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The top three most visited IKN posts this week are... reverse order:

Third Place: "FF.v: All hands to the pumps (updated)". The update is my personal favourite thing of the week on the blog.

Second Place: "Hands up...". Oh Kim you're good for my viewing figures you media type person, you.

First Place: "For the record, I've just had a bloody good cry".  No need to click on this one. You've seen it a thousand times already, don't get eye fatigue, just keep the sentiment fresh in your mind. 


The Friday OT: Faith No More; Midnight Cowboy + From Out Of Nowhere

The most innovative and under-rated band of its generation here caught live (the Youtube says 2009 in Germany, that sounds wrong but I don't really care that much and didn't investigate futher) and on tippytop form.

The cover of Midnight Cowboy, though a simple tune, shows how the band members fuse their differences into one sound. The build they get from a simple eight note melody is amazing.

And then one of their standards, track one from the real thing, From Out Of Nowhere and my stars these guys are good at music.

Dedicated to reader M, who likes these things.

According to the infallible (!) IKN metals sentiment system, the bottom is in

Back in November 2014 we laid it out in this post. Here's a screenshot of the post contents and scribbled in red, where we stand today:

And if that doesn't convince you, check the price chart for rhodium, dude.

BHP and Rio Tinto will come out of the downturn better than the rest

Yesterday I was sent a research note on large cap resource stocks published by BofA/ML in April 2015. Flicking through it last night, this chart really caught my eye:

What with the travails of Glencore now well documented, the shape of the comparative EVs, plus the distinct lack of bad news coming out of Rio Tinto or BHP, got me thinking about which large-caps are going to get out of this mess first and fastest.

UPDATE: Reader 'R' writes in with this:
Further to your post, a quick check on Yahoo finance…
BHP pays $2.48/sh in dividends for a 7.3% yieldand
RIO pays $2.14/sh for a 6.2% yield
Hard to argue where the ‘smart’ money has gone to hide.

Good observation.

Averaging down

Good to see Keith Neumeyer of First Mining Finance (FF.v) managed to bag a few of those cheap shares for himself.

Biiwii does the gold/silver ratio

I was thinking about making it the chart of the day again, but now that Gary over at Biiwii has taken on the subject and put together a post that's far better than I would have ever done it's a moot point. Go over and see the chart maestro's thoughts for arguably the key metal ratio for September 2015, do that by clicking right here.


Peruvian Precious Metals (PPX.v): One bizarre private placement

Today, Peruvian Precious Metals (PPX.v) filed their regulatories concerning the small private placement the company ran in August, in which C$136,000 was raised by selling 1,600,000 shares at 8.5c apiece. 

Notice that quantity, people: one point six million shares sold. 

You can see the document here and here below is a section from it, the header table that shows the quantity of cash raised and the numbers of takers in the PP. In this case it happens to be just one person buying all the shares.

So far so normal. It's a single buyer and it's a small PP, but in this rotten market we the observers have kinda got used to seeing this type of "keep the lights on" placement go through, small amounts of cash and big dilutions at low prices.

But a little further down the document, things go from normal to full-on Kafka:

It just so happens that PPX.v is paying commission on the placement of 984,615 shares to one Tomas Silva who is head of trading at GPI Valores, a Peruvian brokerage.

I had a Wile E. Coyote Cliff moment when I got to that part. It was like "Huh? That can't be right" and you scroll up and check the amount of shares place (yup 1.6m) and then you scroll down to check the compensation PPX is paying to the Peru broker guy (yup, almost a million shares) then you scratch your head and go "Huh? That can't be right" and you and scroll up again to check (yup) and scroll back down again (yup) and then say "Huh? That can't be right" and you...okay, you get the picture. But it's all there, filed and signed off by the PPX.v CEO Brian Maher.



The Great Royalty Freak-Out

Love this piece in Global Mining Observer today, in which the intrepid AW gives the Emperor's News Clothes treatment to this most annoying of new mining sector fads. Example:
Some recent examples have been farcical. Corvus Gold recently dumped its Alaskan assets, selling them for $120,000, but CEO Jeff Pontius framed the deal as “the creation of a Corvus royalty portfolio”, because the company kept royalties over the discarded tenements.

