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A real American hero

As a child I remember thinking grand and admiring things about The United States of America and on looking back, I'm pretty sure it was because of people like Steve Stephenson.

  • He sold books
  • He lived to 93 years of age
  • He was married for 71 years
  • He brought clean water and a better life to people

I'd never heard of the guy before reading this link, but he's my idea of a true American hero.


A Friday OT Extra: What Maradona means

  • Maradona is the manager of Al Wasl of the United Arab Emirates league (mucho money, little history)
  • Maradona lost his mother last weekend
  • Maradona returned to Argentina for the burial, then returned to his club for the weekend match, just played.
  • Al Wasl were one goal down but recovered to win 2-1.

Watch this from 1:00 onwards:

To understand South America, understand Maradona. It's one of those situations where if you have to ask, you'll never know. The greatest player of all time, the end.

The Friday OT: Radiohead; Bodysnatchers

My favourite band playing their best song since the Kid A album ( changes y'see) live on the Jools Holland 'Later...' show and absolutely utterly completely totally SHREDDING IT TO KINGDOM COME. Oh my, bless their studenty hearts for playing their music and singing their songs live, a sadly vanishing art.

Damn, damn damn, I wish I could do anything this well. Enjoy

Rio Alto (RIO.v): Rumour from Peru

Disclosure: Long RIO.v with a 12 month price target and timeframe for the position set, however extremely unlikely to add or subtract from the position in any way, shape or form in the next few days (and "extremely unlikely" is only there to cover my hindquarters on an unforeseen event, as in practical terms I'm holding my RIO.v and not trading RIO.v, period).

Anyway, with that out the way the rumour floating round Lima this morning is that Gold Fields (GFI) is looking very but VERY closely at Rio Alto (RIO.v), with M&A on the lips of those your author has been in contact with. Subscribers may recall that GFI was linked to RIO.v in the same kind of totally unsubstantiated rumours back in early/mid September but nothing eventually came from that one at the time.

I honestly don't know whether this rumour is true, false or salad (as they say in French) but I do know that I've heard it from several different sources this morning, I also know that in early trading RIO.v is the second most traded stock on the Lima stock market today, it's the stock with by far most individual trades completed so far and also the 2nd highest climber. Not bad for a metallic bear day. I also know that as with all the best unsubstantiated rumours, the story rings true and has basic market logic. That doesn't make it true of course and I'm keen to underscore that most M&A rumours come to naught in this world. However, this one has enough to warrant a post here at IKN and at least get you guys up there on the same info level as the Lima mavens.

Cartoon of the day....

...comes from Peru, specifically the biznews site Gestion:

On the left we have the title "One Month Ago" and star of the show saying "I'm with Ollanta". The crowd accuse him of being A Chávez sympathizer, a Marxist, a member of the local far left party, etc.

On the right we have the title "Today" and star of the show saying "I'm with Ollanta". The crowd accuse him of being Imperialist, of supporting the business lobby, being insensitive, ruling class etc.

Galeras waking up

Colombia's Galeras volcano, one of the more active round these parts, looks like it's waking up from another of its short slumbers (it smoked enough in 2010 to get people evacuated) and to that end, the relevant authorities have placed the area on Orange Alert (not red yet), classes have been suspended and they're currently considering the evacuation of 8000 people living nearby. Colombia's Caracol news has a decent video of the smoky action at Galeras right here.

Canada's National Bank downgrades Candente Copper ( and drops its price target on the stock

Here are the highlight bullets from the National Bank Financial (NBF) report, out this morning.

1) Feasibility study delayed to incorporate new design elements and follow-up drilling at Canariaco Norte. Timing of feasibility study delayed, mostly to incorporate a larger SAG mill design (40ft) and associated production (100k to 110k tpd vs. 95k tpd old) and cost implications. Originally scheduled for H1 2012, the feasibility study will now be delayed by several months/quarters, in turn heightening what is already notable timing risk for project development.

2) Industry bottlenecks remain, with Peru in the thick of things. Owing to the large number of projects planned for development in the 2013-2016 period execution and timing risk are perhaps more concerning to us than capex creep. Peru appears especially vulnerable, with $30 bln in project development planned in the next several years. This will present unique challenges to Candente. In our opinion, an even larger project will only serve to exacerbate timing and cost pressures in the face of still competition for engineering and construction services.

