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The PDAC Bingo sheet

This is great and an essential part of any PDAC visitor's kit, so go over to Market Narrative now, print off your copy and eyes down for a full house.

The Lara Exploration (LRA.v) NR today

A quick headsup on a stock I own, Lara Exploration (LRA.v) (and by way of full disclosure, I've owned since April'12, my cost basis is $1.15 and I'm not planning on selling any either) and its NR from this morning. LRA is a project generator company that gets properties, gets others interested, then gets OPM to explore and develop the prospects and it's very good at the model too, having 17 (I think) projects on the go right now. Anyway, with such a spread of activity there's always the chance that someone hits something nice on one of the projects and that's what's happened today, with JV partner Codelco returning a very cool 197m of 0.72% CuEq core from the shared project in Brazil (0.65% of that straight Cu). This is the type of exploratory hit that makes a bigboy like Codelco commit to a project.

Anyway, I'm long this one so take that into consideration while you read the NR for yourself, right here.

The "Fire Steve Letwin" website is still under construction...

...but thanks to a headsup from A. Reader (the respectable type that wouldn't even want their initials appearing on a pisspoor excuse of a ragtag blog such as this) we are made aware of the website Fire Steve Letwin, top dog of IAMGOLD ( (IAG) (or as Iwnattos prefers to say, I! AM! GOLD!). Well riddle me ree, it beats me why anyone would want to topple the CEO of this gold producer.

Oh wait, that'd be it.

At present the site is still under construction as you your kind self will see if you decide to click through, but it may well be worth watching developments on this one so IKN will keep its beady lil eye on things, for the public good of course.

Good news! The bottom in gold is in

We know this because Casey Research is now panicking like a bunch of headless chikkinz and telling its flock to buy puts. This is my favourite bit guys, the line in red:
"If the truth is that you are feeling uncomfortable with your current position in precious metals and related stocks – especially if, perhaps, you got carried away and invested more heavily in this sector than recommended – you should consider the near-term "insurance trade" we're suggesting. It's far better to "waste" a little money buying insurance now than to panic later and realize unnecessary losses if other buyers disappear from our market and prices go into free-fall (for a time)."
Yes indeed, from the very same firm that earlier this very week was, quite literally, rallying its troops by sending out videos of Henry 5th St Crispin's Day speech (Shakespeare, m'dear) to get 'em into more gold equities and saying things like "buy more gold stocks, make me proud". It's beyond a joke.

Chart of the day is...

...copper, dailies:

Not strong. I hope you didn't get sucked in by that "copper is in backwardization" BS.


The fun never stops at Liberty Silver (

Oh cute, now Liberty Silver ( (LBSV) doesn't even have that much-vaunted inferred resource any longer. Here's today's NR with plenty of blahblah, but let's cut to the paydirt:
"...the Company retracts the announcement of an updated resource estimate made on January 7, 2013 and cautions investors that no reliance should be made on this resource estimate disclosure. "
One has to wonder how LSL plans to pay for the new drill holes necessary to get the resource of this "professionally run" company into shape, what with this as a cash position. And by the way, how does this leave SRK looking? Smart? Independent? Neutral? From the Jan 7th NR:
Jay Pennington is the SRK-Qualified Person, as defined by NI 43-101, responsible for the current resource estimation. Mr. Pennington is a certified professional geologist as recognized by the American Institute of Professional Geologists and has over 27 years of experience in mineral exploration and resource geology.
Oh, and there's this:

And this

Finally, several sources have noted to your humble scribe that scumball lying shitrag James West refuses to disclose just how much he was paid by Bobby Genovese to pump this scam. Just so you know what to ask him if you see him on your travels in PDAC next week. 

So you think you're smart?

Well Ravi is smarter than you:

Until you too can solve the Rubik's Cube while juggling, at least.

Fraser Institute Mining Survey 2013 is out now

My regards to kind reader M for the headsup. Here's the link, go get your copy of the brand new hot-off-the-presses Fraser Institute 2013 edition of its Mining Survey. And while you're waiting for the PDF to download, read the cover here which starts this way...

CALGARY, AB—Alberta has unseated New Brunswick as the best place in Canada for mining investment while Quebec continues to lose the confidence of the international mining community, according to the annual global survey of mining executives released today by the Fraser Institute.
Alberta ranks as the top province, a position it held in 2011. Globally, Alberta ranks third. New Brunswick, which vaulted to the top of the global rankings from 23rd last year, is now regarded as the second best mining jurisdiction in Canada and fourth  globally.

...and has this a bit further down:

Worldwide, the top 10 mining destinations are Finland, Sweden, Alberta, New Brunswick, Wyoming, Ireland, Nevada, Yukon, Utah, and Norway. Eight of the same jurisdictions ranked among the top 10 last year; newcomers include Utah (which jumped to ninth from 21st) and Norway (which climbed to 10th from 24th), replacing Saskatchewan and Quebec.
Ranking as the world’s worst mining jurisdictions are Indonesia, Vietnam, Venezuela, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kyrgyzstan, Zimbabwe, Bolivia, Guatemala, Philippines, and Greece.

