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Felix Salmon versus Barry Ritholtz on gold is now officially 'a thing'

Salmon is basically baiting Ritholtz with his "ten reasons why Barry is a dumbass about gold" note this weekend (slow news week, Felix?) but aside from the Click Me! Click Me! Business Insider/Buzzfeed philosophy now pervading the high traffic blogstars, it's okay as a note I suppose. He makes a couple of good points, others that are just he-sez-she-sez and then others there to fill out the count of ten, probably.

It's a rare New York financial type indeed that has more than the usual superficial grasp of what gold is, financially speaking at least. Salmon doesn't get the stuff, neither does Ritholtz. Gold mining stocks, now that's another thing entirely and two guys, one with oodles of nous about the bonds market (Salmon) and another who trades equities for a living and by all accounts does it well (Ritholtz) could bring some insight to a debate. But gold bullion, not so much.

Still, might make for a decent slapfight between two well read biz bloggers.

UPDATE: This made me laugh.

Some oil companies are better than others


I don't usually reply to anonymous hatemailers, today I did. And it was quite fun as well (which surprised) so I might just do it again. Anyway, here's the one I just sent back to an IKN 'fan'.
Of course I enjoy myself! And knowing that I'm annoying the scumbags in the business makes it worth every moment. After all, if I weren't making enemies from the people who've been sucking retail shareholders dry for years and lining their nests by doing precisely nothing for the good of anybody except themselves I'd hardly be doing my job right now, would I? 

And so brave of you, the anonymous hatemail! Your mother must be proud. Sadly for you, you're hardly unique as my only hatemailer, either. Hey, maybe you're one of those who has the power fantasy of meeting me on some dark night and beating my face to a pulp with a baseball bat, the guys in that subset really make me laugh. 
So anyway, your mail address is now blocked (well, it will be roughly five seconds after this mail goes out). I forgot to do that last time, so shame on me, hey? With that in mind, I'd really encourage you to reply to this and write a really, really long rant (using the same shitty grammar and spelling that belies your level of intelligence). And the longer the better, because the more time you waste on me the less time the people who have to suffer your physical presence need to interact with you.


Casimir leaves Canada

They dumped all the mining side of their Canada branch mid-last year, now it's time for the full retreat:

The Friday OT: Ry Cooder; Maria Elena

Ry Cooder and his band have been playing this Mexican standard for many years. They make it sound great.

The Pacific Rubiales ( oil spill off the coast of Peru

Setty has the information for you over at his place. Oh Serafino...

Amazingly, has decided not to inform the market of yet another mess it's made. At least they have a consistent corporate policy on pollution, I suppose.

Here's an interesting date for the Southern Copper (SCCO) Tia Maria project

Hey, remember how the Peru government got all happy when they shoved through the Tia Maria social licence late last year, against the will of the majority of locals and using all the sneaky tricks they could muster to avoid real problems at the meeting? If you don't IKN did a really really wonderful post on the event which you can read here. Afterwards the media was full of the "oh aren't we wonderful" government propaganda, but unfortunately for those who use these pressure tactics (and anyone who swallows them whole) we haven't heard the last of the problems around Tia Maria, not by a long way.

So to that date promised in the title and on January 17th, a big anti-mine meeting is scheduled is the Islay region of Peru (location of Tia Maria) against the project and the guest speaker of honour is likely to cause a big fuss. That's because he's Isaac Humala, father of Ollanta Humala and he's bound to come out against the copper mine project and likely to slam into the bullyboy tactics being used by his son's government in the region. Hilarity will ensue.

You have been warned. 

The change in Canadian field geologists' lifestyles, 2012 to 2014

2012: Field geologists meet up at Tim Hortons and discuss rocks and things.

2014: Field geologists meet up at Tim Hortons and discuss rocks and things. Only this time they're all in the kitchen flipping burgers.

UPDATE: Iwnattos mails in to put me straight, which is kind
stick to what you know, dumbass :-)
They don't flip burgers at Tim Horton's. They only have donuts and coffee.
And the donuts are made in a central factory nowadays.
A central factory for donuts? Seriously? Ewwww.

UPDATE 2: RC wrote in with the link on Tim Horton's centralized donut factory thing. Ewwwww. Oh, thanks btw RC. Still...ewwwwww...

Gold's reaction to the U.S. jobs report

It went up by 0.65%, which is hardly a panic attack:

Presumably, those panicking about the imminent death of the US economy are stocking up with guns first, then plenty of canned pork'n'beans. Later comes the bullion shopping. Or something.

