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8/4/18

The Nicolás Maduro "assassination attempt" in Venezuela today looks like a false flag set-up

I'm no conspiracy theorist either, to the point where I've been in arguments with people who insist the financial world, gold, silver, what-have-you is rigged by, the "Powers That Be", the Bildebergs or just plain "them". But I've watched the footage of what happened on the stage in Venezuela this afternoon a dozen times and the supposed assassination attempt sure looks like a set-up to me. Consider this for example, from a tweet I posted earlier after getting a batch of photos of the incident from Twitter then zooming in on details:



How would you feel if you were on a platform with your husband the President, Nicolás Maduro, he was under attack from flying bombs and everyone else seems to be staring at flying things and worrying about them? Would you be like Venezuela's first lady here, relaxed and smiling? No tension in those hands? However, what if you were one of the very few people who knew it was being staged? What if you knew there would be bangs and flashes, but nothing would get close to the stage where you were standing?

And then what about this? Reports that a social media campaign  set up by the Venezuela government and featuring our old friends the Russian bots and fake news boilerhouses was up and running almost immediately after the attack, hashtags and everything.Within minutes we "knew" the attack was via drones carrying C4 explosive, too. Really? They knew it wasn't Semtex or any other type of plastic explosive that fast? Also tell me how the people plotting against Maduro are technically proficient enough to kit out drones as bombs, evade security in the zone, fly them to within a few metres of the President and then manage to get the timing of the trigger wrong so they explode at a safe distance? Just unlucky I guess, but with multiple drones of which at least two exploded?

Then within two hours, Maduro appears on live TV to denounce the attack, tell the world that the first arrests have been made of the perps and that outgoing Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, along with "far right oligarchs" living in Miami, were behind the plot. If that's true it's impressive, world-record pace detective work. Also, at the same time reporters on the scene said that a small team of reporters had been taken away by police and not seen since.

And finally, there's the Cui Bono aspect to this. To say that Maduro is under pressure is an understatement and when that happens, there's nothing a quasi-dictator likes more than to wrap himself* around the flag. Forget your troubles, lack of food, medicine and the fact that millions of Venezuelans are now living as virtual refugees all over LatAm instead of where they want to live, "Look at me they tried to kill me! Viva La Revolución!" People are telling me on Twitter this evening that it was a failure, I don't think so. I think it was a roaring success, because the person behind this is Maduro himself.


*I choose "himself" deliberately, there hasn't been a female head of state that evil for several centuries.

8/3/18

The Friday OT: Beastie Boys; Sure Shot

It got in my ear this week and stayed there. Probably because it's brilliant.



I remember listening to it the first time because previous Beastie stuff had left me cold. At a pal's place in 1994, he'd just bought the new album (yeah, seriously, 1994 is 24 years ago), I shrugged and said yeah stick it on and this, Sure Shot, track one, made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. The sample, the delivery and then 2/3rds of the way through this from MCA...
I wanna say a little something that's long overdue
The disrespect to women has got to be through
To all the mothers and the sisters and the wives and friends
I wanna offer my love and respect til the end
...which threw a massive curveball at all the sexist rap crap at the time. Then I caught the video later and loved it even more. This track was the first time I took the genre seriously and for that, it will always be a classic in my book. Youtube here.

Ecuador: The Appeals Court rules in favour of locals opposing the Rio Blanco mine project

This just in:



Minutes ago, the Azuay appeals court (in a ruling delayed since Monday) has decided that the Rio Blanco mining project (owned by Chinese company Junefield) must remain suspended until it has sought approval in a "prior consultancy" with locals around the zone. This was a hotly contested court ruling because the government of Ecuador brought the case to the Appeal court, knowing the as the clear majority of locals are opposed to the mine it would mean the project, now in construction phase, would come to an indefinite halt. Also worth noting that as this is a "second appeal" it is no longer subject to higher court appeals and in fact, the government stated during the process that if it lost it would take no further action.

The ruling creates legal precedent for the whole of Ecuador and means nearly all its projects will need to go through a "prior consultancy" before being allowed to move to production. And one final thing: It's plain awful news for INV Metals (INV.to) and its equally locals-hated 'Loma Larga' project a near neighbour to Rio Blanco and in the exact same regon of Ecuador.

