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Carbon, planes and a volcano

An interesting graphic stolen from Bina:

click to enlarge

Sharing the Calamaro

Sitting here tapping away at the keyboard and putting together tomorrow's edition of The IKN Weekly, your humble scribe has been listening to all time fave Argentine musico, Andrés Calamaro. So just for the hey-whatevs of it let's share a bit of the love here on the blerg.

This is Carnaval de Brasil, one of the standout tracks of Calamaro's album 'La Lengua Popular'. A great tune.

Special for Vancouver readers

Via Mish, it's time to play "Crack Shack or Mansion". Click here to go to the site. You'll then see 16 houses in the Vancouver region up for sale and you have to decide if the asking price is over or under $1m.

FWIW, I scored 10 out of 16 (the same score as Mish, apparently).

potentially great news out of Peru

There have been plenty of Spanish language stories on this, but here's the BBC in English with the headline:

Peru Shining Path leader Guzman in hunger strike threat

The jailed leader of Peru's Shining Path rebel group and his girlfriend say they will go on hunger strike unless they are allowed to wed.

Abimael Guzman and Elena Yparraguirre are both serving life sentences.

Their lawyer said they had been asking for permission to marry for several years and were tired of waiting.

The Mao-inspired Shining Path unleashed a brutal civil conflict in the 1980s and 1990s in Peru, in which nearly 70,000 people were killed continues here

So let's hope that Guzman keeps his word, that the Peru authorities don't cave in and that this pondslime über alles dies a slow and nasty death in about three months time. His self-inflicted death would be a great day for humanity.


The Friday OT: Jane's Addiction; Up The Beach

The music is great. The video will take your breath away.

wave rider: Mike Parsons

vocals: Perry Farrell

band: Jane's Addiction

result: Awesome.

Dedicated to my man inkawaves over at wave journal.

Augusta Resources (AZC)

Just in case you were wondering why....

April 16, 2010
News Release
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - April 16, 2010) - Ross J. Beaty, of 1500 - 625 Howe Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6C 2T6, today announced pursuant to National Instrument 62-103 The Early Warning System and Related Take-Over Bid and Insider Reporting Issues that on April 15, 2010 Mr. Beaty indirectly acquired ownership and control of 3,350,000 common shares of Augusta Resources Corporation ("Augusta") upon the exercise of 3,350,000 common share purchase warrants of August at an exercise price of CDN$2.30 per warrant, for a total purchase price of CDN$7,705,000. As a result of this acquisition, Mr. Beaty now owns, directly or indirectly, a total of 14,535,000 common shares of Augusta, together representing approximately 11.88% of the 122,350,480 common shares currently outstanding.

Mr. Beaty's indirect acquisition was made for investment purposes. Although Mr. Beaty has no current plans to do so, he may acquire ownership or control over additional securities of Augusta in the future.

Mr. Beaty is not currently a party to any agreement in respect of the acquisition, holding, disposition or voting of any securities of Augusta.

Other than Kestrel Holdings Ltd., a company which is wholly-owned by Mr. Beaty, Mr. Beaty does not own or control any securities of Augusta with, nor is Mr. Beaty a joint actor with, another entity.

Now you know why John Paulson has been buying all that gold

It's called insurance.

This from Yves Smith's extended post on the SEC/Goldman headline-maker today. No better place than Yves' blog to get the inside track on this story:
"The SEC is now mounting a civil suit against Goldman against one of its Abacus trades, which was a series of synthetic CDOs used to take short positions in real estate. Interestingly, the deal in question was on behalf of John Paulson. Greg Zuckerman’s book on subprime shorts, The Greatest Trade Ever, indicated that Paulson wanted to take down the all the credit default swaps created through the CDO issuance process (which would typically leave him 95% short the par value of the CDO, since Paulson would put up the equity tranche, usually 4-5%). The SEC may have started with this transaction because the communications between Paulson and the SEC would make it easy to show the intent, that of putting crappy CDS in the CDO."
And by the way, if Paulson eventually has to liquidate holdings, today's $30/oz drop in gold is likely to be a mere hors d'oeuvre.
Not to mention Nadagold (NG).

UPDATE: Also recommended is Felix Salmon's take on the SEC charges, that gets to the heart of things and explains well.

UPDATE 2: The SEC complaint is here and it's explosive stuff. I'm on my second read-through and after a while it starts sinking in just how heavy this will be for GS. However I'm interested to know why Paulson is not a named defendant.

That Iceland volcanic ash cloud flight delay thingy

Totally OT, but's Friday. I thought I'd share a mail sent to your humble scribe by his brother this morning (my main man dude you rock). Here's the whole thing:

Best quote I've read, this is from BBC news website.

"Kerry Stothart, of Maidstone, is stuck in Belgium after being redirected there on their way back from Atlanta.

"She said: "We are a party of 10 people including four children, one diabetic, one with ADHD and Aspergers, and a blind lady. This is an absolute nightmare."