But the real story in Guatemala this week may turn out to be Jimmy Morales, not OPM

That's because the last round of opinion polls now have the from-out-of-nowhere candidate Jimmy Morales leading voter intention and Manuel Baldizon from the powerful LIDER party, who looked like a shoo-in just a couple of months ago, no longer leading the polls.

For the Otto Pérez Molina resignation story...

...I recommend Latin America Daily Briefing on this link today, which does a fine job of rounding up the story and bringing all the salient points of OPM's decision to resign as President yesterday evening.

FF.v: All hands to the pumps (updated)

Daniel Ameduri's earning his "investor relations" fee from First Mining Finance (FF.v) today, I see:

This is in fact a window on one of my weak points as an investor. I keep forgetting that there's a near unlimited supply of stupid people out there. Daniel, on the other hand, understands this perfectly.

UPDATE: Daniel writes in (screenshot of mail):

For what it's worth I can state categorically that I have never had a penis in my mouth, let alone sucked on one. It really doesn't do to make such wild assumptions, Daniel.

Minera IRL (MIRL.L) ( appoints Jaime Pinto as new chair: Two observations

1) At least Pinto was smart enough to make it non-executive.

2) Apart from that it means nothing at all. Totally irrelevant to the future of IRL.


Apropos of nothing: Faith No More; Underwater Love

What fine music.

The real reason it's fine music in my book: The vocals for sure yes, the slap bass forsure, the beautiful lead guitar intromissions yep, but what drives me to crazyloveness about this song is Mike Bordin's drumwork. This is the way John Bonham used to drive Led Zep. 

Minera IRL ( (MIRL:): Daryl Hodges's problem is that he can't open his mouth without lying

My thanks to reader 'SW' for the headsup.

Today sees another report in Mineweb that gives Daryl Hodges the chance to give "his side of the story" (I think that's what they say in these situations) and as befits a liar, it takes scant sentences before we hit the plain untruths mixed up in the spin and blather. Here's part of the Mineweb script:
Hodges flatly denies this. “I did not go there to present anything. I was led to believe that I was going to do a meet-and-greet with the local community leaders. My community manager only advised me that I was expected to give a speech to a crowd of some 500 just minutes before the meeting began. So I was not properly prepared, and therefore kept my comments at a high level, described a bit of my background, and emphasized my strong belief in good community relations.” 
Hodges points to his experience in mining – which he has been involved in since 1977, including working in many jurisdictions across the globe. “I have plenty of experience working with local constituents, communities, and cultures, and I am also very sensitive to the volatile situation in Peru this past spring, so this whole notion of me walking into a community meeting and insulting people is so far beyond me, it’s ridiculous. And for the record, as opposed to changing the agreement with the community (as has been intimated), I said we would keep it exactly in place, and improve on it,” he says.

The facts are different. 
  • In fact, nobody asked Hodges to go to Ollachea and meet with the community.
  • In fact, it was Hodges who insisted on several occasions to go to Ollachea and meet with the locals.
  • In fact, he was strongly advised by several quarters, including his community relations team (the same people he denegrates and tries to lay blame upon in that note), not to make the trip.
  • In fact, Hodges decided to overrule every single piece of advice he heard on this subject, which came from people both inside and outside the company.
  • In fact, he knew very well that he'd have to stand up and make a speech. He even got to choose the person who'd translate his speech for him (he went for VP Exploration Don McIver).

These aren't subjective opinions, there are dozens of witnesses who'll testify to all those. He knew he'd have to make a speech because HE INSISTED ON GOING THERE AND GIVING A SPEECH, EVEN AFTER LISTENING TO THE EXPERIENCED PROFESSIONALS AND OTHER ADVISORS WHO TOLD HIM ON REPEATED OCCASIONS NOT TO GO. "Meet and greet" my rear end, he knew he was going to a formal assembly and in Peru that means only one thing. Speeches from the invited and questions from the floor.

