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Nisman update

We now know from the autopsy report that the gun that killed Alberto Nisman was fired from a distance of no greater than 1cm from his head, that the gun was aimed at his right ear and that the end of the barrel was almost certainly resting on his ear at the moment the trigger was pulled. We also know an approximate time of death, around midday on Sunday January 18th. The prosecutor (fiscal) in charge of the case, Viviana Fein also said (translated) "participation of third persons is not inferred" by the investigation and crime scene evidence. And for what it's worth, small sidebar is that prosecutor Fein is no friend of the CFK government and has been virtual-opposition in her statements about President CFK in the last couple of years. No way is she some sort of handpicked head for governmental cover-up (quite the opposite, in fact).

Although there is still no proof, your author harks back to the jottings post earlier this week, considers the three most likely general scenarios and there's no way around it, the latest evidence points towards situation 1), the plain straight suicide. For sure it doesn't rule out the other two, but it does make the suicide case that much more likely.

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal

Iwnattos turned me onto the cartoon strip Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. Sometimes it's ok, sometimes it's good, sometimes it's just plain wonderful and today's is an example of the latter. Go see, you will enjoy.

To Collider!

Let's see what Bobby Genovese's been up to lately

This time for his Vancord Capital company, trading as VNCI on the US OTC and recently name-changed from Lyynks. The name change was on January 6th and it looks like the scam running scumball is about to do something with this virtual shell company but...ooops, he forgot to file the right papers and now look, light shining on the cockroach. Scurry away Bobby, scurry away.

Good to see the BCSC has him in its sights. About time they did something useful instead of nitpicking at junior 43-101s from 2011.

It's now three months 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, in which we were told (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."
We're now a full quarter (plus a couple of days)  from that call, so let's update on how Doug Casey's prediction is panning out. Unlike the memory-lapsing Casey Research lackey 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)

Here's the chart of those four, from then until now:

Checking down that list...

1) As regards the main call, the broad markets have not crashed. In fact the S&P500 is up by just under 6%
2) The buying gold as insurance call has seen a marked improvement recently. It's now up 3.5% since the call.
3) Shorting the regional banks ETF (KRE) has also improved, but it's still a losing trade by one percent.
4) Go short on the Dow Trannies ETF (IYT) is still a fully bad call however, as they're up by 7.5%

So, you're improving Duggie, but you're still only one from four here and there's no sign of your fantasy island Ayn Rand crash scenario yet. That's because it was, is and will be a total bullshit call from a charlatan con artist who gets rich by swindling the naive out of their money.


The Friday OT: Daniel Barenboim plays Chopin nocturne Op.62 No.1

An excellent rendition.

Better than the one on my "Best of Chopin" double CD that I've been playing here all week.

If you're wondering how Gold Fields' (GFI) exploration activities are going in Peru at the moment...

...check out this page, an online auction where on January 28th Gold Fields Peru is auctioning off eight of its Toyota HiLux 4x4s, the vehicle of choice in the highlands and dirt tracks of the country. Here's the screenshot, for your entertainment and edification:

Reserve prices start at under U$5.5k. Geologists need to get used to that desk in Lima again, no more jolly jaunts around Moquegua/Puno, guys...

You want mining company share prices to go up? Not me.

Not this week at least. I want them lower, because next week I'm a buyer.

If you want them to go up I can only assume you're a seller of what you own, which is fair enough (I'm not).

If you're just holding with no plans to buy or sell in the near future, you have no valid opinion. Live with it.

So c'mon gold, drop a little more for me today, make the stock I want to buy a bit cheaper.

Mining's money grab redux: Kip Keen's take

The other day in this post, "Mining's money grab", this humble corner of cyberspace noted the sudden urge that mining companies had to siphon away the new cash appearing on the horizon from share price upsides and get it tucked neatly into their treasury chest instead. Today Kip Keen over at Mineweb picks up the baton and runs with it, a decent little op-ed that finishes like this:
"While, clearly, people are more willing now to buy (and companies sell) more shares of junior gold companies than through much of the multi-year downturn in mining equities, the money coming is flowing to fulfill relatively-speaking more conservative needs: The more advanced mine-builds ore expansions (with moderate pricetags, permitted, strong IRR) and to repair balance sheets."

