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Five days of metals and miners: May 26th

The regular Saturday slot: 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 holy maloney, the PM miners beat the metals wholesale. COPX shows weakness in the industrials still, but GDX (bigguns) and GDX (littleuns) put in the kind of rebound you'd want to see if the bottom, considered potential last week, is really in. Still no verdict here, but a little better for sure.


Marin Katusa's health

Unconfirmed reports received from normally reliable sources (the second came in just minutes ago) have related to your humble scribe that Marin Katusa of Casey Research has undergone some pretty serious heart surgery in the last few hours. Apparently he was taken to hospital after complaining of chest pains and the condition was so bad that a quadruple by-pass was performed. That's not funny for anybody and particularly bad for someone in his 30s.

There is nothing more important than good health and as such, and assuming the unconfirmed reports received are accurate, your author wishes Katusa a speedy recovery.

UPDATE Saturday midday: The above is confirmed by several sources.

The Friday OT: Donna Summer; I Feel Love

I was young and just getting into music. At the time I should have been into punk and I was to an extent, but at the same time I kind-of-semi-secretly listened to the Genesis concept albums, Led Zep's canon (imagine a time when it wasn't cool to be into LedZep?) or Yes or ELP triple live oeuvres.

And then one Saturday afternoon I heard this song and it was, quite literally, like nothing anyone had heard before. It was amazing, stop-you-in-your-stride amazing in a way it's tough to explain in a world now used to the sounds of the synth. I know that Moroder was the creator of the sound, but I'll always remember Summer's soaring vocals above that sound. It was a musical epiphany and I'll never, ever forget Donna Summer or stop thanking her for the emotions she transmitted.

On the Monday afterwards I had to be in the record shop to buy the single, so I was. In front of me a full-on punk rocker, tartan and studs and metallic embroidery, bought a handful of 45s. As the assistant processed the order, I saw the 5th or 6th one was the same one in my hand, I Feel Love by Donna Summer. It was the day when I began to understand what music was. I'm still trying to work it out to this day, but that was when it started.

Update: Reader 'RC' sends in this article from Canada's Globe & Mail on Summer, her influences and legacy. Worthy reading material and thanks RC.

Gente que busca gente

If the scandal around this photo had happened in Venezuela or Ecuador we'd be in international diplomatic incident and Fox News headlines by now. But it's from a Peru magazine, so nobody gives a crap when an editor is hauled off to prison.

Update: Oh too much fun! The self-appointed head of hacks in Peru has been spreading false information. No prison, it seems

Anyway, as you were. Try the veal.

An article on Bolivia worth reading

Go here for a report by Marcelo Ballvé on Bolivia, published in World Politics Review, that does a far better job than most of looking into the nuances of the country's political and economic policies. Why does the Evo Morales government have a hard-left reputation but also controls its economy in a way that has the ratings agencies raising their credit ratings and purring with approval? This is a question normally left untouched by English language reports but tackled by Ballvé, who includes an interview with Bolivia's FinMin Arce as well.

A good article and one that will help you understand the mix that is today's Bolivia. Go read it.

The difficulty of reading Mexico's Presidential election from the poll numbers

The basic problem is that the pollsters aren't reliable. This report from one of the best tracking sites out there, Mexico's ADN Politico, shows (it has a nice graphic, so even if you're lacking in Spanish language ability you'll see the main info easily enough) that according to your taste:
  • Enrique Peña Nieto (PRI) is either 8% ahead or 21.6% ahead or a couple of other numbers in between.
  • Josefina Vázquez Mota (PAN) lies in second spot.
  • Andrés Manuel López Obrador, or AMLO to his friends and enemies alike (PRD), is in a clear second place so forget all that stuff about Josefina in second will you?

Overall, your humble scribe tends to see that if you're a PRIista you get to read that your man Enrique (EPN) is walking this election by zeroing in on the polls run by PRI media sources for PRI-thinking people. Meanwhile, if AMLO is yer man, go read the PRD-loving sources and get heartened by the speed in which AMLO is closing the gap. Of the three main players, only Josefina's star seems to be fading. At a guess, I'd say that EPN is leading fair and square but AMLO can't be written off just yet and if Josefina's support begins to seriously crumble, defectors are more likely to back AMLO than EPN (in fact, I've even seen a couple of "what if Josefina drops out and endorses AMLO?" articles appear in the last few days).

bottom line: The IKN call is that 1) EPN is still favourite for this race, 2) AMLO is in with a chance, 3) Josefina less so, 4) believe the biased media spin (in all directions) at your own peril. The next candidate's live TV debate, scheduled June 10th, will be a key event.