The problem may be found in that second paragraph excerpted, because Hodges has such a high opinion of himself and his abilities, despite all evidence to the contrary, that he thinks he can just stroll into any old town and talk with any culture or community, immediately winning them over with a flashing smile or two. Therefore more facts:
  • He cannot speak Spanish.
  • He does not understand the culture in Ollachea at all. 
  • He might not have intended to insult those present that evening, but you can take it to the bank that he did just that and in spades. Perhaps it was deliberate or perhaps it was accidental due to his plug dumb ignorance of where he was and who he was talking to (combined with a large dose of hubris) but sure as eggs are eggs, he pissed off the Ollachea locals bigtime.
  • He specifically told the people present that there would be changes in the way Minera IRL operated and did things. The problem that Señor Hodges has on this score is that a video was shot of that meeting and it's all on the record*. What he thinks he says (when it suits him) is one thing, what he said is quite another. 

So to sum up, the man is a liar and is stupid to boot. Seriously, how many lies do you need to catch a guy in before the reality of the situation starts to manifest? 

The question arises as to why he still cares about Minera IRL, now that he's been fired. Surely you don't have a continued interest in what's going on, Daryl? Heaven forbid you'd try to influence things from the outside, eh? No boardroom power struggle, y'say? You're so cute.

*And yup, I've seen it.

For the record, I've just had a bloody good cry

Message for Muck Pile Mike

Can you mail me again? I had a big e-mail computery blowout thing a few weeks ago,as a result I've lost your mail address and just when I needed it. Thanks man.

Meanwhile for the rest of you, remember to keep visiting The Muck Pile, for my money the best junior mining blog out there.

The target price of New Gold (NGD)

Back in IKN 321 dated July 5th, The IKN Weekly ran a big long analysis on New Gold (NGD), because I was interested in the stock as a potential play on an eventual improving gold price. I didn't buy any then, but did a couple of weeks ago so I'm now a long and involved shareholder here. But the one thing I didn't do in IKN 321 was set a price target on the stock. Now that gold's shown a bit of mojo. it's long past the time to get really busy on the numbers and work out where the NGD share price can reasonably go under current market circumstances.

Which is a long-winded way of saying that IKN 330 this Sunday isn't going to be about Minera IRL (for a change), it's going to be about NGD, because I want to know just how far this one can travel, let alone you guys.


1) Ritholtz gives us a list of the Fed people and their attitudes towards rates, right here. Nice summary/temperature gauge thingy.

2) I'm not an expert on China, never have been never will be. But the need to know a little more surfaces on occasion and when Michael Pettis entitles a long piece "If we don’t understand both sides of China’s balance sheet, we understand neither" it was impossible to resist. This is longread stuff (and at the end he notes that it's an abridged version of the essay that went out to his subscribers last month) but it's strongly recommended as a window on the subject. It also explains why I've suddenly noticed the phrase "phase shift" being used about China's economy by all the talking heads recently; they've stolen it from this piece. Anyway, go read Pettis on China, you'll be smarter about this key variable once you do.

3) Caesar's Report today published a PDF analysis report on Nevada Copper ( It's entitled "If only the copper price would start to cooperate!" and yes, they actually used an exclamation mark. My favourite bits from the report are:
The downturn in copper price has also affected Nevada Copper’s share price, and has reduced the market capitalization to under C$100M. If analysts predicting rising copper prices in the near future are correct, then the current share price of under C$1.20 certainly represents a true buying opportunity. 

Nevada Copper Corp. is a sponsor of the website, we also hold a long position. Please always do your own research. 

This document is distributed free of charge
Caesar's Report reminds me of that Mencken quote about democracy, "...that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it, good and hard."

4) A screenshot of my spam inbox this morning:

There seems to be a pattern emerging.

5) "Why does music give us chills?" That's the title of this Guardian note, it's a good read.


Chart of the day is...