Yup that's right, boring old beaten up balance sheets that need to be repaired. IKN has broadstroke agreement with the details of his piece, too. Go and read it yourself by clicking on this click, it's better than the average guff written about mining (because Keen's better than the average mining writer).

Chart of the day is...

...still the gold/copper ratio.

The cutting edge chart in the 2015 mining sector. Work out where this specific squiggly line's going next and make yourself a lot of money.


Peru: Fewer dead miners in 2014

Let us be clear, 32 is still 32 too many. But still, the figure of 32 fatalities from accidents in the Peru mining industry in 2014 is a clear improvement on what we've seen before. A stat that should be lauded and marked improvement that should be further encouraged.

However let's also note a couple of the worst offenders last year, as Buenaventura (BVN) saw five deaths at their mines, Milpo saw four deaths and Southern Copper (SCCO) saw three deaths. Hopefully a bit of name'n'shame will get those three to buck up their ideas. Data from here.

Jottings on the death of Nisman

Argentina's massive story at the moment is getting little more than bare bones coverage in the English world media but anyone even vaguely interested in LatAm affairs should be all over it. I'm not going into the basic circumstances of the case (you can find those in wire stories easily enough) but I want to set a few statements out in public.
  • I'm convinced the government of Argentina is not behind his death. On the basic 'cui bono' level, the CFK government has little to gain (in fact, I'd go as far as to say nothing to gain) and a lot to lose from the destabilization caused by this death. As for Nisman's accusations, they're already looking creaky at best, unsustainable more likely. In Spanish the term for re-hash is 'refrito', there's nothing much new in the report. 
  • I'm not as convinced at this point as CFK about the case being a non-suicide. At this point there are three logical possibilities of 1) it was a plain straight suicide 2) he was "induced to pull the trigger himself", i.e. not a suicide or 3) it was a plain straight assassination. All those three hold substance at this point, none can be ruled out. 
  • Lagomarsino has a lot of explaining to do. A lot.
  • Sergio Massa, apart from a few minor level statements, has been quiet. Which is fair enough, he and his team are probably working out the strategy that best suits his election campaign (yes of course IKN has sympathy for Nisman's loved ones, but works on a realpolitik level). However, when he does come out and say something we'll get to find out just how far to the dark side this nefarious fucker has moved. 
  • I'll give Macri credit. Neither he nor his brand of politics is my cup of tea at all, but he's true to his principles. He's saying the right things in the right way and putting his country before his personal ambitions. It's likely that a person who knows what it feels like to be kidnapped and face death from his captors has deeper insight than the average joe.
  • Lilita Carrió is a joke, a cartoon sketch that might have been funny or intellectually stimulating 20 years ago but is now eye-rollingly bad. 
  • This one is turtles, turtles, turtles all the way down and because of that, I doubt it's going to be as big an influence on the October Presidential election as people assume today in January. On this one I expect to get plenty of pushback from my Argentine friends, but history shows us that fud gets discarded as elections draw nigh. This isn't going to be a difficult one for professional politicos to sidestep come the time. 
  • The anti-CFK press is behaving despicably, Mis-quoting/quoting CFK out of context to make it sound like she said and wrote things that she didn't. The pro-CFK press has rallied to the government's defence quickly and tellingly, the neutral CFK press (eg Buenos Aires Herald), a tome known for its courage, hasn't tried to stick any dirt on the government yet. Of the three groups, the Clarin/Nacion anti-CFK press is by far the worst in all this.

The new Argonaut

The first paragraph of IKN292 dated December 14th 2014 was this...

...and then that edition went into a 12 page analysis of the company, with a big fat "buy" reco at the end. Then in IKN293, the very next week, we shifted its recommendation up to 'Top Pick' and more were bought. As it happens, my cost average on the trade was $1.47 and in less than a month I sold the lot, average $2.53 (yup, they're already gone, just after the 4q14 production numbers came out, because as well as reco'ing buys round these parts we also dare to reco sells). 