3) Model changes drive NAV decrease. To account for feasibility study delays and our expectation of timing and project execution risk in Peru, we have moved our project start date assumption to 2017 from 2016 previously. The net effect sees our f.d., f.f. NAV8% est. drop to $2.66/sh from $2.95/sh.
4) Lowering target to $1.65 from $2.10 and moving to Sector Perform from Outperform. Target based on 75% (60% old) wt. to 0.6x our NAV8% est. and 25% (40% old) wt. to $0.02/lb ($0.025/lb old) of Cu resource. We are lowering wt. to M&A and EV/lb multiples to account for reduced M&A activity and that acquirers are exposed to heightened capex and timing risk.

IKN back and though I generally agree with the NBF call here (see yesterday's IKN post), if I were feeling cynical* I'd say that this NBF report is more about "well guys, we got too optimistic about this thing a while back and this gives us a decent excuse to pull back towards reality" than it is a quantitative assessment of that's just me. Worth noting that Cormark reported briefly on this morning and kept its $2.25 price target in place.

Disclosure: No position in


Chart of the day is...

...the US Dollar's forex performance versus the Mexico Peso (MXN), last five years:



Chile and copper

While you guys up the North chow down on serious turkey lunches and give thanks (darned good holiday sentiment if you ask me), your author alleviates the ennui of a sloooow market by fiddling around at the Chile Central Bank website. Result of at least some of the fiddlings and wonkings are seen here in these two charts:

This one shows how much metal (most of it copper, as you can see) Chile has exported per month since January 2000:

This one shows the percentage of all exports from Chile (all of them, mining and all the others) taken up by copper since 2005:

Copper's kind of important for Chile, isn't it?

The ten words from the Candente Copper ( NR this morning that matter

It's 1,838 words long and contains 22 paragraphs, but to help you out here your humble scribe has digested it already and can report there are only ten words that matter:

"...the completion date for the Feasibility Study has been extended."

The rest is noise and you'll get your feas in 2012.....err.....probably......if Peru lets them drill But hey, you never know, perhaps those Polish dudes will just wade in and buy the thing on a flyer. After all, this is capitalism and it's totally normal to risk $3Bn worth of investment to save $80m now. Isn't it?

Chart of the day is...

...natgas, weeklies:

As we've noted previously, it's the stuff that's tough to hoard that gives the true idea of the economy. One is reminded of all that hyperinflation that, according to the Austrians, was just about to any moment, y' 2009. Or was it 2010? Nah it was 2011, wasn't it?

Oh silly me! It's been reprogrammed for next'll definitely happen though, so get those dry food stocks high and buy another water tank. Who needs a brain when you have an audience dumber than yourself, anyway?


Regarding the matter of Serafino Iacono (we think) versus IKN (we think)

We think it's time that readers of these pages are let in on a few of the legal beagle dealings that have been happening here and abouts recently.

Back in August your humble scribe received messages from lawyers representing Serafino Iacono, head honcho of Pacific Rubiales ( and Gran Colombia Gold ( amongst other entities. It seems that Señor Iacono took exception to some of the things written about him in this blog and threatened legal action. Of course, your humble scribe took exception to his and his lawyers exception (following so far?) and...amazingly enough...didn't back down at the first sight of legal bullying, upon which lawyers representing Señor Iacono asked whether your author would accept service of papers via e-mail. In another amazing turn of events, your author decided that making a lawyer's working life easy, particularly one planning to litigate your humble scribe's hairy ass, wasn't going to happen therefore his specific request was refused. In other words, if Serafino's happy gang wanted to serve me they could do it in the the correct and proper manner.

