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Breaking: Tahoe Resources ( (TAHO): Two dead, nine injured in violent protest outside mine

Read all about it here.

The story according to Guatemala's Prensa Libre newspaper is that early this morning, about half a kilometre from the entrance to the mine complex, a group of protesters cut power lines and blocked the access road with felled trees. When the private security guards at the mine gate investigated, they were met with gunfire and two of the guards were shot dead. The mayor of the local town, San Rafael Las Flores, is quoted in the report as saying (your author's translation):
"Here we are very worried for what's happening once again at the mine. Access to the municipality has been blocked, there are enormous trees blocking the road to Jalapa and at least six in various palces on the road between Soledad Grande and our municipality. We're trying to get chainsaws so that we can send people to clear the roads."

Here's another report with another quote from the governor of the Santa Rosa region:
"There were gunshots [during the protest] when unidentified individuals used large calibre weapons* and unfortunately two people from the security firm, Golán, contracted by the San Rafael mine, subsidiary of Canadian Tahoe Resources, died." 
"I would like to take this opportunity to say to all concerned that this is not the wya to solve problems, We have to enter into dialogue and avoid these type of incidents that have brought grief to many families."

*phrase that usually means shotguns

First Quantum ( and Inmet ( It's handbags at dawn

First Quantum's ( NR of this morning here.

Inmet's ( reply of just a few minutes ago here.

Gawd, it must be annoying for these suits to be obliged to work on a Saturday.

Mending Wall, by Robert Frost

He moves in darkness as it seems to me/Not of woods only and the shade of trees.

Something there is that doesn't love a wall, 
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it, 
And spills the upper boulders in the sun, 
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast. 
The work of hunters is another thing: 
I have come after them and made repair 
Where they have left not one stone on a stone, 
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding, 
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean, 
No one has seen them made or heard them made, 
But at spring mending-time we find them there. 
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill; 
And on a day we meet to walk the line 
And set the wall between us once again. 
We keep the wall between us as we go. 
To each the boulders that have fallen to each. 
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls 
We have to use a spell to make them balance: 
'Stay where you are until our backs are turned!' 
We wear our fingers rough with handling them. 
Oh, just another kind of out-door game, 
One on a side. It comes to little more: 
There where it is we do not need the wall: 
He is all pine and I am apple orchard. 
My apple trees will never get across 
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him. 
He only says, 'Good fences make good neighbors'. 
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder 
If I could put a notion in his head: 
'Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it 
Where there are cows? 
But here there are no cows. 
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know 
What I was walling in or walling out, 
And to whom I was like to give offence. 
Something there is that doesn't love a wall, 
That wants it down.' I could say 'Elves' to him, 
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather 
He said it for himself. I see him there 
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top 
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed. 
He moves in darkness as it seems to me~ 
Not of woods only and the shade of trees. 
He will not go behind his father's saying, 
And he likes having thought of it so well 
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbors."


Friday post-bell, Goldcorp (GG) ( offers up its version of the Marlin problems

Post bell, eh...

Anyway, here's the link and here's the GG version of events. Remember who told you first, though.

Jan, 10 2013
Goldcorp Reports Incident Near its Marlin Mine
On January 8, 2013, an exploration project near Goldcorp’s Marlin mine was the scene of an incident involving contract exploration service workers and contract security personnel working near the mine in Guatemala.  A group of exploration contractors became violent over contract issues, overpowered a security worker, beat him and held him against his will. The victim’s gun, loaded with rubber ammunition, was taken forcefully by the group and one individual used the weapon to fire upon security personnel.  At this time, security workers acted in accordance with Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights guidelines related to the use of force and used rubber ammunition to return defensive fire before retreating with no further defensive action.
Several people were injured as a result of the incident. Two individuals were taken to hospital and later released. The company has offered and facilitated medical assistance for all those involved.
Marlin personnel contacted government and municipal authorities, numerous community leaders and human rights institutions and informed them of the incidents.
The attack on security personnel was carried out by several people who worked at the mine as temporary contractors until their contracts expired on December 15, 2012. Negotiations were held late last year and an agreement was reached on new contracts to be signed in January 2013. It was at these signings that the incident began to unfold, when several contractors demanded permanent employment by the company.  Several contractors had already signed contracts, and many of them are scheduled to return to work shortly. As of today’s discussions, more than 50 of the 110 exploration services contractors have signed agreements and are scheduled to return to work.
Goldcorp’s first priority is the health and safety of its workforce.  Montana Exploradora and its parent company Goldcorp Inc. does not condone violent protests and has taken measures to safeguard the physical safety of its employees, contractors and neighbors. The Company continues to seek constructive dialogue with the individuals responsible for these unfortunate incidents.
UPDATE: fwiw I fully agree with anon's comment below. Here it is for all to consider:
lay them off dec. 15, bring em back in january, and claim you don't owe them year-end bonuses? in latin america, where people are expected to spend very muchly at the end of the year on presents? i beg to differ with their self-characterization. i think they do condone violent protests. or at least they provoke them as best they can.


