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

Third Place: "Stephan Bogner of Rockstone Research, Zimtu's whore", one of those occasions when I care enough to spend more than four minutes on putting a post together. Whatever way you cut it, people who get paid by junior mining companies to writing glowing reports are just trouser-droppers.

Second Place: "Just when you thought Porter Stansberry couldn't be more of an asshole...", another example of how this proven securities fraudster and arch scamster feeds his personal greed by sucking the blood out of the naive.
First Place: "Ten random predictions for 2017". Not a surprise this side of the screen, this post is a popular one every year.


New Year Spanish Language Spelling Tip

Your humble scribe sees it happen at least once every year so let's take two minutes to mark your collective cards, ladies and gentlemen. If you want to wish good things for 2017 to a Spanish speaker, do not say or write "Feliz ano nuevo".

In Spanish, "Año" means "Year"
In Spanish, "Ano" means "Anus"

Indeed that squiggly little line (the enye) is important, because if you get it wrong you're basically wishing your friend a happy new asshole. Therefore, IKN wishes you...

¡Feliz Año Nuevo!

The Friday OT: Beethoven, Symphony No.9, opus 125, Riccardo Muti, Chicago Symphony Orchestra

It's been called so many things over the years. The most innovative symphony ever written, the most important, the world's most widely recognized piece or quite simply, the best musical work ever. Whatever it is for you, it's a rousing end to the year and an underlying message of joy and optimism that will serve us all well in 2017.

It's tough to choose a version, so many good ones out there, but I've gone for Muti and the CSO in 2014. But what you do get today isn't the greatest hits snippets or a cut straight to the big choral finish, you get the whole thing because to truly appreciate #9 you need the full experience.

Youtube here. Magical.

Chart of the day is...

...the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD), the world's biggest gold bullion ETF, 2016 year-to-date, versus the S&P500 index:

The broad markets beat you again, goldbugs. Live with it.


Ten random predictions for 2017

Here we go with the IKN Never-Fail Forecasts* for the year to come. As per the last three years we're sticking to the same general format and a mix of financial, politics and sport. After scoring 5.5/10 in 2013, 6/10 in 2014, 5.5/10 in 2015 and 6/10 in 2016 (financials good, sport mediocre, politics bad) the trend is intact, I'll need to keep up that kind of result number and break the 50/50 barrier again, but as always part of the deal is to go for a real left-field call or two and try hard to fail in a few:

*some restrictions apply

So to business:
1) Gold to break through U$1,400/oz in the course of 2017. I'm setting a higher bar this time, $1.4k looks a long way away here at the back end of 2016, but once the Trump Honeymoon wears off and people realize his macro policy is dollar bearish money is going to return to gold. That's the call and it also means IKN expects an excellent year for the precious metals stocks.
2) Copper to break through U$3.10/lb this year. This is also a weak dollar play in part, but it's more about China and the way its economy will pick up as 2017 goes on. I've gone for U$3.10/lb (spot price) to make it just a little more interesting than the more obvious $3.00 line.
3) Uranium will finally put in a rally and move back above U$30/lb. It's been such an easy call to fade the U-Permabulls these last three years, but even stopped clocks get it right twice a day and the one thing we can comfortably predict from a Trump presidency is a new focus on uranium. If you discount the way it turns glass those pretty green colours it only has two real uses and both are likely to get more play from this new Prez.
4) Goldcorp (GG) to merge with Agnico Eagle (AEM). Because Garofalo and Boyd are BFFs, because one has cash and a shitty asset book, because the other has assets and a lack of cash, because GG has been an abject failure in the last three years and David needs to do something before the activist shareholders come around begging for his head.
5) Colombia to become the LatAm mining success story of 2017. The country is finally getting its formal mining ducks in line, FDI will like the roll-out of the peace deal, there are already some good stories there that will get better.
6) Venezuela's government to implode. This is a repeat prediction from last year and one that failed me, but Maduro can't hold on much longer and the oft-delayed recall election is going to be difficult to put off for another year. Once again the acid test of this call will be the ousting or resignation of Maduro, if that happens I win the point.
7) Mauricio Macri and his government to lose heavily in the Argentina mid-term elections. Some happen in August, the big batch in late October/Early November (final date not set yet) and we expect Macri to be a lame duck president once it's all finished. Sergio Massa the likely beneficiary.
8) Juan Martín Del Potro to win at least one Grand Slam tournament in 2017 (Oz, R.Garros, Wimbledon, US). After years in the injury wilderness Delpo returned in style in 2016, first from his near-miracle run in the Olympics, then improving on the Tour, then leading Argentina to its first ever Davis Cup. Now we await the consecration and the long-overdue second GS win.
9) Barcelona to win the 2017 Champion's League and Spanish Primera double. Real has a decent head start on Culé in the league right now, but In Leo We Trust. And by the way, no half points available on this call, both have to happen else it's zero points for me.
10) The UK will not invoke Article 50 before the end of March 2017, the way its PM May said it would just a few weeks ago. The sooner you realize Brexit is one big red herring, the better.

