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IKN recommends: Big Hero 6

Find some excuse to take children to the movies (your kids, your sister-in-law's kids, borrow your neighbours' kids, work it out for yourself) and do what we did yesterday afternoon, go watch Big Hero 6. Solidly entertaining from start to finish, it brims with mindbending ideas, premium level visual effects and it'll press emotional buttons (in a good way) on several levels.

Oh yeah, another thing: The kids will love it. 

Barrick (ABX) at Pascua Lama: The latest from the Chilean courtrooms

The judgment handed down from Chile's Supreme Court yesterday was on a majority, was largely technical in nature and it's still missing a ruling on a couple of key points, but the essence of the thing is:

  • Barrick wanted to pay the ~U$16m fine that was slapped on it by Chile's Environment Superintendency (SMA), because it considered it a good deal under the circumstances and once paid, they could get on with reactivating their white elephant supreme.
  • But the courts stopped them from paying it, saying it was badly done and too little. The case reached the Supreme Court a couple of months ago and the partial ruling came yesterday.
  • And the ruling: The Supreme Court says ABX can't pay the $16m because it says the SMA went about its job incorrectly and should have fined Barrick for separate infractions, rather than lumping them all into one fine.
  • With this ruling the chances are that ABX is facing a much bigger enviro fine, with estimates ranging between U$130m and U$300m. Yeah, seriously.
  • Whether or not that kind of number happens, or whether ABX will eventually pay, is a question for 2015. What we do know is that the SMA has to come up with a new number to fine ABX. 

Meanwhile, the lack of enviro resolution and green light that will come from a fine payment continues. This is why the JV deal with Zijin (and some say Citic is still in the wings) hasn't happened yet. After all, would you want to walk in on a large percentage of a $300m fine just for fun?

Bottom line: FUBAR meets SNAFU at Pascua Lama. Kind of ironic that Argentina is the one that's all happy and welcoming about this project while Chile causes all the problems, isn't it? 

Nevada Copper's ( financing deal

Yesterday post-close we got this, Nevada Copper ( announcing it was re-booting its $200m financial loan facility with Red Kite (RK). Here's the interesting bit:

1) The facility originated in March 2013 when borrowed $35m of the $200m total. Another $15m was advanced in October 2013. Therefore $51m came out of it.

2) NCU paid RK a $6.5m "origination fee" (i love the names they make up for these things, while we in the real world call them "legalized kickbacks") in March 2013 for the deal.

3) Yesterday, NCU announced that of the $90m advanced to RK, $57.1m was being "used to repay the Previous Facility". In other words, NCU borrows $51m in 2013 and repays $57.1m this year. Add in the "origination fee" and so far, Red Kite has managed to make $12.6m on a $51m advance in a year and a half.

4) BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE! With yesterday's re-boot, NCU is paying another origination fee! This time $7m or so is legalized kickback that returns straight to the lender RK after having written a cheque for $90m to NCU.

5) So if you're following so far, it means that in the period March 2013 to December 2014, Red Kite has lent Nevada Copper $90m, but has already reclaimed $19.6m of that in cash. Meanwhile, the new $90m is collecting interest of LIBOR +10%, Red Kite won't have to mail the other $110m cheque until NCU has secured the rest of the financing it needs to build its mine (because unlike the message that Bonnyface tries to send in the NR yesterday, there's still a serious financing shortfall on this Pumpkin Hollow build-out) and as if mere detail, the RK deal is senior secured on the entirety of NCU's assets.

Red Kite? Nice work if you can get it
NCU equity holder? Back of the queue.

Say bye-bye to Petaquilla (

This from Panama's "Critica" newspaper, linked here. Translation your author:

The government of Panama has initiated the paperwork to revoke the operating permit of the Petaquilla Gold mining company, due to its non-compliance in payment of social security dues to its work force, said the Minister of Work today, Luis Ernetso Carles. Carles said that the legal representative of the company, Richard Fifer, was now under criminal charge from the Social Security Office (CSS) due to the non-compliance of social security payments for the company's 604 workers, according to a government communique."The actions of the legal representative of Petaquilla stain the employment opportunities in the country", said Carles, while informing that Petaquilla Gold currently owes three months of salaries and employees debts that total around U$3.8m. The Panamanian Minister showed his concern of the situation faced by the workers, due to the lack of responsibility for the payment of dues by the Canadian capital company.The Petaquilla Gold company is located in the district of Donoso, in the province of Colón, some 130km West of the capital.
Don't say we didn't warn you.


The five most popular Friday OT posts of 2014

Other websites can and often do review what they believe to be their best pieces of script at the end of the year, but as the vast majority of written words on this humble corner of cyberspace are total trash, guff and nonsense that's not a viable option at IKN. Instead, your humble scribe spent exactly 4 minutes trawling the stats tonight to find out which of the Friday OT music posts from 2014 had received the most direct hits from you people out there. 

The answers give this top five (and indeed you are cordially invited to click on the names in order to experience the music delights contained therein once again):

For some reason, and even though I love the track, it's somewhat depressing to see U2 head the ranking; it won by quite a distance, too. Though I was happy to see the Sibelius post make the top five as that really kicks ass. The second spot has to be for the video as much as the song, it's the best video ever. Devo making it that high surprised me. For what it's worth, after putting this post together I clicked on the Beethoven Pastoral, then those first few bars strike up and....ahhhhhh...45 minutes of bliss.

Brent Cook does BNN

Here's the link.

Cook talks explorers, gives us a key word for the sector in 2015 (spoiler alert, the word is "apathy") and gives recos on three stocks. All that and more in just ten minutes (or so) of video pleasure, aptly accompanied by the smooth and dulcet tones of Andrew Bell.

PS: the stock recos are on the second part, which is here.

This Modern World 2014 review

Yes, yes and thrice yes you want to check out the 2014 review strip from the best cartoonist in The United States of America. And indeed you can by doing a click right here for part one doing a click right here for part two. Enjoy.

Chile copper mining electricity consumption forecasts, 2014 to 2025

An important industry paper out of Cochilco this morning, which you can download and read from this link, that goes into power consumption expectations for the country's key copper mining sector from now until 2025. Here's a chart ripped from (page 15 of) the report that gives an idea of contents:

Translation, your author. In a nutshell, with current electricity demand at 21.86 TWh and forecast consumption set at 39.47 TWh for 2015 we're close to a double on power requirements under expected circumstances (which goes much higher in best case, of course). But this report is detailed and deserves more consideration than just glancing at a single chart. Those in the sector need to get this info incorporated (particularly interesting are breakdown projections for the SING/SIC systems, quite a contrast being factored in and that's geographically important). Here's the link again, just in case.