IKN anticipates Great Panther Silver (GPR.to) $GPL on Coricancha

It wasn't even a month ago that this humble corner of cyberspace ran its post on the Coricancha (CMC) PEA, delivered to and by Great Panther Silver (GPR.to) (GPL) which told of the extra work, time and expense that would be needed by a serious mining company in order to make a reasonable decision on whether to put the shuttered mine back into production.

However, GPR is not a serious mining company. This from the company yesterday (IKN highlights):

VANCOUVER, Aug. 2, 2018 /CNW/ - GREAT PANTHER SILVER LIMITED (TSX: GPR; NYSE American: GPL) ("Great Panther"; the "Company") is pleased to provide an update on the progress of the trial stope and bulk sample program (the "Bulk Sample Program" or "BSP") at its 100% owned Coricancha gold-silver-lead-zinc-copper underground mine ("Coricancha"). Coricancha is located approximately 90 kilometres east of Lima, Peru, and has a 600 tonne per day processing plant, well established infrastructure, and is fully permitted for production.
Coricancha was placed on care and maintenance in 2013 and acquired by Great Panther in June of 2017. In December 2017, the Company released an updated mineral resource estimate for Coricancha. The Bulk Sample Program was initiated following the release of the results of the Preliminary Economic Assessment for Coricancha (the "PEA"), as detailed in the Great Panther news release dated May 31, 2018. The BSP will process about 6,000 tonnes of material and is expected to be finished in the first quarter of 2019. Its objective is to validate key mine and processing plant operating parameters in the PEA and further de-risk Coricancha. The Company will use these results as a basis for a formal decision to restart production.

Yup, they're running a Bulk Sample Program (BSP) and on the back of that, some time in Q1 they'll make a decision on whether to open the mine. Please compare the GPR plan, i.e. rushing to production decision in eight months max on the back of a BSP, to the recommendations of the 43-101 PEA. We quote:

CMC is highly sensitive to process plant head grades, gold and silver prices, and operating costs. Variances associated with these factors pose a high risk to the project economics.
And
Based on this TR, the Qualified Person recommends additional drilling and exploration activities designed to upgrade the existing Resource classifications and expand the current Mineral Resource inventory. Details on the extent of exploration programs are to be determined however are estimated to cost up to US$1M to US$2M per annum over the next two to three years. In addition, associated mine rehabilitation and development costs could be up to US$3M.
And
The Qualified Person also recommends additional technical studies aimed to reduce risks and increase the level of confidence regarding CMC advancement. Depending on the level of detail for technical work, these are estimated at US$600,000 to US$1,000,000 over the next one to two years.

The QP who put the PEA together knows that a tiny, 6,000 tonne BSP won't be anything close to enough to gauge the risk of turning Coricancha back on. They recommend study and caution, they know this one is difficult. The resource is not understood to anything near the extent necessary and what GPR plan to do is little more than go back into production on the back of a PEA and relying on inferred resources. Now, if it were a reasonably predictable orebody they might get away with it, but this is a deposit that's been a widowmaker for a decade, not even Nyrstar could make it work. But GPR isn't like that, they're going for the bluster. With this, GPR is showing the world exactly what it is, a bunch of cowboys who prefer to cut corners and BS investors rather than do things the right way.

8/2/18

Stormy times for Frank Giustra

So nice to see Frank Giustra, his new mini-me Bri-Bri Paes-Braga and Michael Avenatti (Stormy Daniels' lawyer) hanging out and having a jolly good time. Bri-Bri really rockin' the deep tan too, didn't even recognize you at first.


Caption competition, perhaps?

Another day...

...with virtually nothing on this blog. Things will be back to normal soon.

8/1/18

Just when you thought Tahoe Resources (TAHO) couldn't get any worse...