Anyway, I'm more interested in seeing how the mining companies react to the news and that will start in 16 minutes' time, when the market opens.

Do not read bullshit on the U.S. jobs report

Read Calculated Risk on the U.S. Jobs report, right here. Leave the quackery to others, keep quality information for your own brain. And check back later to the site for McBride's detailed updates, always good.

Excellon ( On the subject of dead miners... me why Excellon Resources ( hasn't told the English speaking world about the two miners it managed to kill at its Platosa mine yesterday Thursday, January 9th. Certainly hope they weren't thinking about delaying any news release to the market until late Friday evening, or not releasing a note at all.

For what it's worth, the event which left two dead (Evaristo Nava Soto and Jorge Carrillo Rivera) and three seriously injured happened due to electrocution while they were servicing a pump underground.

UPDATE: Oh goody, EXN has decided to tell everyone. It took an hour from the appearance of this post to the appearance of corporate responsibility, though absolutely no phone calls to IR departments hurried this NR along, of course. Oh no no no no no.

Brent Cook on 4q13 earnings for miners and a bunch of other stuff

This is a pretty good 7 minute interview block with Cook. It starts on earnings projections, talks about how 2014 is shaping up for miners and goes on to expand on a couple of Cook's preferred subjects that point to how one can profit from buying into explorecos. Worth your time.


Sulliden ( must be very very VERY close to that financing package now

According to President Justin Reid, at least. That's because on November 1st he told the world that the final financing for Shahuindo would be "finished very shortly" and a debt package would be rolled in "over the next couple of months". For evidence, here's an extract from this interview in The Gold Report way back when dates were all 2013:
The Gold Report: Turning to your financing, on Oct. 11 Sulliden successfully closed a $40M bought deal co-led by National Bank Financial and Scotia Capital. Are these funds going toward construction? And how much more money will you need for the completion of construction? 
Justin Reid: The deal was very well taken and in the current environment we're very happy that it went so well. We have about $70M in the bank right now. We're looking to bring on contractors in our mine operation, which will save another $25–30M on our capex. What you'll see over the next couple of months is that we will roll in a debt package of between $50M and $60M, which will provide all the capital we need for construction. 
We mandated Credit Suisse and Barclays last November for a $125M facility. Because of the optimization that we are doing and our current cash balance, we obviously won't need $125M, but we'll be able to finalize that over the next few months and bring in just enough to cover our development costs and working capital requirements during the construction and ramp-up phases. We are working through the due diligence right now and expect to have that finished very shortly. (continues here)

The last time I looked, "a couple" was a direct synonym of "two" (e.g. I checked whether my wife wanted to bring a third person into our relationship and remain a married couple; she said no). And here we are over two months laster...and counting...with no financing package announced. Having a problem, Mister Tagliamonte? Any hitches over there, Mister Bharti? Spoke a little too soon, perchance Mister Reid? That due dilly session maybe thrown up an issue or two about the project, nice banker people? 

And another thing Justin, about that $40m placement being "well taken" comment. I mean, for one it had to close at $40m because it was a bought freakin' deal, Juzz. The other thing is that it had an overallotment facility which meant (and we quote) "the Underwriters have the option to purchase an additional 5,895,000 Common Shares from the Company at the Offering Price for a period of 30 days from the closing of the Offering." Any news on that overallotment being 'well-taken' too, Justy? Strange how we heard nothing on that once the 30 days were up, almost as if you couldn't shift any more paper. And gotta wonder what Scotia, knee deep in $1.02 shares that they can't get rid of, now think of the deal and that maybe they're not so bullish about the future of Shahuindo.

But hey, maybe it's just me being way too cynical and come out with news of the closed financing package in the next few days. Time will tell.

Dead miners in Peru (and Chile)

For the first time this milennium, Peru in 2013 managed to keep its official count of people killed while mining to under one per week, which is something I suppose.

We can't go so far as to say good, maybe 'less bad' is the phrase of the day. Data from the official Ministry of Energy and Mining source. We should also point out that these are the registered deaths at known mining operations and that the true total would be much higher if the informal, illegal and artisanal-type mining operations got included, too.

Meanwhile congratulations to Buenaventura (BVN), a company that's already kicked off 2014 by killing two of its operatives in separate accidents (which adds to the four killed at BVN mines in 2013). IKN therefore sends its sincere condolences to the families of Arturo Alberto Huamaní Cordova and Pablo Isidro Mamani Figueroa, whereas Roque Benavides can go fuck himself.

UPDATE: Here's how Peru and Chile mining mortality rates for the last four years compare. Gives a bit more context.

