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President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia has his personal e-mails intercepted

Not a slow news day. Ukraine, Chapo Guzman, Venezuela all up there, but this one is big as well. President Santos has confirmed that sample e-mails recently shown to local media channel Univision are from his personal e-mail account. What's more, Univision states it has also been shown mails from Santos's account that go back at least two years. 

Travel advisory, Mexico edition

You may want to avoid rural areas of Northwestern Mexico in the next few days. This news via AP:

US official: Sinaloa drug chief 'Chapo' Guzman arrested by US, Mexican authorities in Mexico.

UPDATE: Early reaction to the Guzmán arrest is focused around it being a big win for the Peña Nieto government. Personally, I'd call it a positive first chapter of a story that hasn't been told since the Escobar days, one with plenty of potential futures, some good, some not so good. Like it or not we can safely assume that cocaine will not suddenly stop flowing through Mexico because of today's events, therefore the image of the Lernaean Hydra springs to the mind's eye.

UPDATE 2: The Mex Files reports, live and direct from the arrest ground zero city of Mazatlan.


Was reminded of this today...

...after many but many years of not watching it (by ross, fwiw). What surprised me was just how accurate Cleese's Spanish is, as at the time way back when it sounded kinda fakey. The best Python sketches always came from left-field and this one...well, it's just wonderful.


The Friday OT: Talking Heads; Blind

Just about the last decent thing The Heads squeezed out of the group before disintegrating entirely:

Top vid, too.

Venezuela: Protests in Abundance, Wisdom in Short Supply

Once again, it falls to quieter voices to offer more balance and speak more sense. This English language article Protests in Abundance, Wisdom in Short Supply by Ángel Álvarez, professor of political science at the Venezuela Central University, it recommended reading for anyone who requires more in their ears than the current shouting match.

Gran Colombia Gold ( Seems legit

Rule 1 of a pump and dump: The only people who know the right time to sell have inside information

Copper Mountain (

Overheard in a brokerage in Canada, early this morning:

Person: You see the CUM quarterly last night?
Person's Boss: Yeah, sucked as usual.
Person: Ok, we're on the same page. So this time I get to tell the truth?
Person's Boss: Are you out of your mind? We have all those bot deal papers to get shot and they're still under escrow!
Person: Oh, c'mon, it's six quarters in a row now! All I ever get to say is "Disappointing quarter, but the company is improving operations and things look better this quarter".
Person's Boss: Yup, which is exactly what you get to say this time too. Look at the other NR
Person: I saw it. Secondary crusher, whoop de doo. Those the same people that installed the grate?
Person's Boss: Hey, since when did you think it's about being honest, anyway? We're here to make profits, not friends.
Person: It's just that I get so...
Person's Boss: Enough already! STFU, sit down, write the jam tomorrow stuff. Once those buck seventy shares are out of hold you can write what you want. If your heart's still bleeding come Q1 you can be all 'honest' about your analysis, ok?
Person: Seriously? About how that grade will never make...?
Person's Boss: Yeah yeah yeah, whatever you want.

It's not just a river in Egypt

Compare this chunk of prose from near the top of the Silver Standard (SSRI) ( results NR last night...
"2013 was a positive year for our Company, notwithstanding the lower silver price environment." said John Smith, President and CEO. this part further down the thing
Net loss of $225.0 million, or $2.79 per share, in the year ended December 31, 2013, compared to net earnings of$55.3 million or $0.69 per share in the year ended December 31, 2012. The lower net earnings in 2013 are principally due to pre-tax impairment charges and inventory write-downs of $225.7 million.
Seriously, you people still fall for this shit from pisspoor mining companies run by bullshit spouting executives? Just can't wait for the hand-wringing articles and op-eds later on this year from the market sages and wise saws giving it the, "Oh, but the metals are in better shape! So why oh why isn't the broad market money taking our sector more seriously?".