Any news about that permit from Tahoe Resources ( (TAHO) yet?

No? Nothing?

How strange. Well, perhaps they'll have an update for us next week. After all, I'm quite sure that there's nothing to fret over a $2.6Bn market cap exploration junior silver play in Guatemala...right?

How the world's biggest copper mine is doing at the moment

Chile's copper overseeing body, Cochilco, is out with the November 2012 production figures today so let's focus in on just one dataset and see how the world's biggest copper mine, the BHP (57.5%) controlled La Escondida, has been doing recently:

In a nutshell, La Escondida has picked its rhythm back up after a soft 2011. In the 11 months of 2012 it's produced 980,100 tonnes of copper, which compares to 742,900t in the same period of 2011 and 986,300t in the same period of 2010. So now you know.

Money & time-saving memo to junior, exploration stage mining company investment relations personnel

Stop wasting your time and money on endless rounds of investor conferences, snazzy paid-for TV segments that only ever get 180 views on Youtube, on flashy gadgets at your website and those all-expenses business class site visits for the sellside dumbasses in suits.

Do like Guy Hurd of Renmark did for Panoro (PML.v): Get your company featured by Reuters.

Cost effective? You bet.

PS: oh yeah, a disclosure: No position in PML.v

Chart of the day is...

...the gold/oil ratio, three years.

I'm still trying hard to like TA. Call it a new year's resolution, if you want.


The flash update of last Tuesday morning...

...was this:

(click to enlarge)

It was noted on the blog that the update went out here. And now suddenly, this:

We'll be doing more of these short alerts on OTC stocks in The IKN Weekly, methinks. I know they aren't easy for every subscriber to use proactively (e.g. several mails that morning saying they couldn't get a borrow from their normal broker, discount broker or online account) but there are enough in the audience who have access to otc borrows that can benefit. It won't be a central part of the service going forward, but there's no need to ignore the potential money-making opportunities in these obvious scams, either.

The pro-Chávez marches in Caracas today...

...are very impressive. The Chávez faithful have five meeting points in the city and they're all like these images from Venezuela's pro-Hugo channel Telesur (fact is, it's difficult to get a decent shot of the immense size of the crowds on the anti-Chávez channels, so Telesur it is).

don't fret about the blahblah, just look at the amount of red shirts.

The Goldcorp (GG) ( labour relations playbook: If they complain too much, shoot them

Reports from Guatemala tell of how five temporary workers at the Goldcorp (GG) ( Marlin Mine were shot on Tuesday by security guards for protesting. Here's a translation:

"...five workers, identified as Armando Jerónimo Bámaca, 38, Juan Faustino Hernández Yoc, 40,  José Bernardo Hernández Pérez, 38, Valentín Melecio Juárez de León, 42 and Humberto Petronilo Bámaca Juárez, 31 were injured. According to statements from (mine) employees, they were protesting because they had not been paid their Christmas bonuses and faced with their protests, guards at the Marlin Mine shot them."
Later the Marlin Mine released a communique to explain what had happened and said that the people who were shot had temporary contracts that expired on December 15th and because of that, they weren't due any Christmas bonus. So there you go, easy when you know how to keep costs under control, isn't it? Just give the proles a crappy contract, lay them off legally just before any big bonuses are due paid and if they don't like it, pop a cap in their collective asses. 

Canada's mining industry, winning hearts and minds in Guatemala. The Goldcorp way. 

UPDATE: We welcome readers from the archetype third-rate financial website, SinkingAlpha. Don't confuse style with substance, guys.

