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World Cup intel: The skinny on Manaus

There's been a lot of play about the Brazil city of Manaus in the press this week, mainly because England and Italy have been drawn to play their first World Cup match in the Amazon region's biggest city. 

A lot of silliness already being trotted out too (e.g. unplayable or extreme conditions, which is a bunch of tosh and blither) so it's time for some solid, experienced and well-researched opinions to take the place of the hype. Donna Bowater is a British journalist who lives in Brazil and covers the country for The Daily Telegraph. She's also a big footy fan, so her eye is in the right place when it comes to such matters. Last month she visited Manaus and on her personal blog, right here, gives an excellent overview and lowdown on what awaits the world during the big tourney next year. Any football fan worth their salt will do well to read her note.

What’s at stake in Venezuela’s local elections*

Tomorrow, December 8th, sees the local elections take place in Venezuela. It's being billed as a big test for new President Maduro, so there's a lot of script available now and the aftermath is sure to be covered by the assembled media, too. So, when it comes to English language news and analysis, I offer you two options:
1) If you want to read the normal type of agenda-ridden bullshit on Venezuela from the channels of choice, don't let me stop you. The Google machine is that way, try "Venezuela December 8 election" as suitable keywords, then sit back and read your eyes sore. 
2) If you'd like a balanced and intelligent preview of the election in English, Setty has written this. It's only four paragraphs long but it captures what's important, what's not, what's been made up, what you need to watch for etc etc and it does the job well.

Guess which option I recommend the most?

 *three's a crowd


Mining PRs and the Ottotrans™, part 80

Today we do the NR just out from Colossus Minerals (, we do it in the "as short as possible" Ottotrans™ mode, and those used to the occasional series can probably guess already how it's going to turn out.

This is what they wrote:
TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Dec. 6, 2013) -Colossus Minerals Inc. (the "Company" or "Colossus") (CSI.TO)(COLUF) provides an update on the status of the Company's efforts to identify and secure funding for the balance of the expenses identified to commence production at its 75% owned Serra Pelada gold-platinum-palladium Mine. The Serra Pelada Mine is a joint venture between Colossus and Cooperativa de Mineração dos Garimpeiros de Serra Pelada ("COOMIGASP") located in the State of Pará, Brazil.  
In a press release dated November 14, 2013, the Company indicated that delays related to dewatering had resulted in a delay in production until the second quarter of 2014. The delay in reaching initial production meant that additional financing would be required. 
Following November 14, 2013, the Company prepared a revised forecast of the capital and operating expenditures required to get to initial production with the funds required to meet certain existing obligations of the Company and estimated that it would be necessary to raise approximately US$70 million. Since then the Company has consulted with key stakeholders to discuss potential sources and structures for financing the US$70 million as well as additional funding that is expected to be needed between commencement of production and positive cash flow from operations. After lengthy discussions it was agreed that, at this time, a different approach is required. 
Accordingly, the board of directors has taken a decision that the Company's strategy should be reviewed. To achieve that purpose, the Company will take the following steps: 
  1. Cease underground development for the time being and focus on de-risking the project:
  • completing the dewatering and undertaking additional underground drilling; and
  • decreasing overall costs.
  1. Complete the NI 43-101 compliant resource estimate with Roscoe Postle Associates Inc. by the end of December. 
As previously disclosed, the Company will need additional capital to carry on its business activities. These circumstances indicate a material uncertainty which may cast significant doubt as to the ability of the Company to continue as a going concern. The Company, in conjunction with its key stakeholders, is continuing its efforts to raise short-term capital to partly address its working capital deficiency and pursue other strategic alternatives.
About Colossus:

And this is what it means:

We're fucked

Must-read for all junior mining sector participants

This Mineweb note is the best thing you'll read on the sector all week. Here's a clip:

"There used to be an old joke in university that geologists were engineers who couldn’t do math. Sometimes I wonder if this isn’t true when I see resource models for gold deposits with grades less than 1 g/t gold (or equivalent grades for other elements) in some inaccessible northern frontier area with no infrastructure or lying under 100 metres or more of till. This isn’t an orebody; it’s a shareholder-funded science project that didn’t work out."
The whole thing here

Gold moved from U$1,228 to U$1,219 in the seven seconds before the U.S. jobs report

Just sayin'

More cool "just coincidence" charts on the action 23 minutes ago where that one came from, including a massive move in Dow futs right before the report hit, right here.