PS: And no, it's not just SSRI. By way of just one more example (from several on offer), a few of us here in the backrooms had a jolly good guffaw and chortle over Kinross's (KGC) ( 4q13 NR a few days ago. That one included J. Paul Rollinson CEO stating...:
"Operational excellence, combined with a focus on financial discipline and a strong balance sheet, underpinned Kinross's solid performance in 2013.
And also some numbers :
Reported net loss (3): $740.0 million, or $0.65 per share, compared with net loss of $2,984.9 million, or $2.62 per share, in Q4 2012. The Q4 reported net loss includes an after-tax non-cash impairment charge of $544.8 million, primarily comprised of property, plant and equipment at Maricunga. Full-year reported net loss was $3,012.6 million, or $2.64 per share, compared with a net loss of $2,546.2 million, or $2.24 per share for full-year 2012. Reported net loss for the full year also includes an after-tax non-cash impairment charge of $2,289.3 million, previously reported on July 31, 2013.

Cool, huh? 

Chart of the day is...

...uranium versus gold in 2014, using and GLD as our neat and simple proxies:

What is this Canadian obsession with uranium? It may be because of the Athabasca and their pride about having the world's richest U field but it beats me why they can't see what the rest of the world now class as obvious, that the whole U industry is dying and the metal will never recover its past glory. Calling U to stay under $40/lb in 2014 is the no-brainer of the year.


Translating Marin Katusa

When he writes this:

"...did reconfirm that he will personally foot the bill for the company's next 12 months of exploration if the drill results don't warrant a private placement at a price he is comfortable with."
It means this:
Well, in fact it'll be "This is a great buying opportunity" in his next update, but y'know....details...

Forward looking statement

Another sign that this miners' market has changed is the way in which bad quarterly results are getting shrugged off and stocks rising whatever happened in 4q13. "Well that's normal", you may say, "that's how the stock market works" and in general I'd agree, but 2013 for the miners saw them being whacked on their earnings report days due to what had just happened, not what they expected in the months to come. The action of the past week is that of a sector that's looking forward once again, which is what it's supposed to do when feeling healthy. 2014 is not 2013.

Mining PRs and the Ottotrans™, part 82

In the weird and wonderful world of the junior mining NR, there's a specific sub-category that shows up in the middle of February and today, Cornerstone Capital (CGP.V) has offered us a classic example of this type of NR. Due to their kindness IKN is today able to condense ONE THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-ONE WORDS DOWN TO JUST FIVE, which could be a new site record.