Chilean data also from the official relevant website, here.

In Peru, the trend for more copper and less gold production continues

We have the November 2013 mining production numbers out of Peru, so throw another month on the pile. And when you look at the longer-term fate of the piles, it's clear that Peru is less and less about gold production, more and more about copper. Here are two charts with the monthly country production figures, from 2005 to date:

See what I mean?

Endeavour Silver ( (EXK) 4q13 production numbers

Top of the shop: They were pretty good. Now for details and here's the silver chart for the quarters gone, including the latest set of figures for 4q13:

Guanacevi's 861,495 oz silver produced is a mine record and a very decent performance, that figure stands out. The Bolanitos 698.098oz is lowerthan previous quarters as the boost from toll milling from Cubo falls off. Meanwhile Cubo's 372,124 oz shows gradual improvement at the mine, along the lines of the company plan. In total EDR churned out 1,931,717 oz silver, a company record quarter and 700k oz up from this time last year.

Here's the gold chart:

The obvious weak spot is Bolanitos, which was 5,700 oz Au down on the previous quarter. That's around 340k oz AgEq and a substantial drop. though the company is bound to tell you how it was programmed and expected due to the change in mined mineral. Whatever they say, it takes the edge off the above silver production numbers.

Here are the average grades for silver from the top two mines, which shows them recovering from the slump of 2012/early 2013.

That may be the company doing a bit of high-grading in the face of the silver price slump, but they're also grades inside the acceptable historically. It's a set of numbers to monitor in 2014, whatever happens (as as the end year reserves/resources figures, which will be out later).

And while all that above has been going on, the share price has done this:

Which is the acid test. It's one thing to produce more metal, quite another to do it profitably. The 4q13 numbers point to a better quarter but until the rubber hits the road and we have a decent and chunky bottom line dollar profit from EDR, as far as I'm concerned the jury stays out.

Disclosure: No position in of any sort.

Praise for Henrique Capriles and Nicolas Maduro

For this (picture source and AP report here):

First and foremost the praise is for Henrique Capriles, for accepting the invitation to the Presidential Palace and attending the crisis meeting along with other regional governors. The meet was to talk about ways to crack down on the spiralling crime and murder rates in Venezuela in the wake of the death of Monica Spear, ex-Miss Venezuela, and her husband who were shot dead by a gang of roadside thieves.

Capriles was invited but nobody would have said anything new or particularly damning if he had decided not to attend, the bad blood between him and Maduro/his government is known to all. But attend he did and that shows a higher level of responsibility than has been on display for basically a year. Good for you Henrique, good for Venezuela too. Yesterday was a real opposition politician on show, let it not be the last time.

Praise also for President Maduro, who first invited Capriles along with all other regional governors and then made for the photo opportunity you see above by going over to his sworn political enemy, thanking him for attending and shaking his hand. The image is more than merely symbolic, it's a chance that something, however small, can come from the Spear murder (see that AP report for an outline on crime figures and associated experts talk). So well done Nicolas for being...well...for being Maduro* for once and setting aside the highly aggressive rhetoric in order to attempt a solution to Venezuela's most serious problem.

I have to say that I'm not particularly optimistic on the chances of seeing a pivot point in the Venezuela crime and violence wave, but I'll take the current ray of hope and cling on hard for the time being.

*Maduro in Spanish means 'Mature'


The Well-timed Analysis Award of the Day...

...goes to Stonecap, for this note released on Carpathian ( this morning, praising the company and raising its price target to 20c (from 15c):

Which came just a couple of hours before this:
TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Jan. 8, 2014) - Carpathian Gold Inc. (TSX:CPN) (the "Corporation" or "Carpathian") has temporarily suspended production at the RDM gold project, Brazil (the "Project"), which is wholly-owned by the Corporation's subsidiary, Mineração Riacho dos Machados Ltda. ("MRDM"). The suspension follows receipt by MRDM of a temporary suspension of the Autorização Provisória de Operação ("APO") which was previously announced on December 13, 2013. The conditions leading to the suspension of the APO are primarily the result of unusual recent heavy rainfall at the site. MRDM is working with SUPRAM to assess the extent of the remediation works required to have the suspension of the APO lifted. The Corporation will provide further updates in this regard as they become available.


Hey Christos Doulis of Stonecap, didn't your mother ever warn you about playing with lighted matches?