...palladium, weeklies:

Which is the neat excuse to point you all at this reasonable little overview of the palladium market and just what's gone wrong for the metal's supporters in 2015 by Lawrie Williams at Sharps/Pixley. Out today, here's how the piece kicks off:
At the beginning of the current year, precious metals forecasters were predicting that due to what were seen as extremely positive fundamentals, palladium would outperform its precious metals peers.  In the event, palladium has actually been the worst performing of the complex, down around 25% year to date – and it has even fallen over the past few days when gold has been showing slight signs of strength.  So far this year it has fallen while even the most bearish of the analysts in the beginning-of-the-year LBMA price prediction competition panel was predicting an average price of well over $700 while at the moment it is languishing at around the $570 mark.  While there are four months still to go this year, and a lot can happen in the markets in that kind of time horizon, the chances of reaching even this most pessimistic forecast among the LBMA panellists now look bleak indeed.


The IKN primer on the Guatemala elections this Sunday (from IKN 328, August 23rd)

This was a long feature in The IKN Weekly (where we do the real work) issue IKN328, from two weekends ago, on the upcoming Presidential and general elections in Guatemala set to happen this weekend September 6th. With the news this evening that President Otto Pérez Molina has lost his immunity from prosecution and has been ordered not to leave the country, the first part's coming closer to reality too.


Guatemala: Otto Pérez Molina may not survive his term after all
It was another tumultuous week in Guatemala politics. With the presidential elections now drawing near and current President Otto Pérez Molina trying everything he can to remain in office to make the transition smooth, three events rocked the fragile peace (with "everything he can" basically meaning lay low, do nothing, keep out of view).

1) President Pérez Molina's (ex) Vice President Roxana Baldetti was finally arrested for her role (I could put "alleged role" if you like, but there seems little point in playing niceties as she's guilty as hell) in the 'La Linea' tax corruption scandal (see Weeklies passim).

2) The big one: The CICIG anti-corruption investigation body published its findings on the President (9) (10) and accused him of being directly involved in the multi-million dollar corruption scandal. The killer sound bite was (translated) "There is no doubt that all references to "One" and "Two" correspond to the President of the Republic and to Roxana Baldetti", referring to recorded telephone conversations that use "one" and "two" as code words for the people who are to be paid off by companies in return for avoiding many millions of dollars in import duties and taxes. Even worse, CICIG has called for formal charges to be made against the President, so sure are they of the case.

3) Yesterday Saturday three of his government ministers (Education, Economy, Presidential Committee for "Competitivity") resigned (11), saying they felt betrayed by the President and left their posts feeling "deceived" and "sad". At the same time another "President Must Resign" rally formed with many thousands of people packing into Guatemala City's main square in front of the Presidential Palace (and yes, President Otto Pérez Molina is in residence).

From looking reasonably calm just a few weeks ago and weathering the storm of the first round of the La Linea scandal, it's now once again nip and tuck as to whether Otto Pérez Molina survives as President and gets to hand over power. Also, there are now serious calls for the whole Presidential election to be postponed (12) until CICIG gets to the bottom of the La Linea scandal. For one thing the scandal has gone way beyond the President and his party and affects all the main political parties now (for example, frontrunner Manuel Baldizón's campaign has been hit hard by accusations of corruption made against his Vice Presidential ticket running mate, Edgar Barquín). But any delay to the electoral process would mean above all that there would be nowhere left to hide for the President and would be very bad news indeed for him and the general country's stability.

A focus on the Guatemala Presidential election
With all that breaking last week, it's now once again a serious and direct influence on the Presidential election that's just two weeks away, September 6th (assuming of course the vote takes place, see above). It's worth noting that Guatemala isn't just choosing its next President on September 6th but is also voting for a new Vice-President, 158 members of Congress, 20 new members of the Central American parliament and mayors and town leaders for 338 municipalities. This is a big vote day.

Therefore I'd like to turn away from the current government's scandals just a little (because it's still a big effect here) and take a good look at how the campaign has developed, because there have been some very significant changes in the race. We can of course consider the human political factors of this election, but the real and practical reason for taking an interest on these pages dedicated to mining companies in Latin America is pure capitalism: We want to know whether there's the potential for a trade, with our main target being the heavily Guat-exposed Tahoe Resources ( (TAHO) as a potential prime target for any buy-low-sell-high action.

I proposed back then a call on a possible near-term trade/flip buy on TAHO, depending on how the election looked. I'm bringing the analysis forward by a week because there's now a clear picture emerging and it's something of a surprise, too.