Mining PRs and the Ottotrans™, part 68

Our occasional series that tries to unravel the pretzelspeak of junior mining news releases and put the prose into something more akin to normal English reaches edition sixty-eight, in which we feature this NR today out of Equinox Copper (EQX.v). For what it's worth, there are dozens of other company NRs that we could have chosen in recent times to highlight this same point but EQX got to be the lucky winner.

This is what they wrote:

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Feb 28, 2013) - Equinox Copper Corporation (TSX VENTURE:EQX) ("Equinox" or the "Company") wishes to announce a fully subscribed non-brokered private placement consisting of 3,333,333 Units at $0.15. Each Unit consists of one common share and one share purchase warrant exercisable at $0.25 for a two year term. 
The proceeds will be utilized to enhance production at Aura in Chile, exploration program at Copper Queen-Binghampton and general working capital. 
The foregoing is subject to regulatory approval. 
About Equinox Copper Corp.

And this is what it means:

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Feb 28, 2013) - Equinox Copper Corporation (TSX VENTURE:EQX) ("Equinox" or the "Company") wishes to announce a fully subscribed non-brokered private placement consisting of 3,333,333 Units at $0.15. Each Unit consists of one common share and one share purchase warrant exercisable at $0.25 for a two year term. 
The proceeds will be utilized to pay directors' salaries. 
The foregoing is subject to regulatory approval. 
About Equinox Copper Corp.

Why Argentina will default in 2013... the title of this post by Felix Salmon, who's followed the legal battle over the hold-outs closely over the months and years and was in the NY courtroom yesterday to witness the cut and thrust first hand. It's your essential LatAm econo-reading for today.

FWIW, I think his take on the proceedings is spot-on correct (he says the beaks will rule for the vulture funds, which is almost certainly true) but his forecast on what Argentina will do afterwards is wrong. Argentina doesn't give a crap what the world thinks of its holdout bonds position (see the successful YPF emission yesterday as proof that this issue can be ignored by both it and the world outside the USA...yes guys, it exists) and will simply continue not to pay.

Exeter Resources ( (XRA) has a new CEO

We note the news that Wendell Zerb, erstwhile analyst at Canaccord, is now President, CEO and Co-Chair of Exeter Resources ( (XRA).

We also note his previously published belief in the Caspiche project and wish him luck in his new role. He's going to need it.

UPDATE three hours after the open and The Z Man gets an overwhelming reception from the market on his first day at the helm. To date 8,600 shares traded in and 66,065 in XRA. 

Good news about gold from Rob McEwen!

Here we are, scant hours before PDAC 2013 starts, and Kitco News runs a story on Rob McEwen saying that gold will get to $5,000/oz. This is wonderful!

In fact it reminds IKN Nerve Centre™ of PDAC 2012 when he told his audience that gold will get to $5,000/oz. 

Come to think of it, IKN Nerve Centre™ has a memory of PDAC 2011 when McEwen told Kitco that gold would get to $5,000/oz. 

And while we're at it, IKN Nerve Centre™ recalls this interview from PDAC 2010 when Mister Robert McEwen said that gold would get to $2,000/oz by that year's end.

We could continue.


Russian Roulette, Chinese Iron

Feeling lucky?

It's time to recall that Alderon Iron Ore (, vehicle of the ever-loved and lovable Stan Bharti, is approaching the definitive absolute sale now on everything must go final decision point wonder date of March 15th, a mere two weeks hence, on which we're reliably told (well, told by the company, same thing right?....right?) China's Hebei will have finished all that tiresome translation and DD and stump up the cash it said it'd stump. So with the stock down 21.6% since the news of the definitive absolute sale now on everything must go final decision point wonder date of March 15th, those who fancy a flutter on trusting the word of the Chinese (and of course) could take the current price, wait patiently for a fortnight, grin a winning grin as the confirmation of the deal hits the wires, watch the PPS blast off and royally clean up on the deal.

What could possibly go wrong?

Disclosure: No position in and I'm not taking one, either.

