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How the PM blogosphere behaves like a cult

I highly recommend the post over at Screwtape Files today, entitled "How the PM blogosphere behaves like a cult". The Higher Powers know the type of stuff that I have to fend off in my email inbox from the kind of nutbars Screwtape accurately portrays here. I'm now at the point where any mail with the title line "your blog" is simply left unopened, unless I recognize the mailer's address at least.

Five days of metals and miners: Feb 4th

Our regular Saturday morning slot, as we look back on the last five days' worth of action in the gold bullion ETF (GLD), the silver bullion ETF (SLV), the miner ETF (GDX), the junior miner ETF (GDXJ) and the copper ETF (COPX).

And just look at those base metals go! By far the best performance on the week, with positive economic activity forecasts (led by USA) trumping the monetary movements during the week. Or put another way, Dr. Copper liked the US unemployment number as much as Mr. Obama did.

Away from the industrials, juniors did next best with a modest 1% win. The rest had a flat time of it.


The Friday OT: Alabama 3; Woke up this morning (Sopranos version)

Do you remember this kick-ass Friday OT back from 18 months ago, Mao Tse Tung Says (one of the finest live vids I've ever had the pleasure of etc etc)? Well the group behind it, Alabama 3, is best known for the title song from The Sopranos and because we love you more than your own parents we're laying this über-cool track on your traseros today.

Tis so very good, therefore enjoy.

Fracking in Argentina

A good post up at Tuerto today about the subject. If you're into the O&G scene and want to know about the very strong potential fracking is showing in Argentina and the people-related hold-ups as well, start here and read on.

Not the Friday OT: North Korean accordeonists play Take On Me by A-Ha

The real Friday OT comes later, but since nobody else seems to be taking the market seriously today I don't see why I should, either. So to put you in that end-the-week partaaay mood, check out A-Ha's "Take On Me" performed by accordeonists from the Kum Song School, Pyongyang, North Korea.

Headsup thankerations to twitterpal and good egg, Karaspita.

And speaking of insider selling.... we were doing yesterday, here's another bunch that are taking advantage of a price pop to raise some just-gotta-buy-that-new-SUV-have-you-seen-it-it's-gorgeous cash. Our happy bunch of friends over at Exeter Resources who have given it the 1) publish feas study 2) get love from anal yst community (who are all underwater on their calls and targets) 3) sell shares into the pop 4) ?????? 5) underpants gnomes 6) profit!

Feb 2/12  Feb 1/12  Grey, Robert  Direct Ownership  Common Shares  10 - Disposition in the public market  -2,400  $3.85
Feb 2/12  Feb 1/12  Scheving, Douglas Wayne  Direct Ownership  Common Shares  10 - Disposition in the public market  -8,600  $3.87
Feb 2/12  Feb 1/12  Scheving, Douglas Wayne  Direct Ownership  Common Shares  10 - Disposition in the public market  -7,800  $3.82
Feb 2/12  Feb 1/12  Scheving, Douglas Wayne  Direct Ownership  Common Shares  10 - Disposition in the public market  -600 $3.80
Feb 2/12  Feb 1/12  Scheving, Douglas Wayne  Direct Ownership  Common Shares  10 - Disposition in the public market  -3,000  $3.94
Feb 2/12  Feb 1/12  Simpson, Yale Ronald  Direct Ownership  Common Shares  51 - Exercise of options  100,000  $2.39
Feb 2/12  Feb 1/12  Simpson, Yale Ronald  Direct Ownership  Options  51 - Exercise of options  -100,000 
Feb 1/12  Feb 1/12  Scheving, Douglas Wayne  Direct Ownership  Common Shares  51 - Exercise of options  20,000  $1.99
Feb 1/12  Feb 1/12  Scheving, Douglas Wayne  Direct Ownership  Options  51 - Exercise of options  -20,000  $1.99
Feb 1/12  Jan 31/12  Scheving, Douglas Wayne  Direct Ownership  Common Shares  10 - Disposition in the public market  -2,600  $3.94
Feb 1/12  Jan 31/12  Scheving, Douglas Wayne  Direct Ownership  Common Shares  10 - Disposition in the public market  -300 $3.84
Jan 31/12  Jan 31/12  Grey, Robert  Direct Ownership  Common Shares  10 - Disposition in the public market  -25,000  $3.89
Feb 1/12  Jan 30/12  Scheving, Douglas Wayne  Direct Ownership  Common Shares  10 - Disposition in the public market  -17,100  $3.88
Feb 1/12  Jan 30/12  Scheving, Douglas Wayne  Direct Ownership  Common Shares  51 - Exercise of options  20,000  $1.99
Feb 1/12  Jan 30/12  Scheving, Douglas Wayne  Direct Ownership  Options  51 - Exercise of options  -20,000  $1.99
Jan 31/12  Jan 30/12  Grey, Robert  Direct Ownership  Common Shares  10 - Disposition in the public market  -27,600  $3.71
Jan 31/12  Jan 27/12  Simpson, Yale Ronald  Direct Ownership  Common Shares  10 - Disposition in the public market  -30,000  $3.60
Jan 31/12  Jan 27/12  Simpson, Yale Ronald  Direct Ownership  Common Shares  10 - Disposition in the public market  -80,000  $3.44
Jan 31/12  Jan 27/12  Grey, Robert  Direct Ownership  Common Shares  10 - Disposition in the public market  -25,000  $3.53
Jan 31/12  Jan 26/12  Grey, Robert  Direct Ownership  Common Shares  10 - Disposition in the public market  -20,000  $3.39
Jan 31/12  Jan 26/12  Grey, Robert  Direct Ownership  Common Shares  51 - Exercise of options  100,000  $1.99
Jan 31/12  Jan 26/12  Grey, Robert  Direct Ownership  Options  51 - Exercise of options  -100,000  $1.99