More good news! South American Silver management ( had a very merry Christmas and would like to thank all you suckers out there for buying their shares

This is very impressive, a pump and dump of shameless proportions. Information garnered from the always useful and highly reco'd site, Canadian Insider

Strange how the members of South American Silver 's ( management team who were selling all those shares to the suckers who bought into the bullshit pump scam haven't mentioned a single word about it all yet, innit? It could be due to a massive Dom Perignon induced hangover that's still raging from the festive season, but I'm sure they'll get around to saying thank you eventually.

And here's the whole list, for your deeper reading pleasure: You'll notice how long'n'thin this below image is, because you need to click on it to see all the information in full size and this list, ladies and gentlemen, goes on for quite a while (Edit: After some mails received it's now a slightly shorter, easier to read and more palatable version)

Good to see Candente Copper ( shares rallying today...

...and managing to completely ignore the news out of Peru about its Cañariaco project. Here's major national media channel RPP with more:
Locals from Cañaris, in Lambayeque region, have announced that in the next few days they will resume their protests against the Cañariaco mining project, under development by the Candente Copper mining company, after hearing that drilling work will begin again in the zone. 
Richard Rinza Lucero, a member of the community, said that the Canadian company had made public the re-start of exploration work in the region and placing under threat the natural resources they the community have always defended. 
"We have already scheduled a public meeting in the Cañaris zone for February 17th. Our position continues to be the same, that of outright rejection of any activity that threatens our resources. Tomorrow we will resolve at a meeting what means of protest we will take", he told RPP Noticias. 
Equally, Cristobal Barrios, the recently elected regional president of the rural 'rondero' committee, said that the first issue to analyze will be that of mining concessions, particularly those in the Andean zone. 
"I believe that locals, and now with even more energy, will re-start this struggle. We will continue to defend that which is ours, the mining problem cannot continue affecting our people", he said. 
Both were clear in saying that the round table working groups (last year between government, company and locals) did nothing to help solve the environmental and social conflict that has been generated and had placed under threat the tranquility of Andean communities in the Lambayeque region.

So good for Candente shareholders, managing to ignore the upcoming problems and seeing their shares go higher today! A great day and grand victory for capitalism, for sure. Three cheers for money and copper! Hoo Rah!

Wishbone Gold (WISHY) and fifty words for snow

The Eskimo/Inuit have fifty words for snow. Meanwhile Wishbone Gold (ticker WISHY and my stars how we love that ticker) has one thousand and ninety-two words for "we are a scam gold company and we will rip you off". Seriously, go have a look at this NR from WISHY (!!) today, amazing collection of babble and nonsense, as it impressively manages to hit about a dozen of the classic clichés the scamrunning bullshit merchants of the gold exploreco world use in one swoop (these scumbags usually limit themselves to two or three at a go).

The dregs of the capital markets, on display for your enjoyment and education. Avoid people and companies like these at all costs.

The other thing I'm watching this morning is the US Dollar (USD) strength...

...which looks for all the world as if it will take the currency back to the 81.5 line.

After that your guess is as good as mine. But strong dollar momentum drill should be a central part of your daily playbook today.

Chart of the day is...

...the gold/silver ratio, 12 month:

That red 200 day moving average line is underscoring the continuation of a longer-term trend. Which is another way of telling you that silver sucks even harder than sucky old gold. The good news for the silverbugs is that it's not their fault. It's that there conspiracy what done it, yessir.


Who to believe on Latin America?

Meanwhile, the ex-director of CEPAL criticized the qualification between "good and bad economic development" that is "done by media channels" by separating the governments of right and left.
"This division is false. Among the countries with orthodox economic policies is Mexico, which has a poor development in economic terms and is the least dynamic economy in Latin America along with Venezuela and El Salvador", he said. 
On the other side of the coin are countries "on the (political) left with very good development", such as Ecuador and Bolivia, that are "reducing inequality to the lowest levels in Latin America."

You be the judge. But in the meantime will you please stop thinking that The WSJ has anything insightful to day about a whole region that it's called pathetically badly for decades. This whole bullshit spiel about "left bad right good" vomited out by the English language media that fails to do anything close to covering the region is as stupid as it's wrong.

Anti-mining protesters and social media

Here's a decent analysis of the way those two things in the title line go together, out of Reuters today. Plenty of bases covered, including Rosia Montana in Romania, Conga in Peru, Pebble up in the GWN, Centerra's Kumtor mine in a place with very few vowels indeed, plus more. We even get a quote from FireSteve Letwin of I! AM! GOLD!*, who tells us how wonderful his social media friends with camels turn out to be. Which is cute. How 'bout a net profit this quarter as well, FireSteve?

The note is here, go have a read.

*copyright Iwnattos

Quartermain's out of bullets...

