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I got as far as "Sulliden's project is in a geopolitically secure location"...

...and after the laughter had calmed somewhat, struck the name Chris Thompson of Raymond James off my list of people to listen to about mining companies. Forever. Ah but hell, go read the dumbassery yourself if you like. Is it possible to be this much of a whore and keep your clothes on, Chris?

It's mere coincidence that RayJames took a chunk of the last bought deal, too. 

Tough market for junior explorecos?

Yup, tough market. This from Anconia Resources (ANA.v) on December 20th:

Anconia Resources Corp. (TSX VENTURE:ARA) ("Anconia" or the "Company") announces that it proposes to complete a non-brokered private placement offering (the "Offering") of units ("Units") and flow-through units ("Flow-Through Units"), at a subscription price of $0.10 per Unit and $0.12 per Flow-Through Unit, for aggregate gross proceeds of up to $2,100,000. continues here
And this from Anconia Resources (ANA.v) post-close Dec 31st:
Anconia Resources Corp. (TSX VENTURE:ARA) ("Anconia" or the "Company") is pleased to announce the closing of the first tranche of its previously announced non-brokered private placement offering (the "Offering") (see the Company's news release dated December 20, 2013) issuing 416,665 flow-through units ("Flow-Through Units") at $0.12 per Flow-Through Unit, for aggregate gross proceeds of $50,000. continues here
Nuff said

UPDATE: Or if you prefer, here's Cadillac Ventures (CDC.v) from November 25th
TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Nov 25, 2013) - Cadillac Ventures Inc. (TSX VENTURE:CDC) (CADIF) ("Cadillac" or the "Company") announces that it intends to complete a non-brokered private placement offering of units ("Units") at Cdn$0.05 per Unit and flow-through units ("FT Units") at Cdn$0.06 per FT Unit for aggregate gross proceeds of up to Cdn$1.5 million (the "Offering"). continues here
And here's Cadillac Ventures (CDC.v) six weeks later today, post-close Dec 31st:
TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Dec 31, 2013) - Cadillac Ventures Inc. (TSX VENTURE:CDC) (CADIF) ("Cadillac" or the "Company") is pleased to announce the closing of the first tranche of its previously announced non-brokered private placement offering of units ("Units") at Cdn$0.05 per Unit and flow-through units ("FT Units") at Cdn$0.06 per FT Unit, issuing 200,000 Units and 2,090,666 FT Units for aggregate gross proceeds of $135,440 (the "Offering"). continues here
Nuff nuff said.

Colossus (

In some ways I find it frightening to see that the market still thinks Colossus Minerals ( has an equity value of $15m. Even after a raft of news releases, up to and including the one last night, that are the publicity equivalent of picking up a large piece of wood and whacking the investment community very hard indeed in the forehead several times while chanting "this company is bankrupt" in mantra style.

In other ways it's understandable I suppose. Humanity's way of clinging onto the final dregs of life, even after all logical and reasonable hope has gone, plus the microcosm aspect of the capital markets. But still, valuing this at $15m? Seems very rich, even for a Hail Mary.

PS: The above was written when was trading at 9c this morning. It closed at 7c.

Gold price moves: Seems legit

This was of course predicted by technical analysis.

OT: Dieting tips: The six major reasons why you can't lose weight (and what to do about it)

IKN loves its readers as if they were its own children and to that end, is concerned that a section of readership is about to embark on a weight loss program that will eventually fail and leave the person in question feeling depressed. Therefore, we'd like to present a succinct list of reasons why diets tend to fail and then offer some sound, heartfelt advice on how to reach your desired goal.

Reasons Why You Can't Lose Weight

1) You have no fucking willpower
2) You eat too much fucking food
3) Drinking Coca-Cola is not as healthy as drinking a glass of fucking water.
4) Seriously, a stack of pancakes that resembles the Empire fucking State Building with maple syrup oozing down both sides is not the way to start the day. 
5) Beer isn't just fattening, it's fucking fattening. Stop it.
6) Get some exercise, lardass. Get out of that fucking chair and put a sweat on. 

What To Do About It

Shut The Fuck Up, stop eating so much, burn more calories than you ingest, quit the whining. 

Kim Jong Un versus Barack Obama official State photos

Found on Twitter this morning, this is something to behold.

click image to enlarge

Presented with no further commentary.


My New Year's Resolution

It's a simple one, it involves no dieting, it's one that I hope might catch on:

I refuse to read any article with a headline that ends with a "?"

When you see a title that ends in "?" it invariably means one of three things:
1) The hack hasn't thought through the piece to the extent where true conclusions can be drawn
2) The hack doesn't have the guts to make a statement and invite pushback from their target
3) The hack is making shit up in the guise of real news and is using the device as a way of avoiding a libel case.
This pisspoor reporting habit is sadly on the rise, particularly among the journalistic mediocrity of business media. It's not big, it's not clever, stop it now. If you don't have the guts to write without milquetoast get-out clauses, find another job to do and stop pretending that you're the next in line for a Pulitzer.

Strawberry daquiris served, the end.

Ever notice how it's the short NRs from juniors that make you go "ouch" the most?*

It's when they just run out of BS. Here's Colossus ( this afternoon:

December 30, 2013
Colossus Minerals Announces Director Resignations
TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Dec. 30, 2013) - Colossus Minerals Inc. (TSX:CSI) (OTCQX:COLUF) (the "Company") announced today that Messrs. Douglas Reeson and Greg Hall have resigned from the board of directors. At this time, no replacement candidates have been identified.

Messrs. John Frostiak and Alberto Arias remain directors of the Company.

So, about that bidding up thing that's been going on in CSI the last 3 or 4 days. I recommend the casino next time.

*you think i read this shit?

A Flash update...

...has just been sent to subscribers, a touch before midday New York time on a very hot and sunny Monday. A bit of interesting mining gossip from down South.

Dead reporters in LatAm

The Reporters Without Borders 2013 press freedom annual roundup was published today last week*, with the headline number as usual being the number of jouranlists killed while doing their jobs around the world. In total 71 pro journalists and 4 assistants were killed for being who they are, with Syria and Iraq the blackest spots on the globe (10 dead in each country).