There you go, our Ten For The Prize in 2017, expect the usual postmortem post around next Christmas.

The five most popular Friday OT posts of 2016

It's the back end of 2016 and time for the Friday OT review post (other places do look-back reviews of their fave or most popular posts in the year, we stick to the music). Here are the top five Friday OT posts by hit popularity during the year, all of which can be accessed by clicking on the names:

To begin I'll note that The Friday OT segment got more popular this year and the 5th place song got more hits than last year's winner. Second, it's great to see the variety that made the top five, with a big fat 2016 smash hit (Sugar), a Spanish language track (Hasta el techo) and neo-classical (Nils Frahm) all featured. The only tinge of sadness is the number two top hit post, for obvious reasons. As for numero uno, her impeccable music and that all-time great video is a combo for a worthy winner.

Gold will rally into the New Year

Expect gold to touch U$1,180/oz before my eldest child's 13th birthday*. That's what TIPS is telling us and here's the famous TIPS/Gold correlation chart (TIPS 10 yr inverse yield) for visual proof:

Since this was taken last night, TIPS has rallied further and the yield is 0.52%. Lots of room for gold to bounce now.

UPDATE: Gold up U$13/oz since this was published, which is a nice start to the rally. But there's more to come.

*Not telling you the exact date, but it's early January.


Just when you thought Porter Stansberry couldn't be more of an asshole...

..this happens.

Here's the text of the mailer that the proven securities fraudster Porter Stansberry sent out to the list of greenhorns who were stupid enough to give his Casey Research (now a branch of Agora) their e-mail address at some point over the last 20 years and try as they might, can't stop these serial scam merchants from sending them spam:

Dear Reader, 
The most common complaint we get from our readers is that we advertise too much.
Perhaps you think this is true...
It may surprise you, but I wish we didn't advertise so much as well.
Though I'd never apologize for aggressively getting the word out about Casey Research, I'd prefer to devote all our resources to financial analysis... in an ideal world.
Here's the thing, if I did that we'd quickly go out of business and everyone would lose out. So it will never happen.
However, there is a way for you to "switch off" 99% of our advertising...
I can't guarantee the odd ad won't slip through somewhere, but the vast majority of our advertising will be banished from your inbox with this...
You simply need to become a Casey Platinum member...
With Platinum, you get everything we publish, for life... and for a massive discount on what we normally charge for our research.
What that means is, there's nothing more you can buy from us, and that means no ads.
In fact, this could be the last ad you ever read from us...
But no advertising is a tiny benefit compared to everything else you get as a Platinum member...
The real value of Platinum is that you get all of our moneymaking research, every single alert, issue and recommendation... plus much, much more...
See for yourself, right here.

Justin Spittler
Casey Daily Dispatch

(And on the words "right here" at the end is a link to the Casey Platinum service advert). In other words all that spam you get from these assholes isn't their fault, it's yours for giving the your mail address at some point. And if you want to turn off the incessant noise you pay them $3,500. Never mind that there is anti-spam laws that Porter Stansberry should adhere to, such as giving clear links and ways to opt out of all unwanted e-mail. Jeez, what a complete moneygrubbing, lowdown asshole he truly is.

PS: We remind readers of the true intentions of this scumbag fraudster Stansberry, via the previous series of posts "Casey Research, now with Stansberry/Agora, will market you to death", which includes excerpts from the Stansberry secret internal dossier on how to extract as much money as possible from anyone stupid enough to hand over their e-mail address to this company of scammers.

