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On Cyprus

Due to the combo of being 1) lazy 2) busy writing the weekly and 3) fully aware that Felix Salmon would write a stronger analysis of the situation than anything attempted here, your humble scribe decided not to write on the unfolding bank mess in Cyprus today. So now that Salmon's post has arrived, we recommend that you go read it and get smarter about the winners, losers, and potential repercussions of this latest Euro-Fubar.

PS: Is this good for gold? Yes probably, but it's likely just as good for the US Dollar. Might even work well for the British Pound.


The Friday OT: JS Bach; Brandenburg 3

I played my CD of all the Brandenburgs a few days ago in the office. When 3 was done, my eldest daughter (currently into Kylie Minogue, Katy Perry and suchlike) stuck her head round the door and asked, "What was that? It's really good!" 

Overall, I think she's turning out to have a decent ear :-)

Alderon ( (AXX): Three cheers for Hebei

Beats me what the fuss was all about :-)

Here's the NR, here's how it kicks off and by the looks of things, just one small clause added to the deal.

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Mar 15, 2013) - Alderon Iron Ore Corp. (ADV.TO)(NYSE MKT:AXX) ("Alderon") is pleased to announce that Hebei Iron & Steel Group Co., Ltd. ("HBIS") has contributed the remaining C$119.9 million of its initial investment and Alderon has contributed the Kami iron ore project ("Kami Project") to a limited partnership (the "Kami Limited Partnership") which is owned 25% by HBIS and 75% by Alderon. HBIS is China''s largest steel producer.

Shhh! Quiet! Schtum! Utter radio silence and that's an order

Do not say a freakin' word to anyone, right?

You put the kibosh on this by blabbing and we'll never speak again, got it?

Making use of The Calandra Filter™

One of the useful things about having a PR company like Thom Calandra's Torrey Hills Capital/Baby Bulls on the scene is that it makes the job of filtering through junior mining stocks that much easier. The premise couldn't be more straightforward, in fact:
Any junior mining company stupid enough to pay money to a proven securities fraudster who's been banned by the SEC has automatically, immediately and permanently excluded itself from serious consideration.
Pretty logical, right?

Recently we've had Tembo Gold (TEM.v) signing on with Torrey Hills/Baby Bulls, its Feb 1st decision to hire the fraudster coming on the back of Calandra's claim that he can improve any stock's share price by 20% in 6 months:

Yeah well, there's a 20%+ move there all right. Maybe he got confused by the definition of the verb "improve". Cut to today and we have news of another company we can ignore forever, some outfit called Excalibur that trades on the scratchy CNSX index has signed on with the BS merchant. Another one that we never need look at again, folks.

So make use of The Calandra Filter yourself, kind reader, it makes your analysis life that little bit easier and for a head start, here's the list of companies daft enough to give him cash.

Chart of the day is...

...the gold/platinum ratio.

Back to parity again. Another bullshit hype gone quiet. So, what they gonna try and make you chase next time?


The USA - Peru Free Trade Agreement (FTA): We have a winner

Inspired by this eye-opening post by one of Peru's top economists, Jurgen Schuldt, your author dug down into the US Dept of Commerce website, found the right page and put together this chart. You'll also see a few notes on how the USA/Peru Free Trade Agreement (FTA), known as the Tratado de Libre Comercio (TLC) in Peru, developed along the timeline because...well, let's say this isn't any coincidence.

In simple terms: Before the FTA Peru had a positive trade balance with the USA. After the FTA the USA has run an ever-increasing positive trade balance with Peru.

Beats me why the USA is so keen on promoting free trade around the world. Must be for all that democracy and joyful human harmony thing.

South America, according to Dallas/Fort Worth Texas TV news

Thanks to those fine Texan Lonestar fellows over at CBS Dallas Fort Worth we learn that the new Pope comes from Argentina, which is a town in Colombia next to the Indian Ocean.

And they wonder why IKN is considered a useful service to gringos...