This is what they wrote:
MOUNT PEARL, NEWFOUNDLAND--(Marketwired - Feb. 20, 2014) - Cornerstone Capital Resources Inc. ("Cornerstone" or "the Company") (TSX VENTURE:CGP)(CTNXF)(GWN.F)(GWN.BE) announces the following project update for the Stage 1 drill program at the Alpala prospect within the Cascabel Project at the Company's copper-gold porphyry exploration project in northern Ecuador.
  • Strongly visible porphyry copper sulphide mineralization continues to current hole depth of 1303.5m in hole 5. Copper-rich sulphides include chalcopyrite, bornite and chalcocite as fine to coarse grained disseminations and in veins with magnetite.
  • Strong correlation evident between magnetite content, magnetic characteristics and copper sulphide contents enabling correlation between the three dimensional Alpala magnetic model and copper-gold porphyry targets.
  • Drilling to continue to sooner of 1500m depth or end of copper mineralization (1500m depth expected to be reached in 10 days).
  • 324m of core dispatched for urgent assay. Results expected within 14 days.
  • Large size and strong copper-gold porphyry system indicated with over 1300m of near-continuous visible copper sulphide mineralization and classic porphyry system geological features.
References to figures related to the version of this release on the Company's website ( or visible in PDF format by clicking the link below:
Brooke Macdonald, Cornerstone's President & CEO, commented that "the deepening of Hole CSD 13-005 continues to show strong alteration and mineralization. The size and intensity of the alteration and mineralization processes are very impressive. To our knowledge, this hole is the deepest mineral exploration hole ever drilled in Ecuador. Other very significant indicators of the huge potential of the Alpala target are the distribution of copper over the entire present length of the hole (to date at 1303.5m), the close association of gold to copper of the gold-enriched porphyry mineralization, and the strong correlation of magnetic minerals with gold and copper mineralization opens large and new areas to explore as outlined by the 3D magnetic model.
From an economic viewpoint, the Cascabel project is very well located in northern Ecuador, accessible by a paved road from the capital city, linked to the Esmeraldas large port facility by a 222 km paved road, available electrical power (8 hydroelectric plants under construction) and Ecuador will be exporting electricity surplus by 2017. It is assumed that the old Ibarra-San Lorenzo (small port city 96 km west of Cascabel) railroad crossing the northern part of the concession could eventually be rehabilitated to service the project if needed in the future."
Drill Hole CSD-13-005
CSD-13-005 was sited to test the depth and lateral extent of bulk-style copper and gold mineralization encountered in holes 1 and 2 at the Alpala prospect. Copper and gold assay results have been received to a depth of 869.68 metres as reported on January 14th. A strong relationship between copper and gold mineralization and magnetic character is indicated to date.
Hole CSD-13-005 resumed drilling from 869.68m depth on January 28th. On February 10th, the Company announced the observation of coarse-grained chalcopyrite mineralization from 869.68m to 1106.80m depth. From 869.68m to 1106.80m the hole intersected potassically altered porphyry style rocks with intense potassic alteration and veining ranging between 10-30 veins per metre, with variable fine to coarse grained copper sulphide fill and disseminated copper sulphides (chalcopyrite, bornite, chalcocite).
As of February 19th the hole has reached a current depth of 1303.50m and strong copper mineralization has continued to be encountered to the current hole depth of 1303.5m. This latest extension to Hole CSD-13-005 continues to encounter coarse grained chalcopyrite mineralization in sulphide-rich veins ('C'-veins) as well as widespread disseminations of chalcopyrite, bornite and chalcocite (see Figures 1-7). Magnetite and anhydrite, which also characterize the potassic zone of porphyry systems, continue to be observed in this interval. 
Figures 1 to 7 are photographs of mineralized core at select intervals between 1108m and 1279.60m depth.
A total of 324m of samples (from 869.68m to 1194m depth) have been forwarded to the assay laboratory for priority assay.
Hole 5 will continue to be drilled until the sooner of either when 1500m depth is reached, or when copper mineralization is observed to significantly diminish.
About Cascabel
SolGold Plc currently holds a 50% interest, and can earn up to an 85% interest, in Exploraciones Novomining S.A. ("ENSA"), the Ecuadorian subsidiary of Cornerstone that holds 100% the Cascabel concession. 
The Cascabel project is located in north-western Ecuador in an under-explored northern section of the richly endowed Andean Copper Belt, 60 km northeast of the undeveloped NI 43-101 compliant inferred resource of 982 million tons at 0.89% Cu Junin copper project.
Qualified Person:
Yvan Crepeau, MBA, P.Geo., Cornerstone's Vice President, Exploration and a qualified person in accordance with National Instrument 43-101, is responsible for supervising the exploration program at the Cascabel project and has reviewed and approved the information contained in this news release.
Logging, sampling and assaying
Holes referred to in this release were or are being drilled using HTW, NTW and NQ core sizes (respectively 7.1, 5.6 and 4.8 cm diameter). Geotechnical measurements such as core recovery, fracturing, rock quality designations (RQD's), specific density and photographic logging are performed systematically prior to assaying. The core is logged, magnetic susceptibility measured and key alteration minerals identified using an on-site portable spectrometer. Core is then sawed in half at Cornerstone's core logging facility and half of the core is delivered by Cornerstone employees for preparation at Acme Analytical Laboratories (ACME) affiliate laboratory in Cuenca. Core samples are prepared crushing 1 kg to 80% passing 2 mm (10 mesh), splitting 250 g and pulverizing to 85% passing 0.075 mm (200 mesh) (ACME code R200-250). Prepared samples are then shipped to ACME in Vancouver, Canada where samples are assayed for a multi-element suite (ACME code 1E, 0.25g split, 4-acid digestion, ICP-ES finish). Over limit results for Ag (greater than 100 g/t), Cu, Pb and Zn (each one greater than 1%) are systematically re-assayed (ACME code 7 TD1 or 7 TD2, 4-acid digestion, ICP-ES finish). Gold is assayed using a 30 g split, Fire Assay (FA) and AA or ICP-ES finish (ACME code G601).
Quality assurance / Quality control (QA/QC)
The ACME affiliate preparation facility in Cuenca was audited by Cornerstone prior to the start of the drilling program and ACME is an ISO 9001:2008 qualified assayer that performs and makes available internal assaying controls. Duplicates, certified blanks and standards are systematically used (1 control sample every 15 samples) as part of Cornerstone's QA/QC program. Rejects, a 100 g pulp for each core sample and the remaining half-core are stored for future use and controls.
About Cornerstone:
Cornerstone Capital Resources Inc. is a mineral exploration company based in Mount Pearl, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, with a diversified portfolio of projects in Ecuador and Chile, and a strong technical team that has proven its ability to identify, acquire and advance properties of merit. The company's business model is based on generating exploration projects whose subsequent development is funded primarily through joint venture partnerships. Commitments from JV partners constitute significant validation of the strength of Cornerstone's projects.
Further information is available on Cornerstone's website: and on Twitter. For investor, corporate or media inquiries, please contact:
Investor Relations:
North America toll-free: 1 (877) 277-8377
Cautionary Notice:
This news release may contain 'Forward-Looking Statements' that involve risks and uncertainties, such as statements of Cornerstone's plans, objectives, strategies, intentions and expectations. The words "potential," "anticipate," "forecast," "believe," "estimate," "expect," "may," "project," "plan," and similar expressions are intended to be among the statements that identify 'Forward-Looking Statements.' Although Cornerstone believes that its expectations reflected in these 'Forward-Looking Statements' are reasonable, such statements may involve unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors disclosed in our regulatory filings, viewed on the SEDAR website at For us, uncertainties arise from the behaviour of financial and metals markets, predicting natural geological phenomena and from numerous other matters of national, regional, and global scale, including those of an environmental, climatic, natural, political, economic, business, competitive, or regulatory nature. These uncertainties may cause our actual future results to be materially different than those expressed in our Forward-Looking Statements. Although Cornerstone believes the facts and information contained in this news release to be as correct and current as possible, Cornerstone does not warrant or make any representation as to the accuracy, validity or completeness of any facts or information contained herein and these statements should not be relied upon as representing its views subsequent to the date of this news release. While Cornerstone anticipates that subsequent events may cause its views to change, it expressly disclaims any obligation to update the Forward-Looking Statements contained herein except where outcomes have varied materially from the original statements.
On Behalf of the Board,
Brooke Macdonald, President and CEO
Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