Chart of the day is...

...Copper Fox (CUU.v), 12 months:

There's something about that $1 level, so I can't help but wonder whether it's anything to do with the 211.5m shares held by Ernesto Echavarria of the total 387.17m issued and outstanding. That's about 55%, if you're asking.


Dick Whittington and his cat

You might be thinking of streets of gold and travellers making it to be Lord Mayor, but this humble corner of cyberspace marks down the cat as a panther, namely Great Panther Silver ( (GPL) and the dude in the title as J. Richard H. Whittington, known to the world as Dick and once-upon-a-time head of Farallon Resources.

And all because Dick W is slated as a new director of, with the vote on his appointment due in the June 28th company AGM. Will this decent mining brain with successes to his name (particularly Farallon, which got bought out) manage to breathe some life into this underperforming dog of a silver company? Only time will tell, but if Dick Whittington's performance at PNG Gold (PGK.v) in 2011 and 2012 (until he resigned in April '12) is anything to go by, we say "don't hold your breath".

Oh, one more thing: Dick Whittington has a reputation for slapping legal actions and trying to sue any interwebnetpipes badmouthing of his good name, so it might be fun to watch whether keeps paying pumpers to pump its stock to the naive. Hey Dick, time to advise Archer on how real mining companies do things before your name is sullied.


Coeur (CDE) ( back to work at Palmarejo

In the interests of equitable treatment, we draw readers' attention to this NR out of Coeur (CDE) ( published five minutes ago (just before the opening bell) that states things are back to normal at its Palmarejo mine in Mexico.

Still, it's not so great that CDE tried to bury the story for six full days, is it?

Codelco's quarter

The world's biggest copper producer, Chile's Codelco, is of course a State-owned company and as such, doesn't report its profit or losses in the same way as a privately owned or publicly listed company. It usually offers the market a number called "los excedentes", literally what's left over after Codelco pays all its taxes, contributions to the State and the other things it pays that other companies don't. However, those jolly nice chaps at Codelco do supply lots of numerical breakdowns with their quarterly reports so it's possible to put together tables like this one over at area minera today:

And all that Spanish labelling is fine for me, but it's the one at the bottom that gives us a decent benchmark about how things are going at Copper Company Number One. "Ganancia Comparable" is the profit Codelco would have returned if it were any other normal, non-nationalized company. Here's how those quarters stack up against each other:

In other words, "profits" at Codelco are down $610m for the quarter and it's pretty clear that lower prices for copper, as well as the lower grades that Codelco is reportedly processing now, are now filtering their way through to producer bottom lines. In short, margins are getting squeezed.

Chart of the day is...

...the Brazilian Real (BRL) versus the US Dollar (USD), 12 months:

Good news for Brazil's exporters and for anyone thinking of doing the 2014 World Cup. Not so good for Dilma.


Baja Mining ( Oh go on, take a wild guess...

This post mainly for subscribers. Baja Mining ( has a NR out a couple of minutes ago that goes like this:

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire -05/23/12)- Baja Mining Corp. (BAJ.TO)(BAJFF.PK) is pleased to announce the appointment of Ken Murphy as a director of Baja.
Mr. Murphy is Head of Asset Management at Mount Kellett Capital Management LP, and has over 23 years of experience in principal investing across various forms of opportunistic investments. Prior to joining Mount Kellett, Mr. Murphy served in a variety of positions at Goldman Sachs covering 21 years in New York, Tokyo and Dallas where he rose to the position of Partner. Key positions held by Mr. Murphy during his tenure at Goldman Sachs include Co-Head of Americas Special Situation Group, Head of Services Division (Archon Group - 1,700 staff and Litton Loan Servicing - 1,600 staff) and Head of Asia Asset Management. Mr. Murphy is a graduate of Baylor University.

Disclosure: No position in BAJ...yet.