Copper's now or never

So says Gary over at Biiwii and as he's the best chartist I know of he'll get no argument from these parts. Here's a monthly chart of the metal with just three lines to help the mind's eye (though in this case they're only underscoring the obvious):

PS: Elvis Presley's 1960 hit "It's Now Or Never" was of course era-code for "c'mon let's do the fuckyfucky one time, baby". The song was adapted from the 19th century Italian tune "O Sole Mio" which was all about a dude hanging out under the window of his muse and comparing her to a sunny day. Which was a direct rip-off of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Which was a play written in Elizabethan code that said "c'mon let's do the fuckyfucky one time, baby". 

Get ready for a new round of ebola news, because...

...yes you guessed it, a white person has been infected. What's more she's an English language speaker. She even has a name that doesn't sound Asian/Muslim/suspiciously-brown-coloured. 

We need to get comments on this from that world-renowned expert on ebola, Eric Sprott.


Ten IKN random predictions for 2015

Here we go with the blog's official forecasts and soothsayerations for the year to come. After the effort in 2014 (politics good, financials ok, sport calls crappy) we're sticking to the same general format, a bit from each. After that 5.5/10 in 2013 and 6/10 in 2014 we'll be batting for 6.5 or above this year to keep the trend rolling, so here come the big ten that carry the hopes, fear, dreams and stuff of your author in the 12 months to come. As usual, you get a mix of financial, political and sporting forecasts, most with a LatAm flavour:
1) Gold to trend up gradually, with a rough U$1,400/oz target for some time at the end of the year. For sure with the normal wobbly stuff along the way and I wouldn't bat an eyelid to see it go under U$1,100/oz again at some point or other, but talk of its utter demise (South of 1k) strikes this author as plain silly talk from people who don't get the sector.
2) The gold/silver ratio to stay high, by which we mean 1/70 or above. It can spike down briefly under that along the way, but I don't expect it to trend down meaningfully. When they call silver "the poor man's gold", the real message is "the choice that poor people make". Semi-on-topic, I'd definitely hold gold miner stocks over silver miner stocks this year.
3) Uranium will go nowhere again. We're in the high $30s today, it could fluctuate up into a 4-handle, down through to the 2s, but the prediction is to watch it flatline in general terms. Uranium's going the way of the buggy whip, the world has moved on from the fallacy of "near limitless/near free energy" and knows how expensive these things are to decom, the type of cost that's built into projections by serious countries (China an obvious exception to that category). 
4) Barrick (ABX) will merge with Newmont (NEM). It's long past fusion date for these two. The sooner the outsized self-important egos on both boards start caring less about themselves and more about their shareholders, the better. 
5) Copper to maintain around U$3/lb average for 2014. This is perhaps the toughest and most important commod market to call in the year ahead. Also (and to push my luck on the prediction) it wouldn't surprise me in the least to see Cu weak in the first part of the year, trending higher in the second part. If it exits between $3.10/lb and $3.20/lb I'd be a happy long.
6) Venezuela's government to be bailed out by China. It's no secret that Venezuela's finances are under severe pressure due to the drop in oil prices, but it's not going to lead to a fall in the government in 2015 (sorry haters, it's the way it is). China wants crude oil and has dollars, Venezuela wants dollars and has crude oil, the two countries get along just fine, the synergies are obvious. The question is how much Venezuela will have to cede for the bailout.
7) It's a difficult call this early in the process, but I'm contractually obliged to make a call on the Argentina presidential election so the forecast is for Daniel Scioli to be the next President of Argentina. Main opponent is Massa, in with a squeak is Macri, outsider Randazzo, the rest are just noise. But it's still a very fluid situation so this one is only tentative. For the record, the Argentina vote slated for October is the biggest single political event in LatAm this year and arguably the most important one in terms of regional repercussion potential for the last five or even ten. It's going to be big, noisy and full of FpV/CFK-hate in your English language press (who'll be rooting for Massa and/or Macri).
8) Argentina to win the Copa America 2015, the equivalent of the European Championships for the continent, held in Chile in June/July this year. If that doesn't turn out right, hosts Chile must be in with a strong chance and I'd place them as clear second faves today. FWIW it's easy to bet against a Brazil that will need a couple of years to re-build after its World Cup disaster (no other word for it). 
9) River Plate to win the Copa Libertadores (for those of you who don't know, that's the LatAm equivalent of the Champion's League trophy). This is the easiest forecast of the year. Vamo lo millo.
10) Argentina to beat Ireland in the Quarter Finals stage of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, held in the UK in October. How about that for a specific forecast? (Also, the All Blacks for the cup).

Astur Gold (AST.v): and if you're wondering who Douglas Turnbull is...

...he's one of Chet Idziszek's lackeys. Today's news here, excerpt here:

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Dec 29, 2014) - Astur Gold Corp. (TSX VENTURE:AST)(CDC.F) ("Astur Gold" or the "Company") announces the appointment of Astur Gold Director Mr. Douglas Turnbull as new Chief Executive Officer and President of the Company effective immediately. He is replacing Cary Pinkowski, who is stepping down as Chief Executive Officer and President to pursue other opportunities. The Board of Directors of Astur Gold thank Mr. Pinkowski for his efforts as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company. Mr. Pinkowski will remain on the Board of Directors.
"I have great confidence in Doug Turnbull to take over as CEO and President of Astur Gold," stated Mr. Pinkowski. "He was previously a Director of Astur Gold for several years and is very familiar with the Company and its projects."
Mr. Turnbull stated: "Although the Company faces many challenges in these difficult times culminating in the recent news about Salave, my decision to take on this position is based on my belief that new opportunities can be sought out for the Company. In the meantime, we will wait to review the detailed report of the decision by the Commission for Environmental Affairs of the Principality of Asturias and to address the specific technical concerns expressed by the Cantabrian Hydrographic Confederation that lead to the recent denial of our permit application. Our immediate focus will be to protect our assets in Spain in the interest of our shareholders and our principal Salave financier, RMB Resources Limited."