Cornerstone Capital Resources Inc.
Toll Free: 1-877-277-8377

And this is what it means:
No assay results before PDAC

IKN is not a blog

Because blogs are old fashioned. No, IKN is in fact a proprietary, cross-platform message relaying system adapted for modern use for all major internet access devices, including smartphones and mobile devices. It allows instant and free access of contained information to the client and is accessible via all major platforms, including Android, Apple iOS, Windows Phone and Blackberry. IKN's multimedia delivery includes text, video and audio.

Founded in 2008, IKN's proven formula offers entertainment and mind-stimulating content to thousands of people every day.

Please forward this post to Zuckerberg.

UPDATE: Through IKN's Merchant Banking Channels* comes the reply
Dear Mr. Rock,

I have been following the progress of your proprietary, cross-platform message relaying system adapted for modern use for all major internet access devices, including smartphones and mobile devices for quite some time now and must tell you I am very impressed. I'm proud to tell you that your incredibly innovative technology even allowed me to net just under $297.00 by shorting GORO a few months back. As such, I would like to make it clear that I would like to merge your company with ours and I am prepared to offer you $1,000,000,000,000 in Facebook common shares as well as $1,000,000,000 in cash for your company.

Please be kind enough to take a millisecond to think it over and please let me know of your decision poste haste.

Yours truly,

Mark Zuckerberg
CEO Facebook
UPDATE 2: That bitch Iwnattos** has outdone this humble corner of cyberspace AGAIN! Trumped by the kitten GIFs, we are.

* aka reader 'R'; thanks for the mail, man
**aka sez me man

Chart of the day is...

...the gold/copper ratio:

Several reports appearing to wave copper higher these days, which is all wonderfu except for the way in which copper refuses to do so. Perhaps this is the chart JP Morgan and others are watching.

