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Cat Fight! (Well, a Hello Kitty vs Sponge Bob fight, in fact)

What happens is that in the Plaza del Sol, central location of Madrid Spain, people dress up and then charge tourists a coin to have their photos taken with their kids, etc. Which means that some spots in the plaza are better for business than others. Which means they're coveted by sponges and cats alike.

Which means that fights can break out.

Five days of metals and miners; October 27th

Our regular Saturday slot of 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).

A drudge of a week and the first time for quite a while when it got full scale boring to watch the action (which explains the relative lack of posting on IKN and the crappy quality of the posts that made it, I suppose). Anyway, all our squiggly lines ended up in a heap, 1% or 2% off on the week. Weakness Weds, recovery Thurs. That's all folks.


The Friday OT: Julia Fischer plays Vivaldi's Four Seasons, Winter

The Conga Strategy

Yesterday's post on the feeble attendance seen at the anti-Conga protest in Cajamarca fit right in with a theme we've covered for the last six weeks in The IKN Weekly. Back in IKN176, dated September 16th, this was written:
"Peru: Conga suddenly out of national headlines
In a country such as Peru, it’s what’s not being delivered to your TV screens in the form of news that can be as interesting as what is and in the last two weeks, the amount of polemic (false or otherwise) and headlines made by the Conga project and its protests has dropped very significantly. This sudden drop in newsworthiness seems to be part of the plan of the government to try and reduce the importance of the issue in the public eye and coincides (though it’s hardly a coincidence) with utterances of the new cabinet chief Juan Jiménez when he took the job that Conga shouldn’t be an obsession. It may be a case of media bosses and editors getting an informal phone call, it may be that there’s less actually happening around the Conga project, but it is significant that your author had to search for the latest news stories of the massed protests in the town of Bambamarca (11) with 100% adherence to the protests and marches, schools and shops closed etc, then vows of local ‘Ronderos’ (rural activist groups) to maintain a permanent 24/7 vigilante party (12) made up of 1,000 people at the threatened lakes for signs of construction activity. What we have heard instead from the media are the news stories of development and growth in the mining industry in other places, such as Cerro Verde (Arequipa) Toromocho (Lima/Junin), Quellaveco (Moquegua) and others, all quite the charm offensive in fact and all indicative of a  government that has decided to set the agenda instead of reacting to somebody else’s...."

As they say round this way, "El que no llora no mama"

Chart of the day is...

...the price chart for Anglo American (AAUKY), October 24th 2006 (the date Cynthia Carroll was announced hired as CEO) to present day:

A chart that does not say win. Is there another way of judging this?


OT: Coolest people ever

My brother has managed to keep me from thinking about this boring market this morning with a simple question: "Who's the coolest person EVER in [select field of activity]?". What's important here isn't the achievement of the person (because, for example, if it were about straight success Mandela would win the politics section hands down). No folks, what we're talking about here is cool. Here's what we have so far:

The coolest person EVER in music?
Him: Bob Marley
Me: Eddie Cochran

The coolest person EVER in politics?
Him: JFK
Me: Ernesto El Che Guevara

The coolest person EVER in sport?
Him: George Best
Me: Ayrton Senna

The coolest person EVER in art?
Him: Da Vinci
Me: Warhol

The coolest person EVER in cinema?
Him: Sean Connery
Me: David Lynch

The coolest person EVER in business?
Him: Alan Sugar
Me: Richard Branson

The coolest person EVER in literature?
Him: Plato
Me: Jack Kerouac

One thing  I've noticed is that all our answers are male. This troubles me slightly, because although it was fairly easy to think of cool or very cool women in most of the fields in question (Uma Thurman, Aretha Franklin, Dilma Rousseff, Danica Patrick, Marissa Mayer, etc), none of them got to be the coolest of their ilk. Why is that? Is it my own sexist bias, or are men destined to be cooler in absolute terms?

But aside from that male/female thing, where are we going wrong? Got any better suggestions?

UPDATE: Oh dear, what have I started? Plenty of suggestion (mail and twitter), but one that wins over the above comes from reader J, who points out that Miles Davis invented cool and the rest are just poseurs. He has a point.