We turn our attention to Latin America and here's a chart that outlines the last three years of figures for the region:

Many people overlook that Brazil is the most dangerous country for reporters, but the consistent figures tell their own story. Honduras and Mexico are also very dangerous places to be a reporter (particularly Honduras if we consider its relatively small size and population). The rest as seen and, although one is obviously too many, there does seem to be a drop in the overall casualty rates and that can't be a bad thing.

As a small sidebar please note that Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Argentina, most often the target of press freedom allegations, hardly figure on the dead journalists  lists over the last three years. Just sayin'.

*oops, too much eggnog

Chart of the day is...

...the gold/silver ratio, 12 months:

Back to 61.3X this morning, as gold recovers more quickly than silver once NY opens. It's been the recent trend. Poor man's gold doesn't appeal so much to the rich men, I'd guess.


The IKN Weekly, out now

IKN243 has just been sent to subscribers. A Shark Sandwich of an edition that goes to eleven.

The eruption of the Chapparastique/San Miguel volcano, El Salvador

One of the more active volcanoes in the region (26 eruptions in 500 years, not shabby), Chapparastique (aka San Miguel) went up this morning. A good page of images at El Salvador's La Prensa Grafica here (plenty of words too, but still more than useful even if your Spanish isn't that strong) with geographic location, on-ground photos and a satellite photo that shows how the cloud is affecting the area too. Also check out this Twitter page of a local Guatemala reporter stationed just across the border, nice photos on offer

A quick geography question

Why is this called "the West"?


Bad news for Dynacor Gold (

As from January 1st 2014, the Peruvian authorities are cracking down on the illegally mined ores coming into Nazca and Chala. IKN predicts a margin squeeze at DNG as from 1q14.


The Friday OT: Foo Fighters, Wasting Light (full album)

About a month ago we featured one of the album's tracks, Miss The Misery, on these pages. That weekend reader FD wrote in with a very cool mail which included...

"It's one of the few modern albums you need to listen to all the way through and in track order."

...and he's right (his line under the 'and' as well). So here you go, the full album, see what he means yourself. And after flipping out to this music yesterday, it's also a good excuse to spread some love because it's one helluva strong album of rock.

And special bonus prize, check out this "Making of Wasting Light" mini-docu.

Because if you didn't know, this music was laid down old-school.

See if you can spot the exact date Sandspring Resources (SSP.v) announced its innovative funding deal with Silver Wheaton (SLW)

But hey, who are we to kvetch on the formidable due diligence powers of SLW?

What's that you say? Pascua Lama? Oh stop splitting hairs!

Average copper grade in Chile is up in 2013

Here's an interesting report and from it, your author has compiled this interesting chart*

"annual" and "per year": Welcoming Captain Redundant to the blog

It turns out that 2013 saw a significant upturn in the average grade of copper mined in Chile. To get things totally accurate, 2012 saw a small reversal from the long-term trend when 0.84% average copper grade (2011) became 0.86% Cu (2012), but the big trend-change is this year because according to Cochilco, 2013's average copper grade in Chile has been 0.94%, the highest since 2008.

Both Cochilco and the El Mercurio report goes on to credit, partially, the new Hales mine for helping to raise grade, but the notable thing is how existing mines are raising grade, for example a whopping 44% increase in the average at Collahuasi. This is presented as something good, but that doens't pass the smell test especially in a year (years) of rising costs. Yup folks, all things point to Chilean copper mines high-grading their deposits in order to maintain a reasonable level of profitability. And as Chile is roughly a third of world copper production, that's a little snippet that needs to be chewed over, swallowed and duly digested by the metals market community.

*Well, I think it's interesting. And it's my blog. So there.


Bolivia's record GDP growth year

Business media, capitalist think-tanks, free world* leaders and other assorted paid-off/paid-for experts will again do their best to avoid talking about the economic success story that is Evo Morales' Bolivia...


...but it's going to be a little more difficult for the assembled dumbasses in suits, because as revealed by the country's Finance Minister on Tuesday and repeated by Evo today, Bolivia's estimated 2013 GDP growth is 6.5%, which is a new country record.

However, I'm sure them those there smart people up North who insist that capitalism is the only way will manage to avoid the subject again. 

*restrictions apply

Gold Resource Corp (GORO) drops its dividend to just 1c over the number it can truly afford

Now down to 1c from 3c, it now only needs to drop another penny to leave its own little fantasy land and join mining reality. Company whinges and excuses here, including the funny ones about "maintain flexibility for future opportunities" (translation: maintain solvency) and the 8% royalty in Mexico affecting things. Never mind that the royalty is levied on EBIT and GORO is making a pre-tax loss, just tell the rubes whatever, right Jason?

A silly company for silly people.

Chart of the day is...

...a comparative of the major traded LatAm regional currencies to the US Dollar in the last three months:

click on chart to enlarge and for sharper focus

The Real has taken a right battering, but the interesting one is the Peru Nuevo Sol. Its Central Bank has been pretty aggressive in protecting the PEN from downside and considering that Chile and Peru have similar exports mixes, there's the type of gap beginning to appear that would appeal to the currency futures traders.

And by the way, "major currencies" of the region do not include the Argentine Peso or Venezuelan Bolivar Fuerte any longer. One look at the internal parallel rates for those currencies will give you a very big clue as to why.


Christmas cheer for Lara Exploration (LRA.v)

Some context is necessary because Lara Exploration (LRA.v) has had a rough year, just like the rest of the sector...

...and let's not kid ourselves that the rally is on anything but modest volumes. However, the last few days of price action in LRA has been more than interesting...

...and insiders have been buying this move, too. LRA has its finger in many project pies and maybe, just maybe, one of them is showing something out of the ordinary (let's recall, LRA is the same stable as Reservoir Minerals (RMC.v)). All in all, it's pleasant to be able to write something positive and optimistic about a junior on this Christmas Eve morning, what with the year the sector has had.

So Merry Christmas to you all. Thanks for reading this humble corner of cyberspace this year, it wouldn't have been the same without you. Catch you on the 26th, I'm off to enjoy some blazing hot sunny weather...and peel a bunch of potatoes.

Disclosure: Long LRA. It's a longer-term investment position rather than trading and I have no intention of adding or selling at the moment.