Nothing was heard from them after that and of course your author thought that it was just another empty legal threat (we get more than one round here, surprise surprise) until this very morning, when all of a sudden an e-mail appeared in your humble scribe's inbox from the secretary of Peter Jacobsen, who happens to be the lawyer representing Serafino Iacono. As your humble scribe immediately recognized the name of the sender and also noted (thanks to the marvels of Google's GMail) that there was an attachment with said secretary's mail, the decision was pretty simple....We ain't opening that one! Instead, your author decided to circumvent the secretary involved and sent the following mail to Peter Jacobsen, the lawyer who back in August represented Serafino Iacono. Here's what your author's mail to Mr Jacobsen's mailbox (not his secretary's, mind you) said:

I note in my inbox today a mail with an attachment from your secretary, Susan Gonsalves. As I'm feeling a tad suspicious today and think that you might be trying to serve me with a legally unenforceable document (recall that i specifically stated that you could not serve any document to me via mail), I'm going to make 100% sure that your pathetic and  backhanded attempt at legal bullyboy tactics (unless I'm totally mistaken of course) is totally laughed out of court and will leave Ms Gonsalves' mail unopened.

Once again, and as clearly indicated in our last mail exchange, if you have papers to serve you are cordially invited to serve them in the time-honoured fashion, i.e. face to face and in the flesh.

You have a nice day now, y'hear?

Surprisingly, it seems that your humble scribe's suspicions were well-founded, as it didn't take long until this reply, directly from Mr Jacobsen and his mail address, appeared:

Dear Sir,
Thank you for your email. Please provide your address so that we can serve you with the Statement of Claim and the Notice of Motion both of which are contained in the attachment to the email you refer to in your email of today ( November 23, 2011).
I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours Sincerely,
Peter Jacobsen

To which your author quickly replied:

Oh Peter, I can't possibly believe that I've pissed you off as much as this! I apologize for ruining your week.

In other words,your humble scribe was glad that Mr Jacobsen realized (as if he'd be so dumb) that his move to try and serve papers of some sort or other (I still haven't read them, by the way) were in vain and he'd have to do things right. But Mr Jacobsen still tried another sneaky trick (he's a lawyer, we forgive him these things, it's part of the DNA) when he decided that he didn't want to reply directly to that last mail, which was slightly naughty of him. Instead, a little while later he sent a mail, totally separate from the previous string, entitled "Gran Colombia". You humble scribe preferred not to open that one as well (as those nice people at Google mail will surely testify if the occasion arises) and instead replied via the previous mail's string in the following manner:

Hi Peter,

You should have replied to this string, as I'm on the learning curve nowadays and understand how you as...OOPS...people.. work. I did not open your unsolicited mail dated 23rd November 4:15 EST. Feel free to reply to this mail, but this office is not going to open any reply to it or, in fact, anything from you or your office ever again. That, sir, is for the record.

Once again (and for the final time, as i think three's a charm), you are cordially invited to serve me with whatever dickwad asshole fuckbastard cuntfaced paper you prefer in the time-honoured and legally required manner. Until then, go fuck yourself, dickweed.

Yours, transparently,


PS: you have that good weekend, yeah?

And I apologize to anyone with a sensitivity to written cuss words, but there's a time and place for everything. Since then we've heard nothing else from the lawyers representing Serafino Iacono, but if we do you can rest assured that we'll keep readers informed. Please be having a nice day, yes?

Serafino Iacono's Gran Colombia Gold ( hit a new 52 week (and all-time) low today

Which isn't, of course, anything to do with the spate of murders suffered by the community opposing Serafino's plans for Frontino and all that. Perhaps this is why Serafino's lawyers are writing official looking  mails to IKN today? Only time will tell....

PS: Oh Look, Pacific Rubiales ( at new 52 week lows today, too! My oh my, Serafino's feeling the pinch perhaps? Too much partaaay, not enough chamba?

OT: Damien Hirst's skull, Clive James and our pointless culture

Just wonderful. 

Take time out of your day and listen to this, from 2007. It'll help you navigate the markets if you do.

Wowser quote from European Commission president José Manuel Barroso

He really said it, Butthead...he did..just now..with 50 minutes to go before the opening bell in NYC
"Without stronger economic governance in the Eurozone it will be difficult if not impossible to sustain the common currency."

Update: Semi-on the subject, I'd just like to try and explain in a visual form what it feels like to hold physical gold bullion. It's a bit like this, from 1:16 onwards:

I am the gold bullion holder on the ramparts, you are the fools below who thought gold was a total mug's game and tittered and guffawed and laughed when I bought heavy at U$451/oz and never traded it again...not once.

Photo of the Day...