...and despite his best pumping efforts for the last six weeks, all the news he's thrown at Pretium (PVG) recently hasn't managed to shift the stock over that difficult $6 hump. What's now left is a stock drifting under $5 because the world and his dog knows the company is out of cash and needs to run a financing soon. If you ask me* it's going back under $4 and that even before the systematic failings of VOK get exposed. And that's why I'm short PVG. 

And it's why the short is nicely in the green too, thanks for asking. DYODD,dude.

PS: Full disclosure: Short PVG, because apparently I have to assume that you can't fucking read or something. Jeesh, freakin' anal mailbag this morning.

*assuming you're plug dumb stupid enough to want my dumbass opinion

A Flash update...

...has just been sent to subscribers, mid-morning Tuesday. A little profit taken, nothing special.

PS: Oh yeah, this:


Although it doesn't come up much on the blog these days, your humble scribe still keeps a close eye on what company insiders are doing. So as a slight return here are three examples from this week.

Treasury Metals (TML) has seen buying, most recently from head honcho Henderson. A stock that's been kicked down the valuation scale along with the most of them, but more significantly one of the companies run the right way by industry good guys who aren't trying to rip the market off at the first possible opportunity. TML also has a decent asset or two with real gold intercepts (though deep).

Trevali (TV) insiders are acting the same as all Cardero Group company insiders and selling shares on the pop. Seriously, it's like catnip for these people, can't possibly resist a quick scalp can you dudes? The weird thing about Cardero companies is that the market falls for their soft soap bullshit every single time (for another example, look at the way they've roped in people to the Corvus story....for anyone who remembers how they sold International Tower Hill to the world it's just deja vu all over again).

Similarly, Dynacor Gold (DNG) is playing sold to you suckah! on any chance to turn their paper into dollars, which again shouldn't come as much surprise considering the pumpo set-up and true believer.Mind you, they haven't managed to rope in any market commentator of great worth as yet. Only Lobito.

It's worth keeping an eye on insider activity, leopards and spots and all that.


A gold chart

Today's line in the sand:

Yes indeed, it's "The January 2014 Junior Mining Company Buzzword Translator"

IKN steps in to help you wade through the new batch of news releases by translating some of the more popular words and phrases now showing up with impressive regularity. Deep breath, here we go!

"Reorganization" = Failed company
"...Has Stepped Down...We Thank Him For..." = Failed company
"Strategic review" = Failed company
"...Exciting Trenching Results..." = Failed company
"...Seeking a JV Partner..." = Failed company
"...Corporate Reorganization..." = Failed company
"...New Opportunities..." = Failed company
"...Plans to Resume Drilling..." = Failed company
"...Positive Metallurgical Test Results Confirming Potential ..." = Failed company
"...Cost Cutting Measures..." = Failed company
"...Moving Towards Completion Of PEA..." = Failed company

So which ones have we missed?

UPDATE: Thanks to reader CS for:
"...Regains 100% Control Of..."
And MP gives us:
" designed for the enhancement of shareholder value...”
"...mine plan optimization program..."

Chart of the day is...

...Nicaragua's export mix for the last seven years:

And oh look! See what the number one export was in 2013, for the first time ever?

Chart taken from a longer note in IKN244, out yesterday.


The IKN Weekly, out now

IKN244 has just been sent to subscribers. A year-end review of mistakes made (and hopefully lessons learned), a stock or two for the future, coverage of the region's political scene and the start of a new section to boot. Sure to help those winter evenings fly by.

Belo Sun ( Some Portuguese practice for y'all

Here you go people, brush up on your Portuguese by reading through this very interesting interview on Belo Sun ( and its Volta Grande gold project (as well as wider issues of gold mining in Brazil), done by Russia's Pravda with one Rogério Almeida, a Brazilian professor qualified in Social Communication and Sustainable Development who teaches at the Technology University of the Amazon. Far more balanced than you're probably expecting too, as it takes a look at both sides of the argument on the project and doesn't try to hide facts, either.

Another quick question (but this time a really good one)

Because this time it's Robert Frost's short poem, 'A question':

A voice said, Look me in the stars
And tell me truly, men of earth,
If all the soul-and-body scars
Were not too much to pay for birth.

I came across it last night while looking for something completely different and read it for the first time in (I think) 20 years. The thing that caught me was the hyphenation of soul-and-body, which struck me as smack on with Buddhist teachings of suffering. That was the new reflection it brought, the ones that came from memory were just how fantastic 'Look me in the stars' is, and how the truly great poets can pack so much punch into just four lines.

Anyway, I enjoyed it again and decided to share it here.