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UPDATED: Barrick's (ABX) Pascua Lama project construction halted by Chile government

Chile's government body, the National Service of Geology and Mining (Servicio Nacional de Geología y Mineria, usually known as SERNAGEOMIN), after visiting the Barrick (ABX) Pascua Lama project on the Chile/Argentina border on October 24th and via a resolution dated October 31st (that was revealed publically late last night early this morning) ordered the temporary but total stoppage of work at the Pascua Lama project due to "contravention of regulations of mining security". Sernageomin will not allow the project to re-start until a series of studies have been completed and their results known.

The main problem is due to the pre-stripping work being done, which is causing too much airborne matter (i.e. dust) to be carried by winds and therefore present a pollution threat to the local area and to workers

PS: Credit should be given to the media channel that broke the news early this morning, Radio BioBio

UPDATE: Wanna know what's interesting? I'll tell you what's interesting. According to this report ABX made the decision to voluntarily halt operations at Pascua Lama on October 27th in light of the upcoming Sernageomin report and recommendations. Then on October 31st Sernageomin ordered the official halt. But on Thursday November 1st ABX published this news release on its 3q12 activities, went into great detail about Pascua Lama in the NR, talked about its development, its present and its future but didn't say a single thing about the ordered halt in activities at the project. Not a dicky bird, not in that NR and not since. I mean, wouldn't you consider a government ordered halt on your $8Bn gold project to be material information?

UPDATE 2: Reuters English language now on the case.

UPDATE 3: In a NR in Chile, ABX has said that the stop work order only applies to earth moving work related to the pre-stripping process. We're enormously thankful for ABX's transparency and how they'll tell you about their "voluntary action" taken on October 27th in a NR.... in Spanish....for Chile...on November 10th

Five days of metals and miners; November 10th

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 silver win, which will please those silverbugs no end I'm sure. After all, they'll be grateful for that Obama win won't they?

Won't they?


The Friday OT: Pantera; Cowboys from Hell

Is it necessary to state that preference for a high speaker volume in order to fully appreciate this musical number is recommended?

Asskick. That is all. For JC

Blogs rule, Setty's blog in particular

Venezuela will take control of a nickel concession operated by Anglo American Plc (AAL) when it expires tomorrow, said an official from the Oil and Mines Ministry.
The official briefed on the matter, who isn’t authorized to speak publicly, responded to questions today by e-mail.

Exclusive: Anglo-American out of Venezuela in a month
Anglo American has a nickel mine in Venezuela. A month from now, from what I hear, that won’t be the case. The concessions now being mined expire Nov. 11 along with the site environmental permit, according to a person familiar with the situation. Continues here

Setty wins, Bloomie scalped. The end. 


So what does the government of Bolivia think about the votes last week to legalize marijuana in two States of the USA compared to its policy of declaring illegal the coca leaf (note; the leaf and not the drug we know as cocaine) in Bolivia? Well, Bolivia feels that it's perfectly logical and no cause for any type of accusation over double standards or hypocrisy.


Story here

A flash update...

...was sent to subscribers about 20 minutes an hour ago* (before the opening bell). More of a general update on things, nothing particularly actionable or different from the contents of IKN183 last weekend.

*I didn't notice that this post went to draft rather than get published when I hit the wrong button earlier. No biggie, but details are devils sometimes.

Argentina last night


The best unbiased estimate on the number seen at Obelisco in the centre of Buenos Aires last night is 250,000 people, which looks about right to me. For the story behind the protests against the government check the multitude of reports from all the English language media channels you'd care to consider, right here (thank you mister google).

However, be clear that Buenos Aires Capital Federal is not Argentina in microcosm: The Cristina powerbase lies in Buenos Aires region (Gran BsAs) and the outlying provinces, so it looks pretty spectacular but under contect, the comments along the lines of "we're not losing sleep over this protest" by CFK and ministers are understandable. And Argentines are good at certain things, e.g. wine, footy, protesting. It's good to have a hobby.

Mining Dot Com: "Your source for global mining ignorance and dumbassery"

Well in fact Mining Dot Com's real catchphrase motto thingy is "Your source for global mining news" but frankly I think mine is more accurate. Take for example this report and to make sure here's the screenshot:

Errr....guys...the Cardones project is in Mexico, not Bolivia.

Yeah, really. Thanks due to JO for the headsup.