Reuters 2013 best photos of the year

There are 93 shots on the link and they all come with a bit of narrative from the photographer who took them. Cannot be recommended too highly, so when you have 20 minutes or so free in your day this is the place to be.

A personal fave? Too tough really, they're all fabbo, but perhaps 33, 45, 54 and 58 and 70 for their surreal qualities.

Chart of the day is...

...the Nelson Mandela chart:



The thing IKN most likes about the Ontario Securities Commission... the way in which they keep coming back.

Y'know, I find it laugh-out-loud funny that these guys would consider IKN as reasonable and useful source material. Are they really this amateurish up there? And hey, OSC dudes, maybe it's long past the time you got a little masking on your interwebnetpipes activities, yeah? After all, if a dumbass like me gets a flag when you show up on his site the bad guys can get the same cover as well, really easy like.

Can we say it out loud one time, Clive? Timmins Gold ( won't sign a CA

At the Scotia Capital mining conference yesterday, B2Gold's ( (BTG) Clive Johnson got back on one of his favourite hobby horses and complained about the number of mining companies that flat refuse to sign confidentiality agreements (CA) with him and his crowd. For example, Mineweb's ace reporter Kip Keen quotes him as saying, "there's a couple groups ... that aren't doing what they should be as public companies." when on the subject of CAs.

But as usual The Clive refused to name names and got coy about the moneyline, so here's where IKN comes in because it's common industry knowledge (and I mean common, as in 'passed this desk at least four times') that there are more than one offender in this, but the company that really put the bug up The Clive's rear end is Timmins Gold (, who plain flat refused any sort of foreplay and in the view of The Clive, doing their shareholders a bad service. 

And hey, if you look at the share price action recently, you have to think that The Clive has a point. Just wish he had the guts to say it in public himself, don't you?

UPDATE: While on the subject, only fair to point you towards Keen's report of the proceedings, as it has plenty more flavour besides the bit you see above. A most interesting read, particularly on the panel's view of 43-101.

Shorter Colorado Resources (CXO.v) 2013

"We had this really good discovery hole, but the rest have been dogshyte since then. And oh, before we go, hope you've had a good 2013 and thanks for that money you gave us via the raising that happened earlier this year.....errrr....just after the...err...the really good discovery hole."

Isn't it strange how many times this great hole--> share price zoom --> financing --> nothing much afterwards pattern happens among TSXV junior miners? Pure coincidence, I'm sure. 

Anyway, for the official version of CXO, see the NR out this morning.

Boguski? Did you really say "Boguski"? Sierra Iron (NAA.v), a pump'n'dump scam

These things are so obvious it hurts the braincells, but just to count down a few of the items:

1) An option on 50% of an untested piece of chinchilla pasture in Sinaloa, Mexico.

2) Manipulated two-bit junior put together for the pump

3) Company that pays $25,000 for this type of shit promo to feed the US OTC market morons.

4) And a CEO named Wally Boguski. Is that Polish? And while you're over at the officers CV page, check out the other backgrounds, they'll make you guffaw as well.

Sierra Iron Ore Corp (NAA.v) I name thee scam, scam and thrice scam.

h/t the always wonderful YH

Chart of the day is...


Tagged at U$19.41 just a couple of minutes ago, not many primary silver producers making money from this price. That's the problem with the metal y'see, it's mostly a by-product and the big producers care more about the Zn, Pb, Cu etc that comes out with the Ag. The result; Violent and unauthorized anal penetration of junior silver balance sheets and resulting effects on share prices.

To the pathetic, unprofessional and obnoxious journalist Andrew Anthony of The Guardian, caught in his lie

Over the weekend, I read a note in The Guardian written by one Andrew Anthony that contained the idiot stupid claim, all too often used up North, that coca is the same as cocaine. Therefore this post entitled "For the 1000th time, coca is not cocaine" was written, basically because I'm bored stiff with the ignorance shown up North on the subject. Soon after publishing, the post was picked up very quickly by a different Guardian reporter who covers LatAm, at which point I asked her (almost immediately, evidenced here) if she'd mind getting in contact with her employer and getting a correction done. This she did, and notified me that she'd got the correction to happen. Fortunately, all this is evidenced, timestamps and dates and everything, over at Twitter (here, scroll down to the December 1st entries, or start here for a large part of the conversation that covers most of the exchange).