China power demand as proxy to true GDP

The "Peru Electricity Demand vs GDP" post of the other day that showed the close releationship between power demand and GDP growth went down well, with one mailer asking whether I had the China electricity numbers so that a decent stab at the real rate of growth could be made. That mail slipped my mind at the time but I was reminded of it just minutes ago while flicking through this excellent set of charts on China from Reuters (there are loads and they're really good, go see). Here's the power output chart from the set:

There you go: Real, unspun GDP number for China today? 6.4%.

UPDATE: "China power demand as NOT a proxy to true GDP" screams Iwnattos over at Market Narrative, and then sets out his reasons for why the above post is just a load of old horsedroppings. He makes some points but I dunno, I still think there's enough truth in this proxy and that the lady protests too much (insert your own 'doth'), but I always appreciate a good smackdown (or attempted smackdown). Beats "ha ha you suck" mails from CUU-faithful every time

Chart of the day is..., weeklies.

Including bollybands. I do find myself trying hard to believe on TA sometimes and in the last few weeks I've seen enough good calls from the smarter proponents, eg Gary Biiwii, to get me watching charts and attempting to extrapolate their current movements into the future. When it comes to gold, I wrote a mail to myself a week ago that said "dump to 1630 the limit, indicators show strong resistance, 1680 before 1600" and while we're still not at $1680/oz yet, the rebound has gone the way of my very own squiggly line thoughts (by the way, believe or not on my prognostication, it matter not a jot and I'm not about to become some kind of born-again charter). Anyway, all tha preamble leads up to one thought here, that gold is starting to look pretty bullish and it's not looking so hot for all the prophets of doom on the metal.


La Fragata Libertad

Tall Ship Ahoy!

From here. Betcha Darin liked the carancho reference.

El Salvador's only psychiatric hospital

A photo/video report by Pau Coll of the Soyapango Hospital that needs no knowledge of Spanish to fully understand.

Posted so that you remember just how lucky you are, dear reader. From here

Copper Fox (CUU.v) enters The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul


Douglas Adams said it best:

"In the end, it was the Sunday afternoons he couldn't cope with, and that terrible listlessness that starts to set in about 2:55, when you know you've taken all the baths that you can usefully take that day, that however hard you stare at any given paragraph in the newspaper you will never actually read it, or use the revolutionary new pruning technique it describes, and that as you stare at the clock the hands will move relentlessly on to four o'clock, and you will enter the long dark teatime of the soul."

Ollanta goes to Cuba

We've just heard that Peru President Ollanta Humala has asked the country's Congress to fly to Cuba on January 11th and 12th (by Peruvian law he has to ask permission to leave the country). By my count that's now Mujica of Uruguay, CFK of Argentina and Morales of Bolivia and now Humala all converging on that neck of the woods at the same time.

Now, what on earth might there be in Cuba these days to attract so many LatAm heads of state? Beats me...

Update: The trip is confirmed and Congress said "yeah dude, you can go." The reason given for the visit is "with the objective of making a business visit". So now you know.

A song for Tahoe Resources (

What with the clock above now showing nine days and counting on the "expected in 4q12" operations permit from the government of Guatemala, we dedicate this snappy tune to the company and wonder out loud if they're going to have the common decency to update the world on permitting progress.

This thing about Goldcorp's (GG) "All-in cash cost" wonderful brand new metric

One thing in Goldcorp's (GG) ( 4q12 NR out Monday (told you to read it) that's been making waves is the new move to so-called "all-in cash cost" reporting (we note that Scotia's Scoop is gushing about it today after their anal yst was on the CC). Here's a bit from the NR that tells of the new move:
"Working with the World Gold Council, the Company is adopting an "all-in sustaining cash cost" measure that the Company believes more fully defines the total costs associated with producing gold.  All-in sustaining cash costs include by-product cash costs, sustaining capital, corporate general & administrative expenses and exploration expense."
Thing is, IKN is not so impressed. That's because there's already an industry standard measure used by all mining companies that accurately measures all costs involved in producing. It's called net freakin' profits. Got that?

Nautilus Minerals (

When the weird takeover offer hit the wires the other day, your author was alerted to the news by a couple of "WTF?" type mails from mailpals, looked at it, thought it weird, first thought perhaps it was some wrinkle on legal action and compensation from the PNG government that would outstrip the price of taking it private, then thought about the big backers at NUS and thought not, then checked a bit more and thought the dude behind this weirdness, a certain Michael Bailey, was running a scam, then thought it might make for a post here then didn't get round to it.