I think the cloud may only be part of the problem. No?

ATW Gold (ATW.v): What can it all mean?

The scumball fraudster front-running piece of crap Graham Harris bails even more:

ATW Gold Corp. (ATW)

As of April 15th, 2010
Filing Date Transaction Date Insider Name Ownership Type Securities Nature of transaction # or value acquired or disposed of Unit Price
Apr 15/10 Apr 09/10 Harris, Graham Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -194,500 $0.140
Apr 15/10 Apr 07/10 Harris, Graham Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -5,500 $0.150
Apr 15/10 Apr 05/10 Harris, Graham Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -300,000 $0.160
Apr 15/10 Apr 12/10 Harris, Graham Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -50,000 $0.140
Apr 15/10 Apr 05/10 Harris, Graham Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -50,000 $0.155
Apr 15/10 Apr 01/10 Harris, Graham Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -100,000 $0.160

Let's remember that the above is the tip of a very dirty and illegally run iceberg. Let's also note that the OSC hasn't said a word about the illegal, frontrunning, late filing activities of Graham Harris and of the other scumball insider dealers at ATW.v. And finally let's remember what that other twisting scumball Peter 'Holier Than Thou' Grandich said about Graham Harris way back when these two were in cahoots and fobbing worthless paper off to the masses:
I’ve known Graham Harris, one of ATW’s Directors, for almost 20 years. He’s always been a straight shooter, particularly when he was in the financial arena, and finding a straight shooter in the financial arena is like finding a needle in a haystack. So I’ve always had confidence in his honesty. He was very excited about this project. He brought me in about a year ago; it just keeps being advanced. We should be in production there in short order.

Colombia: New opinion poll numbers for the Presidential election

This race is beginning to get very interesting indeed. Here's the chart with the latest opinion poll numbers out yesterday evening...

.....and here's a straight translation of this ANSA wire report (I've translated it kinda literally just for a bit of fun...the mentality of Spanish is different, it's not just the words used):

The ex-mayor of Bogotá Antanas Mockus has cut even further the distance between him and the ex-Minister of Defence Juan Manuel Santos, in his aspiration to reach the Presidency of Colombia, according to the results of an opinion poll divulged this afternoon by a televison news program.

According to the study, realized by the National Consulting Centre for the television news program, the Party of the U (centre officialist) has a support of 36%, while Mockus of the Green Party (non-traditional movement) follows him with 29%.

After the two favourites in the polls follow Noemí Sanín (officialist) 19%, Gustavo Petro (opposition) 4%, Rafael Pardo (opposition 4%, Germán Vargas (officialist) 2%.

The television news program CMI, who contracted the opinion poll, informed that the consultation was realized between April 12th and 14th in 38 cities, via telephone calls, with a margin of error 3% and a confiability of 95%.

For sure, the first thing that most will note is that if Sanín doesn't make the run-off (as is looking likely) there are a lot of those 19% that will support Santos in the ballotage. This makes Santos stil the favourite for the whole caboodle, but Mockus really is moving up quickly. There's a lot at stake here, be in no doubt. Mockus is left wing and running under a Green Party ticket, but he's by no means a hard left candidate, he's pro a lot of the things that foreigners watching the election will approve of (FDI, open relations, etc) and is much more the Chilean biz-friendly type of soft left than the Venezuelan type of hard left....but saying that, you junior miners better watch out, because this is the Green Party after all.

By way of a reminder, the first round vote happens May 30th. If no candidate makes it to 50% + 1 vote, then there's a second round run-off between the top two.

Jack Caldwell does Anglo at Pebble

I Think Mining, the blog run by Jack Caldwell, is linked on the site, it's on my RSS and is always a good read. Recommended is today's dispatch as Caldwell writes on the controversial Pebble Mine way up there in Frostyland. As usual, Caldwell brings insight and balance (and links for further reading).

Here's the link to his post.

Chart of the day is.....

...the Gold/Silver Ratio (GSR):

Wabbit Season!
Duck Season!
Wabbit Season!
Duck Season!
Wabbit Season!


Great Panther Silver ( to be re-named

It's now going to be called Great BigHairyDogWithLargeScammyFleas Silver. came out with its 1q10 production numbers today. There's a lot to laugh about, not least of which is that GPR recorded false numbers for its consolidated silver production by reporting 390,026 oz Ag instead of the actual (add-em-up) 357,131...this because they reported the 4q09 figure of 390,026 instead of the true 1q10 figure in the bullet points...dumbass IR dep't and boilerplate releases strike again.

That aside, here are three charts that go some way to explaining the pisspoverty of the 1q10: First overall silver production.....