The accuracy of the Kitco News Weekly Gold Survey

In yesterday's IKN Weekly, IKN242, we ran a short piece on the predictive powers of the Kitco News Gold Survey, a weekly exercise run by said website that polls a group of experts and gets them to call the next week in gold (here's the link to the latest example, from last Friday, to give you an idea).

A couple of readers have mailed in this morning to say that it would be a good piece to see on the open blog but I don't really want to share it all, so by way of compromise (and hey, to put something easy on the blog this AM) here's just the table that went with the article, plus the explanatory notes on what the table shows below. From here you can draw your own conclusions, methinks.

Notes on the table:

  • On the left the date of each survey. Simple.
  • The next five lines are the raw data from Kitco, including a) the number of people asked (part), b) the number of responses garnered c) the number of bullish calls d) bearish calls e) and neutral calls on the week ahead in gold.
  • Next the numbers were crunched into the percentage of bulls bears and neutrals, which you see in the centre of the above table (all cute with a colour code, too). Also in this section, I’ve highlighted in peach the most popular call of the week, i.e. the direction in which the overall survey is pointing for gold.
  • Then comes paydirt. First the price of the gold bullion ETF (GLD that weekend and then the percentage change in the price of gold that week (result %).

  • The final column of the table is the answer to a simple question: Was the survey accurate that week in its prediction for the price of gold. To decide this, I assumed any plus/minus movement on the week of under 0.5% was neutral, then above was a bullish result and below a bearish result.

Theft reported at Colossus Minerals ( Somebody's stolen a zero

I'm sorry, does that say 230,000 ounces of gold in your brand new 43-101 resource?

Are you guys telling us that after all this schamoozle, you only had...? Ah, forget it.

Oh my stars, this one's going to be fun.


Ten IKN random predictions for 2014

First let's point you to the 2013 predictions and note that unashamedly I score myself an utterly biased 5.5/10, though anyone who has a look will quickly see that the political and sporting calls were way better than the financial calls (calls related to the gold price were particularly dumbass and depressing, 20/20 and all that). Overall, last year's forecasts were for me a big fat failure, though the good political calls made up a little for the main money stupidities. Feel free to write in and laugh....har de har style.

However, hope springs eternal! On to 2014 and ten predictions for the year to come: Four metals market calls, four regional politics calls and two sporting calls but when push comes to shove, only number 10 on the list really matters.
1) Gold, at ~$1,200/oz today, is close to its bottom. I'm going to allow perhaps another $100 and make the 2014 low call $1,100/oz and the high $1,500/oz, which we'll see as the year draws to a close. 
2) Quality junior mining companies and explorecos will finally split away from the cruddy juniors and we'll see an all-important gap develop between the companies that need to die and those that will survive and eventually thrive. 
3) Copper will be weak in 2013, with supply outstripping demand and new lows of under $3/lb registered (put me down for $2.80/lb on multiple days, not just a single spike). Average for the year to be around $3.10/lb 
4) Uranium won't break $40/lb at any point and the sector will continue to get the rah-rah from the promo people still holding their large bags. 
5) Dilma Rousseff, President of Brazil, will be re-elected in 2014. The election is set for October 5th and Dilma will win it, no matter whether her coutnry manages to lift the major trophy of next year or not (see below). Dilma is liked and likeable, gets the key backing of Lula and notwithstanding bumps in the road during her current terms (economy not motoring well, corruption scandals in her government) has done a more than acceptable job so far. She'll get a second bite, no worries. 
6) Evo Morales, President of Bolivia, will be re-elected in 2014. The presidentials in Bolivia are currently slated for October 5th  2014 (that might move by a couple of weeks, or might not) and even though there are doubts as to whether Evo can run again (Supreme court says yes because the constitution is a new one, opposition says no it's against the law because re-election is still not allowed) the chances are that he'll be the MAS Party candidate and once there, win his next (first? other?) mandate. 
7) Juan Manuel Santos, President of Colombia, will be re-elected in 2014. We complete our trifecta of presidents to get second terms with Juanma. He's currently favourite without being a lock for the May 25th 2014 vote, but as the FARC talks make slow but sure progress (contrary to my 2013 prediction) and the economy is doing ok (GDP growth modest but acceptable, unemployment now at record lows) he should have enough in the tank to defeat the main opposition that comes from the Uribe-backed right wing, whose anti-talks/anti-FARC-deal candidate looks set to be Oscar Zuluaga. 
8) Both Argentina and Venezuela will continue to defy and confound the non-stop barrage of criticism from the western media and get through 2014 just fine. Inflation in both countries will still be a problem, but there will be no defaulting of bonds, no forced changes of government no large-scale citizens uprising, no matter what dreams the country haters might have to the contrary. 
9) Juan Martin Del Potro will win at least one of the Grand Slam tournaments this year. Argentina's ace tennis player is up against tough competition in Joker, Rafa, Murray and even a Roger who could put in a swan song, but I reckon it's time for Delpo to make good on the promise of a few years ago and shake off time lost through niggling injuries. 
10) And finally, the big one: Brazil will win the 2014 World Cup. I'll be cheering for Argentina, but my head will rule my heart on the predictive stakes (love to see them both in the final, though). Obvious dangers are (and in order) Germany, Spain, Italy and Holland. The rest make the show, not the semis or the final. 

The IKN Weekly, out now

IKN242 has just been sent to subscribers. It's a fruity combination of mango and strawberry, with just a hint of lime. Served over cracked ice and garnished with a playful paper umbrella.

Ah yes, you know Cusco don't you?

You did the Inca Trail, you marvelled at Machu Picchu, you took that pleasant and informative City Tour bus and visited Coricancha, Tambo Machay, Qenqo and the other spots. You had your evening fun in the local nightclubs, bars and assorted hotspots (though were surprised that the prices weren't that different from home). Yes indeed, you know all about Cusco so there's no need for you to read "Alto Cusco - your tour guide didn't take you there" over at the Life In Peru blog. 

As the catchy slogan goes in the Ollanta Humala government TV ads: Perú, Progreso Para Todos*

*restrictions may apply

The 'Coqui-Dictionary': Argentina has fun translating Jorge Capitanich

New cabinet chief and potential successor to Cristina for TheBigJob, Jorge Capitanich (nickname 'Coqui') has been causing guffaws and general amusement in polite Argentine circles with his convoluted use of language and teminologies for things that he'd....well, he'd surely like to say them out loud but he's a politico, right? 