Mining PRs and the Ottotrans™, Part 96


It's number 96 in our occasional series and this time it's over to Nolan Watson and his merry crowd at Sandstorm (SAND) (, with the top block of today's NR up first and the Ottotrans™ underneath:
VANCOUVER, Dec. 28, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - Sandstorm Gold Ltd. ("Sandstorm" or the "Company") (NYSE MKT: SAND, TSX: SSL) is pleased to provide an update regarding activity under its normal course issuer bid ("NCIB") as well as exploration and development progress at a number of assets underlying the Company's streams and royalties.

Sandstorm previously announced a NCIB (see press release dated March 30, 2016), providing the Company with the option to purchase its common shares when management believes that the common shares are undervalued by the market. The fourth quarter of 2016 has seen significant declines in the price of gold, impacting Sandstorm's share price and market valuation. As a result, the Company has recently purchased some of its common shares. Since December 15, 2016, the Company has purchased 545,977 common shares at a weighted average price of C$4.56 per common share.

And this is what it means:
We had a deal planned but it fell through and we didn't have anything else to do with the cash.

Stephan Bogner of Rockstone Research, Zimtu's whore

Okay, let's make this clear, I have nothing against prostitutes and no particular beef against what's sometimes called the world's oldest profession. That those who practise the trade tend to be women and even if they're not, that the vast majority of clients are men is also beside the point. Also in the sidebar is the way that most prostitutes don't enjoy the luxury, high-class high living ideal (or get picked up and then married to Richard Gere, or kindly help out then fall in love with a guy who later corners the market in frozen concentrated orange juice in a movie) but usually suffer a hard life and come from a difficult family background.

No, what we're talking about here is the financial hooker, the business prostitute, the analyst whore who pretends to be something he (or she, but oddly this sub-sector tends to be male) is not. Take for example Rockstone Research, an outfit that writes up Canadian junior companies in both English and German for audiences in North America and Europe, plus its lead analyst Stephan Bogner. Bogner, along with other names connected to Rockstone such as John P. Barry, pretend to offer up sound investment ideas and carefully researched company fundies. Sadly, it's not the case because these people aren't just common whores but much worse than that, they're sneaky fakes who are in the pocket of those flaming rip-off Vancouver scam merchants, Zimtu Capital.

Evidence: If we check on the top core holdings of Zimtu (i.e. the companies they set up and own using other people's money, most of which also pay heavily to the owners of Zimtu) we get this list:

According to the Zimtu website Voltaic Minerals (VLT.v) is its top holding. This company happens to be covered by Rockstone Research and its coverage is paid for by Zimtu Capital.

Next comes Commerce Resources (CCE.v). Somewhat by coincidence this company is also covered by Rockstone Research with coverage paid for by Zimtu Capital.

Number three on its list of top holdings is Equitas Resources (EQT.v). And shock! Covered by Rockstone Research, coverage paid for by Zimtu Capital.

Then ALS Uranium (AL.v): Covered by Rockstone Research, coverage paid for by Zimtu Capital.

Then Electra Stone (ELT.v): Covered by Rockstone Research, coverage paid for by Zimtu Capital.

Then Arctic Star (ADD.v): Covered by Rockstone Research, coverage paid for by Zimtu Capital.

Then MGX Minerals (XMG.cse): Covered by Rockstone Research, coverage paid for by Zimtu Capital.

Then 92 Resources (NTY.v): Covered by Rockstone Research, coverage paid for by Zimtu Capital.

Then True Leaf Medicine (MJ.cse): Covered by Rockstone Research, coverage paid for by Zimtu Capital.

And the list goes on. Now, is this purely coincidence, or is Rockstone Research a pumphouse bullshit merchant that is trying to sell complete crap to naive greenhorn investors in exchange for cash from the companies it's pumping? You be the judge.

More Argentina: Why Cristina won't ever go to prison

We now know why Macri chose this post-Christmas period to dump his FinMin. In-country the chatter about Prat-Gay lasted all of two days, right up to the moment when Judge Ercolini published his 800 page charge against Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and her friends (notably Baez, De Vido, López) regarding charges that basically add up to "ripping off the State using public works contracts".

The charges are heavy and they're going to be difficult to counter too, for her friends. CFK's defence will be 1) it's all politically motivated against her, which may be partially true but the evidence is between strong and overwhelming no matter who was/is/will be in charge and 2) it was in the time of her husband rather than her, which is a better defence though it drops her pals right in it. However, the 1) argument should be enough for her to beat any prison time because in 2017 there are two sets of legislative elections in which she'll be able to run for Congress. When she does she'll have more than enough hardcore vot to be elected under the Argentine system, which means she'll then enjoy immunity from prosecution. In short, we're looking at a Carlos Menem type of situation in which she sees out her days of declining power from the back rows.