...which sucked. Remember folks, this is the same that told us in January 2010 that it (and I quote): "... has initiated its new strategy to accelerate production and increase resources at both Guanajuato and Topia. The new plan forecasts increases to 2.5 million Ag eq oz in 2010...".
You said it, owly. Next we have average daily mineral throughput, the combined number from its two operations:
Production dropped from 4q09 and is back under 500tpd (sidebar note...why anyone takes a 500tpd miner seriously is beyond me anyhow). GPR doesn't make much noise about why that should be in the NR, but what it will mean is that cash costs at are bound to rise again, taking away any semblance of a net profit even with silver running at prices that are extremely profitable for any silver miner that actually knows what they're doing. Finally here's the estimated Ag head grade for the mineral......

....which again doesn't come as much surprise to those of us that have followed this dog for a while. In late 2008, GPR decided to weather the financial storm by mining only the high grade areas of its Guanajuato asset. This has depleted overall head grades and now, however much they'd like to lipstick the pig, it's payback time.

Great BigHairyDogWithLargeScammyFleas Silver ( is not a serious company. The only people that reco it are those that are on the company payroll (step forward Bob Moriarty, Mexico Mike, Peter Grandich (natch) other shadies and agenda-pushers) and the chances of yet another dilutive financing to keep this loss-making joke afloat in the next few weeks are roughly 100%. Avoid like the plague.

Rare Earths and the US Department of Defense

Thanks to one of IKN's most special readers (thanks dude, you know who you are) check out the link here to the April 14th 2010 report by US Department of Defense and its call on the need to secure Rare Earth Metals supplies. The 38 page document is necessary reading for anyone interested in the sector, but FWIW here are the six summary points as per the DoD:


Objective 1: Current and Projected Availability
• While rare earth ore deposits are geographically diverse, current capabilities to process rare earth metals into finished materials are limited mostly to Chinese sources.

• The United States previously performed all stages of the rare earth material supply chain, but now most rare earth materials processing is performed in China, giving it a dominant position that could affect worldwide supply and prices.

• Based on industry estimates, rebuilding a U.S. rare earth supply chain may take up to 15 years and is dependent on several factors, including securing capital investments in processing infrastructure, developing new technologies, and acquiring patents, which are currently held by international companies.

Objective 2: Defense System Dependency
• DOD is in the early stages of assessing its dependency on rare earth materials and is planning to complete its study by the end of September 2010.

• Government and industry officials have identified a wide variety of defense systems and components that are dependent on rare earth materials for functionality and are provided by lower-tier subcontractors in the supply chain.

• Defense systems will likely continue to depend on rare earth materials, based on their life cycles and lack of effective substitutes.

• We found examples of components in defense systems that use Chinese sources for rare earth materials and are provided by lower tier subcontractors.

Objective 3: DOD Identified Risks and Actions Taken
• DOD has not yet identified national security risks or taken departmentwide action to address rare earth material dependency, but expects to consider these issues in its ongoing study expected to be completed by the end of September 2010.

• Some DOD components, other federal agencies, and companies are taking initial steps to limit their reliance on rare earth materials or expand the existing supplier base.

Or in other words, China has the USA's ass in a sling for the next 15 years minimum. Enjoy the rest of the report, dudettes and dudes.

Q) What's yellow and dangerous? A) A banana with a machine gun

News from the real banana republic, courtesy of Business Courier:

More victims of paramilitary violence in Colombia have sued Chiquita Brands International Inc. (CQB), claiming payments the company made to terrorist groups in the country make it liable for damages.

About 250 Colombians filed the suit Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Florida, according to a Reuters report. They are demanding more than $1 billion in damages, saying that family members will killed by the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, a paramilitary group.

Cincinnati-based Chiquita is facing several lawsuits as a result of the payments, including CONTINUES HERE

A quick post on Blue Sky Uranium (BSK.v)

For the benefit of subscribers and owl lovers:

It might just a be coincidence, I spose........

Ok, ok.......maybe not.........

Metanor Resources (MTO.v): Why management is more important than rocks for retail investors

Back in April 2005, Metanor Resources was a gold junior with a good story to tell and had just 13.35m shares out. To cut a long DD story short I looked at the stock, liked it at the time and bought it. I was in and out of the stock for a while until the penny finally dropped on the play around late 2008. That's when I sold for the last time and never went back. Here's why: A little list of the dilutive financings that MTO.v has run in the last five years.

Metanor (MTO.v): A Story of Dilution
Date units price total funds
Apr'05 565,000 $0.60 $339,000
Jun'05 5,219,168 $0.60 $3,131,501
Jan'06 201,000 $0.60 $120,600
Jan'06 (f/t) 543,000 $0.70 $380,100
Feb'06 666,667 $0.60 $400,000
Mar'06 395,000 $0.65 $256,750
Nov'06 4,709,079 $0.50 $2,354,540
Dec'06 5,032,321 $0.50 $2,516,161
Jul'07 625,000 $0.80 $500,000
Dec'07 (f/t) 4,587,469 $0.80 $3,669,975
Feb'08 (f/t) 5,000,000 $1.00 $5,000,000
Dec'08 (f/t) 4,288,089 $0.45 $1,929,640
Mar'09 24,354,800 $0.50 $12,177,400
Apr'09 2,495,000 $0.50 $1,247,500
Dec'09 3,370,000 $0.50 $1,685,000
Dec'09 (f/t) 9,227,227 $0.58 $5,351,792
Jan'10 4,000,000 $0.50 $2,000,000
Mar'10 5,820,000 $0.50 $2,910,000

(f/t = flow through)

That little lot adds up to nearly $46m in proceeds and in that time we've seen the shares outstanding column balloon from 13.35m to 128.2m. But as this chart shows....