Shock! Pissant blog halts trading in $1.5Bn mining company

Coeur (CDE) ( saw its trading halted maybe 20 minutes ago and then just a couple of minutes ago issued this NR, that starts this way:
A small, unorganized group of employees of a subsidiary of Coeur Mexicana last weekend blocked access to Coeur d’Alene Mines’ (NYSE:CDE, TSX:CDM) Palmarejo Mine located in the state of Chihuahua in northern Mexico. Palmarejo management supervised an orderly, temporary shut-down of the mine and mill in order to allow for dialogue with employees while ensuring the safety of workers at the mine site. Management considers the actions taken by the small group blocking access to the mine to be illegal.
The small group blocking access to the mine does not represent Palmarejo Mine employees as a whole; however their actions are preventing other employees from safely reporting to work. The group of employees did not raise their concerns with Palmarejo management in any way before continues here

thanks owly

Coeur's (CDE) ( Palmarejo mine on strike since last Friday, no deal reached and no NR from the company

With thanks to reader 'S' for the heads up, we note that Mexican local newspaper El Heraldo de Chihuahua reports a lockout over pay at the Coeur (CDE) ( mine in Chihuahua State. The newspaper reports that most of the workers are now happy with the deal reached, but haven't gone back to work due to a 300 person strong picket at the mine gates (only 90 of which are employees, apparently).

Anyway, we though you'd want to know, what with the company not saying a word to you all up there in the land of Mushroom Politics. Here are a couple of shots of yesterday's paper for your dee lek tay shun and if you're a CDE shareholder (disclosure; no position here) perhaps a call to the company IR department is in order, if only to ask just why they think a six day strike is non-material:

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

Rafael Correa interviewed by Julian Assange

On opening the mailbox this morning, no less than seven headsup on this interview awaited your humble scribe. Thanks to all and quite right too, as it's a fascinating 25 minutes' worth of Q&A and highly recommended.

So make yourself a hot drink, kick back a few minutes and take this one in.

Charts of the day are...

...Chile's gold production and estimated revenues from gold, monthly since 2009.

This chart shows how production in troy ounces has developed...
...and although there's a little progress, things have been fair flat. Meanwhile, this chart shows the monthly value of the produced gold, estimated by using the average monthly London PM Fix price (data from Kitco):

This time, there's a big difference and these days Chile is nailing down U$200m per month from gold. not bad for a country that's only ever linked to copper production, but still only about 1/3rd the gold produced by Peru. Numbers from Cochilco


Bomb targetting Colombia's ex-President Álvaro Uribe defused in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Here's the La Nacion story, here's a translation of the top:

A bomb was found in the Gran Rex Theatre, according to judicial sources in contact with La Nacion. It is a device that was found in the lighting system of the theatre. The explosive was to be activated by cell phone.

The artifact, which was successfully defused, was found by a member of the security and control personnel of the theatre during a routine check. Tomorrow in the theatre hosts the visit of the ex-President of Colombia, Álvaro Uribe, along with other personalities.

"It was designed to explode tomorrow (Wednesday) at 4pm, when the ex-President of Colombia would be in the theatre", said judge Norberto Oyarbide who inspected the location.

continues here

Iwnattos writes a heartfelt post of joy for Peter Grandich

Y'know what? I think Grandich will get to read it...and very soon. Anyway, here's how Iwnattos winds up his thoughts for Mr Holier Than Thou, but make sure you click over there are read it all.
"So, Peter, I know you'd never actually come across this little post, and even if you would you'd probably never slander it with a response; but just so you know, no matter how many pseudo-Christian platitudes you might respond with in an attempt to fake some pretend humility, the fact remains that whenever you post anything on moral and political topics, you slander Christ by associating yourself with him - and reveal yourself to be truly in the thrall of Satan. Continues here

And one more thing: If you're after market snark it's about time you stopped coming to IKN and made your default landing page Market Narrative, mainly because he does it much better than anything round these parts.

Incredibly, Goldgroup Mining ( has not informed its shareholders or the market of its permit denial

It's Tuesday morning the market opened 45 minutes ago at the time of this post's publication, Goldgroup Mining ( is dropping hard (-10.4% and against the general flow) but there's no halt, no news out and nothing from the company, despite the Caballo Blanco permit-denied news now being over 12 hours old and with ample time for CEO Keith Piggott to have done something about it.