Not bad for a week and a bit's worth of work, such a generous sector.

But this is nothing to worry about! At all! Truly! All you need to do as a concerned shareholder is phone the XRC IR department and they'll explain the situation. In fact, they have a script typed out and waiting for you so don't let all their prep work go to waste, yeah?

Chart of the day is...

...Peru's monthly copper production figures, 2003 to date:

December 2011's numbers were released yesterday and the good news is that the 122,642 metric tonnes produced in the country in the month is a new all-time record for the country. Let's see if it can continue kicking trasero in 2012. Source Peru MEM


Malaga Inc ( Just in case you've been wondering why...

...the stock has sold off so much....

...and the company has just brought in a new mine manager.....
MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire -01/09/12)- Malaga Inc. ("MLG")(TSX: MLG.TO - News)(OTCQX: MLGAF.PK - News) announces the appointment of Fernando Pajuelo as General Manager in charge of mining operations at the Company's Pasto Bueno tungsten mine in Peru. Mr. Pajuelo will report directly to Malaga's President and CEO, Mr. Pierre Monet. (continues here)'s the reason, via the December 2011 production figures from Peru's mining ministry, out today:

 Waddya say, owly?

Yeah, I'd say that too. The 26 metric tonnes of tungsten produced by at its Pasto Bueno mine in December 2011 is by far the worst month of production we've seen from this already under-performing dog. And to get a flavour as to how the figures add up on a quarterly basis, here's the same data chopped and sliced accordingly:
Also, if you cast your eyes back up to that price chart and check on the volumes traded recently, it's pretty obvious that somebody's been wanting to get out at any price going recently. Now you know why. And to think there are still fools out there pumping this thing....sheesh...

The Falklands/Malvinas: Preston's solid observations

In his column today, Peter Preston of the Guardian (long-time columnist and was also the paper's editor for 20 years, so dismiss his views as lightweight at your own peril) does a novel thing for a Brit and writes sensibly about the Falkland Islands/Las Islas Malvinas, making along the way a couple of fairly obvious points (to those that can eschew jingoism, at least). Firstly, Preston notes that if Argentina plays its diplomatic cards right, particularly with Chile, the islands will be all-but cut off from the world. That's true (indeed, we've already made that connection here) and on this point it's worth noting that so far, since getting the issue back on the international agenda, Argentina has indeed been playing its cards right.