Unsurprisingly, since then subbers have been writing in asking for another of this type of trade idea, but apart from a small new buy idea that's a minor trade and flatlined so far there hasn't been anything to assuage their desires. Until this weekend, because somewhat to my own surprise (as these don't tend to come around with such frequency) I've identified another great looking trade vehicle that has "near-term win" stamped all over it. Whether it will return the same type of spectacular profit as Argonaut Gold did in December/January is another story, as 72% in less than a month is rare at any time. But it has exactly the same kind of ducks-in-line look about it as did and what's more, it's a stock I've hated for many moons so yet again, half the story for me personally has been getting over my personal prejudices and seeing it for what it is, a top shot at "buy low sell high". 

Anyway that's what you can expect from The IKN Weekly on Sunday, subbers. Should be fun. Keep some spare cash available.

Draghi's QE

If it were dollars, it'd be important.

Anyway, read about him and his €60bn/month here. 


Evo at Tiahuanaco

Tomorrow, President Evo Morales of Bolivia does the official oath of office thing and will start his new presidential period, result of the October 2014 elections at which he was re (re?) elected. But today was ceremony day, with a big shindig at the ancient site of Tiahuanaco. Damn, that dude looks sharp. 

Well he should do, that tunic cost U$4,000 to put together, they tell us. 

Another M&A rumour for you all

This is one I heard today, and it's pretty good because although it's totally uncheckable it fits right in with some background shifts and movements noted by your humble scribe a couple of weeks ago. As a result and after thinking it over I'm passing this one on via this humble corner of cyberspace, but let it be known that it's not nearly as solid as the ABX thing yesterday, or other bits and pieces that normally get either a vetting or come from previously proven reliable sources. Bottom line of a overly wordy caveat, examine this one with tweezers.

So, getting down to it. The mediocrity known as Blasutti wants to merge his fucking awful US Silver & Gold ( Scorpio Mining with the somewhat less awful Arian Silver (AGQ.v). There are a few more background details but they become scurrilous quickly and don't change the main snippet, so that'll do.

FWIW I don't own either and have no plans to change that situation. For those wanting to know more about IKN rumour protocol, this is the post for you.

UPDATE: Yeah you're right mailers, the new Blasutti thing is Scorpio, after the recent deal. All the rest stands (and it shows just how closely I follow that company's day-to-day ops). Now if you'd excuse me I'm off to watch Cule vs Colchonero (aka the copa del rey 1st leg match between Barcelona and At. Madrid), far more interesting than the close of this market.

Those people looking for a quality, reliable, smart and reasonably priced programmer/website developer...

...should go over and read Ward's post today. Mind you, even if you don't* aren't it's still an entertaining post to read. And if you want to get in contact with him by mail afterwards I'd be happy to do the honours (though you can probably catch up with him directly if you want, it's not that hard).

*Holy Lord and comets, my grammar sometimes...

(UPDATED) Mo' Allied Nevada (ANV): What this stock taught me this morning

It's written right here, on the five day price chart:

If I hadn't been kicked and pummelled into my default position of cynicism already I'd be astounded at the stupidity on show in that above price chart. What we saw this morning is a whole bunch of desk jocks, staring at headlines and thinking that's all their job entails, who saw the "Allied Nevada Announces Preliminary Full Year 2014 Gold and Silver Sales Increase 19% and 115%, Respectively, Year-Over-Year" header from ANV today and managed to wipe the drool away from their lips long enough to say "Oh golly wow, increases! And gold! And gold's really poplier right now! Gotta buy me some of those!" before the bell opens.

The fucktards who bought ANV this morning don't even know how to open a company's quarterly financials, let alone read them. Seriously, have you seen the shitstate of ANV's numbers recently? Now I'm ok with a speculative run on ANV in the type of rising tide situation we've seen in the gold miner market these last few days, the type reflected on the chart above. But how THE MERRY SEXUAL INTERCOURSE can anyone buy this company on these 4q14 production numbers

Therefore, the lesson learned today is: Yes, despite suspicions to the contrary there is still plug dumb stupid money washing around the mining scene. It is, therefore, my solemn duty to walk around, pick it up off the floor and place it into my own pocket and help the owners of the pockets of my wonderful and beautiful subscriber list to do exactly the same.

PS: The pps was U$1.28 when I started writing this. It's now U$1.24 and dropping fast.

UPDATE: Oh please don't make me do this, it's not good for the blood pressure y'know...Oh all right, just this once:

"But who gives a shit about your boring old balance sheets, dude? Buncha numbers. Haven't you seen gold's going up?"
"Grasshopper, you have much to learn, grasshopper."