Indeed, the people behind Petaquilla ( are perfect for the job of taking a project that's been refused environmental permits and moving it forward, because unicorns.

And how's Lydian International ( getting on since it brought in an ex-ECU Silver guy?

"Associate with men of good quality if you 
esteem your own reputation; for it is 
better to be alone than in bad company" 
George Washington

This post dated June 5th 2014 was the last time Lydian ( was mentioned on this humble corner of cyberspace*. It was entitled "Lydian ( Now officially untouchable" and celebrated the fact that LYD had just brought in one Stephen Altmann to its board, a person that used to be president and director of ECU Silver. Here's a small chunk from that post to explain IKN's heartfelt opinion of Altmann and all who sail with him:
"Anyone with a memory about how long ECU Silver bullshitted the world and what that bullshit managed to do with the naive idiot cash poured into it from the incessant GATA-centric pumps (Bill Murphy, Wistar Holt, "Mexico Mike" Kachawhatsit) will know what Altmann is about. The mere fact that the LYD management team is desperate or stupid (or both) enough to want him on board is testament to their business nous: it's zero. Scam pumper scumballs like Altmann shouldn't be on junior mining boards of directors. They should be in jail. Lay with dogs and get fleas, dumbass LYD people."

And here's the price chart of from that date to this:

Any further questions?

*I made sure by running a search. Yup, not a mention since then

KORES, South Korean mining ambassadors to Latin America

At least when mining is the sector, it always strikes me as strange how people will shake their heads and warn about "those Chinese" coming over, working people to death, paying them pittances when in fact what we've witnessed recently from Chinese capitals companies coming to LatAm and setting up shop has been pretty good and responsible corporate culture that makes sure workers are onside. Meanwhile and for reasons that fly straight over my head, South Korea seems to get a free pass to treat anyone they come into contact with in the worst possible way.

Take KORES for example, the South Korea State run resources company, which has its fingers in many pies in mining operations and projects. Here's how workers at the KORES-owned Boleo copper mine in Mexico's Baja California Sur got to send their Christmas via this report (translated) dated December 25th:
Santa Rosalia, Baja California Sur (BCS). A large  part of the workforce of the El Boleo mining company, located in Santa Rosalia, were evacuated at around 11am today by order of management due to the escape of strongly polluting smoke that threatened to poison personnel at the plant.
According to reports from some of the workforce, several people left the zone with irritated eyes, nausea and stomach aches among other symptoms due to the smoke coming from chimneys that covered all work zones.
This is not the first time that the company has seen a similar situation, according to unofficial reports.
Employees were threatened with losing their jobs if anyone reported the irregularities of the Korean company, according to a reporter in the area.

We particularly like that last sentence. So that's how they do social relations in South Korea, is it? Cute.

Beats me why the people of Baja California Sur are so against setting up more mining operations in their state and fight companies such as Argonaut Gold tooth and nail to keep them from developing their patches of land. 


Your updated IKN ebola news update latest report update

You need smarter PR, ebola.
Not thinking it through, ebola.
Not killing white people, ebola.
Nobody cares about you, ebola.
Turkey sandwich.

No, Bolivia is NOT nationalizing the San Cristobal and San Vicente mines

When you get to the third mail received, something needs to be said. I've been sent this report by worried readers today, because it's from Bolivia's decent newspaper La Razon and says Bolivia's President Evo Morales would today announce the nationalization of the San Cristobal (Sumitomo) and San Vicente (Pan American Silver) mines in the country. 

It's false information.

The reason behind it all is the date, December 28th, which is "Day of the Innocents" ("Día de los inocentes", or sometimes "Día de los Santos Inocentes") in Spanish speaking countries, with innocent in this case meaning gullible or naive. The day works the same way as April Fool's Day (April 1st) in other places. 

The Nationalization thing is a joke, a gag, a trick and nothing else. Promise. Relax. 

The IKN Weekly, out now

IKN294 has just been sent to subscribers. Cu.


Checking in on Continental Gold (

On November 17th CNL released details of its PEA on Buritica. The next morning your humble scribe wrote this which tried hard to warn you away from the stock and the hype you were about to get from all the usual suspects. Here's a price chart of (compared to gold), from then until now:

It's bad enough if you were holding at the time, but even worse if you bought the pop.

We good?


The Friday OT: Lilly Wood & The Prick; Prayer In C (Robin Schulz remix)

Chez Otto, we're now at that stage where the eldest daughter is pointing us towards new music. The good news is that none of it is plain bad (so far) and while some of it ho-hum, some is fully good and this comes in the latter category. Pretty decent song and its cheapo alt/art vid.

I like. And good to note the eldest's taste in music has by-passed One Direction completely.

Boxing Day Association Football review; Manchester United 3, Newcastle 1

Thoughts arising:

  • Louis Van Gaal is beginning to get what he wants; most (if not all) of the 90 minutes either controlled or dominated by his team.
  • Wayne Rooney looks great in his new position, 5 to 10 metres behind the front line. Two goals today and he'll take home the MotM award by rote and modern expectations. Her played well and linked smartly with Falcao.
  • On that subject, Radamel Falcao is finally showing good form for Man Utd. He's had injury problems and has otherwise spluttered, but his play today was excellent. A few more like today and he'll start winning the fans over (about time too).
  • Jones in defence was the second best player on the pitch. High quality defending his line and dangerous surging forward, he gives Man Utd an extra option that bypasses midfield and gets the ball to the forward line
  • But the best was Juan Mata. Not a doubt. He bossed the game from start to finish and if he is 100% back in favour this evening from your preferred footy pundit after a painful time under moyes and then LVG stage one, change your preferences.
  • As for those not playing, Di Maria will fit right into this newly flowing team once he's back from injury. Fellaini was not and will not be missed. Januzaj should be talking to his agent as soon as possible. 

Bottom line: There are three teams in the title race this year. Chelsea must be favourite and ManC (who i didn't watch today) second faves due to the points accrued already, but Manchester United are back and have an outside chance from here. The best I've seen them play since SAF retired, they made a good and in-form Newcastle team look ordinary. Mata is one helluva player on his day.