Secondly, Preston addresses the "oil question" about the Falklands/Malvinas. A lot has been made of the exploration for oil in the seas around the islands, with the British lumpen-argument that goes along the lines of 'We can't let any more of the small brown people get their hands on the money now, can we?' But apart from the fact that nothing economic by way of an oil field has been found yet (and the exploration is only being taken seriously by small O&G companies who are further out on the risk exposure tables, not the BPs or Exxons or Shells or Chevrons of this world) even if an oil field worth tapping is found, Preston points out the obvious:
"For where do you sell that oil? Where do you bring it ashore? How do you unlock a potential future that axiomatically excludes Argentina?"
That's spot on, showing that the whole "economic" argument for Britain's continued tenure of the Falklands/Malvinas is just one big fat canard. Behind the political bluster and flag-wrapping (and timely visits by heirs to thrones) there's really not much Britain can point to for its case, bar of course the opinion of the 3,000 people who live there. Which brings up the only logical solution to the whole issue of the islands and the very same one promoted by the British government just a couple of years before the idiots running Argentina at the time decided that a war would be great for their cause: The leaseback. One of these fine days, the option of maintaining British nationality and government for the people of the islands while allowing geography to finally make a bit of sense and making the land part of the South America will have to be debated. As Preston writes, it's only a question of sooner or later and the answer to that is in the hands of the British government.

The best thing I've read all week

All year, for that matter. It's right here and I'd like you to click through and enjoy it too. Just by way of a taster, this is the script on the post at the site, letters of note, that accompanies the letter in question:

In August of 1865, a Colonel P.H. Anderson of Big Spring, Tennessee, wrote to his former slave, Jourdan Anderson, and requested that he come back to work on his farm. Jourdan — who, since being emancipated, had moved to Ohio, found paid work, and was now supporting his family — responded spectacularly by way of the letter seen below (a letter which, according to newspapers at the time, he dictated).

Rather than quote the numerous highlights in this letter, I'll simply leave you to enjoy it. Do make sure you read to the end.

Read what Jourdan had to say here, you won't regret doing so. H/T The Epicurean Dealmaker for bringing it to your author's attention.

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, First Majestic ( (AG) edition

We congratulate First Majestic directors Robert McCallum, David Shaw, Ramon Davila (also COO) and Robert Young for their insider sales of First Majestic ( (AG) stock in the first month of 2012 and we're sure they'll thoroughly appreciate the light being shone upon their excellent and profitable sales

Congratulations, boys! Isn't mining the most generous of activites?

Oh, did i miss the Ecuador signing ceremony?

Darned strange that I can't find a single word of the big signing ceremony earlier this week between the government of Ecuador and Ecuacorriente over the State burden and royalty agreements for the Mirador copper project. After all, we recall that the Minister in charge of it all, Wilson Pastor said less than two weeks ago:
"We have concluded the negotiations and expect that on January 30th we will sign the definitive contract [with Ecuacorriente]."
So why haven't the media channels reported this grand signing ceremony this week? Some kind of news blackout? Unfair bias against the Correa government? Or perhaps, just perhaps, the governmental declarations concerning "agreement" between themselves and the miners were full of shit


And oh, by the way your author predicted this would happen on January 22nd

Chart of the day is...

...Gold-Ore Resources (, three month price chart:

Nuff said.

A Flash update...

...has just been sent to subscribers. There's good news and bad news in the update.

  • The bad news: It's money
  • The good news: It's only money


Gold-Ore Resources ( news

Subscribers can expect a Flash update on this. Here's the link, here's how the NR starts:

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire -02/01/12)- Elgin Mining Inc. (TSX-V: ELG.V - News) ("Elgin Mining") and Gold-Ore Resources Ltd. (TSX: GOZ.TO - News) ("Gold-Ore") are pleased to announce the execution of an arrangement agreement to complete a business combination (the "Transaction"), whereby Elgin Mining will acquire all of the issued shares of Gold-Ore by way of a plan of arrangement. The Transaction will result in a well-funded, growth-oriented gold producer with Gold-Ore's producing Bjorkdal gold mine in Sweden and Elgin Mining's Lupin and Ulu gold development projects in Nunavut, Canada. Bjorkdal produced 40,338 ounces of gold in fiscal 2011. Excluding Lupin, pro forma mineral resources for Elgin Mining upon completion of the Transaction will be over 1,191,700 ounces of Measured and Indicated mineral resources and approximately 756,500 ounces of Inferred mineral resources (Note: A table of Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves is shown at end of this news release). The combined company will have the financial resources and management expertise for accelerated development and growth.
A conference call for the investment community will take place as noted at the end of this news release.
Transaction Highlights:

--  Gold-Ore shareholders to receive one Elgin Mining common share and one
    half of one common share purchase warrant of Elgin Mining exercisable at
    a strike price of $1.30 per Elgin Mining share with a two year term
--  Transaction values Gold-Ore at $1.22 per common share and represents a
    premium of 66.5% based on the volume weighted average trading prices of
    Gold-Ore and Elgin Mining for the 10 trading days ended January 31, 2012
--  Low risk, high quality asset portfolio: one producing gold mine; two
    attractive gold development projects
--  Elgin Mining's Lupin gold project provides exposure to a high grade,
    past producing underground mine with significant infrastructure and
    permitting in place and the potential for near term production
--  Strong balance sheet and cash flow: approximately $35 million in cash in
    the combined company; fiscal 2011 cash flow from Gold-Ore's Bjorkdal
    mine is $12.1 million
--  Transaction structured to fund on-going growth and development through
    potential warrant exercise
--  Share exchange provides Gold-Ore shareholders with a 57% ownership stake
    (67% fully diluted) in a superior combined company with geographic
    diversification, increased market profile, trading liquidity and
    research coverage
--  Shareholder representing approximately 17% of Gold-Ore shares has signed
    a lock-up agreement supporting the Transaction
--  Experienced combined team. Elgin Mining and Gold-Ore management and
    board have long standing operational and capital markets expertise in
    the mining sector with well-established track records
--  Unanimous support of the management of both companies.
The Transaction values Gold-Ore at $1.22 per common share based on the 10-day volume weighted average price of Elgin Mining ($1.15 of share value and $0.07 of warrant value) and represents a premium of 66.5% over the same period. Each Gold-Ore shareholder will receive one common share of Elgin Mining and one half of one common share purchase warrant of Elgin Mining exercisable at a strike price of $1.30 per Elgin Mining share with a two year term, for each Gold-Ore common share held. Each half warrant has been valued at $0.07 using the Black-Scholes method with a volatility assumption of 30%, term of 2 years, an exercise price of $1.30 per share, a reference 10-day volume weighted average price of $1.15 and an assumed risk free interest rate of 0.95%.
Elgin Mining's President and CEO, Patrick Downey commented, "The combination of Elgin Mining and Gold-Ore will create a strong international gold company with a solid portfolio of production and exploration assets in the politically safe jurisdictions of Canada and Sweden. Gold-Ore's Bjorkdal mine will provide meaningful cash flow which will fund the company's future exploration and development activities. The combined company's profile will be very attractive to current and future investors as a larger, diversified company with immediate production and future upside. We will continue to review quality opportunities that add to our resource inventory and production profile."
Glen Dickson, Chairman and CEO of Gold-Ore commented, "The Transaction provides Gold-Ore shareholders with significant and immediate value for their shares. Furthermore, with the Lupin mine fully permitted and the limited capital exposure for re-start of operations, our shareholders will participate in a rapid and meaningful ramp-up of production. We believe that the strategic and financial rationale of our Transaction is beneficial to Gold-Ore's shareholders, employees and other stakeholders."
Elgin Mining's Transaction will provide the following benefits to the shareholders of Gold-Ore:

--  A compelling premium of 66.5% to all Gold-Ore shareholders
--  Warrants under the Transaction structure provide Gold-Ore shareholders
    with additional upside and future capital inflows to the combined
--  The combined company will be well funded with approximately $35 million
    in cash and with all operations in locations with minimal political risk
--  Participation in the past producing Lupin gold mine which produced 3.5
    million gold ounces at an average head grade of 9 g/t gold over a 20
    year mine life
--  Elgin Mining's Lupin and Ulu projects contain scalable upside. The past
    producing Lupin high-grade gold project has in-place infrastructure and
    its Class "A" water licence to recommence operations thereby reducing
    delays in permitting and costs
--  Strong expertise among Elgin's management and board in developing and
    operating mining projects; significant capital markets expertise and
    successful track record in the mining sector
--  Participation by Gold-Ore shareholders in the potential re-rating of
    Elgin Mining resulting from the increased size, liquidity, research
    analyst coverage and market visibility of the combined company
The shareholders of Elgin Mining will benefit from ownership in Gold-Ore as follows:

--  Ownership in the Bjorkdal Gold Mine in the low political risk
    jurisdiction of Sweden. The Bjorkdal Gold Mine has a strong track record
    of gold production generating meaningful free cash flow with significant
    exploration upside
--  Gold-Ore's cash flow generation of $12.1 million in 2011 will assist in
    accelerating the development of Elgin Mining's exploration assets
Resolute Funds Limited, as manager of Resolute Performance Fund, Gold-Ore's largest shareholder, has entered into a lock-up agreement with Elgin Mining in support of the Transaction in respect of 15,000,000 common shares of Gold-Ore representing approximately 17% of the issued and outstanding common shares on a non-diluted basis.
The Transaction includes a commitment by Gold-Ore and Elgin to not solicit an alterative transaction to the Transaction. Each company has agreed to pay a break fee to the other company of $2.8 million upon the occurrence of certain events. The Transaction has been declared a "Superior Proposal" as defined by an agreement signed by Gold-Ore and Astur Gold Corp. ("Astur") and will result in the payment of a break fee of $2.5 million by Gold-Ore to Astur. The previously announced transaction between Gold-Ore and Astur has been terminated.
Patrick Downey will continue in his role as President and Chief Executive Officer and Bob Buchan will remain Chairman of the Board. Robert Wasylyshyn will continue on as interim COO. Gold-Ore directors, David Mullen, Ronald Ewing, Glen Dickson and Robert Wasylyshyn will join the expanded board of directors.
The Transaction will be conditional upon certain conditions of completion, including receipt of all necessary regulatory approvals, absence of material adverse changes and holders of at least 66 2/3% of the total votes cast by Gold-Ore shareholders approving the Transaction at a meeting of Gold-Ore shareholders. The Transaction will also be subject to the approval of 50% plus one of the total votes cast by Elgin Mining shareholders voting in favour of the Transaction.
Additional Details of the Transaction

Copper junior exploration plays melting up...

...all over the place. Hot ones like the much-promo'd Curis, quiet ones like AQM even the one your author bought on Monday (that's up 11.3%, happy daze) and on top of that even dogs like Copper Fox and Candente catching a bid.

Something good gonna happen?

Corrupt business as usual in Peru

Now don't get me wrong about this, even though he's not really my cup of tea or my idea of a drinking partner I do think Ollanta Humala is a pretty straight-up guy and with his heart in the right place. Ideologically he may be Peru's answer to Zelig and chooses his line of thinking to reflect what his audience requires at any given moment, but he's not a bad guy, not corrupt and does want the best for his country. 

The people around him, however, are just another bunch of digustingly corrupt asshole Peruvian politicos.

Let's take for example Juan Carlos Rivera, who was one of Humala's financial backers during the election last year and also of the the key people running his (slick and successful) publicity campaign while out there gathering support. With his man the winner and safely installed as Peru head honcho, it was high time Rivera got his just desserts, right? From here, let's leave it to Peru daily paper Peru21 and this report to fill in the details (translation: your author):

There's no doubt that having been the financier and publicist for now-President Ollanta Humala Tasso in his electoral campaign has been a lucky charm for businessman Juan Carlos Rivera Idrogo, for whom suddenly the millionaire doors of State contracts have been opened. 
Last January 16th, after a series of delays, the Banco de la Nación (state controlled main bank) awarded a multimillion dollar publicity contract to the Planner-Imacon consortium, made up of the Planner de Medios -SAC and Imágenes y Comunicaciones del Perú companies that comes to the sum of no less than S/ 7,887,834 (U$2.93m) so that for one year the consortium advises on the institutional image of the State run bank and consolidates its presence in the media.

There would be nothing strange about the contract if it weren't for the fact that the owner of one of the consortium companies that won the contract is none other than the publicist and financier of President Ollanta Humala.
Continues here and it's well worth continuing, as the report lays out how Rivera and his family supposedly donated very large sums of money from their own pockets, but when things were investigated further by the authorities, those donations actually came up short, something called a "phantom donation" in the world of LatAm politics which is basically a style-over-substance show to curry favour amongst peers. There's also, of course, the quote from the Banco de la Nación people who stated there was nothing untoward about the tendering process and the bid with the best credentials won. Yes, of course.

Welcome to the new Peru! (just the same as the old Peru)

Before any more insufferable idiots...

...who think that Great Panther Silver ( (GPL) is a smart option in the silver sector write in again with the "Hey, look at GPR in January Otto!" mails, here's a chart comparing GPR to SLV and a couple of more serious silver stocks.