Anyway, here's a neat list of Capitanich-isms (dat a word?) already out there in the public sphere along with their definitions, according to Argentina's serious newspaper (and CFK opposers) La Nacion. English translations your author and before we start let's make this clear: WE ARE NOT MAKING THESE UP (and fwiw, I really like the ones for inflation and energy crisis).

We say: "Inflation"
Coqui says: "Dispersion of prices"

We say: "Devaluation"
Coqui says: "Exchange rate with evolution according to the parameters followed with respect to other currencies in order to guarantee competitivity."

We say: "Wage increases"
Coqui says: "Recognition for the security forces"

We say: "Wage caps"
Coqui says: "Rationalization from the point of view of the capacity to comply and the preservation of the adquisitive power of salary"

We say: "Dollar flight"
Coqui says: "Inertial tendency in the reduction of international currency reserves"

We say: "Price capping"
Coqui says: "Perspective of greater certainty from the effect of achieving a convergance of prices and salaries with the effect of defusing price increase expectations"

We say: "Energy crisis"
Coqui says: "When one has the strategy of economic, development and income growth, obviously this creates conditions for a determinate amount of inconveniences to appear."

We say: "Error"
Coqui says: "Incorrect expression from myself"

We say: "Looting"
Coqui says: "Deliberate actions by determined groups with a view to provoking damage and/or crimes of whatever nature"

We say: "Price freeze"
Coqui says: "Voluntary price agreement"

We say: "Programmed black-outs"
Coqui says: "System of service interruption on a rotational basis"


Some mining e-cards redux

As is right and proper, there are exceptions to rules. After bemoaning yesterday the lack of any sort of human touch and thought put into the plethora of mediocre seasonal greetings cards received from mining companies, I want to show you a rare example of the opposite: A mass-coverage greetings card that's a pleasure to receive and reflects positively on the company behind it:

click to enlarge

You see, IR dumbasses of Canadian junior mining companies? These mass mailshot things can be done well, it just takes a little of your time away from one of your extended lunchbreaks to do it.

It just so happens that I'm long Lara Exploration (LRA.v), too. And it's a near-sure thing that the quality of thought behind the card and the fact that I'm a holder of the company stock are not coincidental.

Iwnattos on the Silvercorp (SWM) news

If it escaped your notice, Thursday and Friday brought news that the BCSC has charged a short seller with fraud for first shorting and then publishing his short position and argument against Silvercorp (SWM) ( The amount of lizard brain kneejerk shown by the BCSC in this case leaves your author staggering and wondering just how rotten the core of the Canadian capital market truly is (even worse than I thought would mean a very very muchlot and big amount on top, with cherry, believe me). It's particularly amazing because even though the main accusations of the short positions way back then, starting with the top call of SWM overstating grade, have been shown by time to be true, the BCSC ignores all evidence and decides to whack the shorter on one or two parts of his call that haven't turned out to be to the letter.

I mean, can you imagine if Bill Ackman were accused of fraud by the SEC in the US for his now infamous HLF short? After all, he 1) built his position and then 2) announced it by 3) laying out a detailed case that 4) has been shown to have flaws. He may well be guilty of dumbassery, but guilty of criminal fraud and in danger of jailtime? But that's exactly what the BCSC stance is here towards a market participant who has dared to bet his cash on a company to the downside. Stupid, stupid, stupid people running the show in Canada who cannot see that the promotion of shortside trading would go a long way to help clean up its sordid capital market, they just have to side with the crony capitalism and try to stamp out any semblance of normal before it starts to sprout.

Anyway, enough of my ranting, Iwnattoss has written a strong piece on the BCSC and SVM and the short fraud accusations, you can read it right here.


Round Nine! The "Friday-Night-Bury-That-News-While-Market-Players-Are-At-Happy-Hour" NR stakes

There were plenty in the running for this week's award, but all are trumped by this short, sweet and nasty one from Colossus Minerals (, a company that's just lost its lender of last resort.

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Dec. 20, 2013) - Colossus Minerals Inc. (CSI.TO)(COLUF) ("Colossus" or the "Company") On Friday, December 20, 2013 the Company was advised by Arias Resource Capital Fund II L.P. and Arias Resource Capital Fund II (Mexico) L.P. (together, the "ARC Funds") that the ARC Funds would not be proceeding with the two tranche financing previously announced on December 18, 2013.

Somebody's talked some sense into Beto. This also explains that very hefty late-day selling in CSI and perchance your author's call concerning the need for the correct course of capitalism will now come true sooner than expected.

The Friday OT: Robert Earl Keen; Merry Christmas from the Family

For the 5th year running, IKN's Friday OT features the world's greatest ever Christmas song.

Carve the turkey turn the ball game on.


Yes indeed, just a few minutes ago Bolivia joined the space community via its Tupac Katari satellite, launched  (Evo Morales went over to mission control in China, especially for the big occasion) and successfully deployed by Chinese rockets (China also helped fund most of the $300m cost of the thing via a Chinese Development Bank loan). The satellite's main job is to improve country telecommunications (most clients will be the 3m or so Bolivians who live in rural areas as yet without telco coverage) and joins Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Venezuela on the list of South American countries with their own machines in SPAAAAAAACE. 

Some mining e-cards

When it comes to those year-end greetings that fill up our professional mailboxes, it's the amount of time spent on their creation and personalization that's most appreciated.
  • You, the mining or mining related company, spend about a nanosecond of true creative thought on the subject.
  • We, the recipients, think you are jerk-offs of the highest order.

So "Happy Holidays!!!!" right back at you guys, sent with precisely the same amount of love and spirit from the jerk-off at IKN.

The random nature of TSX delisting reviews

A couple of kind readers have nudged IKN Nerve Centre towards the news this morning that the TSX has placed Colossus Minerals ( on delisting review. Which is fair enough I suppose, considering what we know now, but it does make you wonder just how the TSX decides on which companies to consider for delisting.