Allied Nevada (ANV) 4q14 production

Here's the NR, here's the chart:

Stick a fork in her, she's done. Hycroft, more like Bye croft.

Mining's money grab

Detour C$141m
Osisko C$200m
Richmont $30m C$34m
Primero U$75m
Asanko C$40m

All since yesterday's close. All bought deals. All companies with either delusions of grandeur or growth projects that need funding. All of them understand that improving the balance sheet is the primary concern. All because instos have been getting phone calls from New York for the first time in 12 months. And all of that above because Goldman Sachs screwed up on its $1k/oz gold price prediction.

PS: Or to put it another way, dear retail investor, the mining companies have suddenly seen a big wash of money come into the sector and they don't want it all to be wasted on mere share price increases (i.e. you benefit), they want to make sure that they get theirs, so that their treasury positions expand more rapidly than your back pocket. Now you get it?

UPDATE Wednesday afternoon: Welcome, Romarco. $300m

B2Gold (BTG) ( 4q14 production

NR here, chart here:

Masbate kicked butt and made it. I've added in the non-commercial Otjikoto, as gold is gold in the end. Overall, a decent way to round out 2014. As for the 2015 guidancem go read about it yourself. Subbers, we'll be updating on BTO this weekend no doubts.


Eric Sprott and Charles Oliver, out to grass

Paragraph One of this NR:

TORONTOJan. 20, 2015 /CNW/ - Sprott Asset Management LP and Sprott Inc. (TSX:SII) announced today that as part of the previously communicated transition strategy, Eric Sprott is stepping down as lead portfolio manager on the Sprott Canadian Equity Fund, Sprott Canadian EquityClass, Sprott Hedge Fund LP, Sprott Hedge Fund LP II and Sprott Bull/Bear RSP Fund. The company also announced portfolio management changes to certain other Sprott funds.

Whole thing here.

TSX trivia, Pacific Rubiales ( and Rio Alto ( edition

This as of a few minutes ago:

Hoodathunkit, eh?*

My thanks to Setty for the headsup.

*hint: not Frank Giustra

Volume in B2Gold ( (BTG) this morning

A stand-out stat this A.M.

Another million or so gone thru on the BTG ticker in NY.

Fucking funny brokerage re-rating of the day

Scotia today changes its recommendation on Probe Mines (PRB.v):

  • From: Sector Underperform, $0.50 target
  • To: Tender, $5.00 target

Analyst, Mike Hocking.

Gold in Swiss Francs (CHF)

It's almost as if...

Barrick (ABX) at Pascua Lama rumour

The new whisper number on the fine ABX is facing for its environmental infractions: U$250m.

Now you know what the mining world is talking about on this side of the equator today.

True Gold (TGM.v) may have a serious problem at Karma

Read this one first, because it's the most detailed. Then this. And this. And thisAnd before you ask, yeah my French is more than good enough to read and understand all that, thanking you kindly for asking. And for some interesting background in English, this

There's a mix of issues that are annoying locals, but none more so than the local Islamic population, concerned about the arrival of an open pit mining operation in a place next to the main regional centre of pilgrimage for devotees. The annual get-together happened in early January (just before this pleasant snap was taken) and the religious heads seem to have decided that TGM isn't as welcome as the company tries to make out in all of its corporate literature.

The scene at True Gold (TGM.v) Karma, January 14th: 
Maybe the protesters got cold or something.

Which means Franco Nevada (FNV) and Sandstorm (SAND) have a problem, too. In particular, I'm amazed how many times SAND walks blindly into bigtime community problems like this. Is Nolan this gullible all the time, or is it just a run of bad luck?

UPDATE: TGM news release at the opening bell, right here. QUICK! QUICK! SCREENSHOT!


The scene from the 2015 Vancouver Resource Investment Conference

An IKN exclusive:

This is of course a photo of the exhibitors. As there were no other attendees.

Helvetia in a handcart: Why I own gold and why you should, too (from IKN297)

This was the main intro piece to IKN297, out Sunday. I've had some positive feedback on it so hey, what the henry, let's put it here on the blog too.