The Argentina "dollar blue" and official exchange rate in 2014

There are always people hitting up IKN from Google, trying to find a chart and a recent quote on Argentina's unofficial street rate dollar, the "Dollar Blue" (in fact known as "Dólar Blue" in exact local spelling). But they hit an old post and don't find a recent quote so here you go folks, here's how the forex has done in 2014 in a chart from here you can go and check in the future to be all up to date as well. You even get the official rate for the dollar on the chart, aren't we useful?

Today, December 26th, you can buy a dollar on the streets of Buenos Aires for ArgP$13.38. The Blue peaked at ArgP$15.95 on September 24th. The trend is fairly obvious, but neither has it done the type of hell/handbasket move that the shrills were confidently predicting. So now you know. 

Gold has not done badly in 2014 (no matter what you hear from the biz-moron-o-sphere)

Here's the gold and silver bullion ETFs, GLD and SLV, 2014 year to date:

This chart gets featured because I've already seen brain dead year-end commentaries, Barry Ritholtz included (who passed a link on over the Holiday season with evident glee), giving us the "oh wasn't it horrible for those silly old goldbugs this year oh ha ha oh silly people" type of thing. So let's be clear that the ~1.5% rise in bullion this morning, December 26th and hour before the NY open, has wiped away half of the year's losses in gold.

Repeat until understood: Gold has not done badly in 2014.

Now I'd agree that gold has not done well. Indeed the acid test is clear, it's failed to return a profit versus its benchmark currency. And once that's stated we can also play comparatives until we're blue in the face, the obvious one is the S&P500 and I'm good about stating that gold hasn't been an obvious winner, a star performer, a feelgood alpha factor in your sophisticated modern investment portfolio kind madam kind sir. But 1.5% down on a year isn't bad. It's not "throw in the towel" bad. It's not unjustified waste of port space and dollars bad. It's not even close to the shellacking it took in 2013. Especially when it wasn't in your port to provide alpha in the first place (hint: there's no alpha in gold, but don't let that factor spoil a good narrative, eh). So therefore with that nice and straight in the mind, here are a few true statements:
  • Silver has done badly in 2014 (see above)
  • Oil has done badly in 2014 (which of course includes the go-getter oil stocks, particularly those shale/bakken/alt hydrocarb things the same mainstream braindeaders wanted me to buy)
  • Junior explorecos running on fumes have done badly.
  • Gold did badly in 2013. Last year, not this year. I mentioned that again for a reason.

Also on a personal note and somewhat to my surprise, my personal portfolio has done much better (not just better) in 2014 than it did in the real waterfall death year of 2013. For sure I've picked my share of losers and lost money on them (there's plenty of red on line items in my port right now, as any subber will tell you) but they've tended to be the most speculative end of the deal and therefore carrying the smaller amounts of cash (one exception to that is the bath I took on this year) and the bigger bets, though fewer in number, have done better.

And we could continue. But don't be dumb and buy into the dumb narrative that's now doing the rounds; despite its hated status gold hasn't been a bad place to park some dollars and it's been a good place to park other types of currency you may have had lying round the house because it's only just been beaten by the star currency performer of the year, the greenback.


Toromocho: The last six months of copper production

Since the early-year glitches we've heard little of Toromocho since it started running its ramp-up again, so with the publication of the MEM monthly number yesterday (Ovais? Get that Ovais? Yesterday Ovais, you're asleep at the switch again Ovais) we now have six months of constant output from the mine and...'s still running way under schedule. That's 8,917 tonnes of copper in November, that's 47,838mt in the last six months, that's not what it was supposed to be. Data from here

A song for the day

Daft Punk, One More Time.

One day on these pages I'll go into my riff about Daft Punk and how their music resembles that of JS Bach. But not today; Today's Christmas, the idea is to enjoy music and relax and smile and use as little brain as possible. And things. Still, the first minute of this track is so perfect it's scary.

Junior mining, Christmas Eve, 2014

'Twas the night before Christmas and through the exchange
Not a miner was stirring, ne’er in trading range;
The geologists were hung by the neck with care,
In hopes that the engineers soon would be there;
The CEOs were nestled all snug in their beds;
While visions of cheaper options danced in their heads;
And CFO in her 'kerchief, and COO in his cap,
Thought Kondriateff winters, not merely cold snap.


The Top 10 Most Impressive Civil Engineering Projects of All Time

Visual Capitalist gives us an easy-read list that's interesting, too. The other thing about it: Barring a minor quibble or two (i.e. personally would swap the positions of Brooklyn Bridge and Hoover Dam) I think they got the choices pretty much straight and correct. Particularly the top three (and if you haven't seen #3 you should, the longer you get to stare at it the more impressive it is). 

Anyway, teaser over, go enjoy it yourself by clicking here.

UPDATE: Reader GA is correct when writing in to comment, "...when it comes to moving tonnes of rock from A to B, slavery beats capitalism all day"

Four things that people buying Eco Oro ( this morning should consider learning at some point in the future

1) The Spanish language. That's the most obvious one.
2) At least a little about Colombian politics.
3) How to read a balance sheet.
4) That you shouldn't believe everything you read, especially when the words are written by people paid to promote junior mining companies.

Reality bites: Results of the IKN "Ten random predictions for 2014"

On December 22nd 2013 we ran our regular "Ten Random Predictions" post for 2014, which you can check out here. Today with scant days left in the year the results are yours. Here come the original calls, the result and the completely subjective and biased score for the year (1, 0.5 or fat zero per call), all by me.

1) Gold, at ~$1,200/oz today, is close to its bottom. 
Score: 0.5. That's because the headline call was right, my "let's say $100/oz lower is possible" was also good, but in the text I also said the upside could be to U$1,500/oz and that was wrong. So, half right result.

2) Quality junior mining companies and explorecos will finally split away from the cruddy juniors and we'll see an all-important gap develop between the companies that need to die and those that will survive and eventually thrive. 
Score: 0.5. That's because the basic call was good but the whole sector dropped, good ones and bad ones, instead of the envisaged up/down split. The good ones did less worse than the cruddy ones, rather than better.

3) Copper will be weak in 2014, with supply outstripping demand and new lows of under $3/lb registered (put me down for $2.80/lb on multiple days, not just a single spike). Average for the year to be around $3.10/lb 
Score: 1 point. Yup, that one was a good call all round. 