The centerpiece of this article is this chart, put together from the last three voter intention surveys run by the Guatemalan pollster Borge & Asociados for the respected news and current affairs magazine "Contrapoder" (literal translation "against power", gist translation "counterweight to power"). To give an idea of the survey technicals, the latest survey taken in August and divulged to the public last week August 21st included:

·     Adult males and females resident in Guatemala
·     On electoral registered since 2011 minimum
·     Sample taken in proportion to voter densities around country
·     Head to head questioning, voter intention taken using simulated ballot paper/box
·     1,199 people interviewed
·     Margin of Error +/- 2.8%
·     Confidence level 95%
·     Dates survey taken August 7th to 13th

In short, the right way to do a survey and Borge & Asociados has a reasonable reputation for accuracy, much the way Contrapoder Magazine has a reputation for editorial balance. But you'll also note that the date of the survey closes before the latest round of scandals hit. Enough blahblah, here's the chart, notes below:

·     Manuel Baldizón of the LIDER party, one of the most established (and establishment) political parties in Guatemala, is still leading the polls but has seen his lead cut dramatically.

·     Jimmy Morales, running as an independent, has surged in the polls in the last two months from under 10% to over 20% and has moved into second place.

·     Sandra Torres, ex-wife of previous President Alvaro Colom and from the ostensible political left (though hardly a radical left wing, more straight centrist in reality) has also seen gains in voter intention, but not enough to stop Morales from surging past her. She's also considered part of the political establishment.

·     The "don't know/no answer/undecided" column has shrunk by nearly 12% in two months, with more people making up their minds which way to vote. And Baldizón hasn't enjoyed any of the new decisions.

·     The "other" column (made up of several minor candidates with little hope of winning) has also shrunk as people seem to be gravitating towards the main three candidates now.

·     The final bullet point (and one we'll come back to): As Guatemala requires 50% +1 vote for its President, it's now extremely unlikely that we'll get a winner in Round One and we're all set for a second round run-off between the top two voted candidates that's slated for November 8th. Two months between the two votes may turn out to be an eternity in Guatemala.

Now for some analysis and what you see in visual form (or go to Reuters here (13) for its take on the big electoral story) is the growing surprise that is Jimmy Morales. Morales (wiki page here (14) is best known as an actor and one half of a long-running comedy TV show duo in Guatemala called 'Moralejas', in which he stars along with his brother. They play a pair of cousins who get into scrapes and then out of them again, it's reasonable but simple stuff. Morales has also appeared as a TV presenter. He also has some form in politics already, as in 2011 he ran for the job of Mayor of the Mixco province in Guatemala and came third in the voting. But despite this background, supporters are quick to point out that he's no intellectual lightweight and left education with a stack of qualifications. He's also proved to be a formidable speaker and debater in this campaign.

Despite his apparent qualities, he's still come out of nowhere. In December 2014 Jimmy Morales didn't even figure on the electoral radar. He then started a very low cost campaign, mostly via Facebook and other social media plus some very limited publicity space in the "normal" outlets (street signs, newspaper ads) and to the surprise of many, was suddenly polling around 5%. The campaign started to pick up the attention of some media and also of those who were looking for a rallying point against the established parties and candidates of always (in other words, the corrupt band of two or three parties who pretend to be in opposition but in reality pass the power parcel between each other).

In short he's picked up support and momentum as the outsider candidate (for what it's worth, "el outsider" is a phrase often used in Spanish for exactly this type of political candidate) and has emerged from the pack as the one to challenge the established political class. And when last week's voter intention poll results came out it reportedly shook the political establishment hard; he's now being taken very seriously indeed. His message is strong on the main issue of this campaign, anti-corruption. Disaffected voters are congregating around him, often because they believe he couldn't possibly be any worse than the samo-samo options they'd have otherwise. And it's that part of the story, the "jail them all" message for the Guatemala corruption class politicos and people in power that we on the outside should most be concerned about.