And now, to those who waste their time mailing in with inanities to someone who just rolls their eyes when reading stupid people writing stupid things, here's a heartfelt message:

You're much better off writing to Christopher Barker, birds of a feather and all that.

Trevali ( Sadly, nobody took me up on the bet offer

Here's what we wrote in November 2011 regarding the Cardero Group's Trevali Resources (

"...the Santander mine is now due to go online Q1 or Q2 of 2012, according to latest company literature. Anyone fancy taking a bet on this Cardero Group "fact"?"

Here's what says today, Feb 1st 2012:

"Commissioning of the 'new' Santander Plant 
is currently scheduled for Q2-Q3 2012."

Errr....I win. Not even finished Q1 yet and they knock back the timeline further, but it is unfortunate to report that the permabull fools who worships at the feet of Henk van Alphen and genuflect at the mere mention of his name didn't take me up on my bet offer. 

As for the real timeline here, the best guess is that Q3 is still pushing luck hard and 2013 is more like it (just five years after the time they first said Santander would be operational...but hey...who's counting?). That's because if you read today's NR closely, you'll see that still needs to be awarded two key permits and is still in negotiations to raise cash for the operation. Thing is, if it were just the isolated incident or two nobody would mind; Mining isn't an exact science and things are going to go awry at times, so perfection is not required. But when you have a bunch of sophists like the honchos running Cardero Group who display an almost pathological need to lay bullshit on the retail shareholder community, it cannot be ignored.

Not by this humble corner of cyberspace, at least. 

By the way, anyone asked Henk why he's dropped Dorato Resources (DRI.v) from the Cardero Group front page yet? dyodd, dude

Chart of the day is...

...LME copper stocks by region, 2011 and 2012, from Reuters.

Featured as part of the excellent Andy Home's column today.


Serafino Iacono and the Colombia Jet Set

Jet-set, por que no puedo ser del jet-set?
jet-set, yo solo quiero ser del jet-set
Soda Stereo, 1984

It was all smiles last week at the big bash to celebrate 20 years of Colombia's "investigative" TV journalism show, CM&, at Andrés Carne De Res in Bogotá. In attendance was our loveable litigating jet-setter Serafino Iacono of Gran Colombia Gold ( amongst other minor investments such as something called Pacific Rubiales. But wait! Who's that giving it big teeth with our extractive industries magnate? Why it's María Paola Mejía Arango, the presenter and pretty face of the CM& program itself! Isn't it nice to see that they're such pally pals? Now isn't that the darndest coincidence?

After all, it kind of explains why on January 2nd the prime-time edition of CM& and María Paola Mejía ran a full 10 minutes of Serafino Iacono and other flunkies, who were given carte blanche to put forward their case for the development of the Marmato open pit gold project. In that show it was one-way traffic and not a word about the highly polemic and controversial nature of the project, which made local blogger Giraldo Rivera more than suspicious at the time. He wrote about the 10 minute TV slot (translated):

"...they had 10 minutes in the news show CM& (last January 2nd) where they came across as the saviours of the whole municipality and the generators of culture in a zone where, according to them, the local population cannot decide what's best for them..."

Neither was there any comment from the majority of locals who vehemently oppose Serafino's land-grab. And strangely enough, scant attention was paid to the recent murder of the local priest at Marmato who just coincidentally was the main player in the opposition to Serafino's mine plan. Until he was killed, that is.

Anyway, we're glad María and Serafino had such a pleasant evening out together. The photo and more besides of Serafino and his influential media buddies found at this Colombia gossip site, named (and I kid thee not) "jet set dot com".

A great freebie for mineheads: This month's edition of The Colombia Gold Letter

There's a new subscription newsletter for junior miners out there and this post exists to tell you about it. It's called the Colombia Gold Letter and, as the names suggests, its focus is strictly on what's happening in the gold (and other metals) mining scene in Colombia.

It's published once a month and run by a guy named Paul Harris, who lives in Medellin so gets to report from ground zero about what's going on there. He's also an independent voice and steeped in the right experience, having covered the mining sector and analysis of its companies for 12 years and with nine years in LatAm (the last four years in Colombia and before that five years in Chile). Full of insight and useful information, your humble scribe has had the opportunity to read the last four editions (it's a new thing, only six editions old) and it's been suitably impressive in its coverage every time.