4) Uranium won't break $40/lb at any point and the sector will continue to get the rah-rah from the promo people still holding their large bags. 
Score: 0 points. Darn, close but no cigar on this one because if there hadn't been that BS pump jump on U in October/November, which peaked the metal at just over U$40/lb before it dropped back, it would have been spot on. But a clear number call is a clear number call, no disputing the facts, a fail is a fail. 

5) Dilma Rousseff, President of Brazil, will be re-elected in 2014. 
Score: 1 point. Closer than I thought it'd be, but it's a win. 

6) Evo Morales, President of Bolivia, will be re-elected in 2014. 
Score: 1 point. To be fair, this was a bit of a no-brainer call and about the easiest prediction anyone could have made on Latin American politics in 2014. But I'll take it. 

7) Juan Manuel Santos, President of Colombia, will be re-elected in 2014.
Score: 1 point. As with the Dilma vote, it was closer than I'd expected for a while and Juanma got taken to a second round run-off by the right wing hatergottahate Zuluaga/Uribe brigade, but Colombia made the right choice in the end. 

8) Both Argentina and Venezuela will continue to defy and confound the non-stop barrage of criticism from the western media and get through 2014 just fine. 
 Score: 1 point. Yes that one's turned out correct. We can debate Venezuela if you want, but the way it's painted from the outside (dictatorial regime about to be toppled any moment) is a far cry from the reality inside the country because you can love em or hate em, but the PSUV party has a tight grip on power and runs the show still. As for Argentina, yeah for sure it's a nuthouse but it's doing just fine under all the blahblah. Sorry haters, I win you lose.

9) Juan Martin Del Potro will win at least one of the Grand Slam tournaments this year. 
Score: 0 points. Turns out my wishes for Delpo were misplaced, his wrist injury has haunted him all season and we've hardly seen the dude play. Oh well, next year.

10) And finally, the big one: Brazil will win the 2014 World Cup. 
Score 0 points. This is the one that I'm happy to have called badly.

GRAND TOTAL: SIX OUT OF TEN. A tad better than my 5.5/10 in the 2013 prediction game and we can safely say that my political calls were better than the sporting ones. At some point next week I'll set out the 2015 predictions for the LatAm/biz/political world that is IKN. Toodle pip!


Buenaventura (BVN): Chucapaca is now San Gabriel

Today's news on a change of name at the Buenaventura project is one thing, the interesting snippet came in the report that quoted the regional director of Energy and Mining, one Jesús Durán, on the project. The interesting bit is that BVN apparently plans to build a 6,000tpd processing facility that will be fed by an underground operation and that number caught my eye because the last time we heard from BVN Chucapaca/San Gabriel, at the Denver Gold Forum earlier this year, the plan was based on the scoping study number of 3,000tpd. Thing is here, 6k tpd would bring mine life down to under 6 years if the current resource is all BVN has. That's way too short a life for a company like BVN.

I get the feeling San Gabriel has got bigger since Gold Fields sold their part of it. 

Chart of the day is...

...five years of gold, silver and the S&P500:

Moral: Don't hire Bruce Willis to advertise your bank

Trust Bank of Russia got a 60 Billion Rouble bailout today.

UPDATE: So apparently it's only 30 Billion Roubles now. Oh well, that's all right then.


The IKN Weekly, out now

IKN293 has just been sent to subscribers. You learn some interesting things while searching for pictures to cover random numbers. For example, you too can find out about Gibco Freestyle 293 on this link, right here. 

The Beatles never existed

Thanks to pal @cinebraille, your author has discovered this wonderful corner of the interwebnetpipes this morning, a website that sets out to prove that The Beatles (as they were presented to us) never existed as a group. Evidence provided, discussion given, photos compared. Beats the moon landing thing hands down. Go see. 


Terry Lynn Karl: "Falling Oil Prices Could Rock Canada's Politics"

I was mailed and reco'd the link to this report earlier today by A. Person (far too well known in certain circles to be named here) who happens to be a friend of Terry Karl's. I'm glad I got the link too because it's a very perceptive piece from a peer-respected expert on the subject. Recommended reading for The Great White North, for LatAm watchers and OPEC-watchers too, as the effects of low oil prices on Venezuela, Russia, Saudi Arabia and OPEC in general are also in focus during this Q&A. Here's how it starts:

What do the plummeting oil prices tell us not only about our near term economic future in Canada, but the political fragility of the world's petro states?If Canada fully joins the petro state club, as our prime minister and his party desire, is oil's volatility just the cost of doing business, or a threat to our nation's well-being?The ideal person to ask is Terry Lynn Karl, one of North America's foremost experts on the politics of oil. The Tyee recently caught up with Karl, who teaches at Stanford University and lives in San Francisco.

whole thing here. Very good stuff.


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

The seventh year running, I believe:

It's still the best Christmas song ever, no matter how many times I try to stuff it down your throat. Merry Christmas one and all, hope you have a pleasant one with your families, too.

McEwen Mining (MUX): Mr. Market changed his mind

In "Remind me again why you think McEwen Mining $MUX is worth U$950m, mister market" dated August 6th, the evening of MUX's 2q14 filing, we wondered once again just why the market valued this company so richly compared to peers. It's always been a mystery here at IKN Nerve Centre as to how Robbie Mac could keep this highwire act going. Four months later, things have changed.

The cult of personality is notorious for its limited shelf-life. Ian Ball got out at the right time.

Chuqui: Going underground

Chile's State mining company Codelco, still the biggest copper producer in the world, yesterday approved and signed into effect its biggest ever investment. The Chuquicamata mine is going to become an underground operation and it's going to cost U$3.3Bn to do the job. Some of the stats are pretty darned impressive about the job in hand such as the 180km of underground tunnels it'll start with and how they'll end up at over a thousand about 40 years down the line when the resource is depleted. But the one that really boggles the mind is the ventilation shaft they're going to build, which is 11m wide and a 918m deep, i.e. seven times the height of the Eiffel Tower (modern society's standard unit of measurement). Not a hole you'd want to fall into. More here for those with the necessary Castilian knowledge. 

It's notable the way the big players are still spending big on long-term copper infrastructure in Chile. Add in the $7Bn+ that BHP is ploughing into La Escondida (world single bigger copper mine), via site investment plus $3.5Bn or so on a desal plant that means it gets to run on seawater in the future. All at the same time as BHP warning that 2016 (a year out) will be one of the low production years for the mine...these dudes are looking to the serious future and don't share the marketwatcher's neuroses of every up or downtick.