Metanor (MTO.v) mailbag

When not one but four separate mailers* take time to write into IKN Nerve Centre with either positive words or inquiries about Metanor Resources (MTO.v) in the space of a single morning, it's clear there's yet another round of promo pump going on around the stock. It's also time to stick a note up on the blog, rather than reply directly. Therefore:
  • Yes I know they've been pouring gold, it says so in the recent NRs. Mmmm... shiny, heavy, pretty coloured gold.  Does it give you an idea as to how much it's cost them to pour that gold?
  • Have you seen the state of this company's balance sheet? Negative $5m working cap, a heap of current liabilities, another chunk of long term debt.
  • Does it worry you that MTO has forward sold a significant percentage of all future gold production to Sandstorm? Did you know? Did you bother to look?
  • How about those director salaries, all North of U$20,000 per month. And those guys have upped their packages every year and always in cash, no incentive options (because they might have a better idea as to how much those equities are really worth). 
  • And on the subject, check how many shares out this company runs, and how they hold sudden, unannounced private placements every so often to dilute holders down even further. And even if, by some deity-inspired miracle, this company starts churning out a net profit, what kind of EPS will you be staring at thanks to all those crunchyfun share certs?

The bottom line to MTO.v is that if you take a company that's anally violated its shareholders for years on end, read its NRs, fall for the pumps from paid pushers like Jay Taylor, don't bother to look behind the curtain for yourself or think it's suddenly going to change its modus operandi because it's finally pouring a bit of gold, then you deserve everything that's coming to you, good and hard. That's not just about MTO.v either; that stock might even go up bigtime (though I highly doubt it) but the wider point is far, far more important. If your idea of an investment opportunity today is a stock with the track record of MTO you are doing this all wrong and will lose lose and lose again when investing in junior mining companies. So stop now, close your account and put your cash in a time deposit or T-bonds.

Just a bit of friendly advice which you can decide to take or leave. After all, there's no law against being a stupid fucker with your own money. Please be having a nice day thank you please.

*at least i presume them to be separate

Today's big news story in LatAm

"Wow!!!" is how Mexfiles greets the news of union leader, power behind throne and nasty piece of work extraordinaire, Elba Esther Gordillo, in Mexico today. And frankly, "wow" is an understatement, as Gordillo has long been considered untouchable in Mexico. This is the first serious political move from the new Peña Nieto government and be crystal clear, it's a big one that will produce fall-out for months, if not years.

Insider transactions in Canadian junior mining companies

Your humble scribe makes a point of keeping an eye on insider buying and selling, mostly by checking out this page at Canadian Insider every morning (an eyescan job that can take between one and a few minutes, depends on the day and personal interest level). This little note isn't to point the finger at any particular stock, rather to note that in the last few days, today being no exception, there's been insider buying in most any company or stock you care to look at. Some of the companies in which this buying is seen are ones I personally like, others that I don't and others still that I know little or nothing about. But the trend is pretty clear, insiders are opening their wallets.

Will PDAC mark a bottom this year, instead of its tradition top? Time will tell.

Chart of the day is...

...12 months of GLD versus SLV:

No big commentary, just a simple ratio chart and a good one to help crystallize thoughts right now. At least I think so.


When smart money isn’t just dumb money, but really dumb money (from IKN199)

Here's how IKN199, out last weekend, kicked off:

When smart money isn’t just dumb money, but really dumb money
As noted on the blog Wednesday, it can be a distinct advantage to be out walking up and down hills and pointing at rocks instead of watching the market. Gold dropped by over 2% on the week and for a while on hump day the loss was nearly 4%. However, mining stocks dropped a lot more.

I’d picked up a few rumours about redemptions from the larger fund houses late the previous week, but after thinking it over decided the evidence wasn’t really strong enough to make for a comment. Cut to today and the whole market is awash with how this house says that rival house (never seems to be themselves) are getting screwed by wholesale liquidation orders from clients desperate to get the hell out of the mining and junior mining sectors (and into those paragons of safe investment housing and biotech, I’d guess). Fair enough.

Which got me thinking about the concept of smart money/dumb money, that definition often used in the market to define what the institutions are doing with their funds (assumed to be smart, quant-enhanced, deep DD wiseheads who wear those thousand dollar suits with justifiable pride) compared with what us retail grunts are doing with ours (assumed to be dumb, herd-driven sheep or lemmings willing to jump off the next available cliff at the behest of our financial masters and cannot justfy why they’re still in pyjamas at 11:30am on a weekday morning).

Correct me if mistaken here, but if I have this straight the so-called smart money sagely places its bets after long and careful consideration of innumerable moving parts, multi-task investigative vetting of companies, visits to facilities, grilling of officers and board members and thanks to all its deep DD and smart collective brainwork finishes far much wiser than us, the mere mortals, on any given equity. But in fact the money that “smart money” uses is more often than not OPM that’s really owned by ignorant individuals who panic and phone the insto and pull their cash out at the first sign of trouble, thus causing a house that’s always fully bought in (difficult to justify a large slice of deposits languishing in money market) and very often up to its proverbial neck in margin to hit the sell button on whatever’s liquid enough to dump at times like these, which in turn causes a knock-on vicious circle effect, lower prices and more clientele on the phones, pulling out cash and spiralling the whole thing down further. Or in other words, not only does the smart money participate in dumb-money led panics, it magnifies them.