Take for example Liberty Silver (, a company that's an obvious scam, run by an obvious scumbag in Bobby Genovese and has crashed and burned even more than CSI. But there's also the mysterious way in which it was given a full TSX "dot tee oh" listing straight off the bat. And the way in which TSX bigwigs were supposedly brought onside by the fetid slime that is Genovese (many rumours abound, all of which revolve around the transfer of currency) in order to secure that listing before the big rip-off pump began. And the way in which it never stood a hope in hell with its bullshit property, unlike CSI (hey, 20/20 and all that but at least Serra Pelada looked like a potential mine for a while).

So why is the TSX chasing after the likes of Colossus Minerals and studiously ignoring the type of stock it should have delisted many moons ago? The random, discriminatory and biased nature of these black box decisions makes the TSX bigcheeses look suspect, that's minimum.

How to get a "social licence" in Peru

Last night, Southern Peru (SCCO) complied with the law, had its final "social audience" meeting with locals near to the Tia Maria project in the Islay region of coastal Peru and received its so-called "social licence", a piece of paper it gets from the government which is a legal requirement for any mine project looking to get its key Environment Impact Permit approved. And as usual the whole process was one very large farce. In this case, it went something like this:
  • Inside the meeting hall in the town of Cocachacra, 1,200 people assembled to hear SCCO do its thing.  Which they did.
  • Of those 1,200 people, those against the mine's development were very thin on the ground despite the overwhelming majority of Islay locals being against the project. Also, those against the mine, including the local priest (not normally known for telling fibs) were adamant that the assembly was filled with people shipped in from locations outside Islay and were being paid to attend by the mining company. Just the same as in other meetings, in fact.
  • But even then, there was no sort of vote or formal public approval process. According to the justice-seen-to-be-done artificial Peru system, all SCCO has to do is give its presentation and hold its meeting, no sort of yea or nay decision is required, looked for or received. The people inside the hall may as well have been mannequins.
  • Meanwhile, outside the hall with 1,200 people were 2,000 police officers, fully equipped with riot gear, as well as a couple of riot containment vehicles (armour plating, water cannon etc). Their job was to keep thousands of real locals away from the hall; the protesters who are against the mine project weren't allowed to attend the social audience meeting because we wouldn't want to encourage a real debate at a meeting now, would we? Anyhow, the police did a good enough job (according to all media reports), with just a few skirmish-type incidents in outlying areas and a few tear gas canisters to upset the near-total success of the containment operation.

And so, Peru's State news agency gets to trumpet the whole process, everybody happy, merry navidad and a prosperous año nuevo for all, right? And later down the line, when SCCO gets its EIA permit (because that's a given now) everybody will swear blind that the locals approved of the mine plan back in 2013. They'll also scratch their heads and wonder just why they're all suddenly protesting against the development, blocking roads, causing mayhem etc when SCCO tries to start the build-out. 

The bottom line is that there was no due process yesterday evening in Islay: Sure there was a nice bit of theatre designed to comply with a national law and there is a decent overtime payment or two for a bunch of police officers who just got their turkey paid for by Southern Copper, but any resemblance to the reality of Tia Maria and the true granting of local approval via a social licence that's worth its salt was about a light year away. Thus ends another chapter of emerging market country* bliss.

*Can't say 3rd world or banana republic any more: They don't like it, or its out of fashion or something. Dunno why.

Chart of the day is..., monthlies:

It helps to believe TA is bunk, too. After all it is, right? Right? (exeunt omnes, whistling)


And here's a suggestion for Scotia's esteemed mining analysts

If you're going to have opinions on Pan American Silver's La Colorada mine that people will consider worthy of consideration, try spelling the name of the mine correctly. Y'know, first impressions and pretending to know Spanish in-house, cos there's pedantic typo picking and there's multiple uses of basic crass errors, such as the word La going with ColoradO. 

Or as an alternative, hire somebody who speaks Spanish to cover your Spanish language region projects. Because you don't. And it freakin' well shows.

Good reading on Bill Ackman's Herbalife (HLF) short

It's one year old today, so ¡Feliz Cumple! to Bill Ackman's mega-wrong short on Herbalife (HLF). On the subject, highly recommended reading is this from a newly discovered blog, Bored with the Noise. A fine overview as to just how wrong our star market person Ackman has been and continues to be on HLF.

A blog is not a newswire

For your information:

If you do not understand the difference between a blog such as IKN and a newswire service such as Reuters, AP etc, you should not read this blog. Ever. Because if you don't understand the difference between a blog and a newswire service you are a very, very stupid person and shouldn't read business news of any type, let alone be responsible for any sort of money flow through the markets, yours or other people's money.

Yours, bored with morons, Otto.

Mo' Aurcana (AUN.v)

Instead of pointing the finger at the bullshit liar Lenic Rodriguez this time (though he's still as guilty as fuck of being a bullshit liar, that hasn't changed a jot) let us expand our catchment of the liars and bullshitters that populate this sorry tale that is Shafter.

Step forward, Jack W. Burgess, PE, of 165 Windover Lane, Corrales, New Mexico 87048, United States of America. Jack Burgess and his company, JB Consulting, is the man responsible for the 267 page work of fiction known as the 2011 Shafter Feasibility Study, the very study that contained key data described as "an inconsistent predictor of tons and grade" by AUN.v on December 12th 2013 (yup, we had to wait that long for those AUN fuckers to hire somebody who was reliable and had the guts to speak truth to power) and that once a re-do of the 43-101 were complete it would result in "...a significant reduction in the aggregate mineral resource estimate as compared with the mineral resource estimate contained in the June 2011 amended feasibility study".

So, close-knit mining community, can you see to it that Jack Burgess is struck off for being a liar? Or will it be just another case of you self-serving pieces of shit passing the blame from one desk to another and nobody is responsible for your pisspoor system?

Aurcana (AUN.v) news: Shafter shafted

I laughed.

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Dec 19, 2013) - Aurcana Corporation ("Aurcana" or the "Company") (TSX VENTURE:AUN)(AUNFF) wishes to provide an update as to the status of its Shafter Project. The Aurcana Board of Directors, after careful consideration and review of the development and mining options for the Shafter Project under current economic conditions and low silver prices, has elected to put the Shafter Project on "care and maintenance". Employees were notified Wednesday, December 18, 2013.
Aurcana is planning to initiate an exploration program designed to test targets within Shafter's known mineralized areas in further detail, to help determine whether additional higher grade mineralization can be delineated. Aurcana geologists have identified areas of interest to justify such a program.
Lenic Rodriguez, Aurcana's President and CEO, states "Aurcana's management and its board of directors are very disappointed that (another batch of Lenic bullshit follows here)

$1,200 again?