So basically, 1) Andrew Anthony published bullshit about coca and cocaine 2) I pointed that out 3) the post got picked up by the right person 4) the correction got made quickly. This is a good thing and as a result I updated the Sunday post just after the correction happened to note that the Guardian had corrected and got its facts closer to the truth (not spot on fwiw, still stereotyping all Peru/Andean indigenous as "The Incas", but at least acceptable).

Cut to yesterday, and it seems that Andrew Anthony likes himself far too much to have anything bad on the interwebnetpipes, because he wrote me this mail.


I notice that you have an entry on your website under the heading "For the 1000th time, Coca is not cocaine".

You then go on to write:

"Yeah, that's just what we need, another so-called expert regurgitating the stupid. Listen Andrew Anthony, it's really simple"

before explaining the difference between coca and cocaine

OK, for the 1000th time, freelance writers in British newspapers are not responsible for the headlines, standfirsts, captions or fact boxes that appear alongside their pieces.

I did not write the fact box containing the egregious error about coca and cocaine. It was stuck on the end of my piece by the editors, no doubt after an intern had written it. I had no knowledge of it and no control over it. I have as much responsibility for that mistake, in other words, as you do. It's really that simple.

I know it always helps to have an identifiable person on whom to hang righteous anger, but you've got the wrong one. And, by the way, where does the "so-called expert" come from? I was writing a piece about the changing social profile of cocaine in Britain. I wasn't making any claims for knowledge beyond that. So let's see if this interweb thing is worth the time and you amend your entry accordingly as the Guardian did after I notified them of their error.
I then replied, telling him that he was a liar and a pointing out he was writing under a byline. I then gave him opportunity to retract. He then replied with another mail that was even more obnoxious than the first one you see above and repeated his obvious lie.

So let's be clear about two things:

1) He is a liar. He didn't correct the article, the article was corrected for him. The error was pointed out by your author. Little did he know that the error wasn't picked up by some other place but the very person who called him out on it, so when he tried the bullyboy tactics and tried to claim he was the one who corrected the article, I just started laughing.

2) He is utterly unprofessional. Even if he didn't write the bottom boxes of the article, he bylined the note and as any professional reporter or journalist knows, the responsibility for the content of any article cannot be shifted to copywriters, editors or sub-eds; if it's published under your name it's your responsibility, period. If he can't be bothered to proof the stories that go out under his byline before they go to press, that's his problem and nobody else's.

So here's your apology, Andrew Anthony: Go fuck yourself you two faced liar, stupid twat, excuse for a journalist and arrogant, high-handed piece of shit.

PS: Already getting feedback on this post, so to cover a Q already answered twice yes, I could show the other mails in the exchange (and will if necessary at a later date) but I tried to keep this post concise. It could have become very long and lost the main thrust otherwise.


Mount Kellett and Baja Mining (, then and now

Basic truth: A dumbass with money is still a dumbass.

Remember how the "Special Situations" (aka "we're big money, we know what we're doing, we'll rape those bagholders no problem guys, come on in") Mount Kellett fund, set up and run by two ex-Goldman Sachs employees and using Chinese OPM, bought 20% of Baja Mining for the knock-down bargain sum of around $60m? Good, I'm glad you remember that, here's an update from today's mailbag of NRs:

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Dec 3, 2013) - Baja Mining Corp. ("Baja") (BAJ.TO)(BAJFF) reports in relation to the significant volume of its shares that traded on December 3, 2013, that Mount Kellett Master Fund II A LP filed a report on after the market close on December 3, 2013, advising that it has sold all of its 67,421,117 common shares of Baja.

Looks like them there suit'n'brace wearing big swingin' dicks sold those shares for half a cent each, according to recent volumes and prices at least. Which means that they might have made a loss on this one, does it not? In fact, the cash reaped from the sale won't even cover the legal fees they ran during the battle with ex-CEO Greenslime. At the time (July 2012) your author wrote...
PS: Oh, one final thing. It's now pretty clear that the guys at Mount Kellett, the people who bought 19.9% of BAJ at prices around a $1 (best guess) average and then went on for NR after NR about their belief in Boleo's world class potential etc etc, know fuck all about mining. The moral here is that just because you have $60m to throw at the market it doesn't make you smart. Next time you see the Mt Kellett names pop up on a deal keep that one in mind, yeah?
...and I think that one isn't so far from the truth, 20/20 and all that.

PS: For anyone wanting a lot more on the Baja Mining trainwreck, IKN covered the whole sordid tale in deep detail at the time. Check out this link for most of the posts, all in one place.