For what it’s worth, next to that level of smart I’m more than happy to remain as dumb as a bag of hammers. With a cash reserve at all times.

Study finds maize in diets of people in coastal Peru dates to 5,000 years ago

Very interesting stuff on this link here. An excerpt:

After years of study, Haas and his colleagues have concluded that during the Late Archaic, maize (Zea mays, or corn) was indeed a primary component in the diet of people living in the Norte Chico region of Peru, an area of remarkable cultural florescence in 3rd millennium B.C. Their research is the subject of a paper that appears in the online Early Edition issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) the week of February 25, 2013. 
"This new body of evidence demonstrates quite clearly that the very earliest emergence of civilization in South America was indeed based on agriculture as in the other great civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, and China," said Haas.

Northland Resources ( and Monty Python

Today's NR from the financially very troubled Northland Resources (, a company that's not on your humble scribe's beat but its travails have been covered well by Kip Keen over at recently (eg here, though several other reports on NAU recently by his hand) managed to brighten my day no end this morning due to this quote:
Comment from the President and CEO"Northland has invested more than USD 900 million in the Kaunisvaara project and developed the mining site from bog to mine in less than two years. The production ramp-up has been (continues here)

Which is, undoubtedly and clearly of course, inspired by Monty Python and the Holy Grail:
"Listen, lad. I've built this kingdom up from nothing. When I started here, all there was was swamp. All the kings said I was daft to build a castle in a swamp, but I built it all the same, just to show 'em. It sank into the swamp. So, I built a second one. That sank into the swamp. So I built a third one. That burned down, fell over, then sank into the swamp. But the fourth one stayed up. An' that's what your gonna get, lad -- the strongest castle in these islands."

Enjoy video scene of enormous mirth:

Peru's international currency reserve position

Here's the development of Peru's International Currency Reserves position, annually and the latest snapshot figures from mid-February:

What you see is what happens when you have a strong economy and a smart monetary policy that makes your currency popular with the world. People want in, they bring dollars to buy Nuevos Soles (PEN), the Central Bank buys the dollars to make sure the currency doesn't get too strong too fast, reserves go up and up.

The only question left is to wonder whether holding a very large sack of US Dollars is a smart thing or not. In fact, amongst Peruvian financial people and economist bods, that question is starting to be asked as there have been recent voices proposing Peru boost its gold reserve position (which is a very very small part of the above total) instead of adding more greenbacks. There are even suggestions that Peru might set up a sovereign wealth fund structure, maybe along the lines of those used in Brazil or Chile (which are different, but in the end serve the same purposes).

Data from here


IKN recommends: Vancouver Venture

Vancouver Venture is a blog I've stealth followed for quite a while and couple of weeks ago finally got round to sticking it on the blogroll. It's run by a guy who really knows his way around the TSX Venture exchange and actively trades the stocks he writes about. Full of tips and insight about what's behind the news and what might happen to this-or-that stock, as well as a healthy dose of cynicism regarding the shady nature of his beat, Vancouver Venture really should have been reco'd by your humble scribe a long time ago. Today we correct the oversight and fully recommend those readers into all things Canadian mining, stocks and deals and what have you, to go over, check out the blog and make it part of your regular day's reading.

Here's the link again, to make sure you go. Now go.

We all enjoy a good police report

Especially when it comes with photos. Dateline Venezuela (translated):
"It was 5:20pm when at the end of prison visiting hours, the woman was carrying a suitcase in which the prisoner, García Mendoza Gedinson Jesús C.I. 20589914, was hidden in the prevention area of the Yare II prison. However, at the staircase a guard noticed the physical force the woman was exercising in order to lift the suitcase. Immediately the guard stopped her and on searching the suitcase found the prisoner."

Thompson Creek ( (TC): There is of course absolutely no connection...

"...according to information reliably received, a lot of what TCM thought was ore is silicate encapsulated fine moly and is (I quote) "totally unrecoverable". The decision to run Endako on stockpile only  was blamed in part on the low moly prices and the need to cut operating costs, but that's only half the story folks. Unless TCM's scientist boffins come up with a new way of recovering moly, when the three year stockpile runs out that's all she wrote for the mine and after spending over $600m on that nice new mill, too. As it happens, some of those boffins inside TCM have apparently been trying to tell the stuffed suits at board level about this for quite a while but it's only now, when the caca hits the ventilador, that they're actually being listened to at last."
"During the fourth quarter of 2012, Thompson Creek recognized a $530.5 million non-cash pre-tax write down of its share of the property, plant, equipment and development assets at the Endako Mine."
Absolutely none at all. Oh no no no no no. My thanks the hardrock hotshot for the headsup.

The IKN Weekly, out now

IKN199 has just been sent to subscribers. Overall I think this edition came out pretty well, which makes a pleasant change