Anyway, the Codelco news this week gives me the excuse to stick this one up here. Great tune. 

Chart of the day is...


It's the chart I've been watching most closely all week and as a metals long yeah, it's been with a concerned eye. Copper futures have traded under $3/lb all week and threatened to break under the (what seems like) key $2.80 level, though admittedly trading and volumes ahve reportedly been thin in this pre-Christmas period (normal). This morning's brought a little relief, but it's only a little and there's still plenty to watch here. A far more important chart than anything around gold.


Two questions about Anglo American at Michiquillay

Question One: Who's told you that Anglo (AAL.L) (AAUKY) is abandoning Michiquillay?

Answer: Just about everyone in the trade press these last few days.

Question Two: Who told you that Anglo (AAL.L) (AAUKY) would abandon Michiquillay six and a half years ago?

Yup that's right. And considering the cavernous block of time between today and this May 2008 post on Michiquillay and its serious community and political issues, although the details may have changed (and Quellaveco has managed to survive the cut) the general thrust of the post has held together very well. 

just sayin'

Music for a Thursday afternoon

Impossible not to love...

...Rocks, by Primal Scream.

This makes up for tomorrow's Friday OT.

Breaking News: Sellside mining analysts shock the world by daring to state...

...that mining stocks will have a good year in 2015. Kitco with all the details in its current site-leading top story exclusive, right here. And in other news:
  • The US Automotive Retail Chamber of Commerce today said that it's a smart idea to buy a new car in 2015.
  • The potato marketing board of Idaho today stated that potatoes are delicious, nutritious and you should eat more potatoes.
  • Scientifically based findings in a groundbreaking medical report sponsored by the World Chocolate Council show overwhelming evidence that eating chocolate is good for you, helps weight control and stimulates a higher sex drive as well as imparting more pheromonal scent into the air arround you that will immediately attract the more beautiful and otherwise unattainable members of the opposite sex.
  • The Tree Frog Society of Madagascar predicts a threefold growth in the popularity of tree frogs in 2015.
  • The Campaign To Prove That The Pope Is Catholic today released susbstantial evidence to support the case that the Pope is indeed Catholic.
  • The Fur Coat Club of Canada today released experimental results using cutting-edge brainwave reading technology that proves beyond reasonable doubt that small furry animals enjoy being trapped and killed in large metal trapping devices and that people should take this evidence into account when shopping for their next warm and luxurious winter coat.

We could continue. Go fuck yourselves, mining anal ysts.

By nastily and unfairly and horribly picking on one just one bullshit airbag zero-chance junior exploreco IKN offers insight into many others

The object of our affection and love is Rokmaster (RKR.v) though to be (un)fair, the company brings it on itself by publishing a NR of this type today:

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Dec 18, 2014) - Rokmaster Resources Corp. (TSX VENTURE:RKR)(RKR.V) ("Rokmaster" or the "Company") is pleased to announce its exploration team has made significant progress in narrowing its search for a silver-gold property having near term production potential. Our recent exploration initiative has culminated with the detailed evaluation and identification of three contending high quality properties. Two have near term silver-gold production potential with exploration upside and the third property is currently in small scale production. All three properties are available for acquisition and well located with existing infrastructure in stable jurisdictions in the Americas.

What The Fuck Was That? I mean, even if this identifier of top class rockery has managed to see something that nobody else has ever seen, it has 46.75m shares out that are worth 1.5c each (mkt cap 700k), as at 3q14 it had $25k (not M, that's a K) in the bank and a working cap deficit of over $1.1m so how is it going to get a hold of one of these "high quality properties" without diluting out shareholders to the end of the planet Zog? Are you seriously expecting us to want in on a failed company because it's teasing us about the potential of the next thing it's seen?  As noted just the other day...


These companies may or may not deserve to die and frankly I don't care. I don't care whether AM Gold or Rokmaster's in the right over Pinaya . I don't care whether RKR has identified the next Yanacocha. I don't care whether its board of directors happen to be jolly fine folk and never miss the opportunity to help old ladies across the street. Indeed RKR and its ilk (and there are hundreds) may not deserve to die, but they need to die. And the sooner the better. Pack your bags, it's going away time. Rokmaster, fuck off.

The fundamental interconnectedness of all things

"I believe that all things are fundamentally interconnected, as anyone who 
follows the principles of quantum mechanics to their logical extremes 
cannot, if they are honest, help but accept. But I also believe that 
some things are a great deal more interconnected than others."
Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, Douglas Adams, 1987

So the Russian Rouble Rallies* and the Dow futures pop and all is right with the world. Which begs the question for those of you who've been gloating at the Russia market collapse...

Do you seriously want Russia to have internal problems? Seriously?

...because if you do you know fuck all about history. It stands to reason that the world need a stable (or relatively so) Russia for its own greater and wider general stability. So suddenly Putin's currency stops freefalling and finds a bid, from somewhere, despite oil's continued weakness. Just because. 

This cheap oil thing we're going through isn't going to last long. Take that to the bank.

*Rabinovich: "Todo con Rrruh"

Chart of the day is...

...Atacama Pacific (ATM.v) since August 26th 2014, the last time it was mentioned on this humble corner of cyberspace.

The funny thing: Thanks to the oil price drop thingy, these days the currency assumption ATM.v used in its PFS matches reality. The diesel price is close, too. 

The days when juniors could optimize their story (yeah the euphemism, I don't feel like using bad language today) are long gone. Sure, you put the best foot forward but if your spiel smacks of BS, in 2014 you get this big red cross drawn through your name and that's it, end of story. 

Another bottom signal

Another blogger gives up.

They come, they go.

On this, Ritholtz and I thoroughly agree

From here, this bright and sunny early Thursday morning:

"Those of you who continue to insist you can even remotely forecast what might happen next continue to reveal incredibly foolish, thoroughly disproved beliefs, despite an overwhelming avalanche of evidence that you haven’t the slightest idea what the fuck is going on now, much less what is going to happen next."

Timmins Gold ( (TGD) throws $10m cash and 16m of its shares down the toilet

And it does it this morning, right here. What part of "Caballo Blanco will never be a mine" do dumbass gringo miners with more money than sense not understand?