Argentina: Fallout from Macri's sacking of the FinMin

As reported here yesterday, President Mauricio Macri has decided to lay blame for the underperformance of Argentina's economic recovery at the door of his now-ex FinMin, Alfonso Prat-Gay. The country's chattersphere has been in overdrive about the decision and commentary, as you'd imagine, has been split down party lines (haters gotta hate, bootlickers gotta lick boots) but out of all the noise, this humble corner of cyberspace picks the comments made by Guillermo Nielsen as some of the most insightful and balanced. For a bit of background and in as few words as possible Nielsen was Finance Secretary (i.e. number two to the FinMin) in the first Nestor Kirchner government, then fell out with the Kirchnerists (and Cristina in particular). These days he's aligned with Sergio Massa, the right-ish wing Peronist. Here's what Nielsen said about the departure of Prat-Gay:

"'s showing that the sectors of the international community who were prudent about Argentina ('s economic recovey potential) are right. The fact there has been no large influx of dollars as the (Macri) government expected indicates there was a certain amount of mistrust. The sacking (of Prat-Gay) ratifies this lack of confidence. We're going to see an Argentina that will probably be more volatile than it was this year. The challenges are going to be greater."

This humble corner of cyberspace, one that has been a lone voice of warning against the crazy bullish screaming about Argentina in the mining sector throughout 2016, fully agrees. Your humble scribe also wonders how the "Argentina Mining Get On Now" rah-rah boys are feeling this morning. At what point is Fortuna Silver a short?

Reality bites: Results of the IKN "Ten random predictions for 2016"

On December 27th 2015 we ran our annual "Ten random predictions" post for the year ahead, the usual mix of biz, politics and sport that blend serious and left-field calls that we don't expect to become reality. Here we are at the back end of 2016, it's time for the results so here below come the original calls, the result and the score for each call (1 for a win, 0.5 for "close enough for my taste", big zero for anything else). And by way of reminder of previous years' results:
  • In 2013 we scored 5.5/10
  • In 2014 we scored 6/10
  • In 2015 we scored 5.5/10
...which means our mediocrity is at least consistent. On with the show:
1) Gold to break through U$1,250/oz in the course of 2016.
SCORE: 1 point: It didn't even need a quarter, let alone a year. And by the way, we may seem all worldly wise and "Ahh, but that was an easy call Otto!" now, but this time last year with gold deeply under U$1,100/oz and most of the mainstream telling us with their serious voices that gold was certain to drop under one thousand, it was a call made in a very different market. 

2) Silver to rally against gold and the gold/silver ratio will finally break under 70/1.
SCORE: 1 point: Again, hindsight makes this one sound easy. Again, it wasn't so obvious back then. I'll scoop up my point and move on. 

3) Uranium to go nowhere yet again.
SCORE: 1 point: Just so easy to fade the idiot uranium permabulls. While they were predicting the same rally they predict this time every freakin' year, IKN called it the way it is and then sat back and watched Uranium spot prices drop by 50% in 2016. Chau, losers.

4) Goldcorp (GG) to buy Lake Shore Gold (LSG).
SCORE: 0.5 point: I'm taking half points here for two reasons. First up LSG sold all right, but to Tahoe and not Goldcorp. Second up, as subscribers know very well, a few weeks after this call I changed the buyer to Tahoe in The IKN Weekly and then even managed to pre-empt the merger announcement by scooping it here on the blog a couple of days before it happened.

5) Copper to go under $2/lb early year and to rally to $2.50/lb by the end of the year.
SCORE: 1 point: No bones about it, this is my favourite prediction win of the year because I made it hard for myself, needing a bottom and a top call to come in (and in the right order), but score it did.

6) Venezuela's government to implode.
SCORE: 0 point: It was looking likely for a while, especially in the first couple of months of 2016. Also, as we leave the year the country is in an awful state and making headlines on a daily basis (hyperinflation, de-stocked supermarkets, political upheaval, whole nine yards) but the plain fact is that my main criteria, Maduro out by now, hasn't appeared. Therefore, nul points. 

7) Keiko Fujimori to become the next President of Peru.
SCORE: 0 point: Again, close but no cigar because by a thin 0.14% margin Keiko lost the second round run-off to Pedro Pablo Kuczynski. I could cheat and give myself a half point for being that close, I won't. Fail.