Chart of the day is... last five days:

Barring that attempted slapdown early Wednesday, it would seem that the precious metal market likes Obama II and that makes sense. I again wonder out loud if Bernanke will stay or still wants to leave (as Ross-Sorkin heard last month). So it goes.


Gold Resource Corp (GORO) restates 1q12 and 2q12 earnings...

...and will now pretend that the $3.7m it overstated by being mining amateurs doesn't matter. Here's the SEC filing

Bear Creek Mining (BCM.v)

Just for a change I spent the afternoon* closely watching trading patterns in plenty of companies, but none more interesting than Bear Creek (BCM.v)...

...because CIBC (house 79) sure was keen on pulling it down to its $3.70 finish at the end of play.

Disclosure: Long BCM and as subscribers know I've been mulling over whether to sell and take the modest profit generated recently, but after watching today's action I don't think there's any need to rush into a sale. So I'll stay long for a while yet.

*I normally don't bother watching the tick-by-tick stuff, but did today. 

Mexico denies environmental permit to the Los Cardones project

It's 40% owned by Vista Gold (VGZ) and 60% by Mexico private money "Invecture", it's in the Baja California Sur region, it used to be called Paredones Amarillos when fully owned by VGZ....and it's going nowhere. Semarnat (the Mexico environmental office) has just denied the project permission to go ahead, link here and here's another link to the story.

Latin America's growing middle class

The Economist is an infuriating read when it comes to Latin America, because 49% of the time it does acceptable work and 49% it churns out hackneyed, biased claptrap that hits all the stereotype buttons imaginable (probably telling their readership what they want to hear). However, it's the other 2% of its coverage that makes it worth checking every RSS feed item they throw at me on The Americas and an example of the very good comes today, this report entitled "Class in Latin America: The expanding middle". Here's an excerpt:

They reckon that for a Latin American household to have no more than a 10% chance of falling back into poverty over a five-year period requires an income of at least $10 per person per day (at purchasing-power parity exchange rates). They define those with an income of over $50 per day—just 2% of Latin Americans—as rich. The bank calls those with a daily income of between $4 and $10, “the vulnerable” or the “lower-middle class”. They make up the largest group. The proportion of Latin Americans living in poverty—defined as a daily income of less than $4—has fallen from 41.4% in 2000 to 28% in 2010.
Continues here. The piece also provides a link to the source material, the new World Bank report out on the subject. 

Doonesbury understands

Reader HA send in today's Doonesbury, link here:

Alberto Fujimori: How the other half live in jail

Peru's Diario 16 has this report today with 15 photos that show the "prison cell" (term used very loosely) of Alberto Fujimori, recently called "very tiny" by his entourage. So what's El Chino got?
  • He got the nicely stocked kitchen
  • He got the comfy bed with the TV at the end
  • He got the room to do his painting
  • He got the nice exercise area outside
  • He got the en suite bathroom
  • He got the wardrobes and the clothes and the shoes

According to the Diario 16 report the photos were taken secretly by workers at the Diroes facility because they were sick and tired of the Fujimori people's outright lies about the conditions in which Alberto Fujimori is kept. So go see the photos yourself, right here, I'm not putting any up on the blog because Diario 16 deserves every click on its decent scoop.

UPDATE: Semi-related, Hans Lind has a good old fashioned blow-out rant at the über-mediocre bunch of Pavlovian hounds that we know as the Peruvian press corps right here

Primero (PPP) ( Miss on 3q12 revenues

Here's the link, here a chart:

Rocket scientists not required for further analysis.

(Subbers: we'll do the other charts Sunday).

Fortuna Silver 3q12 numbers

Here's a chart:

In four words: Revenues up, costs up.

Net EPS is 6.5c/share.

Colossus Minerals' ( revolving door minebuilder

Maybe it's just a tough place to live.

In May 2011 Colossus Minerals ( lost its Chief Operating Officer (i.e. the man hired to build the mine), Randy Reichert, who was also company president at the time. He was replaced by Paulo de Tarso Serpa Fagundes.

In July 2012 Paulo de Tarso Serpa Fagundes resigned from his post (and according to his LinkedIn page he's still an "executive in career transition", such a pretty phrase). To replace him, Lyle Pritchard was promoted internally and given the title Vice President Operations.