...comes from an aircraft boarding bridge, somewhere in the world. It was very recently taken 'on the hoof' by an IKN regular (who shall remain anonymous, as undoubtedly he'd prefer not to let it slip that he reads this tosh'n'nonsense and lose his high powered job) which accounts for the slight fuzziness, but it's still worthy of its foto del día mantle, be in no doubt.

Never seen better advice about MBAs (and presumably those who employ them) in my life.

Chart of the day is...

...a selection of rare earths junior miners including Tasman (TSM.v) Quest (QRM.v) Ucore (UCU.v) Rare Element ( and Avalon (, year to date:

That Ottotrans™ post yesterday about Great Western (GWG.v) got me thinking about REE plays for the first time in a long time, because due to the near total lack of REE outlets in LatAm region (there's Artha and the Cardero dog Wealth I suppose) I don't ever follow what's happening there. So anyway, last night I conjured up the chart you see above from the names considered top class by those REE-lovers (we avoid the clear pumperooneys such as CCE.v) and thought "wowsers, and here was lil ol me thinking the junior sectors I watch have been ill...."

Wasn't REE the answer to Life The Universe And Everything around this time last year? Come to think of it, that BS hype was another reason I steered well clear of these stocks. DYODD, dude.


Mining PRs and the Ottotrans™, Part 50

The half century in this occasional series is reached by Great Western Minerals (GWG.v) and this NR released just a few minutes ago.

This is what they said:

SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN--(Marketwire -11/22/11)- Great Western Minerals Group Ltd. ("GWMG" or the "Company") (TSX-V: GWG.V - News) (OTCQX: GWMGF.PK - News) Corporate Holdings:

--  1 Rare Earth former producer: Steenkampskraal mine in South Africa. GWMG
    holds controlling interest in the mine through its 100% shareholding of
    Rare Earth Extraction Co. Limited ("Rareco").
--  2 Rare Earth processing plants: Less Common Metals Limited ("LCM") in
    Birkenhead, U.K. and Great Western Technologies Inc. ("GWTI") in Troy,
--  5 active Rare Earth exploration projects: 1 at the Steenkampskraal site,
    4 in North America.
GWMG Corporate Focus:
GWMG continues to execute its strategic plan to become a "first mover", as a fully integrated rare earth producer supplying its own rare earth inputs into its production cycle. Management discusses the strategy on the Company's website at
GWMG Corporate Coverage:
Three analysts cover GWMG:

--  Byron Capital Markets: Analyst - Jon Hykawy, Contact points:, 647-426-1656
--  Euro Pacific Canada: Analyst - Tony Hayes, Contact points:, 416-933-3357
--  Cormark Securities Inc.: Analyst - Edward Otto, Contact points:, 416-943-6748
Note: GWMG does not recommend nor endorse any research reports.
GQD / GWMG Joint Venture Agreement:
After negotiating a Heads of Terms with Ganzhou Qiandong Rare Earth Group Co. Ltd. ("GQD") of China to build a rare earth separation plant in South Africa, located in proximity to GWMG's Steenkampskraal operation, GWMG continues to discuss and negotiate the terms of the shareholders agreement and an operating agreement. GWMG and GQD have generally settled issues that include the joint venture's corporate structure, ownership and compensation issues and are working on detailed plant design that ensures LCM customer requirements will be met. Representatives from GQD have been to South Africa to inspect the proposed site of the separation plant, and technical personnel from GWMG have visited GQD operations in Ganzhou, China. Both management teams are working to finalize details as rapidly as possible.
Steenkampskraal Mine Site Refurbishment Project:
GWMG's refurbishment of the Steenkampskraal mine shaft and ancillary facilities continues to move ahead on schedule with an expected completion date of December 2011. East Rand Engineering Services has been contracted for the refurbishment of the mine access decline, construction of a head gear and winding house, and the installation of underground infrastructure services such as ventilation fans and underground stores. The significant progress of the refurbishment project can be seen on GWMG's website at where photographs of the project for August, September and October, 2011 are available.
GWMG Financing:
GWMG closed an equity financing on November 10, 2011 as part of the Company's overall funding requirements for the Steenkampskraal project. The Company continues to pursue its top two financing priorities - off-take agreements and debt instruments. GWMG is discussing off-take opportunities with customers with the intent of having them provide some of the funding required for the Steenkampskraal project. The Company also plans to submit applications to government and private financial institutions for debt facilities that will have the potential to provide the remainder of the financing for the Steenkampskraal project.
Less Common Metals Expansion:
LCM, located in Birkenhead U.K., is undertaking a significant expansion of its alloy processing capacity. In December, 2011 LCM staff will begin the commissioning of a new furnace that will produce "flakes", a format preferred by customers, rather than the tradition ingots. The new furnace is expected to increase production by approximately 50% once it is in production very early in 2012.
Corporate Summary:
GWMG is an integrated rare earth processor. Its specialty alloys are used in the battery, magnet and aerospace industries. Produced at the Company's wholly owned subsidiaries Less Common Metals Limited in Birkenhead, U.K. and Great Western Technologies Inc. in Troy, Michigan, these alloys contain aluminium, nickel, cobalt and Rare Earth Elements. As part of the Company's vertical integration strategy, GWMG also holds 100% equity ownership in Rareco, which owns a 74% equity interest in the Steenkampskraal Mine. In addition to an exploration program at Steenkampskraal, GWMG holds interests in four active rare earth exploration and development properties in North America.
Certain information set out in this News Release constitutes forward-looking information. Forward-looking statements (often, but not always, identified by the use of words such as "expect", "may", "could", "anticipate" or "will" and similar expressions) may describe expectations, opinions or guidance that are not statements of fact and which may be based upon information provided by third parties. Forward-looking statements are based upon the opinions, expectations and estimates of management of GWMG as at the date the statements are made and are subject to a variety of known and unknown risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or outcomes to differ materially from those anticipated or implied by such forward-looking statements. Those factors include, but are not limited to refurbishment activities and reliance on third parties to meet projected timelines, the results of the exploration program at Steenkampskraal, a resource estimate and commencement of production at Steenkampskraal, satisfaction of the conditions precedent with respect to GWMG's offtake agreement, receipt of all required approvals (including those relating to the commencement of production at the Steenkampskraal mine) and risks, uncertainties and other factors that are beyond the control of GWMG, risks associated with the industry in general, commodity prices and exchange rate changes, operational risks associated with exploration, development and production operations, delays or changes in plans, risks associated with the uncertainty of reserve or resource estimates, health and safety risks and the uncertainty of estimates and projections of production, costs and expenses. In light of the risks and uncertainties associated with forward-looking statements, readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance upon forward-looking information. Although GWMG believes that the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements set out in this press release or incorporated herein by reference are reasonable, it can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to have been correct. The forward-looking statements of GWMG contained in this News Release, or incorporated herein by reference, are expressly qualified, in their entirety, by this cautionary statement and the risk factors contained in GWMG's current annual information form available at
Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

And this is what it means:

Our share price is negative year-to-date.

dyodd, dude

Chile the Spanish bank cash cow, BBVA edition

Just a couple of minutes after posting the note on Santander you see below, that smart, on-the-ball financial cookie named Tim Hanson of The Motley Fool tweeted this over to your humble scribe by way of reply:
@incakolanews On a related note, check out the dividends BBVA has been having PVD declare. #windfall

So of course we did just that and checked out the numbers (being off the junior mining jag for at least a couple of hours, it seems) of Provida (PVD), the Chilean Pension Fund that's a subsidiary of Spain's BBVA bank. What showed up was more than interesting and here's the chart:

Wow, now that's what I call milking your cow when you need to. Or as Hanson said a little later in the exchange....
 @incakolanews The only time it makes sense to have a failing Spanish bank on your side!
 Thanks for the headsup, Tim.

Banco Santander (STD): The Ottotrans™ reaches out

We normally confine the Ottotrans™ to Mining company news releases, but today we reach a little further and check out this story on Spain's Banco Santander (STD), as reported by Reuters:

Nov 22 (Reuters) - Spanish bank Santander (SAN.MC) will sell a 7.8 percent stake in Santander Chile STG.SN (SAN.N) to help meet regulations on capital requirements, the Chilean subsidiary said in a statement.
Spain's Santander aims to boost its core capital to 10 percent by June 30, Santander Chile said in a statement issued in New York overnight. Chilean media estimated the stake sale could raise just over $1 billion.
And applying the good ol' Ottotrans™:
"We're so fucked that these days we have to sell off the bits that actually make a profit."