....unless you were very smart/lucky and sold on one of those two spikes to over a buck, benefit has never been passed on to the shareholder. What we have is a company that has soft-soaped the retail community for half a decade, grown its company nearly to nearly 10X market cap but has given zero, zip, squat back to the people that funded the gig. And all this time, even though MTO is now supposedly in "commercial production", it has never returned a quarterly net profit. Not once.

Making money in junior mining isn't about rocks, it's about finding a company that has the wellbeing of its shareholders as a priority. MTO.v has failed miserably on this score, so if you're the type of person who bets on leopards changing their spots go ahead and buy this stock. IKN avoids.

On permitting in Brazil

The trick with getting mine permitting in Brazil is to get yourself in the pipeline. Its (in)famously difficult and stodgy bureaucracy is a tough one for foreign companies sometimes, but once that first approval pops out the other side of the never-ending series of offices, the next set of permits come in almosy conveyor-belt style.

This is the main reason why today's news out of Carpathian Gold ( is strong. Add the fact that the RDM project already has its environmental permits in place and we have a positive situation developing here. This one will be a mine and will produce gold, take that to the bank. It'll probably start on time in mid-2011, too. Here's the NR, and make sure you DYODD dude cos I own this little beauty:

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 15, 2010) - Carpathian Gold Inc. (TSX:CPN - News; the "Corporation" or "Carpathian") wishes to report that it has received the Licenca Previa ("LP"), the first of three permits, that allows Carpathian to proceed to build, develop and operate the 100% owned Riacho dos Machados ("RDM") Gold Project, located in Minas Gerais State. In addition, the definitive feasibility study is progressing on-target for completion at the end of the second quarter of 2010.

Mineracao Riacho dos Machados ("MRDM"), the wholly owned Brazilian subsidiary of Carpathian has received the approval for the Licenca Previa ("LP"), which is the first of three permits that are required by the Brazilian environmental agency, COPAM, that now allows Carpathian to proceed to build, develop and operate the RDM Gold Project. Carpathian can now initiate land works on the project, such as pre-stripping, construction of the tailings dam and land clearing for the infrastructure. With support documentation from the on-going feasibility study Carpathian will advance to the next step in obtaining the Licenca Instalac o ("LI") that will allow construction to begin on the project. The anticipated target date for the LI to be granted is July of this year. The final permit, the Licenca Operac o ("LO"), which is the final permit required to operate the mine will be obtained when the construction of the project is nearly complete.

Carpathian is also pleased to announce that Hatch Brasil has been commissioned to oversee the completion of the feasibility and will be retained for the management of the engineering, procurement, construction, and the cost control of the project.

The feasibility study is progressing with the anticipated completion at the end of the second quarter. Geologic modelling for the new resource estimate has been completed and includes all data from the phase II in-fill drilling program within the Preliminary Economic Assessment open pit design. This new resource estimate, which is currently underway, will likely be released in conjunction with the reserve estimate at the same time as the public release of the NI 43-101 compliant feasibility study. The results of the in-fill drilling program indicate that the conversion rate of inferred resources to the measured plus indicated category will likely exceed the target of 95%. CONTINUES HERE

Chart of the day is....

.....crude oil, monthly candles.

Do not complicate your life.


Eight Years

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.

It's eight years since the footage for this astounding piece of raw history was shot. Necessary viewing for anyone remotely interested in LatAm. So watch it, cos it's amazing.

Trading Post (disclosure no position edition)

Kinda dull market out there today, but a few minnows owned by people other than this humble scribe are moving enough to muster a trading post.

Oro Gold (OGR.v) up 13.2% at $0.77 and this rumour-fuelled stock has been rising on no news (but plenty of whispers) for the last couple of sessions. I've yet to be convinced by this story stock and will wait on the sidelines.

TheNewCrystallex (EC.v) down 21.9% at $0.285 on a new set of reported hey wow big shock. More bruises for young children's egos. Awww, diddums, did the nasty man hit you?.

Copper Fox (CUU.v) up 13.7% at $0.415 and that MacDonald dude just keeps buying and buying. I have nothing against the stock, but I fail to see the attraction in its main asset.....but speculation is as speculation does, right? Filed under "mysterious movements".