The state of the Conga anti-mining protests

Last Friday Marco Arana, one of the leaders of the anti-mining protests in Cajamarca that are centred on the Conga project (Yanacocha, the NEM/BVN jv), called for a regional strike on October 24th and 25th because according to him and his organization, Tierra y Libertad, Yanacocha has not stopped development of the reservoirs at the Conga project despite the anti-mine groups' demands. As part of the protest a massed march was called for in the Cajamarca main square and then an evening gathering to make clear the opposition to the project.

Here are a couple of photos of the massed protest, taken yesterday October 24th at midday (long after the protesters were supposed to have gathered).

By all accounts the evening gathering saw no more than 20 people turn up. 

The Liberty Silver ( 3q12 report

Right here. Have fun.

PS: I like the bit when they say "Management currently believes that the Company may not have sufficient working capital needed to meet its current fiscal obligations.  This raises substantial doubt about the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern." So it seems $1m in working cap not enough to pay for a PEA and a drilling program. Now there's a shocker.

Mining PRs and the Ottotrans™, part 64

It's time for another in our occasional series, with today's spotlight thrown upon Kenai Resources (KAI.v), a small exploration stage junior miners working the Tapajos region of Brazil:

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Oct. 25, 2012) - Kenai Resources Ltd. (TSX VENTURE:KAI) ("Kenai") retracts the portion of its October 23rd, 2012 News Release content wherein the Company stated, "With a grant of a trial mining concession, we plan to recover an initial 58,000 ounces of gold over an 18 month period." The Company cautions that it "has not completed a feasibility study to demonstrate that this proposed operation would be economically viable, or that the proposed time frame for such production is reasonable."
About Kenai Resources Ltd.

And this is what it means:

We're full of shit.

Goldcorp (GG) earnings

The NR is linked here and the numbers weren't bad, first pass eyeballing at least. Cash costs at $660/oz (co-product basis) was a little high, but that's more about the drop in other metal prices than operational issues, I'd best-guess. Anyway, here's the basic earnings per share chart...

...and GG hit 61c in 3q12, not bad. Compare that to the two year share price chart if you like:
I reckon GG will make $45 again (at least), so there's 10% to pick up if you want it. Just don't expect the stock to rally there in one day. Anyway, reasonable quarter and that 2q12 trough is now history. Now off to stare at the NR a little harder.

UPDATE: GG up 5+% in early trading

Chart of the day is...

...Zinc, 6 month chart:

A better visualization of market hopes/dreams and the way they were shattered into a millions pieces and shards is impossible. 


Hana Mining (HMG.v) bought out

Cash is king, money talks and bullshit walks. Hana Mining (HMG.v), a company that got hammered in May this year on its disappointing PEA, has just accepted as friendly an offer it couldn't really refuse. NR here, excerpt here:
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Oct. 24, 2012) - Hana Mining Ltd. (the "Company" or "Hana") (TSX VENTURE:HMG)(FRANKFURT:4LH)(BOTSWANA:HANA) and Cupric Canyon Capital LP ("Cupric") today jointly announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement (the "Arrangement Agreement") pursuant to which Cupric has agreed to acquire all of the issued and outstanding common shares of Hana ("Hana Shares") (other than the Hana Shares it currently owns) by way of a statutory Plan of Arrangement (the "Arrangement") under the Business Corporations Act (British Columbia). The management of Cupric is comprised of experienced mining professionals in the copper industry specializing in exploration, development, and operations, and Cupric is supported by continues here
It's still a buyer's market.

Who are the buyers? These people are the buyers. All PD people, which means they know their copper.

And it all makes me think, perhaps it's time to scoop up a few shares in a bunch of these beaten-to-death copper explorecos.

Please visit cat bounce

For all your cat bouncing needs. Link here.

H/T to the artificially hirsute @randyduax

High Desert Gold (HDG.v) provides a lesson to all geologists that head up exploration stage junior mining companies. And that lesson is...

"Nobody gives a shit about trenching numbers except you guys."

Are we clear?

I've heard rumblings about "good things from HDG" for the last few days, so when the NR hit this AM it was one I looked at straight away. The trench numbers are good but people, they're trench numbers and truly, nobody in moneyworld gives a toss. The rockbangers love this sort of thing, but the sell-off this morning was a given. Here endeth today's lesson from the chapter of "Disconnects between moneypeople and rockpeople what I have known". 

Mental arithmetic test: What's 84 million multiplied by 100 billion?