Tough market for miners? (Kitco edition)

Anyone else notice that instead of banner ads for mining companies, Kitco is now running "Do You Trust Obama?" ads from some nutball right wing website, or in-house filler ads for its own features where you'd normally get a flash advert for a junior, or big "Ad Choices" blocks in high-eyeball places that bring you the latest offers from places like Walmart, Expedia, Dell and Orange? I mean, these ads make Kitco look as amateur and flakey as this humble corner of cyberspace (yup, that bad).

The last time I recall a near-total lack of budget for ads from mining companies at one of the highest-traffic metals sites in the world was back in 2008.

For sale in Mexico: Truck, second hand, good condition, comes with own cobalt-60

The International Atomic Energy Agency today alerts that in Mexico a truck carrying a consignment of cobalt 60 on the way from a hospital to a nuclear waste storage location was hijacked (other reports say at a gas station) on the way from place A to place B. Here's he IAEA NR, here's how it starts:
"Mexico has informed the IAEA's Incident and Emergency Centre (IEC) of the theft of a truck carrying a dangerous radioactive source used in medical treatment.  Mexico's "Comisión Nacional de Seguridad Nuclear y Salvaguardias (CNSNS)" said the truck, which was transporting the cobalt-60 teletherapy source from a hospital in the northern city of Tijuana to a radioactive waste storage centre, was stolen in Tepojaco near Mexico City at around 08:00 UTC on 2 December 2013.  At the time the truck was stolen, the source was properly shielded."
IAEA also states that...
"...the source could be extremely dangerous to a person if removed from the shielding, or if it was damaged."
...which we can place in the No Shit Sherlock file, as Cobalt 60 can be used safely by professionals in the treatment of cancerous tumours (from memory and sad though third party experience, brain tumours are treated this way) but in the wrong hands can be very, very nasty indeed (dirty bomb ingredient, for example).

UPDATE, Ah, they found it. All's well that (etc)

Barrick (ABX) news: Munk steps down, Ned Goodman joins board

According to Reuters, today's the day Munk makes his totally voluntary he wanted to leave no pressure involved at all oh no retirement official. But likely to make as much noise is the appointment of Ned Goodman, centre of the world at Dundee, to the board. Hey, maybe Barrick will buy Ryan Gold?


Buy your Banksy 'Destroy Capitalism' print from Walmart dot com

I saw this mentioned on Twitter and had to go look. And it's true.

Yes indeed, roll up roll up get yer fresh Banksy 'Destroy Capitalism' print, yours from just $57.99 plus shipping. People of Walmart will be powerless to resist.

This could be the definitive proof that a print of art is not art.

A reader on Rio Alto ( (RIOM)

Just received this from HB and it's getting an airing here, because I agree 100%:

The selling pattern in RIO reminds me of a situation in 2002, where a perfectly healthy 25 year old (no dotcom junk) software company was sold into the ground just like this. The seller was an investment holding which needed any penny it could get (not that surprising at the time). In the end it was selling for 60 cents. After the seller was finished (probably in more ways than one) the stock started to creep up slowly. In 2011 it sold for 22€. Yes, I sold mine waaay too early :-)

With the current situation in the gold sector a similar constellation is not inconceivable. Would be nice to know how much powder the seller has left. Alex Black didn't have any idea who it is? Doesn't exactly look like a mom and pop operation ...

Tough market for juniors? (Canaccord edition)

Up to this week, Canaccord's "Metaland" junior mining review has been a weekly publication, but today your author reads in the edition dated December 2nd...
"Due to analyst departure and reallocation of resources, we will be publishing our Junior Mining Weekly as a bi-monthly report."

...and by the looks of the analyst role call on the left of the PDF, it's Nicholas CampbellSoup (along with one Chris Lerch, a research assistant) who's taken the fall.

Augusta Resources ( (AZC) rollercoaster

Jeez dudes, would you make up your mind one time, yeah? I mean, this is a ten day chart, not a year or something:

Disclosure: No position

Further to yesterday's shock John Lennon news, it's now Ringo's turn

Yesterday was John Lennon's turn in the spotlight, as carried by IKN in this post, today we have a sighting of Ringo Starr in Peru:

The back story here is that in order to get married in Peru, you have to announce the proposed bethrothal in the local papers beforehand so you get these pre-marriage edicts in the classifieds and smalls all the time. That aside, congrats to 31 year old Ringo and and his new wife Shirley, best of luck to both in love's great adventure.