Affinity Gold (AFYG.ob) UNCH at $ were warned about this scam in December 2009 when it traded at $4.00. You were warned several times since then. Stop being stupid and buying into these ridiculous stories pumped by ridiculous people.

Antares Minerals (ANM.v): a few charts stolen from George

George Topping of Thomas Weisel ran this set of charts in his Base Metals review to clients this week. You'll probably need to click the chart to get it large enough to read well, but you'll be glad you did:
click to enlarge

George Topping is long Antares Minerals (ANM.v). George Topping is a smart dude.

Ecuador and the economic recovery you don't get to hear about

Add Ecuador to the list of countries not going down the tubes depsite the hopes and wishes of the idiotic commentators up North.

Exhibit One:
QUITO (Dow Jones)--Ecuador's crude oil export revenues totaled $1.28 billion for January and February, a 137% increase from the $541 million in the same period of 2009, due to the increase in oil prices, the central bank reported Wednesday
Exhibit Two:
QUITO -(Dow Jones)- Ecuador's tax collections rose 29% to $1.91 billion between January and March from $1.48 billion in the same period of 2009, the Internal Revenue Service, or SRI, said Tuesday.

Collections from the value-added tax in the three months reached $1.04 billion, 19% higher than $871 million a year earlier, according to SRI.

The funny thing is that all of LatAm is bouncing back strongly, not just the countries deemed "investor friendly" (aka take the munneh and run North) by the rest of the world. The rebound is seen everywhere but the reporting is confined to Colombia, Peru, Chile and Mexico. Now why should that be? HUH? Not to mention the fact that the biggest growth seen in any countries in the whole of the Americas (really, that's anywhere between Nunavuy and Tierra del Fuego) was enjoyed by Bolivia, which brought inflation down to miniscule figures at the same time. Odd how the elogies are missing on that one, innit?

News roundup (we sniff the bottoms of junkyard dawgs that others fear to sniff)

Another day, another journalist murdered in Colombia. Another story guaranteed to be unreported up North, but if some hack in Venezuela gets stared at in a nasty way you can bet that gets splashed over the front pages.

Mexicans are fat because of NAFTA? That's the theory proposed by Structurally Maladjusted and it must be true cos they got the stats to prove it.....TO PROVE IT I SAY!

Paraguay bans smoking in all enclosed public areas. This is good.

The US Defense dude Robert Gates is in Peru and Colombia this week. Here's what he has to say about Peru (and in true milico style getting the "compare it to Chavez" moneyline in).
“Peru has been a constructive influence, in our view, in South America in terms to trying to counter some of the propaganda and other things from Venezuela and in trying to represent what we are trying to do in a straightforward manner,” Gates said. “Peru has been a good friend to the United States.”

So no bones there. But the best one is when he addresses Venezuela and Bolivia, with one of the finest mirror reflections I've seen this year:
“I think there is an element of distracting their own populations from the difficulties that they have by … trying to strut around the world stage,” Gates said.
Gotts luv them US grunts: Destroy that village in order to save it, dudes.

Aunt Mary

Today, the population of Islay in Peru are on the streets, marching in opposition to Southern Copper (SCCO) and its planned Tia Maria (trans; Aunt Mary) copper project in their locality. The protestors are supposed to number around 10,000 (i.e. 2,000 locals 7,000 rent-a-mob and 1,000 reps from world NGO treehugger brigades) and have threatened to block the Panamericana Highway that runs through their area.

From that first paragraph, you may have noted a bit of snark directed at the protestors. Well, that's true, because although IKN is the first to stick up for and support those against mining projects for decent and correct reasons, this time this author weirdly finds himself in agreement with the Twobreakfasts gov't and the nasty smelly horrible polluting miners. That's because this isn't a nasty smelly miner; it's SCCO, a decent company run by decent Peruvians (as long as the Grupo Mexico dumbass higher hiearchy doesn't interfere, that is) and with a solid track record of environmental care, worker safety and spreading benefits to all around (hey...including its shareholders on that, but we're entering the realm of the acceptable face of kapitalism here, komrade).

I digress. The point about this protest is that it's being sponsored by two factions, firstly the treehug brigade that are just latching on to the latest cause celebre and secondly the local politicos in Islay who are pissed because SCCO hasn't paid them a bribe like other mining companies have done in other areas of the country at other times in Peru's modern history.

  • It's not about pollution of farmland, because SCCO runs two pits in very similar conditions without a problem.
  • It's not about "stealing the local's water", because SCCO has offered several alternatives to the locals on how water will be supplied, including building a dam that will add ater supply to the local land, or even building a desalination plant to supply Tia Maria without disrupting the current freshwater table.

It's not about anything except a bunch of greedy locals getting paid to protest. It's bullshit. Tia Maria will go ahead and what's more it will be of great benefit to the local economy around Islay and to the national economy too and without causing any disruption in the bucolic life around it, you can quote me on that one. The treehug brigade are a bunch of corrupt parasites that should be more worried about real environmental causes, but they're doing Tia Maria because the company involved is big and rich and has money to...errrr...arrange things with.