Today, November 2012, Lyle Pritchard resigns from CSI and there's no replacement on board as yet.
TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 8, 2012) - Colossus Minerals Inc. (the "Company" or "Colossus") (TSX:CSI)(OTCQX:COLUF) announces it has commenced a search for a new Chief Operating Officer to replace Mr. Lyle Pritchard, former Vice President, Operations, who is no longer with the Company. Claudio Mancuso, President and CEO, will assume the management duties formerly handled by Mr. Pritchard while a search is undertaken to augment the production and construction teams at Serra Pelada.

It reminds this humble scribe of that quote from The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, "To lose one parent, Mr. Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune. To lose both looks like carelessness." By the way, that play was subtitled 'A Trivial Comedy For Serious People' which fits the world of junior mining well, too. But seriously, what the devil's going on at CSI? Why can't they keep their minebuilders on board? Three changes in 18 months demands a little more than a terse, five line NR.

Chart of the day is...

...Andina Minerals (ADM.v), bought in a friendly deal today for 80c by Peru's bigboy Hochschild (HOC.L):

Y'see, it isn't just gringos who'll buy anything. HOC will tell us of the bargain it's nailed down. ADM will tell us of the big win over recent prices. Nobody will talk about the real capex that'll be needed (as opposed to the figure quoted in the pfs).

PS: Oh yeah, the NR is here


Argentina freezes $19Bn of Chevron (CVX) assets

Oh, this is a good one. Go read Setty for the gig, because he's bound to follow it better than here and keep following it, too. There's also this from the BBC to help the info flow (which is slow from Buenos Aires today because there's a citywide power cut right now.

I love Argentina.

The ballad of Seafield Resources (SFF.v)

Once upon a time there was a tiny little junior called Seafield Resources (SFF.v) that was controlled by a proven market swindler called Ian Park. Said Park decided to run a bullshit pump and dump using SFF by drilling a hole specifically to con the naive in the market at the same time as hiring an unethical bullshit pumper by the name of James West to promo his gig. Go here for the story, documented on several posts including the insider sales, the promo crap, the pump, opinions from real mining people about the lowlife that is James West, the whole nine years

Once the pump was run, Park and West had made a shitload of money by scamming the poor naive souls who were stupid enough to believe these scumbags. They both retired from the SFF.v story and new, reasonably honest and decent people were brought in to try and pick up the pieces. The result is that even though the company changed its attitude and direction, even when it offers up reasonably decent exploration results (as in today) it's totally ignored by the market and quite right too, as nobody in their right mind gets suckered twice by the same company and SFF's reputation as a serious mining entity is and forever will be at zero, no matter what the current management do.

Moral of this story: Ian Park and James West are shits of the highest water. The end.

IKN allows itself a single comment post on the U.S. election

This one:

More Stan Bharti: The Dacha (DSM.v) proxy circular

IKN's position on the slimy world of Stan Bharti and his Forbes & Manhattan cronies should be crystal clear by now, but this humble corner of cyberspace is not alone with its opinion. Take for example this link to the dissident proxy circular published by Goodwood Partners as it tries to oust Bharti and Co from Dacha Strategic Metals (DSM.v). Here's an extract of the text, do yourself a favour and click through to read it all:
Goodwood's circular also highlights the failures of Dacha's current board and management under the direction of Mr. Bharti and Forbes & Manhattan, contrasting the significant 65-per-cent drop in Dacha's share price during fiscal 2012 from its peak against the approximately $3.8-million in compensation, including substantial discretionary cash bonuses, paid to Dacha's directors and management during fiscal 2012. As well, the circular refers to the wholly inappropriate change-of-control arrangements recently purportedly implemented by Dacha's board that, if allowed to stand, would see a further $8-million, or approximately 22 per cent of Dacha's current market capitalization, wrongfully transferred from Dacha's shareholders into the pockets of Dacha's insiders including Forbes & Manhattan. The circular also lays out the disturbing sequence of events whereby Dacha was forced to take a $3.7-million write-off in fiscal 2012 in relation to a non-arm's-length related party loan previously advanced by Dacha, for no apparent business purpose, to a private company associated with Mr. Bharti and Forbes & Manhattan.
If all that sounds rather familiar as typical Stan Bharti M.O, then we're unsurprised. continues here

UPDATE: DSM has just released this NR, defending current management and pointing to weaknesses in the proxy slate, its people and their track record. It gives a good opportunity for this humble corner of cyberspace to note that we have no opinion on the qualities of the proxy slate runners, be they Goodwood, Salida or whoever else. Just because one side is negative it doesn't necessarily mean that the other is some saviour knight in shining armour with nothing but pure good in their heart. Our point is a different one, that Stan Bharti, Forbes & Manhattan, the people associated with him and all other businesses run in the same manner as a cancer on the mining business and on capital markets and they should be squashed, once and for all. Scumballs like this have no place in the 21st century.