"IKN has lost its bite"... reports reader 'AA' in his mail this morning. And you know what, it's probably true that these days I don't get as angry as I used to get about the nefarious goings on in the junior mining sphere and the way in which its scumbag population scam money out of the retail world. On reflection that's probably because now isn't the time to be angry, the time to be angry was when the scumbags were ripping all you idiot greenhorns off, not when the idiot greenhorns finally realize they were ripped off and their indignation rises, many dollars short and many days late.

All part of being a contrarian, I suppose. Anyway, have a pleasant day.


We've followed the copper market fundies really, but really closely over at The IKN Weekly this year and noted the many and varied weird things it's thrown out along the way. At this point today, those that have paid attention to 'The Copper Basket' section (and that's not all the readers by the way; it's a section that doesn't appeal to all subbers but I know it has a core following) have a damned good idea about why copper is now dropping even as world warehouse stocks fall through the floor. For others, best hints are to start with the word "unwind" and the phrase "cancelled warrants". That'll help. A bit.

Biiwii: Reading goldbug stupidities since 2002 so that we don't have to

Gary Biiwii does things I wouldn't do, such as trudge through the gold commentary sphere to see what the mouthbreathers are saying. This morning he's come up with a  beauty from someone with far, far too much time on his hands, one Harry Binswanger:
“Gold is the ultimate expression of mind-body integration. It is the symbol of purely, “crassly” material value because it is beautiful–i.e., because it is a spiritual value.”
This intellectually-challenged pseud could easily be ignored, bar the fact that he writes for Forbes, gets featured on high-traffic websites such as Yahoo Finance and therefore runs the risk of actually influencing more than the perma-lost hardcore goldbug brigade with this utter balderdash and piffle. So good on Gary Biiwii for calling him out and sticking down a few sensible words on "what gold is" in his post.

Chart of the day is...

...the Euro versus the dollar, and the British Pound versus the dollar:

On reading this morning that GBP at $1.64 was hitting a two year high against the dollar, your humble scribe started poking aorund. Indeed that's true, but surely the rally we've seen in the Euro in the last 12 months, all despite the well-documented (or hyped, depending on your preference) US economic recovery, is more interesting.


Minera Chindin S.A.C., a model for junior mining community relations in Peru

This piece below was featured in IKN239 yesterday. Written by alpaca fibre and Peru expert Francis Rainsford, it tells of an inexpensive and effective method that mining companies can use to gain strong approval and solid community relations in Andean high country project locations.

If you'd like to know more and/or get in contact with the protagonists, feel free to drop me a line and I'll do you a link mail, no problems.


Peru: Chindin shows model community relations (hopefully others can learn)
As previewed in today’s intro, here’s today’s main ‘Regional Politics’ piece, written by wool and fibre expert, Francis Rainsford. Required reading for any company exposed to Andean region community relations risk.

25th November 2013                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        


By: Francis Rainsford


Whenever problems involving issues of social conflict arise in Peru it is practically inevitable that the mining sector is to the fore.

Whereas mining investments can be a source of great wealth to neighbouring local communities with the provision of employment and social programmes such as road improvements, the building of new classrooms for schools, medical clinics etc., it can also generate deep resentment in matters affecting the environment - mainly in the field of water management.

As a rule mining operations consume vast quantities of water, often in areas where the supply is limited. Unfortunately, too, and despite sophisticated water treatment processes in many cases, contamination of surrounding land is often a cause of grave concern.

None more so than when mining companies and alpaca farmers are forced to be unwilling neighbours.

The Regions of Puno and Arequipa occupy first and second place as production centres for alpaca farming in Peru and, almost without exception, the farmers in these two regions are bordered by various mining concerns.

Minera Chindin S.A.C.
One very new player on the scene is Minera Chindin S.A.C., an exploratory mining company set up in 2010 and which is owned and managed by a Taiwanese family that has invested heavily in two sites in southern Peru.

The company’s President, David Chen, is assisted in the business by his two sons, Martin and Antonio, and has established Arequipa as the centre of its operations.

Dedicated to the search for copper, zinc and iron deposits, the company has one centre of exploratory excavations in Pocsi, which is situated on the outskirts of the city of Arequipa and another in Santa Lucia, Lampa in the Region of Puno.