And by the way, in my day STD stood for sexually transmitted disease. Sheer coincidence of course.

The US Dollar's move

Wow! Have you seen the move in the US Dollar recently?

Nah, not that move, THIS move:

And the effect of the French Revolution? Too early to say.

Colombia Cosas*

Colombia's mining industry is developing and getting multinational sized, which means the proposed re-organization of the highly fractured worker's syndicates and union's into one organization, slated to be called SUME, is overdue and a welcome move. Look after yourselves guys, because those that would make themselves stupidly rich off your back without giving a penny more than they could are out there, partying.

Two Week's Notice also picked up on this slice of irony from Pres Juanma while he tours the UK. Here's the moneyline quote:
Santos, who is visiting London to boost trade and investment in Latin America's third most populous country, said his biggest worry was "that the industrialised countries are not capable of taking the correct decisions and showing the world they can get out of their crisis". 

Asked what those decisions were, Santos said: "The same decisions that those same countries told us in Latin America to take a few years ago. Exactly the same ones."

Meanwhile, insight about the FARC from blog Talking About Colombia. Not only is the average recruitment age 12 years old, but those kids join up because the FARC often offers a better life alternative than the abuse they suffer at home. But hey, just keep thinking your pigeonholed way and believe the FARC is an easy problem to solve...

* Spanish lesson of the day: Cosas = Things

Chart of the day is...

...Google Adsense earnings on this blog, IKN, March 2008 to date:

The dip in Feb to May was the time your humble scribe decided not to have the Google Ads on the blog. Since then they've been earning perhaps $8 or $10 a day, which is no king's ransom but still useful when it comes to covering the household bills with no extra effort required. I hear we get some funny ones published on occasion too, such as pumpos for C_sey Research and some BS mining companies getting slagged off on the very same page (though the Google system means the ads change from region to region).


Just two quick things...

...before calling this drudge of a market day closed, chez Otto:

1) Gary Biiwii has been calling the market very well recently. His subscribers that listened must have saved a packet.

2) The Swedish Chef will cheer you up. He did me.


Guatemala and poverty

New figures out from Guatemala's official stats office (INE) shows that there are more of its citizens under the poverty line now (officially set at 25 Quetzals per day, or U$3.21 to give an idea in the universal coin) than there were five years ago.

The 7.86m people officially poor in Guatemala represent 53.71% of the total population. Data from here.

This will of course prompt sector bears to point out that gold is obviously overvalued and headed for a fall

Due to the strength of the US Dollar, or something

Even sitting as far away as I do from the North and its financial madness, I still feel like I'm living in La-La Land. Lordy, it must be tough to stay sane up there.

Today's important news



Europe totally in the crapper
US Supercommittee fails to decide on use of Splenda or Equal during mid-morning coffee break
MF Global stole $2bn

Chart of the day is...

...Great Basin Gold (GBG) (, January 1st 2009 to date:

Jeez, what a pig of a dog of a waste of a company, UNCH since the dark days of Lehman. The good news here is that GBG shareholders might have been  watching their time, but the company is doing ok, as thanks to the 141 million extra shares it's added to the S/O count, market cap is now $566m. Also, I'm sure the highly efficient and shareholder-friendly directors of GBG would like to thank you for their pay packets.

Ollanta Humala, loved by Peru's rich

This breakdown of results from the latest approval survey by Peru benchmark pollsters Ipsos/Apoyo is fascinating:

Welcome To The New Peru! (just the same as the old Peru)™


Nine journalists murdered in Mexico in 2011

This graphic is taken from this report and translated by your author


The IKN Weekly, out now

IKN133 has just been sent to subscribers. The usual guff and nonsense, glad to say.

An Interview with Bob Wasylyshyn, President of Gold-Ore (

This is pretty good. Thanks to reader JC for the headsup:

And oooh, he said the word dividend...he did!

Last week in metals mining.. seen through a semi-regular chart comparing gold (GLD proxy), silver (SLV proxy), the miners (GDX) and the juniors (GDXJ):

As for insightful commentary, I think "SPLAT!" just about sums it up.