Semi-coherent rant over. Thank you for your attention. Pisco sours served. The end.

Impact Silver (IPT.v): Management and the market agree

We have consensus! The market has notably sold Impact Silver (IPT.v) in 2010.

And the Vice President of Exploration at IPT.v has also notably sold the stock.

IMPACT Silver Corp. (IPT)

As of April 13th, 2010
Filing Date Transaction Date Insider Name Ownership Type Securities Nature of transaction # or value acquired or disposed of Unit Price
Apr 13/10 Mar 31/10 Gorzynski, George Arthur Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -10,000 $1.040
Apr 13/10 Mar 30/10 Gorzynski, George Arthur Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -10,000 $1.040
Apr 13/10 Mar 30/10 Gorzynski, George Arthur Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -8,000 $1.050
Apr 13/10 Mar 29/10 Gorzynski, George Arthur Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -8,000 $1.050
Apr 13/10 Mar 29/10 Gorzynski, George Arthur Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -2,000 $1.060
Apr 13/10 Mar 29/10 Gorzynski, George Arthur Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -25,000 $1.020
Apr 13/10 Apr 13/10 Gorzynski, George Arthur Direct Ownership Common Shares 30 - Acquisition under a purchase/ownership plan 200,000 $0.150
Apr 13/10 Apr 13/10 Gorzynski, George Arthur Direct Ownership Options 51 - Exercise of options -200,000 $0.150

Isn't it nice when everyone agrees?

Chart of the day is...

....the latest opinion poll for Brazil's Presidential Election, due November 2010.

The red bars are the just-published figures for the candidates, and show José Serra's lead whittled down to a statistical dead heat by the PT party's Dilma Rousseff. Dilma remains my tip for the job and her name is getting out now that campaigning has been geared up. The two grey bars show the results of a survey from the same Sensus pollsters in Feb 2010, so if the polls are accurate Dilma has made up 6 points of difference in that time.

Back in third is Ciro Gomes, fourth is the Green Party candidate Marina Silva.


According to Bank of America, BJs suck but Dicks rule

a cartoon for the very few....fnarrr fnarrr

This is not a joke.

Yesterday morning, Bank of America Merrill Lynch made two adjustments to its "USA bullish" US1 portfolio. It removed BJ's (ticker BJ) and added Dick's (ticker DKS). Here's the headline Bofa used in its Coverage...

Dick’s added; BJ’s removed from US 1

....and here's the text of the argument:

Highlights of this issue
The US 1 list is intended to represent a collection of our best investment ideas that are drawn from the universe of “BUY” rated US listed stocks (including ADRs), covered by Bank of America Merrill Lynch fundamental equity research analysts. The list will be managed with a goal of providing superior investment performance over the long term.

Dick’s (DKS) is being added to the US 1 list today. BJ’s (BJ) is being removed from the list today as we are making an adjustment based on the overall composition of the list. We believe BJ’s strategy of targeting mom’s/new families with a broader assortment of SKU’s (7,200 vs. 4,000 Costco) that favors food & consumables (over 70% of sales) continues to drive impressive customer traffic (trending +3-5%). Renewal rates are trending up +0.5-1% vs. last year plus BJ’s plans to re-accelerate store growth in existing markets should also continue to drive membership fee income growth. Significant market share gain opportunities exist for BJ's within their existing markets. We estimate that BJ's has an average market share of 3-4% in its existing operating regions vs. Wal-Mart’s 14-15%, Costco's 4-5% and Sams Club's 2-3% in the same areas. BJ’s continues to be rated a BUY but we are removing it from the list as part of a rebalancing.

For those of you that still think I'm making this up, here's the link to download your own copy. My thanks to reader 'TH' for passing this one along (and for the yoks).

Trading Post (a la meuniere edition)

Coro Mining ( down 8.3% at $0.44 and being dicked around by the grapehuggers in Mendoza. The latest twist is that COP has to provide extra water info to its already extensive EIS application to the corrupt wankers the run Mendoza province, Argentina. I'd like to say this new move came as a surpise. It doesn't. COP is run by good people, but this is Argentina and good isn't good enough, usually.

Dynasty ( down 0.7% at $4.30 and consolidating at this new level on low volumes before the big upmove coming very soon.

Amarillo Gold (AGC.v) up a penny at 60c. AGC has been a tough stock to follow, so tough in fact that this author bailed in March due to the slow progress on its obviously prospective assets in Brazil. However yesterday AGC came out with news on the Butia/Lavras do Sul asset, with drill numbers that didn't sparkle like veritable jewels but did show some decent promise. The stock is up 10% since that NR yesterday (deservedly so) and there are bits of volume being bought...first time for a long time. Although we don't hold AGC right now we're rooting for these good guys and hope they can follow on with some even chunkier news.