But the good news is that Mineweb's Kip Keen has done some decent reporter work and put together this piece on the subject, which is highly recommended. Go read Keen on this, not IKN.

Chart of the day is...

...Sprott Physical Silver Trust (PSLV) versus the silver bullion ETF (SLV), November 2010 to date:

It's what's called being fair. Ever since I put up the 12 month chart of PSLV vs SLV last week I've had e-mail exchanges with several people defending the Sprott fund. There have been several reasons given by those several people as to the difference between those squiggly lines of last week but the two that make most sense are

  • Look above at the new chart. November 2010 is chosen because that's when PSLV opened for business and it gives a better idea of performance.
  • It turns out that for US citizens, owning PSLV gives tax advantages. For those US investors who pay tax PSLV currently gets taxed at 15% while the ETF (and collectable bullion for that matter) is taxed at 28%.

So it turns out that PSLV isn't doing so badly after all and makes plenty of sense to own over SLV for at least those reasons. However all the above doesn't negate your humble scribes final point last week and in fact, it reaffirms it. "Eric Sprott is richer than you. This is why."


EOM = Eco Oro and also End Of Message

Reuters in English is doing this story as well as the Colombia media in Spanish:

BOGOTA | Tue Jan 8, 2013 4:52pm EST
Jan 8 (Reuters) - Colombia will create a wilderness park and prohibit mining in a region rich in gold and silver in the country's northeast where Canada's Eco Oro Minerals Corp had hoped to produce precious metals, the government said on Tuesday.
Eco Oro, formerly known as Greystar Resources, had faced opposition from local authorities, the country's inspector general and environmental groups. They called its Angostura gold project a threat to the delicate Andean ecosystem.
The move by the country's environment ministry to create the park effectively rules out any mining in an area of more than 12,000 hectares in northern Santander province.
The company could not be immediately reached for comment.

continues here

I've always liked that "company couldn't be reached for comment" line. Goodbye Eco Oro (

Q: What's the best way of causing a housing bubble?

A: Tell the world that your economy is entering a housing bubble.

This week Peru financial analysis house Centrum published a report which has been picked up by the local bizmedia who scream, "Peru is entering an incipient real estate bubble". So far so good, but the reasoning is the thing that's going to get all those monied speculators a-licking of them lips. In the words of Felipe Zegarra of Centrum (translated):
"We can divide a housing bubble into two stages. On is very dangerous and speculative when people buy simply to speculate that prices will keep on rising, and when they start to drop decide to sell and it's then that prices drop sharply. This is the most dramatic or extreme situation. I do not believe that we are at that point. But there is a stage previous to this when the bubble is formed, when money appears and begins to cause a stong rise in prices. Therefore there is a "incipient bubble" and a "speculative bubble". I believe that we are in the first stage, the "incipient bubble."
Zegarra also goes on to note that the loose money policy in the USA may also contribute to the Peru price boom. That translates as 'the gringos are gonna buy a shitload of apartments in swanky Lima zones, so get on now boys'. You have been warned.

Candente Copper ( does Peru stock market TV

Joanne Freeze, head of Candente Copper ( appears on "Bolsa TV", the Lima stock exchange TV show, does the puffball Q&A, talks mining in Peru and the state of exploration at DNT Cañariaco and gets her dude James to address those pesky community relations around Cañaris....all in Spanish.

Strangely enough no mention of the recent problems with the locals, but lots about the programs DNT has put in place with the grateful people living round the site. It sounds so perfect, what could possibly go wrong?

UPDATED: Venezuela: The opposition attempting to destabilize the country, the government hardly helping either

Posting's been light today because Venezuela demands attention and I've been watching, reading and listening to all sorts of things so far. The rhetoric, already shrill in the last few days, has ratcheted up several notches and the opposition's demands for more transparency around the state of Hugo Chávez has hit overdrive. On many levels this is understandable but there's a very fine line to tread here, so a comment today from Henrique Capriles that the Venezuela army "has a role to play", no matter the context in which a polemic phrase such as that is delivered, makes you wonder whether a line has just been crossed. Add to the mix the opposition media in Venezuela that's now trying its hardest to stoke nerves by relaying panic food purchase stories and we're entering the same kind of scenario that we saw in 2001 and 2002.