Yup, $1,200/oz again.

Do you own gold mining companies that make a profit at $1.2k gold? If so, let 'em ride.

Chart of the day is...

...the gold/silver ratio, 12 months:

The trend is clear and the moving averages indicate more of the same, within the daily fluctuations and noise of course. Or put another way, you think gold's had a hard year?


South American Silver (

Wassat you say, guv? Wot? Me?

Nah, nowt t'do wi me, mate.

(exit stage left, hands in pockets, quietly whistling)

The IAMGOLD ( (IAG) strategy in Colombia: When in hole, keep digging

Not satisfied with its previous forays into third party juniors in Colombia for example...

Buying 15.38m shares of Tolima Gold for $10m (those are now worth $0.46m)

Buying 11m shares of Bellhaven Copper & Gold for $6.05m (those are now worth $0.36m)

Buying 12m shares of Colombia Crest for $3.42m (those are now worth $1.2m)

...FireSteve Letwin of I! AM! GOLD! ( (IAG) today decides to earmark another $36m of his company's cash on a third party junior mining project in Colombia, with Solvista (SVV.v) the recipient of the kiss of death welcome sponsorship. That instead of IMG paying shareholders their half-yearly dividend that would have cost the company about $47m of its treasury. Which is nice, isn't it?

Letwin should read up on what happens to company chiefs who double then triple down on their own deeply held convictions rather than face reality. Take the recent Eric Sprott happenings as your starter point, Stevie.

UPDATED: Colossus ( We can safely say Sandstorm doesn't want to throw any more good money after bad

The 6 month interest payment was set to be around $1.6m, so that's where we are now with Colossus Minerals: From a company that blows through large sums from equity raises in a matter of months, to a company trying to save on $5m or so in interest payments over the next 13 months that wants the opportunity to raise cash via extremely dilutive equity placements in order to pay down debt. Here's the NR, here's the best bit:
As has been previously disclosed, Colossus is in dire financial circumstances. Colossus believes that the Noteholders' Resolution is necessary in order for it to improve its balance sheet in order to raise the short term equity financing needed to implement the Company's de-risking strategy and thereby make it more attractive to future investors and potential partners to a mergers and acquisitions transaction.
Cue Sultans of Swing as background music. What I like is the assumption behind it: "We've fucked you over with our woeful project execution, so now the best course of action is to trust us to be the company to bring this project to fruition." These are very, very stupid people and capitalism should be allowed to run its correct course on their sorry asses; foreclose them and throw them into the street.

UPDATE: That didn't take long. ARC Fund bites the bullet, the swimming pool dilutive placement is outlined as well as a loan that pays 20% per annum (!!) interest. Details here


Phoque it

Pamela Anderson (yeah, her, the Baywatch thing and all that) and one of the co-creators of The Simpsons take a trip over to St Johns, Newfoundland, to protest on seal hunting and offer locals a cheque for $1m to stop the culling. Hilarity ensues.

h/t reader MM

Belo Sun ( Meet the neighbours, Stan

Care to know a little more about the people who'd eventually be affected by a gold mine if Belo Sun ( gets its way? National Geographic has this big and highly interesting feature on the locals.

And while you're reading, see if you can work out just why they don't want the mine to happen. Y'know, I bet you can do it without any extra help.

Good news for the bullshit promo sharks in junior mining: The action in Carpathian Gold ( proves there are still a whole bunch of suckers out there

I'd like to make it clear that I don't really have a problem with Carpathian Gold ( itself right now; after all, it's only promoting itself as a corporate entity that wishes to survive, so it puts its best foot forward on a sketchy story and polishes it in order to shine the most amount of positive light its way.

Which is how capitalism works. Nah, the problem here is that the people buying into this story don't have a single clue about what they're buying. Listen up, folks:
1) As at end 3q13, before CPN explained to the world that it was facing a nasty cash crunch, it had a working capital of negative $102.524m (with very little of that in real cash) and on top of that, another $43m in long-term financial debt. The only thing balancing the sheets at that point was its declared property values (and if you think, for example, that its Romanian snafu is worth $50m, then jolly good luck is wished upon you) but as this isn't an asset story, it's a liquidity and (supposedly) cash generation story, what really matters isn't some mutually convenient fixed asset value but the financial parts of the balance.

2) At end 3q13, it had 694.17m shares out. That means today's 12c share price gives it a market cap of  $83.3m.

3) According to its own Feasibility Study (that by way of a slight sidebar is looking a little long in the tooth, what with the changes in costs in the industry since its publication), at U$1,250/oz gold RDM has an after-tax 5% discount NPV of $172m.

4) So therefore, even if we take a couple of giant leaps of faith, assume this perenially underperforming management team stops being crap and starts delivering 100% on its promises and then things go perfectly with operations at RDM, the NPV of the RDM project is less than the combination of the negative working cap and the current market cap. That's without even mentioning the LT debt portion.
And as far as I can see, the only logical reason for this is that the people currently buying up CPN shares because they're "cheap" and "it's going to be a producing gold mine" do not have a single clue about the definition of the word "equity", have never seen a set of  financials open before them in their entire lives, if they have they didn't understand what was in front of them, or in this case, just haven't bothered looking. Quite possibly, three of those four can apply concurrently.

So anyway, scumbag promo sharks, take heart; there are still a whole bunch of idiot goldbug rubes out there, so all you need to do is wait for the storm to pass and it'll be busines as usual. CPN shows that.

Your gold mining Rorschach test of the week, courtesy of Argonaut ( and True Gold (TGM.v)

First the scenario: The world has offered up two interesting projects NR this morning:

1) The pre-feas of the large-ish Magino project, owned by Argonaut Gold (, with a post-tax 18% IRR using $1,250/oz gold. Lots more details here.

2) The PEA (scoping study) of the smallish Karma project, owned by True Gold (TGM.v), with a post-tax 43.1% IRR using $1,250/oz gold. Again, mull over the details at the company NR, here.