TheNewCrystallex (EC.v) down 5.4% at $0.35. Here's the choice, dumbass longs: feel stupid now or feel even more stupid later. Hauling that ego of yours around sucks bigtime, no?

Medoro Resources (MRS.v) down 1.5% at $0.66, schafe warteschlange hier.

Bolivia: Why doesn't this surprise me?

Let's just start with a plain fact: Police corruption is rife all over South America. That needs to be said out loud, no matter what country and no matter what denials or excuses are wheeled out by politicos, police chiefs and what-have-you. Part of the problem is the simple deal of paying a low salary to somebody who can legally walk round town with a gun strapped to their hip and wide-ranging powers to make other people's lives difficult, but another significant part is that many people join police forces in South America because they know they'll be able to get "two salaries" (as the phrase goes round this way), with the unofficial one much higher than the official one.

Despite that, I'm often impressed (for want of a better word) by the new and inventive ways cops find to add to their take-home pay. Here's a novel variant reported by AP, brought to light thanks to that good Bolivian resource, Boliviasol (my translation). Just another day in paradise, folks:

The Bolivian government has suspended the licenses of two private clinics that allegedly have illegal agreements with police officers so that police bring them road accident victims, according to government minister Sacha Llorenti.

The minister said during a press conference that 10 police officers are being investigated in La Pax and its neighbouring city, El Alto.

Llorenti mentioned three recent accidents in which the injured passengers were not taken to the nearest clinic as required by the law, but to other more distant clinics because it is suspected that they paid the police officers.

In one of the cases, one of the injured died before reaching the hosipital. The police that attended the injured person drove four kilometres in in an hour of high traffic density to take the person to a clinic when there was another medical centre close at hand.

"There are people profiting from the pain of others", said police commander Oscar Nina at the same press conference. The case has been sent ot the public prosecutor and the investigation may result in the definitive suspension of the clinics involved.

LatAm forex update

We haven't looked at the state of play in local forex for a while, so let's remedy that now. Here's the evolution of the main traded currencies vs the USD over the past three months.
Biggest loser is the Chilean Peso (CLP), which lost at the time of the big 8.8mag quake and hasn't made back much ground since. Then comes Argentina's Peso (ARS) as it continues on its slow-but-sure drip drip deval that's been on the same track forever, it seems. Next is the local bigboy currency, the Brazilian Real (BRL) which also lost ground in February but has clawed back to R$1.75 to the greenback and in bascially UNCH for the period (fwiw, yesterday I saw a report of a big house calling for the Real to appreciate a further 10% by year's end, but hey...dumbasses in suits, right?).

Three currencies have strengthened against the USD in the last three months. Peru's Nuevo Sol (PEN) and Colombia's Peso (COP) are performing strongly enough (and the Peru Sol looks particularly good on the non-volatile stakes), but the winning coin is Mexico's Peso (MXN), coming back in the same style as its macro economy. Mexico got hard hit in 2009 thanks to its close ties with the US economy, but there are plenty of signals saying it will be LatAm's best performing economy in terms of YoY growth in 2010. We shall see on that.

Antioquia, Colombia: A post for anyone who is thinking of investing in junior gold miners there

You always have a choice of information sources. If, for example, you prefer to take your Colombia pol risk appraisals only from the IR departments of Antioquia Gold (AGD.v) or Colombia Mines (CMJ.v) or other juniors currently operating and exploring in the Antioquia region of Colombia, then that's fine by me. Or if you prefer to swallow the biased bullshit of stock promoters in trade show presentations using glossy powerpoints and "everything's all right in Colombia now" lines, that's also fine by me.

It's your money after all, waste it the way you want.

However, if you ever get round to doing a bit of serious DD on the region you'll find out something different than the corporate line. Take for example the report linked here, all ready for you to download. It's the latest from the United Nations' OCHA office in Colombia, dated April 2010 (i.e. now). It's one of the typical weekly or bi-weekly dispatches from OCHA. It'll show you just what you're letting yourself in for by throwing money at a bunch of wildcat explorers in the most dangerous region of all South America. It'll also give you a taste of what the IR departments of juniors hanging in Antioquia haven't bothered to tell their willing sheep. Me personally I read this kind of stuff all the time, but I had to rootle around to find something in English. Anyone versed in Spanish has reams of information at their disposal about the dangers of Antioquia. If you don't speak Spanish, you're at the mercy of those who will distort facts to suit agendas.

To wrap up, while you author continues to be very leery on Colombia exposure in general, he makes no bones about avoiding anything Antioquia like the veritable plague, avoiding any junior with liars at the helm who tell me there's no risk and mentally scrawling a great big red "do not trust this person ever again" on the forehead of any newsletter paid bullshit pump pusher who tells me Antioquia is a great place to expose my investment cash. But that's just whussy old me.....

Chart of the day is...

