOOORLD!". In other words, the normal biased BS chatter from people that can't wait for a whole nation (that they probably couldn't find on a map) to collapse just so they can watch nine million people starve and riot and kill each other because some asshole in the WSJ or Fox told them that Evo Morales was an ooga booga man.

Sorry dudes, not gonna happen. Let's check out the other export market for Bolivia's natgas, Argentina, and the deal struck today that will be formalized in a super duper signing ceremony twixt Evo and Klishtina late March.

Yup, the 2.4m cubic metres per day getting pumped to Argentina will become a minimum 5mm3/d this year. It then starts ratcheting up bigstyle in 2013 and ever onwards and upwards 2017 to 2026.

Add to that the recent average of 22mm3/d to Brazil, or if you prefer the average of 25mm3/d this month Feb 2010 (the StoopidChorus always goes quiet when that number starts clicking back up), mix in the fact that two major clients are better than one when it comes to price negotiations and you end up thinking that Evo&Co isn't going to be short of a penny or two as this decade unfolds.

Today's Bolivia has the best growth in the region, virtual zero inflation, a strong currency backed by sound monetary policy, savings at record levels, a property boom going on that speaks of growing acquisitive power of its citizens and is getting kids to schools and bellies full at rates never seen. Now that growth is getting locked in by long-term exports contracts that will benefit the state first and the oil companies second. Don't you just hate it when PinkoCommieSocialists are better at running a nation's economy than your neocon liars-in-chief?

Singanis served, the end.

Trading Post (funday Monday edition)

Apparently I've been annoying German people that are long DRI.v....they want me to apologize for being right and trying to warn people for months. Gesundheit!

Ecometals (EC.v) up 51.7% at $0.91 on news of drill results at Zarza. Congratulations to EC longs who are now only 28.9% down year to date (except of course one specific reader of IKN sitting in his office in London who knew the right time to sell and the right time to buy....just lucky i guess...)

Chariot Resources ( up 15.5% at $0.56. CHD is on a tear and the rumour (yet again) is imminent sale.

Antares Minerals (ANM.v) up 5.9% at $1.80. Wabbit season!

MAG Silver (MVG) up 4.9% at U$6.21. Things are so good today that even this thing has decided to get off its tush and pop a move on fairly decent volume.

Mosquito (MSQ.v) down 4.2% at $1.15. Message to James West: Bzzzt Bzzzt, sucka.

Dengue season

A banner in San Salvador, El Salvador, calling for no more deaths from dengue

Latin American health authorities report today (in a joint effort) that two million people have been affected so far this year by dengue, the illness transmitted by mosquito bites (well, bites from two specific types of mosquito, to be more accurate).

Two million is a lot with less than two months gone. Last year Bolivia had a full frontal attack, but this year the worst affected area is Colombia (dengue respects no frontiers and typically breaks out in force in a different tropical zone from year to year) but all LatAm, Tijuana on down, is affected. As well as Colombia, Brazil and Ecuador are in the firing line this time around, apparently.

Dengue isn't a very pleasant experience but as long as you're not bitten a second time while infected it's not life threatening. But a second bite will cause a serious illness and there have been 35 deaths so far this year (18 in Colombia) from the very nasty stage two dengue.

The season usually lasts until around May. Advice: If you're visiting, bring a mosquito net and those anti-bite creams.