Helvetia in a handcart: Why I own gold (and why you should, too)

“We are not wholly bad or good
Who live our lives under Milk Wood”
Under Milk Wood, Dylan Thomas, 1953

When it comes to the money events in and around Switzerland last week, it’s difficult to recall an episode in recent financial times when there was such a massive, ten tonne, snorting, stomping elephant in the room and how the spectrum of Very Serious People made such a concerted effort not to talk about gold. And in the end it’s not a difficult subject nor a hard concept to grasp. It’s also one of the mainstay arguments of the hard-core goldbugs so I suspect the moment I announce my full and unequivocal adherence to it I’ll be pigeonholed and labelled as “one of those nutbars” (sorry to disappoint in advance and head y’all off at the pass; I’m not a goldbug, I’m an owner of gold).

Gold has no counterparty exposure.

But let’s not jump the gun, let’s take Dylan Thomas’s advice and begin at the beginning. The important near-term effect of the move by the Swiss National Bank (SNB) to remove its hard peg (1.2/1) against the Euro was not the price move of precious metals, particularly gold. Not in the near-term at least. The important near-term effect is found inside stories such as this one (1) and here’s an extract (IKN bold-type):

Alpari, the London-based brokerage firm that sponsors the shirt of English Premier League football club West Ham United, said it had to shut down its business.
In a statement, the firm said the majority of its clients sustained losses which exceeded their account equity. "Where a client cannot cover this loss, it is passed on to us," it said. "This has forced Alpari (UK) Limited to confirm today that it has entered into insolvency."
The scale of anger within the firm is evident in a note that its market analyst, Craig Erlam, published Friday before news of the wind-down. Bemoaning the "idiotic actions of the SNB," Erlam warned over the "longer term impact on the markets."
Alpari's demise follows that of Global Brokers NZ., a small currency trading house in New Zealand.
Its director, David Johnson, announced on the website of affiliate Excel Markets, that it could no longer meet the regulatory minimum to continue business.
"News of the impact of this event on companies and traders is just beginning to come to light," he said. "As directors and shareholders we would like to offer our sincerest apologies for this devastating turn of events."
The two could be joined by FXCM, a New York-based currency broker, which has already warned that it "may be in breach of some regulatory capital requirements" after its clients experienced significant losses. Those losses, it said in a statement, "generated negative equity balances owed to FXCM of approximately $225 million."
Traders aren't hopeful. FXCM shares are down a staggering 74 percent in pre-market trading following a 15 percent fall on Thursday.
Other firms, such as CMC Markets in London, said they can absorb the hit. Though its chief executive, Peter Cruddas, conceded that the firm sustained losses, he said the overall impact has not materially impacted the group. "It's business as usual," he insisted.

We’ve had other “non-material impacts” reported by other financial institutions, a phrase used in a context that made me laugh as the mere fact they’ve had to announce them (and will have to announce them, as there are surely more to come) makes these impacts material by nature and definition, it’s whether they’re large or small compared to the size of the shop that will make them important. Semantics aside, we’ve had Barclays and a hit in the “tens of millions”, Deutsche Bank out by perhaps $150m, Interactive Brokers having to bear the brunt of non-coverable client losses to the tune of $120m (at least IB issued an official statement and noted liabilities came to around 2.5% of IB’s net value, which as an account holder was a personal positive). And be in no doubt, there are more to come. The big shops will take their hit and move on, the medium-sized may suffer longer, some small shops may have to close. UPDATE: After writing up this note, news of the demise of a $830m hedge fund, Everest Capital Global Fund, is now doing the rounds Saturday afternoon. That’s more than just a “small shop”. Details here (1a).

And the reason for all these losses, be they paper or real or job-in-suit? A top financial executive in Switzerland, supposedly the most reliable, dependable and financially boring country in the world, went and did something unexpected. Oh, the horror! And if I’ve seen the word “stupid” used to describe Thomas Jordan (head SNB honcho and where the buck ultimately stops) and/or his decision, I’ve seen it a hundred times from the financial mainstream, e.g. it peppers this note (2) from economist Scott Sumner who then goes on and ends this way:

But there is a lesson here. Just as war is too important to leave to the generals, monetary policy is too important to leave to the central bankers.  Once again we see the markets are way ahead of the central bankers.  One more example of why we need market monetarism.  Let markets determine the money supply, interest rates and exchange rates.  Peg your currency to NGDP futures prices. And if you are not going to do that, then for God’s sake level target SOMETHING.