Semi-OT, interesting that the small drop in gold yesterday (wasn't much more then $10) caused that much havoc to the stocks. Pretty nervy out there.


I Am Niobium (IAG) ( reports

Earnings report time and FireSteve Letwin's charge, IAMGOLD (IAG) (, needs a change in corporate title. According to the numbers:
  • Operating margin for the whole company in 2013 was $51.1m
  • Operating margin from IMG's niobium ops in 2013 was $95.4m

So let's drop the pretense that your all in cash cost of $1,232/oz Au means you have been making money on gold production, yeah? And by the way FireSteve, when you proudly state in the MD&A bullet points that you got "within 5% of guidance", it means you missed guidance. We clear?

And nice write down too.

OK, scratch all that. I was looking at the quarterly for the company and not the annual (which was an operating margin of $340m, a different kettle of fish altogether). Sadly I'm a putz at times, but the post stays because I'm not so much of a putz to delete my errors. At least I spotted the dumbassery before anyone wrote in.

Conga: Violence kicks off again this afternoon in Cajamarca

What we know so far is:

1) Yanacocha SA last week stated that no work was taking place at the Conga project.
2) This morning, a committee of anti-mining locals went up to the site, witnessed work taking place and moved in to stop the company activities.
3) This afternoon, some 700 police officers arrived on the scene and displaced the protesters. Tear gas, confrontations, some person to person violence reported.
4) At this moment, the protesters have been corralled into an area by the side of one of the local lagoons.

Hilarity to ensue. Meanwhile, some Peru national media coverage on this link.

UPDATE: Some details and quotes from the anti mine protesters on this link

My favourite bit of the meeting between Colossus Minerals ( and local miners

The government, the company and local 'garimpeiro' miners from the Coomigasp co-operative all got together this week to discuss the clusterfuck known as Serra Pelada. The best bit of the meeting made this report (translated):
The garimpeiro leaders also repeated their claim, while giving their words a tone of unquestionable truth, of the rumours that circulate intensely around Curionopolis which say Colossus has extracted a large quantity of gold from the mine and has sold  it illegally." 
To the great surprise of nobody present, the company denied the accusations.

Timely commentary on the Venture exchange

Kip Keen over at Mineweb does the job, which you can find right here on this thing they call a hyperlink. Keen puts necessary focus on the traded volume of the TSXV as well, which makes far more sense than getting all fappy about the price spikes in some of these stocks recently. A smart overview piece, well worth your time.

Leopoldo López: He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy

One of the main problems with the Venezuela situation today (as so eloquently pointed out by Ruben Blades this morning) is that you might not be into the Maduro government, but the choices offered by the established opposition are pretty freakin' cruddy too. Take for example the words of the now-arrested Leopoldo López in 2012, as he looked back on the events of the very-near-coup of 2002 (in which he was a central figure):

"In 2002, errors were committed...that time was a moment of high confrontation, a moment where errors were certainly committed by both sides. We have to make a difference between [the events of] April 11th, and those of April 12th and 13th. At that moment errors were committed because the country had reached a level of confrontation, of intolerance to which we should never have reached and I have asked God that we never go back and reach those levels [again]."

Now consider López's words in this Greg Weeks post "Lopez Acts like a Thug" last week:

Leopoldo López allegedly has an arrest warrant out against him, and here is his response:
Late Thursday Lopez dared the government to arrest him. 
“You don’t have the b---- to put me in jail?” He wrote Maduro on Twitter. “Or are you waiting for your orders from Havana? The truth is on our side.”
It may well be that López would like to become a martyr, but acting like a teenaged bully is not a good way to achieve that.  

So, maybe he didn't ask his God so very well, because less than two years later the very same person who admitted that "errors were committed" (including of course the classic pissy use of the passive voice, hallmark of the political asshole) is the one so keen on ratcheting up the confrontation. The reason is simple; the more blood on the streets, the better his strategic position in a straight fight to try and make fall a democratically elected government. These pieces of shit don't care about the people they put in harm's way and don't ever forget it.

López may be your idea of some sort of political saviour or hero of the country. If so, it's more of a reflection on you than on Venezuela.