As things stand, the most likely outcome on September 6th is to see Baldizón (impossible to be a more establishment politico) and Morales (impossible to be more of an outsider) go forward into a second round run-off, with the vote on November 8th. And what happens then is anyone's guess (at the moment pollsters have just two points between Baldizón and Morales in a head-to-head runoff) but as my original thesis of buying Tahoe Resources (TAHO) ( was on the back of a very likely Baldizón victory and a return to the normality (bad, corrupt, self-serving but normal) of Guatemalan politics, it's now impossible to make that call. Bottom line, I will not be buying TAHO before the Guatemala elections take place as it's just too difficult to make a confident call.

One more thing: Over the years (as you'll recall, boringly) I've avoided an investment in Tahoe Resources due to its prime weakness, the Achilles' Heel of being located in Guatemala. It's also why I sold my shares before the merger had completed, I simply don't want to be exposed to the country's off-scale political risk. That call has been totally vindicated by the stunning events of the past few months, but I'm also aware that on a micro-company basis, TAHO's a great mining company with an excellent asset in Escobal. What could really ruin it for the company is a black swan event that nobody sees coming and I'd vouch that if Jimmy Morales wins the Presidency and takes office (without being assassinated beforehand, as I do fear for his life now) the chances of such a black swan event would be much higher. I'd also say that Goldcorp timed the sale of its shares in TAHO to near perfection.

Bottom line: Guatemala will be a fascinating place to watch in the next few weeks, but it's definitely a case of "look but don't touch". Avoid exposure to the country.

Minera IRL ( (MIRL.L): Word is...

...that the jokers in Toronto are making Robin Fryer president, with the news due out tomorrow Wednesday. As yet unconfirmed, but it's a desperate measure and indication of just how quickly the Hodges/Higgins plans are unravelling.

Hands up...

...all those people who didn't think that First Mining Finance (FF.v) would dilute the merry fark out of its shareholders by paying in shares for its acquisitions:

Ok, just the one of you. So here's today's NR in which FF.v announces it wants that mineral deposit under that lake, plus eating some crow..pickled crow at that. Bless em. And here's the ten day price chart:

Cute. Hey, funny how Daniel Ameduri of Future Money Trends didn't share this part of the FF.v strategy with you when he was pumping it out to the sucker end of the casino world, innit.

Continuing to watch the gold/silver ratio closely

This one really is the ballgame at the moment:

And we're now at 11 months and counting with the GSR over 70X, and in all that time the silverbugz have been telling us how much better their metallic fetish is going to week, anytime now...just you wait.

Face facts people, this guy understood more about capital markets than you do.

Peru geologist saying of the day

Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.


Gold: New York versus Hong Kong

The green line is today's action:

Interesting. From here.

Back tomorrow

No posts today, kind and esteemed readership of IKN, as there's real world stuff to do this end of the pipe.

Back tomorrow, have a pleasant and relaxing Monday.


The Jemi Fibre (JFI.v) year end financials are so bad it's laughable

They were filed late Friday evening. Take a wild guess why. Here's just the balance sheet:

I honestly don't know where to begin, but perhaps the first thing is to note the way JFI luckily managed to re-value its biological assets to the tune of $18m in the space of just three months, without adding a single pine cone to their asset, and in that way managed to add a $21m non-cash revenue item to their P+L which allowed them to declare an annual profit of $5.8m.

Or maybe the way they're runninga $47m working cap deficit, with most of that owed to Bobby Genovese and due in August 2016.

Or maybe the way they say they're going to pay back that debt in one of three ways:

1) "the realization of accounts receivable" ($47m...ain't gonna happen)
2) "the realization of accrued receivables" (like i say, it's $47m...ditto)
3) "the issuance of capital stock"

And that number three is the only way it's ever going to happen. And that means, yeah you guessed already, a move by JFI to run the mother of dilutive financings so that Bobby G can walk off with his cash intact and leave a new bunch of suckers holding this bag.

Destined for much lower, don't be Bobby G's sucker.

The IKN Weekly, out now

IKN 329 has just been sent to subscribers. It has another piece on the ongoing saga of Minera IRL as main feature, but this time it's not going to be reproduced on the public blog. Because it's too good.