Barrick Pueblo Viejo's gold confiscated, president turns up in Dominican Republic

Coincidence, surely?

Just 24 hours after The Dominican Republic decided to stop a consignment of gold from leaving The Dom Rep, a move almost certainly connected with the country's claim on more revenues from the mine, the president of the Barrick Pueblo Viejo mine (60% ABX, 40% GG) Víctor Manuel Rocha arrives in Dom Rep from Miami (no beach for you).

In another amazing turn of events, Rocha decided that giving a quote to the assembled press wasn't a great plan Stan and slipped out the back Jack.

Alderon Iron Ore Corp ( Gosh, isn't this exciting!?!?

Tomorrow March 15th is the big China decision day folks, golly jeepers what's the result gonna be?

I feel like bursting into a chorus of  "should i stay or should I go?". What about you, Stan?

"Anyone who thinks social media is a valid replacement for an RSS reader, leave the room now"

The "Hitler discovers that..." subtitled video meme has been overplayed and usually leaves me cold, but this one really is good.

Chart of the day is...

... the Peru IGBVL "general" index, a squiggly line that your humble scribe watches fairly closely due to the combo of heavy mining influence and emerging market status.

If you want a tradeable proxy, go look at the Peru ETF (EPU).

A flash update...

...has just been sent to subscribers on this very pleasant Thursday morning, just over an hour before the opening bell. 


Would someone care to ask Christopher Barker of The Motley Fool an opinion on his Top Pick Great Panther Silver ( (GPL)?

As he doesn't seem to want to answer my mails on the matter.

Here are the 4q12 numbers, out tonight. Yup, usual disaster.

Google Don't Do It! Google Reader to be killed

Oh noes. This just greeted me (lines drawn in):

Read more here. Oh lordy, this is the pits, Mister Google. Don't do this don't don't do not do this.

Pope Francis

Your new Pope is the dude in the churchy-looking clothes. The other guy, you ask?

Once the world starts to dig around, your humble scribe is confident reporters are just gonna love the connection between The Infallible One and his role in the disappearance of 125 priests at the hands of his pal in the photo.

What's Latin for "plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose"?

UPDATE: Especially for our spanish speakers, a screenshot from Chile's TVN State TV channel that captioned a typo for the ages:

Not photoshopped.

PS: My thanks to Ricardo over at Los Huevos Y Las Ideas for improving photos enormously. Meanwhile, you huntin' reporter sleuths could do much worse than start with Verbitsky's extensive reporting on Bergoglio.


A Flash update...

...was sent to subscribers, Tuesday evening. Just some thoughts.

Nicolás Maduro, rock star

Here's the tweet, (apparently from fellow member of the same band) and here's the photo:

The date is roughly 1982 or 1983, but definitely we know the band's name, Enigma. We also know that Nicolás Maduro, now President/Acting President/Presidential Candidate (pick whichever you like), is your axeman. 

Since this photo was taken he ate all the arepas and bushed out that 'tache too much. Hair hasn't changed, though.

World media are now offering us "Live coverage of the Papal Conclave"

You want to know how visionary Monty Python was? Listen to this.

"It looks like Tess of the d'Urbervilles all over again"

UPDATE: Irish bookmakers Paddy Power is offering prices on the next Pope. Here's an annotated screenshot (if you click through, price may have changed)

First Quantum ( How close to the winning line? That close

Has to be said that this whole takeover strategy has been played very well by First Quantum ( Whether or not Cobre Panama turns out to be worth the money is another question entirely, but that's for the future. And hey, so much for all that fluff and nonsense from the sellside anal yst whores about First Quantum needing to sweeten the bid. NR here, excerpt here:

As at 11:59 p.m. (Eastern Daylight Time) on March 11, 2013, a total of 43,207,256 Inmet Shares, representing approximately 61.45% of the outstanding Inmet shares (on a fully diluted basis), had been tendered to the Offer. The Offer has been varied to allow the minimum tender condition to be satisfied if more than 50% of the outstanding Inmet shares (on a fully diluted basis) have been validly deposited, prior to the new expiry time of the Offer. Accordingly, based on tenders to date, First Quantum anticipates being in a position to complete the Offer and begin taking up and paying for shares promptly following the expiry of the Offer at 11:59 p.m. (Eastern Daylight Time) on March 21, 2013.
If as expected more than 662/3% of the outstanding Inmet shares (on a fully diluted basis) have been validly deposited under the Offer as at the new expiry time of the Offer, First Quantum will be implementing a Subsequent Acquisition Transaction to acquire the balance of the Inmet shares not deposited under the Offer, as more fully described in

continues here

Endeavour Silver ( (EXK) 4q12 results

Endeavour Silver ( (EXK) reports its year and you can find the NR here and find the real reports on SEDAR (NB: if you only care about the company version of the results without reading the reg filings, you're doing it wrong). You can chew them over yourself and as this one is a widely covered stock, I'm sure your friendly neighbourhood broker will have a typically softsoap anal yst opinion waiting for you if you phone up and check your a/c manager, so here we'll just check on the production figures (that we tend to track) and one little item that caught your humble scribe's beady little eye:

Here are the breakdown production numbers for silver...

...and for gold...
...though it may pay not to look too closely at how one mine does more than the other then later does do again (except for El Cubo, wot iz different like) because as EDR explains in its MD&A:
"During the 4th Quarter, the Company discovered discrepancies in its metallurgical balance and Bolanitos concentrate stockpile held at the Guanacevi plant. An internal review found a measurement discrepancy in the system feeding Bolanitos concentrates into the Guanacevi leach plant. As a result, Endeavour estimates that about 227 more tonnes of concentrate were processed during the year than reported, which led to an extra 62,500 oz silver and 1,100 oz gold being credited as Guanacevi production. The average recoveries for gold and silver reported for Guanacevi in the first three quarters of 2012 were therefore overstated, while this adjustment is reflected in the reported 4th quarter recoveries and cash costs."
Hey ho. However, the thing that really caught mine eye was this:

Over the last few months your humble scribe has occasionally wondered and mused on just why EDR was so anxious to buy El Cubo and overpay AuRico for the pleasure of ownership. This kind of adds a bit of clarity to the situation, dontchathink?

Disclosure: No position EDR. Now there's a shockah.



Which of these two votes will the country of Canada have the easiest time in acknowledging?

98.8% of Falklands/Malvinas residents want Argentina to stay away from their land

97% of Cañaris Peru residents want Candente Copper ( to stay away from their land.

Go on, take a wild guess.

When is a closed mine not a closed mine? (Kinross (KGC) ( edition)

Reliable word reaches IKN Nerve Centre™ that Kinross ( (KGC) is flatly denying that it's closing mining operations at its La Coipa gold mine in Chile, despite all evidence to the contrary. "No no", K says, "it's suspending production while we hunt for a bit more economic rock to process, that's all". Which twisted minds immediately turn into this:

Mr Trader: I wish to make a complaint!
Mr. Ken Ross: We're closin' for lunch.
Trader: Never mind that, my lad. I wish to complain about this gold mine what I purchased not half an hour ago from this very boutique.
Ken Ross: Oh yes, the, uh, the La Coipa...What's, uh...What's wrong with it?
Trader: I'll tell you what's wrong with it, my lad. It’s closed, that's what's wrong with it!
Ken Ross: No, no, it’s err suspended.
Trader: Look, matey, I know a closed gold mine when I see one, and I'm looking at one right now.
Ken Ross: No no he's not closed, he's, he's suspended! Remarkable mine, the La Coipa, innit ay? Beautiful plumage!
Trader: The plumage don't enter into it. It's stone closed.
Ken Ross: Nononono, no, no! It's suspended! Suspended!