.....silver, monthly candles and the 10 year view.

Y'know, I think that after all is said and done the very best refutation against the raving tinfoilhat idiot silverbugs is this chart. How they can say that Ag is suppressed and gloat over a 300%+ price increase at the same time is the finest demonstration of their stupidity.

Oh, for the record I bought my Ag bullion at U$6.97/oz back in 2005. And I'm not selling. Both of those are wise decisions.


Photo of the day

H/T The Clinic

Antanas Mockus has Parkinson's Disease

The main political news out of the Colombian Presidential race today (correction: this came out last Friday and I've just found out how long I've had my head in the sand) is that current second in the polls and evermore likely runoff contender Antanas Mockus admitted during a radio interview that he has been diagnosed with the onset (or early stage, i'm not a doctor and don't know the best term in English) of Parkinson's. The link to Mockus's recorded words on the radio show is on this link.

However, both he and his medics have made it very clear that the early nature of the disease means that he wouldn't be affected during his term of office in any way that might diminish his performance as President. So right now in Colombia the population is on the same learning curve about Parkinson's that N.America went through thanks to that Back To The Future dude. This is a good thing.

Twelve years a hostage and Moncayo clearly kept his sanity

from Colombia Reports:

Moncayo: To thank Uribe would make me a hypocrite

Former FARC hostage Pablo Emilio Moncayo said at a press conference Monday that he snubbed Colombian President Alvaro Uribe following his release because to thank the president would have made him "a hypocrite."

Moncayo explained that he thanked the presidents of Ecuador, Venezuela, and Brazil, but not Uribe, because "I would have been a hypocrite if I had thanked him," after, in a proof-of-life video made during his captivity, Moncayo aggressively pounded the table and demanded that Uribe "open the door" for his liberation.

Moncayo made his explanation at a joint press conference with former FARC hostage Josue Daniel Calvo, which was called to reveal new details about the two Colombians' time in captivity.

Moncayo revealed that despite his twelve years as a FARC hostage, he still plans to remain in the Colombian military, saying that he wears the Colombian military uniform "with pride."

Calvo also told the press that he is planning to return to military service.

Moncayo also revealed that CONTINUES HERE

What Peru's IGBVL may be showing

This below comes from the intro section of yesterday's IKN Weekly. On a day when just pointing a stick at a junior mining makes it shoot higher on volume, a little caution might be a good thing to read about. There are several signals out there pointing to "possible reversal", with the one featured yesterday just a single example. This is not IKN calling a top, this is IKN saying that it pays to be wiser than the To Da Moon Alice club and consider what's going on in context.

Shock! IKN does technical analysis!

I’m no TA-head and never will be. I don’t “trade off signals” or anything else because my investment decisions are firmly based on fundy analysis. However even a chart-knucklehead such as myself watches a few charts; one watched carefully is the gold/silver ratio. Another is Dr. Copper. And today here’s another one that gets followed by this author, the Peru IGBVL index.

The Peru Stock Exchange is one I watch to gauge overall metals market sentiment. With the general good feeling enjoyed by metals such as copper and gold recently, it’s not going to come as much surprise to find that the Lima Stock Exchange General Index, with around 60% of its weighting made up by miners or mining-exposed companies (eg mine services companies), has been rallying nicely these past few weeks from a February low of under 14,000 to today’s 15,733 (less than 200 points off its 52 week high). The chart here shows the five year longview to give a little more perspective, but we can see over on the right of the chart that this rally is now pushing on the ceiling of a trading range in place ever since the metals slump of 3q08 rebounded in the middle of 2009.

The RSI is also featured in the chart, with four litle red circles noting the recent overbought spikes. One of those is in place right now of course, with the inference that the recent rally may be at an end. On the other hand, the 2006 and early 2007 period shows quite clearly that in a strongly bullish situation, the index can remain technically overbought for a long period.

The reason for showing the IGBVL index today is that, according to this little indicator that has served me quite well on a macro scale, we’re reaching a minor crunch moment for metals and miners. If I see the IGBVL breaking through 16,000 successfully with panache, strength and charm, there’s every reason to expect it to run further. However the threat of a reversal at current levels is also clear and it would surprise no-one to see a mini-slump back to that 14,000 baseline.

As master charter Gary BiiWii would say, it’s all about managing risk. The last time the index reached the 14,000 level I had my eye on this squiggly line and looked for it to reverse, which is what it did (after dipping into the 13k level for a couple of days....I’m not TA-loving enough to worry about the smallstuff and trade the technicals anyway). When the IGBVL moved up and through 15k it was only of passing interest to me, as there was no “crunch point” likely. But now 16,000 is on the horizon, I’m back looking at the performance of the Peruvian Stock exchange carefully. There’s nothing here that’s cause for worry, but there is decent reason to look for a possible downturn. As far as this chart-sceptic is concerned the reasons are not compelling, but definitely more than a couple of weeks ago.