Its General Manager, Antonio Chen explained, “When we selected the two sites for our operations it was purely coincidental that they both had connections with alpaca farming. In the case of Pocsi, we learnt that the area used to farm alpacas some years ago though not any more. Santa Lucia, however, is at the heart of the Region of Puno’s alpaca farming activities and has been instrumental in focusing our attention to study the needs of our alpaca farming neighbours.”

A strategic business model for alpaca farmers
A generalistic view of the two protagonists is that, on the one hand, there is the wealthy mine and, on the other, the poor alpaca farmer. This being the starting platform, the onus is on the mine to conduct itself in a socially responsible manner in order to keep the peace. Usually, this is achieved by good works such as donations to the improvement of educational and medical facilities in the neighbouring community.

For the alpaca farmer, his existence is one of attempting to overcome an economic trap of trying to earn his living from a natural resource that has been in decline for at least four decades in terms of the quality of its product.

Specifically, an alpaca that is producing an inferior fibre quality that can only be sold at low prices does not provide its farmer with sufficient income to live nor to reinvest in his herd. This scenario gets progressively worse as each season passes. 

Countless studies conducted in Peru during many years have highlighted the importance of strengthening the country’s alpaca population with improved selection and genetic techniques and the fibre processing industry has indicated that it is prepared to pay better prices for better quality fibre.

The road to a better future has been clearly signposted but the investment required to bring this about has been sadly lacking. As a result, Peru’s alpaca farmers find themselves fighting a losing battle to survive whilst their mining neighbours have the luxury of being able to extract a product that never seems to be out of demand and commands ever stronger prices.  

In the case of Minera Chindin’s two sites, the company has embarked on a different approach that encompasses a strategy of partnership and opportunity for both parties:

a) Pocsi
With the knowledge that the area historically farmed alpacas, an investigation was carried out to determine why this practice was abandoned and it was concluded that the area’s water table could only support pasture for the animals for half the year.

In order to rectify this, Minera Chindin has re-routed natural water sources on its 1,600 hectares site to provide sufficient volume for its excavation requirements which are then purified and recycled to irrigate the current cultivation of grasses for alpacas.                       

Shortly, and in partnership with members of the local community, particularly Alcides Nina who is a professor of the Inca culture and an expert in agricultural cooperative models, alpacas will be reintroduced to graze once more at Pocsi’s elevated pasturelands at 3,000 metres above sea level with the aim of producing first class fibre for the commercial benefit of the new partnership.

Additionally, plans are underway to construct a state-of-the-art laboratory on-site to monitor the herd’s genetic markers so that optimum selection can be employed in breeding.  

The introduction of equipment for freezing embryos is under consideration as a means to reach other alpaca farmers within Peru as well as exporting to other countries such as the USA and Australia.

b) Santa Lucia
The community in Santa Lucia consists of some 500 inhabitants who farm around 4,000 alpacas and llamas on 6,500 hectares of land.

The community’s leader is Pablo Salas who is also Puno’s Regional Coordinador of the Confederación Nacional de Comunidades Afectadas por la Minería (CONACAMI) - a body that possesses an anti-mining agenda.

Working with an anti-mining activist of many years standing has prioritised the company’s goal of  establishing a firm working relationship where environmentally friendly mining can co-habit with and benefit commercially the community’s alpaca farmers.

As this site is presently more active in alpaca terms than Pocsi, the company is providing opportunities for the farmers to improve the quality of fibre through modifications in diet and breeding programmes and for their families to knit and export their alpaca finished products - an activity traditionally associated with alpaca farming communities.

Minera Chindin has a good working relationship with Wu Han Jia Yi Lin Trading Co. Ltd., a textile distribution company based in China. Its General Manager, Xu Li, has spent various months in Peru meeting with the alpaca fibre processing industry and Santa Lucia’s community knitters to advise on styles and designs for the Chinese market.

Her idea is to use all the alpaca fibre produced on Minera Chindin’s two sites in both top and finished garment form and sell it in China as a means to promote higher fibre quality and traditional hand-made garments directly from the alpaca farmers whilst at the same time supporting this new initiative. Any shortfall in supply will be sourced from other communities recommended by Santa Lucia.

Antonio Chen summarises the advancement of the working partnership between his company and the neighbouring communities on both sites by comparing this new business model to that of the practices carried out during Peru’s Inca civilisation some 500 years ago.