News today from The European Southern Observatory, located in Chile:

Using a whopping nine-gigapixel image from the VISTA infrared survey telescope at ESO’s Paranal Observatory, an international team of astronomers has created a catalogue of more than 84 million stars in the central parts of the Milky Way. This gigantic dataset contains more than ten times more stars than previous studies and is a major step forward for the understanding of our home galaxy. The image gives viewers an incredible, zoomable view of the central part of our galaxy. Continues here
And click through, because ESO offers up some wonderful enlargeable photos which are food for deep thought. 

Sooo...we have 84 million (and counting) stars in our galaxy and according to the boffins that know, there are between 80 billion and 100 billion galaxies in our observable universe. 

84,000,000 X 100,000,000,000 = a very very lot. Indeed.

And as twitterpal @happyycamperr noted a few minutes ago before your humble scribe's musing became a post on the blog, "yeah-gotta be at least one dumbass out there somewhere" which is a cue for a song if ever I heard one, because it has one of the best pay-off lines ever written:

"And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space, cos there's bugger all down here on Earth"

UPDATE: Reader DT writes in with:

Hi, The Chile work is on a small subset (84millon stars), the Milky Way has 200-400B stars (as in that other article in fact, and other sources), so, to me, looks like

200 * 10^9 * 100 * 10^9 = 2 * 10^22


How many LSLs?

Chart of the day is...

...the China PMI chart, Official China stats vs HSBC/Markit stats:

That's because HSBC/Markit has just released its October 2012 figure of 49.1, the best for three months and a distinct signal of improvement (from bad to less bad, rather than to good) over there. The chart comes from Also Spracht Analyst's complete post right here and you're warmly encouraged to click through to read more, with other visuals on offer and a full explanation of that above chart. 

Like metals? Get smarter about China.


Time for Barrick (ABX) to prove it owns Pascua Lama

A judge yesterday ruled that Barrick (ABX) has to show the paperwork in its possession to prove it owns the Pascua Lama gold mine concession (photo of the order here). It's the latest chapter in a very long running saga that could take up acres of room here (and already has plenty of bandwidth dedicated to it on the interwebnetpipes, go Google the keywords for yourself and have fun in Spanish and English) which can be condensed into just one sentence: A guy named Jorge Lopehandía has maintained for the longest time that he is the rightful owner of the property and that Barrick is an usurper. The judge says that ABX has until the end of this week to produce proof of ownership, else its Chilean staff face arrest.

It's a long-running issue, hardly novel but with yesterday's punctual event this one might get fun. We'll watch for a week and see what happens.

Liberty Silver ( is your humble scribe's main mailbag theme...

...with three general themes on offer:

1) Mouthbreathers harping on about the rise in the stock since yesterday morning as "proof" the stock isn't a scam- Sorry folks, it still is a 100% dyed-in-the-wool scam, no matter what the price does on any given day. In fact, trading patterns like this...

...scream nothing but scam. People, if you don't understand what's in front of your eyes it's not my fault.

2) The naive going on about newsletter pump artist comments (some bullshit artist named Jeff Handwringer or summink) on how wonderfully the stock is trading and being extremely selective about what they put in front of their flocks. 

3) Pro traders and insto desks all saying that it's impossible to get a lend and go short. And believe me, there's a lot of people who want to do that. 

Then there was this short mail from someone who knows more than the average Joe:
What the regulators in Canada did is abysmal. They allowed a company who had a primary listing in the US and which was suspended for trading in its primary listing market continue to trade in their secondary market. Meanwhile US investors can't sell shares on the grey sheets but Canadians with their tiny float are artificially trading in the shares.
We at IKN Nerve Centre™ agree 100% with that. Disclosure: No position in this total heap of bullshit scam run by scumbags and thieves and I'll never have one, either. The only thing to say about this stock is "avoid like the plague".

MAG Silver ( (MVG) has a problem

Check out this post over at The Mex Files, a site that's forever been a great source of information on all things Mexico. It looks like beatings and contract killings are happening to people opposed to MAG Silver's (MVG) ( operations in the country, which might purely coincidental of course but it's probably not the best way to win friends and influence people. Here's how the MexFiles post kicks off, go click through for the whole thing:
Ismael Solorio Urrutia, the leader of the agrarian El Barzon movement (perhaps best translated as “the dirt farmers”) and his wife, Manuela Martha Solís Contreras, were murdered Monday afternoon on the highway outside Ciudad Cuauhtémoc, Chihuahua. 
Solorio had met with Chihuahua officials last week to complain about threats against him, his family and members of El Barzon by employees of the Cascabel mine in Ejido Benito Juarez (San Buenaventura Municipio*).  The mine is owned by the Canadian firm Mag Silver.  Both Solorio and his son, Eric, were physically attacked by mining company employees on 13 October.