It's a paying subscription service and the cost is U$500 U$200 per year*. However, Harris has agreed to let you guys read the February 2012 edition that is fresh out the bag today January 31st 2012, as a pure 100% freebie to show you what's on offer. If you'd like to read this freebie, just mail me at the usual address....
                        otto.rock1 (AT) gmail (DOT) com

.... and I'll send you the link by return. But please put "Colombia Gold Letter Freebie" or similar in your title line so that I know what I'm looking at (and no, your e-mail address isn't used for anything else in any way, 100% guaranteed, we're all friends here).

I am not making any money of any sort for this recommendation, no fee, no commission, nothing. I do get a complimentary subscription from Harris, but that started before this post was ever conceived. All I really get from recommending the Colombia Gold Letter to you is a bit of reflected glory, because it's good to share quality amongst others.

*Wires crossed for a moment, but Harris tells me the annual for retail subscribers is U$200, not $500.

How Peru learned to love its own currency...

...instead of the dollar.

Here's a chart showing the number of bank accounts per month in Peru. It shows the growth in "bancarización" (as they say in the Spanish lingo)and a system that's expanding with its economy. But it also shows how much Peruvians are beginning to trust their own currency more and not relying on the fallback of ages, the US Dollar, in order to do their money business.

Digging a little deeper and noting just one of the account sub-sectors, we see that in the timescale above (Jan 09 to date) weve seen around 200,000 savings accounts in dollars added...but 5.2m savings accounts in Soles. And in other areas we note that for the first time ever there are more mortgages in Peru in local currency, (the Nuevo Sol, or PEN in market-speak) than the dollar, the spilt now 51% to 49% approx. Another example were the dollar has always ruled the roost is car loans, but even there we see a trend change as loans to buy cars were done 91% in dollars in 2007, now its 69%.

All data from the Peru banking transparency people, Asbanc

Chart of the day is...

...zinc, the rally continues.

Right now up another penny at 96.5c. Your author thinking particularly about a certain zinc mining operation that's due to start its motors today.


In which we continue to state that the Mexico Presidential election is not a foregone conclusion

Here we show the polls of voter intention for the three main players in this year's Mexican Presidential election, set to happen on July 1st 2012. Our players are:
  • Enrique Peña Nieto of the PRI party
  • Josefina Vázquez Mota of the PAN party
  • Andrés Manuel López Obrador (known to all as AMLO) of the PRD party

So yes, Peña Nieto is a long way out in front according to pollsters Mitofsky (who by the way are normally regarded as Mexico's best survey company but AMLO supporters insist they cook da books and underestimate his support). But there's also a tendency to register here, as July 1st is still a long way off and Peña Nieto is losing a bit of support while the other two see modest improvements.

Three facts about Copper Mountain Mining Corp (

1) Last Friday January 27th Copper Mountain ( came under intense selling pressure on no news and traded 10X its normal volume on the day.

2) This morning, Monday January 30th, released disappointing news on current production rates and 2012 guidance.

3) Marin Katusa is a director of

Chart of the day is...

...crude oil, monthlies:

Just ignore the 2008 silliness and oil becomes a pretty easy read.

AMLO in Mexico, a live prospect

Your author totally respects and recommends this post over at The Mex Files that examines the chances AMLO has of winning the Presidential vote this year. While the rest of the world thinks it's a foregone conclusion that Peña Nieto gets the job, keener observers such as Mexfiles see there's a real fight on this year. Go read, it'll make you smarter about what's to come in this election campaign.

What a 6.2 quake in the coastal town of Ica, Peru does for you

What your author can tell you is that a 6.2 mag quake, such as the one felt by the city of Ica on the coast of Peru tonight, isn't normally of the intensity that brings down buildings, kills numbers of people and makes world headlines. It's not something humanity will care about much or ever remember in its vast and copious history, which is undoubtedly a good thing.

But a 6.2 at just 42km depth is enough to scare the holy blessed and divine shit out of you. That I can personally guarantee and swear on any sacred book you care to mention.


The IKN Weekly, out now

IKN143 has just been sent to subscribers. Hey, did you hear about the man who was acquitted of gross indecency because he'd only been indecent 143 times? (drum roll, cymbal crash) I'm here all week, try the veal.

Novak Djokovic

That one will go down in history. An amazing spectacle.