Sumner goes off on his personal agenda of Nominal GDP targetting (and the new NGDP futures market, in which he has a central role) and that’s his right; he’s a smart guy and he’s brought NGDP-think into the midst of macroeconomic debate largely single-handedly over the past five years, which is good. But he also touches on a point repeated in many places about central bankers and about the anchor of policy, that of trust in Central Bankers. Financial types have placed their absolute trust (up to and including their employment status, reputation and net wealth, see above) in the people who run central banks. What they’ll tell you is CBs are to “anchor” or “lock onto” or “target” their policies, what they really mean is to make money. Lots of money, lots of easy money. And now that trust has been vaporized and...oh again the horror! the Swiss of all people. The Swiss! Gnomes of Zurich, accurate timepieces, discreet bank accounts, enter the meeting room at 12:01 and expect a frown. Last week’s episode is big because it’s about the trust one party places in another to make the money world go round. Suddenly the people the really big moneymakers trusted, well they can’t be trusted any longer. The SNB has showed, in one quick and very painful move (for some) that risk is much higher than the mainstream financial world ever suspected. Call it the risk/reward balance, call it counterparty risk, call it VaR (value-at-risk), it’s all the same thing. “How dare a sovereign state do something that’s good for the sovereign state and not for us!”, they snort as one, to which Jordan replies (3), “SNB is an independent central bank. It is our prerogative to prepare our decisions on our own”. Jordan is now “the most hated man in finance” because he caught a very large number of self-important people off guard, causing them to lose money and look as they truly are, lazy and complacent, in the eyes of their paymasters.

Paul Krugman’s double-article take on the Swiss affair last week also caught my attention (4) (5). He too zeroes in on the aspect of trust in the Central Bank mechanisms and how that particular hull was well and truly holed, which agrees with the consensus (after all it was my own first thought, so macroeconomic minds far greater than mine are duty-bound to see the most obvious). But with Krugman, as with so many others last week, it was the subject he didn’t mention that screamed loudest. His gold-mocking credentials are well known, he even mentions the metal in his piece but in another context (FDR and the gold standard) so it wasn’t as if the aspect of what gold is and what it does and why great lumps of it sit in Central Bank vaults was a missing thought. But when the conclusion to his note arrives...

Two things to bear in mind. First, having in effect thrown away its credibility – in today’s world, the crucial credibility central banks need involves, not willingness to take away the punch bowl, but willingness to keep pushing liquor on an abstemious crowd – it’s hard to see how the SNB can get it back. Second, there will be spillovers: the SNB’s wimp-out will make life harder for monetary policy in other countries, because it will leave markets skeptical about whether other supposed commitments to keep up unconventional policy will similarly prove time-limited.

...and although he makes a spot-on point about the punchbowl, he can’t bring himself to mention the absolute obvious about gold in light of the Central Bank decision. And that brings us back to the ten tonne snorting elephant in the room, back to the Very Serious People (which of course includes Krugman, even though he uses the same phrase non-stop to mock his opponents), back to the non-counterparty advantage that gold brings to the table and why it popped hard last week. On this subject I’m in complete agreement with the most hardcore goldbug you’d care to mention. I’m two-thumbs-up with all the libertarian-leaning monetary thinkers and self-styled gurus. Jim Sinclair? Yup. That King guy whose first name eludes me that runs King World News? Count me in. Doug Casey? Yep, he’s always been right on this. On other things we disagree, but on this one Casey’s been constantly and consistently correct for decades. Don’t own gold to be rich because gold doesn’t make you rich, it stops you from becoming poor. Gold has no alpha, it’s not a vehicle for speculation and while we’re at it, if you want to know whether it’s an asset class or a simple commodity like all the other commodities (as we’re told non-stop by people without the first clue of the stuff) just check the recent price chart for nickel. And copper. And lead. And zinc. See much storing of value in those materials? No, me neither.