“Historically the Incas were great miners in Peru, extracting both gold and silver. They also farmed alpacas and llamas for textile and religious needs. They were successful in combining these activities and, at the same time, protecting the environment. This fact has been the benchmark for our strategy with our neighbouring communities.” 

“I believe that Minera Chindin’s initiatives have created commercial opportunities for its neighbouring alpaca farming communities that will generate income for them to become self-sufficient entrepreneurs for the years ahead. As a miner, I have found that I have now developed a new and personal interest in alpaca products, too! Most importantly, our partnership has set the way forward for commercial growth based on environmental and cultural sustainability. This indeed is an excellent strategy for today’s world.”      

Buffett's Alpha

An interesting read. Here's the abstract, get the PDF here:

Buffett's Alpha

Andrea FrazziniDavid KabillerLasse H. Pedersen

NBER Working Paper No. 19681
Issued in November 2013
NBER Program(s):   AP 
Berkshire Hathaway has realized a Sharpe ratio of 0.76, higher than any other stock or mutual fund with a history of more than 30 years, and Berkshire has a significant alpha to traditional risk factors. However, we find that the alpha becomes insignificant when controlling for exposures to Betting-Against-Beta and Quality-Minus-Junk factors. Further, we estimate that Buffett’s leverage is about 1.6-to-1 on average. Buffett’s returns appear to be neither luck nor magic, but, rather, reward for the use of leverage combined with a focus on cheap, safe, quality stocks. Decomposing Berkshires’ portfolio into ownership in publicly traded stocks versus wholly-owned private companies, we find that the former performs the best, suggesting that Buffett’s returns are more due to stock selection than to his effect on management. These results have broad implications for market efficiency and the implementability of academic factors.

John Lennon off, Michael Jackson on

This is a screenshot from a substitution during a Brazil second division match this weekend. The team is Atético Clube Goianiense:

Along with Michael Jackson (forward) and John Lennon (defender), ACG's current squad includes Mahatma Ghandi, Jesus, Dodo and Rafael Gladiador.


The IKN Weekly, out now

IKN 239 has just been sent to subscribers.

For the 1000th time, Coca is not cocaine

The Incas saw the drug as a gift from the gods and used it in sacred rituals. The empire's only method of communication was a chain of messengers who would walk hundreds of miles over mountainous terrain; the royal emperors would ply them with cocaine so that they could go for days without food or sleep.
Yeah, that's just what we need, another so-called expert regurgitating the stupid. Listen Andrew Anthony, it's really simple:
  • Coca is a plant. Its leaves were/are used by Andean peoples (not just the Inca, that's a double stereotype) for many different reasons, including your ceremonies but other things too.
  • Cocaine is a drug. It comes from the coca leaf but it's just one of the 20 alkaloids found in the coca leaf and is held in tiny quantities. 

Do you think coffee is the same as caffeine? Do you think poppies are the same as heroin? So why do you think coca is the same as cocaine?

UPDATE: Don't tell me that this interwebs thing isn't worth the time, either. We now have a corrected Guardian report and this at the bottom:
This article was amended on 1 December 2013. The original version wrongly stated that the Incas used cocaine, rather than coca leaves.
Thanks due to Guardian South America reporter Vicky Baker for the rapid improvement in the article.

Pump and dumps: The US SEC leads, Canada needs to follow

Under new management, the US SEC seems to be getting its act together (finally) and making more of an effort to clamp down on the type of pump'n'dump operations so prevalent in the market in general (and often centred around bullshit junior mining projects). Here's an excerpt from this WaPo report (with thanks to YH for the headsup):
With a new chairman at its helm, and new chiefs leading the enforcement division, the agency created a 26-person task force in July devoted to rooting out microcap trading abuses. Since then, the agency has opened five or six microcap investigations a month, well above the previous year’s pace, agency officials said. The initiative builds on the efforts of a loosely-knit SEC working group created three years ago. 
“For years, we did a number of these cases, but we didn’t attack it with a systematic approach,” said Andrew Ceresney, co-director of the SEC’s enforcement division. “We now have people focused on the area full-time for the first time, and by marshalling their expertise, we think we can make a difference.” continues here

Hey Canada! Your problem is just as bad, if not worse than the crap we get out of the US OTC. Time to clean up the TSXV and root out the lying promo pump scumbags who are ruining your market's reputation. Take a leaf out of your Southern neighbour, OSC/BCSC and others, get busy for once instead of all that self-congratulatory stuff on the one case in a hundred you manage to fix.