It's interesting that both these projects have tipped their hats to the prevailing market atmosphere and used U$1,250/oz gold for their headline numbers. It's also interesting that they've managed to return mining plans that return either acceptable economics for a large project or strong economics for a small project (though earlier stage). I'd contend that in a decent market, these are the type of fundamentally good NRs that bring positive movement to the stocks and get them re-ratings.

And so to the test: We discount immediate reaction (eg this morning) and set the clock for, say, Thursday evening. Right now is priced at $5.43 and TGM.v is 38.5c, so let's see how those prices sit at the end of three days of market because if these projects can't bring love to these stocks, gawd help us all.


A brand new U$40Bn gold company to be created in 2014

And there's no catch at all. Unless you think there's anything at all that could go wrong or that there's a chance that this JV between Venezuelan State oil company PDVSA and the Venezuela Central Bank is being slightly overvalued from the outset. Here's State wire AVN (translated)

Caracas, 16 December AVN: The Vice-President of the Economy, Rafael Ramirez, said on Monday that a JV gold company would be created by the Venezuela Central Bank and PDVSA.

"The only partner of the State oil company in this JV will be the Venezuela Central Bank", said Ramirez, who is also the minister of petroleum and mines, during a press conference.

"The company is very important because PDVSA, via the Venezuela Mining Corporation, has been granted the rights over 92 billion* ounces of gold," he said.

Ramirez pointed out that this JV company is valued at U$40Bn, and would contribute to the re-launching of the Venezuelan] gold sector in 2014.

He added that the make-up of this JV company will allow the State to receive a larger amount of the gold that's produced in the country

*NOT an error: The report quotes Ramirez as saying "92 mil millones de onzas de oro" which is 92 thousand million ounces of gold, i.e. 92 Billion with a B

The badly reported Barrick (ABX) Pascua Lama layoffs story

The weekend brought headlines about how Barrick (ABX) was laying off 1,500 workers from the Argentina 'Lama' side of its Pascua Lama snafu. But the story has been badly reported in any of the English language notes, because the 1500 job losses isn't the real issue, the real issue is how 3,500 will still be working there when Barrick wanted to can them all. Here's how it was explained in IKN241, out yesterday:

Argentina: Barrick cuts 1,500 jobs at Pascua Lama Argentina
The decent local media channel covering the Northeastern Argentina region, El Diario Del Cuyo, first reported a story on Friday (13) which was then picked up by regional media and even made English language copy by yesterday Saturday (e.g. here’s Reuters, reporting about ¾ of the story (14)). The need to know is:

Of the 4,800 to 5,000 workers employed at Lama (the number varies), which is the Argentina side of the Pascua Lama project, the 3,500 workers who are residents of San Juan are being kept on until end April minimum. The other 1,300 to 1,500 workers, said to be comprised of 400 foreign nationals and around 1,000 Argentines from other provinces, are being laid off.

At a best guess, the decision to employ the 3,500 (pre-crisis there were around 10,000 workers at Lama) instead of trimming workforce to the bone as was originally planned, will cost Barrick around U$30m until April and around U$70m if employed to the end of 2014. This would roughly double the U$60m ABX had originally set aside for care and maintenance costs in 2014 for the Lama end of the project, however it’s the veritable drop in a bucket compared to the overall U$5Bn+ already thrown at the project.

The decision to keep on the 3,500 local workers is almost certainly politically motivated and comes after some negotiations. As noted in the very interesting report linked on the blog last week (15) ABX was coming under pressure from the San Juan province to keep paying salaries, with the big bargaining chip being the “continued well-being” of Veladero, the ABX gold mine that lies South of the Pascua Lama project and also in San Juan. The provincial government’s strategy may not have been very subtle, but it’s probably the difference between full-scale lay-offs and the 3,500 who’ll keep on receiving salaries. Also, the inference is that the April 2014 minimum employment will likely get extended, else cause “problems” for the other mine. It’s how business is done in Argentina, ladies and gentlemen, though the April minimum decision does give ABX the chance to play hardball come the time, which is always a possibility if the world gold market deteriorates further. We shall see.

Changing the subject slightly, we also had plenty of talk floating around the Southern Hemisphere last week that Barrick is actively looking for a Chinese JV partner to move Pascua Lama forward, one example of many this report in Chile’s best biznews paper (16), which is one of those unsubstantiated rumours that makes a lot of sense. But as the saying goes down here, “Hay un gran trecho entre dicho y hecho” (close enough is “there’s a big gap between word and deed”) and as ABX really doesn’t have much in the way of kudos to lose at this point in the South, there’s no reason to suppose the propagation of the jungledrums equates to a near-done deal this time, either.


"The Trouble With 43-101": Garth Kirkham speaks for the defence

This next installment of "The Trouble With 43-101" brings something of a change from the tone of previous posts, both here and over at Mineweb. Peer respected geologist Garth Kirkham is the Chair of the Best Practices Committee of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM), i.e. the people who created, regulate and are in  charge of the NI43-101 standard.

Kirkham today takes the stand and offers a robust defence of the current 43-101 system and once again, I leave you with his words and no further comment.


Firstly, I believe in NI43-101 and its purpose of protecting the investing public. My first reaction to the comments, especially from a couple of mid-tier publically listed companies, along with a variety of anonymous anecdotal comments, is to discount and disprove.

I must say that the comments by Conway and Johnson should give us all cause for concern in so far as they are saying that all of the projects that they own are garbage because the underlying reports are garbage. Have they listed these risks in the annual MD&A’s? Perhaps they are just referring to everyone else’s? Not sure but I have only seen a small part of the interview. However based on their commitment to short anything NI43-101…are they shorting their own companies? I would suggest before these “relatively” influential persons call something that is designed to protect their shareholders a “joke” that they consider the bigger picture. As a shareholder of either company, I would be highly concerned that the C suite doesn’t believe in the company, whose assets are valued based on the existence of the resources and reserves under NI43-101, nor does the C suite appear to believe in the industry. Again, I am only seeing a small part of the interview so I am sure there is a simple explanation and perhaps this was just off the cuff comments.