It's incredible to think that the only way in which non-Spanish speaking shareholders can find out about yesterday's obviously material news development is on a pissant blog like IKN. A total lack of respect shown by to its shareholders, for which they should be ashamed.

Goldgroup Mining ( Caballo Blanco denied its environmental permit

It's not going to be a good day for this stock, but then again by the looks of the share price massacre here, the market seems to have decided the writing was on the wall anyway.

So this morning the interwebnetpipes are offering of Spanish language reports on how Mexico's Semarnat has denied Goldgroup Mining ( its change of land use permit, with headlines on how this decision is a triumph for the people of Veracruz, amongst other commentaries. We're sure that will want to inform the English speaking world of this decision later today.

PS: Subscribers, check IKN131 dated November 6th 2011 for the first mentions of the permitting problems was facing. Then IKN148 and particularly IKN150 dated March 18th. For others, here's a chunk of the IKN150 script as a taster:
In the latest piece on, from IKN148 dated March 4th, this was part of the rounding-off paragraph:
“...if you want a rough idea of how your author sees that, the best guess from here is that has perhaps a 70% chance of the EIA going its way and a 30% chance of it being rejected (in other words, I’m shamefully covering my a_s but leaning towards a pro-company result). However, in an election year such as 2012 in Mexico, this project may quickly become a political issue and as there are more permits needed between now and any production day one that are required from local rather than national sources, your author sees too many uncertainties along the road to be able to recommend as a potential investment.”

Well folks, I still don’t know which way Semarnat is going to jump, but after the developments of late last week, even though it must be stressed that the closure was done by a local authority and the Semarnat decision is one made at a national, Federal level, it’s hardly the type of good augury those long would want to see at this late stage. Perhaps it’s still 70/30 on this call, but now it’s the other way round with a negative from the enviro guys now the more likely (but I underscore, it’s very tough to call this one).
However, what I am 100% sure about is that the call to avoid as an investment has been the right one..."

Chart of the day is...

...copper, 2012:

As noted to subbers on Sunday, we still have a copper price higher than January 2012. Though by looking at the prices for junior copper names you'd never guess it.


Rob McEwen preserving his Chávez imitation

Gotta love the way Robbie Mac signed off on his "Important Message" (hey, that's what the man said, don't look at me like that) to shareholders this morning:

We will preserver! We will overcome! We will grow!

Ok, so somebody somewhere mis-spells persevere, but the cheap guffaw aside who does that kind of final flourish remind you of? Oh yeah, it's this guy:

"We will live! We will conquer!"

I wonder if they share the same scriptwriter?

message to subscribers

Several people (thanks due to all) have mailed in to note that there seems to be a chunk of script missing from IKN159 and they're right. Not sure how it got edited out, must have hit a button when I shouldn't have hit a button and then not noticed I'd hit a button. Or something. Anyway, I'm in the street right now but once back at IKN Nerve Centre™ this evening I'll fix it up and send a completed version.

Sorry 'bout that, but things can only get better. Right?

Icon oclast

nuff said

OT: Susan Sontag on Leni Riefenstahl and fascism

This article linked right here is far too good not to share. Thanks to AC for the heads up and although not anything on topic for IKN, I hope at least one of you enjoys and learns from it in the same manner as your humble scribe.

Today's Porter Scamsberry East West Petroleum (EW.v) big and difficult quiz question

Can you work out the moment Porter Stansberry ran his bullshit pump on the überdog East West Petroleum (EW.v) just by looking at this 2012 chart?

So, we've had the unspeakably scammy Katusa of Casey running a pump on this (a classic Vancouver slimeball of our time, just look at the inside muck this unsavoury individual scrapes into his back pocket), we've even had Dines roped in, and now Scamsberry. Who's next to try their luck, Sidoo? What's the prize anyway, free lunches for a year?

dyodd and stop listening to the snake oil salesmen.

Chart of the day is...

...Peru's IGBVL 'General' index, two year timescale:

Back to 20k after its recent record run.

I'll second that

James Howard Kunstler brings his A-game today.

"Let me be first of the non-right-wing in the blogster corps to venture the somewhat un-PC idea that Barack Obama turned out to be the first black schmuck elected President of the US."
Continues here


The IKN Weekly, out now

IKN159 has just been sent to subscribers. Just thought I'd tell you.