For sure I play the market. I speculate with the rest of them and that’s the reason this publication exists. Buying and selling mining stocks, be they copper, moly, gold, vanadium, quartz, silver, uranium, frac sand or any other miners, is speculation and the act of playing on the market. But there comes a time when the playing has to stop and you put your serious financial face on, you think about your kids, you consider what type of life you want when our charming capitalist society decrees that it has no use for you any longer so can’t you just go prune some roses or take a cruise or just get out of the way and stop blocking the road with your slow moving vehicle, please? Which is the time that gold bullion enters the scene. Owning Rio Alto is very different from owning the thing that Rio Alto produces, period. It’s not just a different set of priorities, it comes from a whole different place financially speaking. Personally my needs and wants are modest, but I still own gold because I know that even my reasonable, normal, comfortable, unobtrusive, undemanding and pleasant middle class lifestyle could be stripped away from me if I’m not careful. Owning gold is the act of being careful. And if that applies to me, what kind of magnification applies to the people who are world-level wealthy and worried that their wealth might be taken away from them (thoughts that must lie on a deep inner level of their personal circles of hell)? Those are the people who have placed their trust in Central Bank policy and last week watched as their sure thing set-up took a very hard hit. How many of them, this weekend, are asking their financial advisor why they don’t own any/much gold? These are the people who don’t need to get rich, their overriding desire is to avoid the potential of being poor. They want minimum risk, zero risk and in things such as the Swiss Franc they thought they had one. Today, for the first time ever, Switzerland is a land where negative interest rates apply to savings and even to its bonds. Give them a thousand and they’ll give you back 999, that’s not going to go down well with the serious money.

The ownership of gold removes you from the 10-1 chance, the 100-1 chance, the 1,000-1 chance the (here comes the SNB) 1,000,000-1 chance that a human being on the other end of the line does something that suits him better and suits you less, thus costing you money (the mainstream call it “stupid”, see above). Owning gold isn’t about its monetary value today, or tomorrow, it’s about its monetary value all the time no matter what system of government, what currency you buy your bread in, whether you must bow your knee to a king else get thrown in jail, whether you can call your head of state all the names under the sun in public without issue. Though some do have grey areas, the value of just about every other asset class is dependent on a calculation that involves you + thing + other person’s opinion. But not gold, with gold it’s you + thing, there’s no Thomas Jordan around to mess your relationship up.

Last week was no ordinary week for gold. We can expect the media to minimalize or even ignore the issue and hope it goes away, but this time it really is different. I have suspicions but don’t really know how it’s going to affect the price of gold in the next week or even the next month. But a year from now? Gold under U$1.3k? No way. 

Probe Mines (PRB.v): John Kaiser 1, Mike Hocking 0

In light of the news out of Probe Mines (PRB.v) today, it's worth dialing back six or seven months ago to the sell call made by Mike Hocking of Scotia and the rabid spluttering on that call made by PRB.v fanboy John Kaiser at the time. Here's how we documented the event back in June 2014 on these humble pages, here's the screenshot of the post (if you can't be bothered to click, and I wouldn't blame you):

So, Hocking's sell/short call on PRB.v looking a bit painful now. Still Kaiser's spleen-filled ranting did make him come across as an infantile twat at the time. He gets the money, though.

Copper Mountain ( Looks like CUM shot its recovery percentages down

Here's a question: What percentage of CUM feed is converted into copper? On a regular basis, that is? Yes indeed, it's just the type of burning question that IKN finds itself pondering about today after checking out the 4q14 production numbers posted by Copper Mountain ( this morning. As this part shows...
In 2014 the mine produced 81 million pounds of copper, 22.6 thousand ounces of gold, and 443.7 thousand ounces of silver.  The mill averaged 89.4% operating time for the year and a total of 11.1 million tonnes of ore was milled at an average grade of 0.40 % Copper.  Copper production in the fourth quarter totaled 20.3 million pounds.
...we're given the annual numbers for metals production, as well as mill feed and head grade, but strangely they "forget" (oh how we laughed) to give us the annual average recovery, when normally they'll tell us that little snippet of info, too. 


And once you plug in the numbers and compare them to the three previous quarters, then do a bit of simple calculation, this is what cums comes out as the result:

please note the cut-down y-axis, done to show contrast and not to fool you

Now this is still an estimate, because the calculated production is never exactly the same as the reported production. Then again it's never far off, so even if i'm a few clicks off with my 80.65% recoveries calc here I'll betcha a proverbial dollar to a donut that failed to make it close to 81% recoveries last quarter.