8) Usain Bolt to break the world record for the men's 200 metres in the final at the Rio 2016 Olympics. Because hero (and I'll be taking half points for a gold without a record that day).
SCORE: 0.5 point: I get the half point for the bit in brackets. In mitigation, it poured down with rain an house before the final and scuppered all chances of the record falling, so Usain did enough for the gold without threatening the record. 

9) England to win the Euro 16 European Football Championships.
SCORE: 0 point: Abject fail. I mean, beaten by Iceland. Embarrassing.

10) Christopher Froome to win the Tour de France and retain his crown.
SCORE: 1 point: Oh yeah. Froomy pwned them Frenchies.

And so...roll on the drums...

GRAND TOTAL: SIX OUT OF TEN. That's half a point better than last year, which is good. Even better is that the "serious calls" about metal and money things were damned close this time. On the other hand, I've sucked at politics in this continent for at least the last year and a half.

And that's that for 2016 but fear not, in the next couple of days you'll get the IKN Ten Random Predictions For 2017, your next opportunity to laugh at my stupidity.

Primero Mining (PPP) ( has fallen so far...

...that it's now getting stuffy letters from the NYSE:
"TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - December 27, 2016) - Primero Mining Corp. ("Primero" or the "Company") (TSX:P.TO) (PPP) today announced that is has received formal notification from the New York Stock Exchange ("NYSE") of its non-compliance with the exchange's continued listing standards for minimum trading price."
Translation: The share price is under a dollar and if it stays there, the NYSE will de-list this dog*. Here's the funny thing, though. In order to regain compliance, PPP decided to write a nice letter to the NYSE and explain what it's going to do. The three point plan is (and I quote)...
  • Reducing costs and returning operations to industry-leading profitability as historically reported at its flagship San Dimas mine;
  • Delivering increased cash flow from its Black Fox mine with production focus on the high-grade Deep Central Zone;
  • Exploring and identifying high quality mineral resources in and around our current mines and projects. other words, all the things it's abjectly failed to do for the last two or three years. Hey, maybe the NYSE should send out more letters to these pathetic mining companies run by self-serving mediocrities who try to pass themselves off as smart businessman. We may get a few more delivering bottom line profits that way.

*Don't let me stop you guys, sooner the better as far as I'm concerned.

Gold: a pulse

Not exactly a definitive breakout, but there were eager buyers as the markets opened up:

Semi-related, here's a question: Who is more stupid?
  • The technical analyst that studies gold and will tell you with exact certainty all the reasons why gold has performed the way it has in the past, then continue with a confident prediction that gold may go up, down or perhaps remain unchanged in the future.
  • The idiot who pays attention to these charlatans and keeps them in business.


Argentina: Papering over the economic cracks only works for a while

Big economy news out of Argentina today, as President Mauricio Macri asked for and received the resignation of his Finance Minister, Alfonso Prat-Gay. Macri's spokesperon, Marcos Peña, trotted out the the official government line that (translated), "The President asked for his resignation. It's a question of political differences. It's not about the (upcoming) mid-term elections, but about a vision of how to organize the work inside the ministerial government", which is basically a large mouthful of nothing-speak.

What's clear is that Macri is now worried about the 2017 mid-term vote, because if that goes against his political line his government becomes very lame duck very quickly. The economic benefits he has promised Argentina after they've suffered through his austerity plan are not appearing and citizenry patience is wearing thin. All this means that Prat-Gay, as orthodox an economist as you could imagine, has taken the fall and we're likely to see Macri switch to a nearer-term, more populist stance in order to bring quick benefits to the order to save his own hide.

UPDATE: Top Argentina political blogger Abel adds his dos centavitos: Excerpt:
"...that the exit of Prat-Gay was inevitable due to the friction caused by the recession, the rate of inflation, the exchange rate lag, the frustration of a economic policy that isn't showing the results that were expected."
Full thing here.

Global Mining Observer is about to make Michael O'Keeffe into a mining superstar

Here's the main story of the latest edition of Global Mining Observer and if it really is the first in a series, you're going to be hearing a lot more about O'Keeffe from other media outlets too. The intrepid AW with another scoop.


The IKN Weekly, out now

IKN397 has just been sent to subscribers. A thin edition, Merry Christmas one and all.