PS: Anyone stupid enough to think CEO dot CA is the place to hang out in order to get good investment advice deserves what's coming to them, good and hard. Frequenting a website that exists for the sole purpose of licking the collective assholes of mining company management proves how fucking stupid you are.


"Considerable time"

Apparently, the fate of the 21st century rests on whether two words appear in a short communique that's due out later on today. And apparently equally as important is what replaces them if they aren't there. For your own good, you need someone to tell you how incredibly fucking stupid you all are and I hope it's not just me that's up to the job. I'm off to buy Christmas gifts for a couple of wonderful girls. 

That Commie subversive anti-American Ronald Reagan

Nicely done by Eric Garland over at his joint. Picture stolen here:

More junior drilling bullshit

Hot on the heels of yesterday's example of male bovine excrement dressed as news comes this morning's NR from Avrupa (AVU.v). This one's just silly, not wasting too many keystrokes on it, what part of the phrase "scam for greenhorns" do you not understand?

1) We're given this headline: "Avrupa Drills 126.5 Meters of 6.2 g/t Au at Slivovo JV, Kosovo"
2) We're not given any intersect info (let alone the other necessary info according to the rules these days, such as azimuth, angle etc)

3) But we do get this map at least:

C'mon, tell me how you get that headline from that map, considering that the discovery (term used loosely) is from hole 004? C'mon, dare you.

How rumour info on IKN works, Paramount (PZG) edition

On December 1st 2014, this humble corner of cyberspace wrote that Coeur (CDE) ( was in talks to buy Paramount (PZG) ( I didn't buy it, didn't pump it, didn't reco it, and I wasn't being "taken for a ride" by somebody or other using "the oldest trick in the book". I merely passed on a decently sourced rumour for all the reasons noted in yesterday's post that talked about a different rumour. The info was passed on, you could do what you wanted with it.

Today Coeur and Paramount announced their deal.  
WINNEMUCCA, NEVADA--(Marketwired - Dec 17, 2014) - Paramount Gold and Silver Corp. ("Paramount" or the "Company") (NYSE MKT:PZG)(PZG.TO) and Coeur Mining, Inc. ("Coeur") (CDE) have entered into an agreement and plan of merger, dated as of December 16, 2014 (the "Merger Agreement") pursuant to which Coeur will acquire all of the issued and outstanding shares of common stock of Paramount and the San Miguel Project (the "Merger"). As a condition to closing the Merger, the shares of Paramount's subsidiary holding its Nevada mining assets will be spun-off to holders of the Company's common stock.

Apologies from those who decided to hate on my ass on Monday will be gracefully accepted. And you know the mail address, because you were quick to use it before. Don't be shy now, haters. Don't be shy.


Aberdeen ( vs Meson: A proxy slate

How much do we care that Meson Capital's Ivy League Blazerjocks want to play at boardroom battle with the rat Bharti? Not much, but as we've covered the show in a couple of recent posts IKN can at least do Ivy League the courtesy of linking up the NR. Go have a peep if you care.

Break out the popcorn.

Tax loss selling

Anybody who thought there wouldn't be much tax-loss selling in Canadian stocks this season, that the worst would be over early and that December wouldn't see much dumpage should take a good look at the market action today.

Aurcana (AUN.v): Lenic has left the building

In order to spend more time with his yacht in the Med. Link here

Some of the most informative NRs are the short ones that say very little.

Even at the bottom of a market the junior mining bullshit never stops

This morning an outfit called WCB Resources (WCB.v) gave us a screaming headline about its PNG exploration project that went "WCB Resources Intersects 48m @ 4.09 g/t Au, 15.82 g/t Ag and 0.22% Cu from Drill Hole GDD002 at the Misima Porphyry Copper Prospect, PNG" and then went on to tell us...
GDD002 intersects 48m @ 4.09 g/t Au, 15.82 g/t Ag and 0.22% Cu from 38 m, including: 4m @ 47.6 g/t Au, 90.55 g/t Ag and 0.57% Cu from 60 m. -- This mineralisation is predominantly hosted in skarn and can be correlated on section to previously reported high-value surface channel samples approx. 250m to the south-west. -- Three broad zones of highly elevated copper with associated gold and silver geochemistry returned in assays for the top 228m of this hole, which was completed to 768m. Assays are awaited for the rest of the hole. -- The significant intersection in GDD002, in combination with GDD001, provides further evidence of a large, strongly mineralised porphyry system at Misima. -- The new results have helped define a structural corridor within which upper level propylitic or halo alteration and associated porphyry mineralisation occurs, suggesting that this is the priority target area for further deep diamond drilling. -- Scout diamond hole GDD003, located 500m to the south-east from GDD0002, is currently at a depth of 631m.
Impressed? You should be, that's an awful lot of very important geology words all squeezed into one passage. However, let's bypass all the worderation and get back to the numbers being reported because what this NR is announcing is nothing more nor less than a drill cut of 48m of four gram gold. So let's just run that thru the good old handy dandy Corebox/Brent Cook Interval Calculator and...

...oh, looks like a 4m hit with a pathetic halo around it that's being smeared out to make it sound far more interesting than it is. Now, why didn't the junior exploration stage mining company with very little cash in the till and a continually dropping share price that nobody's interested in buying tell us that little part? Wow, beats me...

UPDATE: Best feedback received so far is from reader M: "Why didn't they go for 160m at 1g/t, amateurs!"

The Deutsche Bank 2015 Commodities Outlook report

It's 5.3Mb, it's 142 pages, it's dated today December 16th 2014, it covers all the angles, it's on this link right here. As for the front cover summary:

#1 Benchmark indices & a third year of under-performance: Following powerful price corrections, investors may be tempted to re-establish long exposures. However, US dollar strength should sustain the under-performance of commodity benchmark returns relative to equities. 
#2 Living with lower oil prices: We believe Brent oil prices below USD60/barrel would, over time, inflict damage on US oil supply prospects. A more powerful and sustained slump in oil prices towards USD40/bbl would, in our view, be only likely to occur in a much weaker global growth environment. 
#3 Natural gas supply growth: With 2015 supply growth likely to exceed the level needed to balance the market, we expect this year’s storage deficit to be eliminated by the end of Q1-15. Building surpluses over the balance of the year are likely to weigh on prices particularly in the summer. 
#4 The Fed & gold: Lower oil prices will inflict more damage on the S&P500 than the US real economy and encourage an expansion in central bank balance sheets outside of the US. These may provide pockets of support for gold, but, US financial forces will eventually overwhelm and drive gold prices lower. 
#5 The curse of over-valuation: Palladium has taken on the mantle of the world’s most richly priced commodity. While lower oil prices and a falling US unemployment rate should propel US auto sales higher, palladium fundamentals have to remain robust to justify our bullish price forecasts. 
#6 Copper’s exposure to the property slowdown in China: Unlike energy, agricultural and bulk commodities, where prices are back to levels last seen in 2009, industrial metal have been more resilient. However, the copper market is moving into surplus and the lagged effects of the weaker Chinese property market will hit copper demand, as a result copper is our preferred short. 
#7 Bulk commodities & the US dollar: Depreciating currencies have given bulk producers some breathing space to tolerate further price declines. This may delay the necessary production cuts, which will mean prices drift lower.