Which should give all the fanboys of this company (Scotia and your non-stop brainless pumping of this thing, yeah I'm a-lookin' right atcha) pause for thought, what with the waferthin margins on which it runs and the prospect of 0.33% Cu average grades in 2015 (company dixit). And all that might explain why it's dumping like an elephant after a curry night this morning.

PS: If you know anything about how the internet works and what it's mostly used for, you'll understand why this is destined to be the most hit upon post here at IKN this week and that 99% of the people who cum come over won't get past the first line. Hah! Fuck em.

Dalradian ( Credit where due...

...Iwnattos called this thing (incessantly too) at 90c in the near-term when it was fiddling around the 74c and 77c range:

Pinged it today. If you'd followed him in it'd be +20% to you on your money in a short time. Good call...for a chartist that is.

Alberto Nisman

Yes indeed, Argentina's election year is going to be an event.

It's been one of those stories I follow in Spanish and then, suddenly, it blasts into the international arena and I'm left with a "Oh my stars, how the devil do you begin to explain this one from zero?" feeling (hardly the first time that's happened). So I recommend a little background reading on the raw facts first, such as this Reuters EngLang note on the news from yesterday.

A full-scale, rock-the-establishment event. 


The IKN Weekly, out now

Where's the nearest poutine, tabarnak?

IKN297 has just been sent to subscribers. At 15,351 words and 33 pages, if you don't like it at least you can throw it at somebody and hurt them. Personally, I think this one came out ok (not always the case) and I enjoyed writing it up this weekend (ditto).

Lionel Messi's three goals today

My stars he's good at doing ball:

The last couple of months have seen Leo coming back to his best form (he's lost a few Lbs too, probably connected). More proof with these three vs Deportivo La Coruña today, each one high skill, each one different. Maybe the first is the best due to the way he read the game before the cross came over (and the quality of said cross). But they're all top quality.

UPDATE: A mailpal, well a real-life pal in fact, who also used to be a semi-pro football player writes in (translated):
You're right, Lionel's header is special but not just for the positioning. The contact with the ball is perfect, it's very difficult to do that and he makes it look easy.
PS: And for those of you with a love of "those special goalkeeping moments", here's the first goal in the Argentina vs Peru match going on as part of the Under 20s South America tournament, on this month.  Argentina's currently winning this one 4-0 won this one 6-2. Ouch.


Barry Ritholtz paraphrases and misquotes Shakespeare, but writes a decent column anyway

Here's the link and here's the extract. You'll do well to go read it.
“What say we finally put a fork in Prediction, Inc.? 
There is a forecasting-industrial complex, and it is a blight on all that is good and true. The symbiotic relationship between the media and Wall Street drives a relentless parade of money-losing tomfoolery: Television and radio have 24 hours a day they must fill, and they do so mostly with empty-headed nonsense. Print has column inches to put out. Online media may be the worst of all, with an infinite maw that needs to be constantly filled with new and often meaningless content.

Full thing here. And seriously, it's not just Mr R, why do so many people get that quote the wrong way around? It's bury then praise, not praise then bury. It must be some brain hardwiring thing.


So much has been written about this speech, I'm not adding any more here today. Just watch it.

And if you've watched it before, watch it again.

More on MLK, here

Tom Tomorrow's Charlie Hebd'overload

It could have been because of the socks, or perhaps the box of chocolates that were tasty enough for sure but didn't last more than 48 hours. But for whatever reason this year I decided to buy myself a Christmas present and got myself a 12 month subscription to Sparky's List, a.k.a. the Tom Tomorrow support group. For a small amount of US Dollars I now get to read the next week's This Modern World cartoon a day or two before it hits the public, in a mail delivered to my mailbox that comes with extra commentaries and thoughts from the man himself. 

And it's great. And I recommend you all go over and sign up by using this link. You can now pay using PayPal, too. Happy Christmas to me.

But the reason for today's post is to warn you all that with his latest strip, entitled "Charlie Hebd'overload", Tom Tomorrow has knocked it straight out of the park. Brilliant, do they award Oscars for these things? Anyway, look out for it in the next few days.