A number of comments that followed are attributed to an “old timer”. I respect the fact that anyone of advanced age and experience has stuck with this industry this long, through the good, the bad and the ugly. Notwithstanding the “old timers” did find/develop many, many mines in the past, and have a wealth of historical and practical knowledge. However, I also find that selective memory, myth, anecdote, etc. tend to creep into perceptions, beliefs which gets communicated, as it is here, and given the weight of fact because of the revered source. That said, everyone is entitled to his/her opinion but I would like to try to dispel or clarify some on the misconceptions and misinformation, at least to the extent that I understand it.

Of particular vexation is the statement that he (and others) has very little respect for NI 43-101 because of the QP concept. He talks about the state certified geologist being a QP but under NI 43-101, state certified geologists are not Qualified Persons under NI 43-101. It is true that the NI43-101 system does hinge on the concept of the qualified person and I agree that it can be extremely difficult to hold QP’s to account especially in foreign jurisdictions. I do agree that of there are issues and complexities related to investigation, accountability and responsibility. There are many “self regulating associations” that regulate engineers and geoscientists in Australia, US, Canada, South Africa, Europe, etc., that have varying and differing concepts related to NI 43-101. However, if any association does not have “protection of the public” as one of its prime tenants, mission statements, visions, then it follows that they are focused on membership and by extension protection of their members. These organizations should not be recognized professional organizations under NI 43-101, in my opinion.

So in support of the “old timer”, there are accepted organizations that are accepted under NI43-101 that firstly do not appear to have the public interest in my opinion, as their primary goal but also do not have any practical way for the public to launch a complaint. It is also disturbing that, in many cases, it is difficult for the general public, to get a listing of members to insure that the QP’s are even qualified or are what they say they are.

The comments related JORC, CIM Standards, NI43-101, etc. and that no one is accountable is patently untrue. Under NI43-101 the QP is responsible! However, the company is responsible for how they use and disseminate the technical information and the QP consents to specific use of their technical information.

The statement that the QP can “disclaim”, “hold harmless” are absolutely and completely false. No author of a NI 43-101 can disclaim any technical information and the only exceptions are with respect to legal, environmental, social, marketing, etc. however these items must still be covered. So the statement that any QP can disclaim is false!

The answer to; “who is watching???”, “why isn’t anyone doing something about this???” when there are issues or egregious events is…us all. It is up to us, the professionals and the industry to self police and if there are significant issues then it is up the professional, self regulatory industries to investigate and discipline. 

However, peer review and peer pressure can also be very effective. It is difficult to criticize and hold other geoscientists to task. There is no whistle blower protection and if it gets to a court of law then it would certainly come down to one expert’s opinion against another. However, there exists the concept of the “Reasonable Person” defense and loosely explained it is “what would another reasonable professional/peer, do and would they come up with the same conclusions, under the same circumstances”.

What is the real world? There has to be a complaint with the Professional Association. Was there in the case of the violated CA and what was the case? If so what was the result? If not then, why not?

On the resource comments, the comments appear to have little to do with resource than with other factors and although the thoughts are a little disjointed the “old timer” does a good job of indentifying some poignant issues:
1.       The idea of the “no soup for you” with respect to the client-consultant relationship is not correct. It is paramount that independence is insured; however it is not a dictate by any means. And at the end of the day, the client is entitled to a second or even third opinion. But I agree that the client can feel “bullied” at times. In my opinion, a consultant working in a vacuum without input and guidance from the people who know the deposit best is not good practice. Certainly, the consultant must determine when and if they are being influenced or if there is an attempt to bias the results. These instances must be detected, noted and then penalized but to not consider input from the client under the auspices of independence is not in the best interest of the project or the shareholders in my opinion.

2.       On cutoff, our “old timer” is exercising a time honored tradition of “back of the napkin” economics.  The reason for sensitivities are simple…called price fluxuations! The last 5 years have shown us that predicting future metal prices is a difficult exercise to say the least.

3.       On the Feasibility comment, my interpretation of the issue is that it had nothing to do with bulk sample and everything to do with the estimation of the potential resource and whether it had a “reasonable prospect of economic extraction”. However, Strathcona did exactly what the “old timer” wanted and expected from a professional which was identify what they believe to be significant risks to the project and make those abundantly clear to the client. At the end of the day, the consultant must decide and is obliged, under NI43-101, to make this known to the public. Right or wrong, Strathcona, as per their commitment to protect the public, performed excellently in my opinion!

4.       The one comment I absolutely agree with is related to the underground vein scenario. I agree that these types of deposits and especially the estimating the resources/reserves are extremely difficult. CIM definitions and by extension NI43-101 are not effective in adequately addressing resources and especially reserves for vein deposits.  Creating exploration drifts to drill off a vein makes no sense when you might as well drift on the vein and mine the damn thing. I think that we need to treat these differently but this is a topic for another time.
My point is…NI 43-101 is a guidance and reporting format that is designed to protect the average investor. It is easy to say “this is crap”, “doesn’t protect anyone”, “needs to be much more perceptive”, “needs to be less”, …. arm chair quarterbacking at its best.  For Conway and Johnson to state that they would short more than long is saying that 50% of the companies and their underlying work is flawed and by extension false and misleading. I dispute that claim. If they believe that then perhaps someone will ask which of the two of them is below low tide. Again, I only was able to see a small part of the interview and perhaps their comments were taken out of context. I do hope so.

The concept of NI43-101 hinges on the Qualified Person and I agree that there are chinks in the armor. However, I will defend and protect it, not because of what I do but because I do believe that it brings standards, best practices and uniformity to complex technical data in a way that can be understood by all stakeholders…and it is the law.

Best regards,

Garth Kirkham, P.Geo., Qualified Person under NI43-101
President, Kirkham Geosystems Ltd.
Chair, CIM Best Practices Committee
APEGBC Councilor


The IKN Weekly, out now

IKN241 has just been sent to subscribers. 13,000 words, 26 pages, four or five new long ideas and a couple of short ideas, too. Numbers numbers, always numbers.

The top city in which to do business in Latin America...isn't in Latin America

America Economia has the ranking of the top LatAm cities in which to do business and somewhat strangely (though think about it for more than a second and it makes perfect sense), Miami in The USA is top of the heap. Then comes Sao Paulo (Brazil), Santiago (Chile), Mexico City (Mexico) and Panama City (Panama) rounds out the top five.

The whole list, with 44 cities listed and plenty of stats detail for your consideration, is right here.