Argentina Peso forex update

A mail arrives asking for an update on the Argentine Peso's performance versus the dollar in the last week (yup, we do requests). So here are a couple of charts that start on the day before the headline-grabbing dela and continue until today, but the main takeaway is "no news":

Here we see the official dollar rate (red line) and the 'Dolar Blue' (street rate), and the gap has steadied to around ArgP$4.

The official dollar is trading at ArgP$7.77 this morning and it's been clicking down by an inconsequential penny every day this week. The Dolar Blue has fluctuated between 11.7 and 11.8, with reported trading light (retail forex yes, larger scale transactions rare).

Here's a better view of the gap, the trend is clear enough and from last month's panicky difference of 5, we're back at 4 and where we were at the very start of the year:

In this world, no news is good news. We're consolidating around a new and tight price range and let's face it, a bit of stability will help Argentina's cause no end. This will not be received gladly by the country's rabid detractors, of course. But fuck them, they're assholes who only care about money and don't give a toss about the country or its people.

Germán Efromovich is a smart businessman... his short but reasonably accurate Spanish language wikipedia page will attest, as he started and was already rich by the time the year 2000 came around but then moved into the megarich category by making a well timed move into LatAm airline Avianca in 2004. He's a well-known name in the bigmoney LatAm world and that's because he has a smart nose for making and keeping money, so his recent dumping of 441,600 shares of Pacific Rubiales (, where he happens to sit as non-exec co-Chair, is interesting. Particularly as PRE had been sinking fast even before Germán started his dumpage (all done via dozens upon dozens of small lot sales too, almost as if he didn't want to attract any attention, innit guv).

Chart of the day is...

...the Kitco live gold chart:

You new range, world. Give or take a tenth or two that's a 1% top-to-bottom over the last three days of gold trading, and that's tight. These things never last forever, but they can last for a while. 


Pro-tip: When nominated for an award, make sure you spell the name of your industry correctly

For reasons of credibility, et cetera. 

IKN humbly offers you tonight's NR from OTC bullshit scam stock Vivakor (VIVK), which is apparently a 'minor'.

Vivakor Nominated as Junior Minor of the Year by HEFFX and HEFFCAP
HENDERSON, NV--(Marketwired - February 18, 2014) -Vivakor Inc. (VIVK) announces that the Company has been nominated for the Junior Minor of the Year by HEFFX and HEFFCAP.
Matt Nicosia, VIVAKOR'S CEO, stated, "We are honored to be nominated for such an award and we believe because of the Company's performance both with the expansion of the technology and stock appreciation, the Company will continue to create value for shareholders." continues here

Seriously, where do you start with these jokers?

Nicolas Maduro trapped by his own rhetoric

The Théâtre de l'Absurde put on by opposition figure(tti) Leopoldo López today was obvious planned carefully for the maximum media impact, but it's also a result of President Maduro going off the rails and demanding his arrest when a smarter politico (for example, one Hugo Chávez) would never have fallen for the opposition trap. Maduro's political naiteve and bluff has been called and be clear, the current three ring circus is of Maduro's making. He's coming off the bat of two elections in 2013 that give him a democratic mandate (particularly the 2nd round of regionals later last year) and there was no need for all this, while on the other hand López (who'd been demoted to a lesser figure in the opposition movement through the rise of Capriles) has little to lose from this show, everything to gain. Maduro's next move will be interesting, because he needs to get smarter and quickly.

UPDATE: Site friend and fellow blogger Abel kindly translates the above into Spanish and does a good job about it, too. His post has more on the Venezuela situation and, for those versed in the tongue of Cervantes, is worth reading

"El Théâtre de l'Absurde puesto en escena por la figura(etti) de la oposición Leopoldo López fue, obvio, cuidadosamente planeado para el máximo impacto mediático. Pero también es el resultado de que el Presidente Maduro se salió de los rieles y exigió su arresto. Un político inteligente (por ejemplo, un tal Hugo Chávez) nunca hubiera caído en la trampa de la oposición.
La ingenuidad política de Maduro ha logrado que le llamaran su bluff. El actual circo de tres pistas es su responsabilidad, y su error. Él venía de ganar dos elecciones en 2013, que le dan un mandato democrático (en particular la segunda ronda de las regionales) y no había necesidad de todo esto. Por otro lado López (que había sido degradado a un segundo plano en el movimiento de oposición a través del ascenso de Capriles) tiene poco que perder con este espectáculo y todo por ganar. El siguiente movimiento de Maduro será interesante, ya que tiene que ser más inteligente, y hacerlo rápido"

Petaquilla Minerals ( files its quarter on a market holiday

Hey, wonder why Richard Fifer decided to file yesterday Monday, while the fair country of Canada was kicking back and relaxing on Family Day and the markets were closed like a duck's sphincter? Well let's have a look at the balance sheet, shall we?