Whole thing here. Up to you whather you agree with DB or not.

On a happier note...

...I'm glad to say that while checking back office stats this morning, the best post of the last week on IKN is also the most read post on IKN in the last week (and believe me that's rarely the case, folks). That post is "CIM 43-101: The natural evolution of graft and corruption (from IKN291)" and it's the best because of the mail from my friend it contains. If you haven't read it yet, here's the link go and see. If you have...hell, read it again, it's a highly informative read.

The sooner 43-101 is killed, the better for the mining industry.

Vile esteemed really sucks, y'know

'Tis better to be vile than vile esteemed,
When not to be receives reproach of being,
And the just pleasure lost, which is so deemed
Not by our feeling, but by others' seeing.
Sonnet 121, LL 1-4, Bill the Quill

The problem with the snake-pit that is Canadian mining capital markets...sorry, let's start again.

One of the problems with the snake-pit that is Canadian mining capital markets is that due to it being populated by a never-ending procession of (middle-aged, balding, overweight, self-important, self-righteous, boring, lazy) white men speaking with forked tongue, it's difficult to be transparent and honest without people wondering "what the angle" is. Take for example the very short snippet passed on yesterday about First Majestic talking with Pan American about a merger. What happens is something along the lines of...
1) stock pops hard and against the grain of market peers at the open.
2) People start going "Huh WTF?" and the way things are these days I'm roped in (wholly voluntarily, but I'm pulled into the loop all the same) by those looking for an answer. We look together, pool resources, ask around, usual style.
3) Reasonable intel comes back over the jungledrum (and in all these cases "reasonable" involves a vetting process else you'd get to hear about all sorts of sillystuff rumours on these pages).
4) Instead of keeping the reasonable junglydrum snippet inside the usual walls, I pass it on here at the blog to (as noted yesterday) 'level the playing field', as it kinda irritates me that there's this two tier rumour system in Canada that rarely lets retail in on the juice.
So I post what I post, with some very clear disclosure, pure face value. And for my pleasure, the rewards reaped are either 1) "Otto's trying to manip the market with BS rumours" (via mail, which is flat untrue) or 2) "Otto's been suckered in by the oldest trick in the book" (via people with blogs who get some slack cut because they're normally pretty good, but this time score a fat fail by jumping to conclusions and not even bothering to ask before posting complete bullshit). Just one thing; had made its move and had peaked before I posted yesterday morning.

Anyway, don't think it's easy trying to be honest and equitable in this pisspoor section of human dregs known as junior mining market, because you take more shit by trying to rise above the scum than you do by joining in their nefarious games. That's my moan for the day done, except to say that Bill Quill above shows this is hardly a new facet of the human condition. Harrumph.

Chart of the day is... for the last couple of days:

Just sayin'


It's now eight weeks since the Doug Casey "Market To Crash NOW" call

On October 21st Casey Research charged its bleating flock $20 for its "Prepare For the 2014 Crash" report. And after urging you on by saying (and we quote)...

"Now is the time to take action. Not in the next few months or even in the next few weeks—Right now." the panic-laden Crash report, let's see how the Doug Casey prediction is panning out. Unlike the memory-lapsing Olivier Garret who tried to lull us into some revisionist bullshit on November 26th, we at IKN are clear about the main calls and trade recos offered by Casey Research in its paid-for panic call in October. The integral parts of the plan were the following:

1) Expect the broad markets to crash
2) Own gold as insurance
3) Go short the regional banks ETF (KRE)
4) Go short on the Dow Trannies ETF (IYT)

And here's the chart of the last month in those four vehicles, including the the S&P500 to cover that all-important broad market crash headliner:

In short:

  • The S&P500 hasn't crashed, it's 2 1/2 % over the last eight weeks
  • Also true for KRE, which is up 3%
  • IYT has been higher of course, but it's still 5% up in the period
  • Meanwhile, the safe haven call of gold, the one that should have gone up, is down by nearly 5% in the period.
In other words, Casey's still running a score of zero out of four. At what point will Casey Research refund the $20 it charged for its "Market To Crash Now!" call?

The cheque's in the post, Pacific Potash (PP.v) edition

This late evening NR made me grin:
VANCOUVERDec. 15, 2014 /CNW/ - Pacific Potash Corporation (TSX-V: PP) ("Pacific Potash" or the "Company") announces that its personnel in Brazil have advised that the funds wired to Brazil in order to make the tax payment due to the DNPM at the beginning of December were not received for unknown reasons and therefore the tax payment was not made by the required deadline.  As a result, management has been advised that the Company's tenemants in Brazil may be revoked by the DNPM.  The new management team for the Company is working to resolve this matter as soon as possible. 

Now, maybe just maybe juuuust maaaaaaaybe the lack of funds delivery has something to do with the fact that PP.v has been fined for non-payment and late payment of due taxes several times in the past, as at September 30th PP.v owed the Brazilian taxman $2.7m, of which $590k was due paid in the near term and as at the end 3q14 (i.e. the same september 30th) PP.v had the overwhelming total of six thousand eight hundred and eighty-nine Canadian dollars in treasury (as well as a working cap deficit of nearly $1.5m...but detail, yeah?).

Or hey, it could just be that the Vancouver Head Office did indeed wire that money to Brazil but for some strange reason it wasn't received in good order. Hell I dunno, all one big innocent misunderstanding probably. Innit guv. Honest like.