Cash costs at Codelco

Your author's beady little eyes are drawn to this English language presentation by Codelco (the State run copper giant and world's biggest single copper producer company), a report on its first six months of operations and comparatives to previous years. Along with good news such as the cutting by 68% of accident rates at the company (1.5 man hours lost per million due to workplace accidents...not bad at all) and middling news such as the stagnation of production growth (in fact it's dropped everso slightly recently due to lower head grades), the one that really sticks out is this, its cash costs per pound of copper produced in the last five years:

That's a big jump and there are lots of factors, such as electricity costs (up from 18c to 29c/Lb in the period), labour charges (the main cost input change and also the one which caused most of the big jump between 2011 and 2012, according to the company) and by-product prices (eg moly used to be over $30/lb, these days you don't even get $12/lb). We also get a breakdown of the Codelco divisions and their respective average cash costs, with Salvador (aka Atacama) at $2.71/lb, Mistral at $1.80/lb, Chuquicamata at $1.57/lb and Andina at $1.40/lb

But the main takeaway doesn't change: Due to costs and the price inertia at market, copper margins have dropped substantially.

Chart of the day is...

...the country risk of five LatAm nations, plus regional average, as per October 18th 2012:

This is because Peru is splashing "we're the best we're the best!" all over its headlines today, no matter that they don't have a freaking clue as to why (it's the currency dudes, not that your financial people won't rip you off any longer or that your judges won't accept bribes or your country is less risky for driving on the roads). Data from here.

By the way, we didn't include the Argentine or Venezuelan risk premiums on the chart because the Y-axis got silly. dyodd, dudes.


Those early on the GoldQuest (GQC.v) story needed people to sell to at the right time...

...and luckily, they've been able to rely upon Louis Lobito Little Wolf James of Casey Research, who marked the GoldQuest Mining (GQC.v) top beautifully with his first reco call to buy the stock and subsequent refreshes to the Casey Research premium level (aka Ponzi) investment alert clients:

We'll tell you when he throws in the towel and instructs his happy clients on the Investment Alert list to sell, no better bottom indicator known to man. After all, it takes a special type of talent to pick a spectacular loser in the junior field between Bernanke's Jackson Hole speech and today, but that's what Lobito brings to the table.

Fox Hunting

A chart of Copper Fox (CUU.v):

A quote:
"Men have forgotten this truth," said the fox. "But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed."
Taken from this beautiful chapter of The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery (translated, of course*)

*Les hommes ont oublié cette vérité, dit le renard. Mais tu ne dois pas l’oublier. Tu deviens responsable pour toujours de ce que tu as apprivoisé

Chart of the day is...

...the gold/silver ratio, year to date:

It's a-going back up! And we certainly hope that the market apologizes to Eric Sprott for daring to disagree with him.


Dominic Frisby's 'Life After The State' nearly ready to roll

The good news is that Dominic Frisby's to-order book is nearly sold to the point where it happens for real, so with just 77 more pledges needed (85% gone, just 15% to go) here's your chance to make a difference. Click here, read up on the author, the book and all things concerned then you too will surely be hooked enough to order your copy of Dominic Frisby's 'Life After The State' (no I'm not on commission, I've ordered my own copy and want to see it happen). In the words of the author...
"This book is the culmination of these seven years of study, bordering on obsession. Just as I saw the financial crash of 2008 coming, I now see another one, even more calamitous, headed our way; only this one has serious political ramifications as well. But now, as then, not one high-profile politician, economist or journalist seems to "get it" - because not one of them have correctly identified the cause of our problems.

"I had never thought, before, about the nature of money. I never realised that there is a direct link between what we use as money and liberty, honesty and efficiency. It is in money – the blood of an economy – that our salvation lies.

"Support this book, and I’ll explain all"

And don't forget that for a tasty taster you can check out the contents by clicking here and hearing the author himself read chapter one to you. 

The IKN Weekly, out now

parp parp!

IKN181 has just been sent to subscribers. I enjoyed writing this one, not that it makes much difference.