Ah, that might have something to do with it, eh Richard? And the P+L?

Oh dear. 

Well let's just hope that First Quantum ( doesn't delay the Panama Cobre project and start....what?...really?....oh dear. has a $73.35m market cap. Efficient market theory, they say.

UPDATE: The NR on the quarter is just out. A real classic title too, translates as "what's that smell?"

Chart of the day is...

...China copper conc imports:

From this Andy Home article


Argentina: macro check-up and mining scene (from IKN249)

The article below was one small part of IKN249, out yesterday Sunday. I liked the way it came out, so I'm sticking it up here too. Just for just's sake.

Argentina: macro check-up and mining scene
Venezuela’s latest snafu will get no coverage here because it’s simply the worst place on the continent to go speculating with miners (and that’s saying something) but my views on the Venezuela macro political scene were made on the blog (9) last week. Perhaps foreign media attention was drawn away from Argentina by the Venezuelan flare-up, but the disinterest must also be related to the way in which the country of the gaucho is now getting its house in order. Main macro indicators are going the way of stability, with the official exchange rate closing Friday at ArgP$7.79 to the dollar (7.87 this time last week, 8.03 the week before that) and the unofficial ‘Dolar Blue’ also gaining well to finish at ArgP$11.70. Most interestingly, the Argentina Central Bank International Currency reserves saw additions in the last three days of the week (so much for the predictions of direct and non-stop capital drainage) and stand at U$27.823Bn (10) this weekend, still lower than the U$28Bn point on the devaluation day but moving back up. For what it’s worth the Argentina Central Bank (BCRA) forecasts a return to U$28Bn by the end of the month, then a period of stability, then extra inflows of dollars in the April-June period when the soybean grain revenues flow into the country (and this year is a record harvest).

The other big Argybiz news last week (11) was the January 2014 inflation numbers announced by new FinMin Kicillof. At 3.7% it’s the highest number for over a decade, but it was received warmly by the financial community as it’s interpreted that the country is finally coming clean about the real rate of inflation, instead of trying to BS the world. More importantly, it reinforced the idea that there’s real fundamental change going on at macro policy level. Or if you like, the world is catching on to the sentiment your author voiced four weeks ago in IKN246:
“This is clearly a new strategic decision by Kicillof and his team that looks to clean up the country’s macro-financial situation; it may not be the last one and it also invites a near-term of rough going for the country (markets not liking uncertainties and all that), but we should wholly welcome this positive move. It’s a clear sign that CFK & Co recognize that its current model is unsustainable.”
Yeah, toot toot aren’t I wonderful?
Moving to Argentina mining matters and some positive noises from Goldcorp (GG) in its 4q13 results conference call about the atmosphere at its Cerro Negro gold project last week (12). The company now expects first pour in the middle of this year and there’s been good development at the project over the last quarter according to company moneyguy, Russell Ball. Equally, he viewed the recent devaluation as a positive, but only in terms of cutting the price of direct costs once Cerro Negro is in operation and even then, he didn’t want to venture a guess to the size of that positive effect (smart guy, because inflation may eat away a lot of the gains between now and then). It was also notable that he had his diplo-speak on when saying that “it could be a little easier in the future” to work and operate in Argentina. Overall the tone was positive and Cerro Negro looks set to be a fanfare story for both country and company later on this year, though what you heard was also clearly company happyspin.
Maybe due in part to the GG noises, I heard from both IKN Weekly subscribers and people out there in the junior world who are getting hotter on the idea of moving in on the country and picking up some cheap junior stocks. For those seeking my opinion, I once again offer your author’s “Life Cycle of Juniors in Argentina” chart, first published on the blog in June 2012 (13)