What's more, if you check out the NR that the local Kinross subsidiary published regarding the affair on March 7th, it goes into how no more gold will be produced as well as giving employees a clear headsup about layoffs. But the mine isn't closed. And it's not a material event that K needs to tell the English language market. Oh no. 

Joke of the day

The Venezuelan opposition is now trying to promote the idea that after his "firebrand" speech yesterday Henrique Capriles has a decent chance of winning the April 14th election. Those dudes crack me up. And then they wonder why their analyses aren't taken seriously later.  C'mon guys, even Capriles is clear that this is about consolidating a position to take advantage of future potential weakness in a Maduro government.

Mostly harmless

To commemorate the what-would-have-been 61st birthday of Douglas Adams today, IKN humbly offers up a few of his finer one line quotes:

Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job. 
If there's anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now. 
My doctor says that I have a malformed public-duty gland and a natural deficiency in moral fiber, and that I am therefore excused from saving Universes. 
Arthur hoped and prayed that there wasn't an afterlife. Then he realized there was a contradiction there and merely hoped that there wasn't an afterlife. 
If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands. 
You live and learn. At any rate, you live. 
He felt that his whole life was some kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it. 
In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. 
A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools

Chart of the day is...

...zinc, 12 months, because for a while back there in early February it looked like Zn was going to make a move above $1:

Then it didn't.

Chart from those happy jolly people over at kitco

The IKN Weekly, out now

IKN201 has just been sent to subscribers. We take a close look at Colossus Minerals ( this week, along with the usual commentary and nonsense about the whacky world of digging holes in ground.


Capriles delays, but will accept

There's a sub-level of rumours going around about how Henrique Capriles, who's now basically the leader of the opposition in Venezuela, may not in fact accept the job of being opposition candidate to run against Niclás Maduro in the April 14th Presidential election. The reasoning is that because Capriles knows he's on a hiding to nothing, he'll let somebody else take the fall instead of diluting his political capital for a later run at the job. Well yeah, that's the first level of thought but the doubts about Capriles running or not sound much more like smart strategy by the man himself than any serious potential of not running. For one thing, Capriles wouldn't want one of his M.U.D. "colleagues" (in inverted commas because although from the same opposition coalition, ties aren't exactly tight between the concerned parties and he'd be stabbed in the back quickly enough by another pretender given the chance) to be the candidate and show even equally as well as he did in October versus Chávez. The other thing is that most everyone now realizes that barring a tsunami-type political event between now and April 14th Maduro will get the job, so if Capriles right now can project an image of "well...i dunno...hiding to nothing y'know...ok, for the good of my party...and for my principles!!...hmmm, ok I'll do it" he can keep any direct damage to a minimum once the whole votefest is over.

So yes he plays it a bit dumb right now, sows a seed or three, then turns it into a no-lose situation for his greater aspirations that lie further down the line (when the Hugo honeymoon period has worn off).All pretty fair enough and smart political strategy. With that said, I'm going back to finishing off the Weekly.

UPDATE: Yup, he's running. Full of fire and brimstone his speech was, too.

Folha: Vale (VALE) to cancel its Cerro Colorado potash project in Mendoza, Argentina

It's been in some doubt for a while, but this morning Brazil's Folha newspaper reports that Vale (VALE) has decided to scrap its U$5.9Bn Rio Colorado potash project in Mendoza, Argentina. Here's Reuters EngLang with its take:

RIO DE JANEIRO, March 10 (Reuters) - Brazilian mining giant Vale SA is likely to cancel a $5.9 billion potash project after failing to gain tax breaks from Argentina, the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper reported on Sunday.
Without relief from the Argentine government, the cost of the Rio Colorado potash mine, railway and port system is expected to soar 86 percent to $11 billion, making it unviable, Folha said, citing unnamed Vale officials.
The possibility of Vale pulling out of the project would also be a blow for the Brazilian government, which was counting on the mine in Argentina to help to secure new supplies of potash, a critical fertiliser, for its agricultural industry.

Continues here and believe me folks, it'll be a blow to the Argentine government as well.