Meanwhile, the Chávez government isn't helping its own cause at all by continuing its obfuscating strategy (last night's official statement which said, literally and with little in the way of details, that Hugo Chávez's health situation was "stationary"... hopefully that means stable rather than anything to do with normal heart motion) and by moving and suggesting this-or-that rule bending (to see which option public opinion can stomach, methinks) adds uncertainty to the mix and does nothing to help restore calm. 

The big day will be January 10th, the supposed date of Chávez's reinauguration and that means there's another 48 hours to stoke the flames before a deadline is hit and some sort of resolution occurs. What happens then is anyone's guess...and that's the problem.

UPDATE: As you may have heard already (from about 10,000 news sources, here's one) the Venezuela government announced a few minutes ago that Chávez won't turn up on the 10th for the ceremony and according to article 231 of the constitution, the head of Congress, Diosdado Cabello* will assume interim power as Chávez is "not in conditions to take the oath and will do so later". The other get-out clause likely to be used here, for the time being at least, is article 234 which allows a head of state 90 days absence (in case of illness etc) at the discretion of Venezuela's congress. So in effect, the announcement today is the Chávez government kicking this can three months down the road and although the opposition will kick up a fuss, the government will probably get away with this as although it's a grey area and the interpretation of the constitution is up for debate, it's light grey rather than dark grey. If Chávez is still alive by then, set your clocks for early April.

PS: For those of you wanting real news in English on this rather than the reams of claptrap I've read today, here's Reuters.

*a name which translates literally as "God-given Hair", for what it's worth

A flash update...

...has just been sent to subscribers. Time to take a stand.


The cost of building a mine in Argentina, Goldcorp (GG) Cerro Negro edition

Goldcorp (GG) is out with its 4q12 production numbers and 2013 production and costs guidance thingies tonight and amongst the data (plenty and interesting too, go have a look) there's this:

Back in April 2011 when GG unveiled its bigger (4,000tpd thruput) plans for its Cerro Negro gold mine project in Santa Cruz Argentina, the capex was slated at $750m. By around this time last year that had bumped up to $800m due to "inflation". Come mid-2012 GG was already unofficially guiding "higher than $800m" without offering up a number, with reasons cited including that inflation again, the Peso exchange rate, the new Argentine labour laws that require three underground shifts per 24 hours and (perhaps the biggest factor) the new move by the government that companies buy nationally produced supplies whenever possible. The result of that little package is a $550m hike in capex at Cerro Negro, no tin of dog meat.

How can you tell it's an election year in Chile, Otto?

Hmmm I dunno dude, but while I'm thinking it over, how about we watch the Piñera government's star minister and now pre-candidate for the big job, Laurence Golborne, sing "Creep" by Radiohead on the country's late night chat show "SLB"?

So fucking special

Chart of the day is...

...on the Ballon D'Or (world football player of the year) announcement due later today and considers how much money you win (total returns, including original stake money) if you bet $10 on any of the three finalists:

Errr...Leo wins. Ok?


Whitehaven Coal ( shares dumped on hoax NR (and we got a copy of the hoax NR)

Over in Australia tonight, the $3.5Bn market cap Whitehaven Coal ( saw its sahres dump over 9% before getting them halted and telling the world that the news release that saw the stock dump was a total hoax. Share price chart please!

Reuters report please!

Jan 7 (Reuters) - Whitehaven Coal Ltd said a media release suggestingAustralia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd had withdrawn an A$1.2 billion ($1.25 billion) loan that sent its shares tumbling almost 9 percent was a hoax.
Whitehaven said ANZ had confirmed it did not send the release, which said yada yada continues here

And now for your dee lek tay shun, IKN has got its grubby lil hands on a copy of the hoax NR in question. AND PLEASE NOTE THAT THE DOCUMENT UNDERNEATH IS A HOAX, FAKE, FIBBEROONEY LIAR-PANTS-ON-FIRE, got that? Ok, here goes

The IKN Weekly, out now

IKN192 has just been sent to subscribers.
P: What do you read, my lord? 
H: Words, words, words.  
P: What is the matter, my lord?  
H: Between who?  
P: I  mean, the matter that you read, my lord 
H: Not a freaking clue, kind Polonius. Some dude rattling on about stocks and things. 
P: Ah I see. I bid you good day, my noble lord Hamlet.