Chart of the day is...

...copper, monthlies with a red line drawn on it:

The red line is due to this, comments made by Thomas Keller, main man number one head honcho of Codelco, yesterday and translated here:

Keller justifies mining projects if the price of copper stays above U$2.80/lb
The executive president of Codelco, Thomas Keller, said on Tuesday he considers it necessary that the price of copper maintains at least U$2.80/lb in order to justify long-term mining projects. The executive referred to estimated made by "some analysts" and the consensus, that put the long term copper price in this range as "the necessary equilibrium point to justify long-term projects".
Keller also referred to warnings from some analysts on oversupply of copper in late 2013 and 2014 and considered that it was "still subject to a lot of uncertainty", but said it unlikely to produce a "large impact in the price".
"I think that the relation between supply and demand remains tight, a small surplus is again projected by some analysts towards the end of 2013 and in 2014, but this is subject to a lot of uncertainty and is within margins of error", said Keller.


B2Gold ( El Limón mine, Nicaragua, today

Here's a news story from the area close to the B2Gold ( El Limón mine in Nicaragua today and here's a translation:

A house mysteriously sank into the ground in the community of Santa Pancha, in Malpaisillo, León, an incident that took the life of the young Blanca Araceli Sánchez, 28 years old, who was also eight months pregnant. When the house sank under the ground only Araceli's husband, Manuel Aguilar, could escape and is now in hospital suffering from shock due to the noise that accompanied the event.
At the time of this report, the Tritón mining company was excavating with its machinery to find the body of Blanca Araceli. On site there is also a large rescue team comprised of the Civil Defence squadron, fire officers, Red Cross and the National Police.
It's estimated that the house sank 35 metres underground, to which level the rescue team has to descend to find the victim's body. Also, Leiutenant Colonel Gustavo Rojas, head of the León Civil Defence, said that five families who live close to the accident zone will be evacuated.
Eliaza Eugarios, director of the León fire service, said that they are working as quickly as possible and supporting the search for Araceli Sánchez.
At this time it is presumed that the event is due to mining excavation of a wide tunnel. However, the Canadian mining company B2Gold ( said at midday today that the loss of the house did not occur in the area where it was operating.
"It is an old mining zone that hasn't been worked for decades", said the superintendent of security for B2Gold at its El Limón mine, Martín Blandón, according to a press release distributed to media channels. "As soon as we heard about the accident, B2Gold Mine El Limón offered its personnel and necessary machinery to attend the situation and the community of Santa Pancha and guarantee the safety of the zone", said Blandón in the press release.
The Canadian company deeply regretted the event and confirmed that it will collaborate with authorities to investigate the causes, at the same time as it contributed to the efforts of the rescue squad in its search and rescue operation.

Chart of the day is...

...Intrade's call on Obama's re-election chances, with a few scant hours left of voting:

Now the Champion's League matches are done I'll start watching the other bout of inconsequence scheduled for today and in that two-horser we have The Hawaiian at 68% chance right now. The necessary Intrade page right here. Place your bets, ladies and gentlemen.


This is the way the world ends: Not with a bang but a whimper.

It's strange how the subconscious works: I wake up with that famous line from The Hollow Men in my head then only later remember the date, November 5th, and how Eliot alluded to Guy Fawkes in the poem. It also fits my attitude to the blog today because I'm sitting here and haven't seen anything that's piqued my interest enough to post on, barring the best joke on Twitter these last few days:

A German, a Greek, a Portuguese and an Irishman go into a bar. The German pays.

And this is the best piece of journalism out of the LatAm region over the last 48 hours, a gonzo report from Reuters on how Brazilian farmers get their produce to market which is more about the country's creaking transport system than the corn hauled and well worth a read. Anyway, I'm going to watch Berdych and Murray.


The IKN Weekly, out now

IKN183 has just been sent to subscribers. It has words and pictures. And numbers. And it's late and I'm going to bed. Goodnight.