Yes, there are a lot of cheap exploreco stocks out there (for what it’s worth, Argentex looks really cheap to me if you absolutely insist on getting a high risk/high reward name out of me, DQ J) but they’re not for me right now. This time may be different and I like what’s happening, so far at least, up at the executive level. However, there’s a lot of space between “good start on the macro” and “buy the juniors, they’re safe in Argentina now” and anyone telling you otherwise and trying to ram you into the juniors there is rolling the dice and using your money to do so. Listen up folks, I speak fluent Spanish, lived in the Argentina for five years, follow their political and economic scenes closely, have a good idea about the culture and what makes the people tick and I don’t have any agenda about what’s ideologically right or wrong for the country...and I don’t have a freakin’ clue about the juniors there, not yet anyway. So if you feel like going in because a monolingual analyst sitting 5,000 miles from Buenos Aires who went there once for tango lessons tells you it’s a sure thing right now, then be my guest.

Your PDAC 2014 Bingo Card

At the behest of Twitterpal @natfame (glad to be of service, ma'am), here's your 2014 version PDAC Bingo Card, with instructions underneath:

1) Cut out card
2) Attend PDAC
3) Visit booths, chat with people
4) Hear phrase and mark your cross
5) First person to fill card, please contact IKN Nerve Centre™ where your prize* awaits.

Good luck to all!

UPDATE: Oh rats and bother, it's already been pointed out to your humble scribe that "Majors need to replenish" has been repeated. So, any ideas on what to replace it with?

UPDATE 2: Suggestions already flowing (we may have to run a definitive version in a couple of days time). Likeables so far include:

"Rick Rule likes us"
"We'll fund it from cashflow"
"Bitcoin is a potential source"
"Our next plan is to find the feeders"
"Yep, it's huge, we just need to increase the grade"
"Once we get the community agreement"
"Once we get the permit"
"We're next door to"
"We're initiating coverage soon"
"We're close to an offtake "
"It's probably gonna be oversubscribed but I can cut you in"
"We are using the Prospect Generator Model"
"Louis James going to conduct a site visit"

*a night out with Iwnattos

All Hail XKCD

Just go, look, see for yourself. Right here

Gold's higher ground

Get used to the 13 handle people, cos 12 is history:

 Music maestro:

Y'know, once upon a time I preferred the Chili Peppers' cover version of this song to the original, which just goes to remind me how much of a dumbass I used to be*. I'm (so) glad that I know more than I knew then, but I'm still going to keep on trying.

UPDATE: 100% agreement with this on gold price.

*still a dumbass today, just less in relative terms


The IKN Weekly, out now

IKN249 has just been sent to subscribers. It's pages contain the reasons as to why it's recommended to be long junior miners, and offers several handy suggestions along the way. Toodle pip, old bean

Breaking: Large scale gunfight reported in Rio de Janeiro's biggest shanty town

Reports are coming in of serious disturbances in Rocinho, Rio de Janaeiro's biggest favela (shanty town) this Sunday morning Americas time. Gunfire "like a war", machine guns going off and apparently the police commander in charge of the zone has been shot injured by shrapnel.

For up-to-the-minute coverage in English language, check out the feeds of Brazil reporters @DonnaBow @rorihuela and @elizondogabriel who are three of the better voices that cover the country and are on the scene.

UPDATE: Apparently the trouble started in the early hours of the morning and has been going on ever since. "War Zone" is the phrase being used most often by locals. This link to a 1:43 min amateur video by a local gives a good idea of the chaos (and the noise).

UPDATE 2: Details starting to emerge. Apparently it all kicked off when local drugs gangs staged an early morning attack on a key underpass to the zone as part of a territorial dispute, police responded and the fun has been rolling on ever since.

Peru Presidential Poll: Ollanta rebounds (a bit)

The February 2014 version of Ipsos's monthly snapshot poll is out and here's the headline number:

President Ollanta Humala scores 33% popularity, up from the 26% lows of the last couple of months and the reason seems to be the favourable decision Peru got from the Hague tribunal over that piece of water out there (seriously, that's all they've got these days). Still pretty crappy though. Wife Nadine gets 40% love. Data from here