...they post the company's 2q18 financials. My stars, this is embarrassing. Examples:
  • Remember when they announced the strike at La Arena (not before being prompted to do so by a pissant blogger) on April 22nd and said there would be no material effect on production. Then on May 3rd when they announced the end of the strike with no further word on any production changes? Well now, "The quarterly production at La Arena was impacted by the 13-day labor strike at the end of April." 
  • La Arena production of 36koz Au is stupidly low, a crazy miss.  
  • At the end of 2017, working capital stood at  $143.3m. It's now $121.2m, that despite booting $35m of financial debt from ST to LT liabilities. Main reason? Cash treasury is down $56m. Where has all the money gone, guys? Seriously, where? We need line items from you now, not approximations. The days of getting a pass on discretionaries have long gone, adult supervision is kicking in now. 
  • Another net loss, this time 5c/share, despite the company claiming an AISC $250/oz lower than gold spot for the quarter.
  • And to add insult to injury, despite the second quarter of losses this year G&A is actually accelerating! $13.7m on lord-only-knows what.
That's just a few line items. Never forget TAHO as a test case, ladies and gentlemen readers of this blog. The archetype of how great mining assets can be ruined by morons. The industry isn't laughing directly in your face yet, Ferrari Kev, but this humble corner of cyberspace can guarantee that it's laughing at you behind your pompous back.


7/31/18

Just so you know the Tahoe Resources (TAHO) position on all this

You may note the following in their reply:

1) I'm not "that ##***ing Otto" any longer.
2) TAHO is trying to confuse the readers by mixing the Constitutional Court with the Supreme Court. That the Supreme Court has given opinion is neither here nor there (and TAHO knows it), it's not them making the decision. That's up to the Constitutional Court and the fact that they asked for and received a separate, independent report on the matter is no minor point.
3) The "Nómada doesn't count because it's lefty" is a classic straw man tactic, even when the media has the original documents from source and is reporting, not trying to op-ed.
4) Edie Hofmeister is off the case.

                 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

From: Alexandra Barrows [mailto:ABarrows@tahoeresources.com] 
Sent: Tuesday, July 31, 2018 10:41 AM
To: Alexandra Barrows
Subject: Escobal Blog Post Clarification

Good morning, All. 

I understand Mr. Turner has blogged on us again (it’s been a while!), so I thought I’d provide a bit of clarification and context on his latest post in case you have any inbound calls this morning. As always, I’m also happy to jump on the phone.

1.      We do understand at least a portion of the Guatemalan University’s reports that were requested back in March by the Constitutional Court (CC) were leaked to Nomada, however haven't been formally notified by the CC regarding these studies nor provided with a copy
2.      For context, Nomada is more of an activist left-leaning online newspaper in Guatemala
3.      The Nomada article alleges that they are Xinka in the area around Escobal.  However, as you all know very well by now, in September 2017, the Supreme Court already declared that there were Xinkas in the surrounding areas and that an ILO 169 Consultation would need to take place, so this isn’t really new
4.      I’d like to remind you that as recently as February, Tahoe directly acknowledged the existence of Xinka in the communities surrounding the mine in addition to announcing our intention to develop a standalone indigenous people’s policy:http://www.tahoeresources.com/English/investors/news-releases/press-release-details/2018/TAHOE-TO-DEVELOP-COMPREHENSIVE-INDIGENOUS-PEOPLES-POLICY-IN-2018/default.aspx
5.      Finally, if the CC upholds with the Supreme Court, the consultation will need to take place as outlined in their ruling.  ILO 169 is a government-to-government consultation process that must be conducted by the Ministry of Energy and Mines (“MEM”). 


Please let me know if you have any other questions otherwise we’ll look forward to speaking with you all on our conference call Thursday morning 7am PT/10am ET.

Cheers,
Alex

7/30/18

Tahoe Resources (TAHO) (THO.to) and the indigenous population of San Rafael Las Flores, Guatemala

Here are an interesting couple of links, this one and then this one to two documents leaked to the press in Guatemala. They tell of how the Constitutional Court of the country asked two respected universities to investigate as to whether indigenous Xinca peoples (as well as other tribes and/or cultures) live in the zone around the Tahoe Resources (TAHO) (THO.to) Escobal mine, San Rafael Las Flores. The issue is an important one, because the case on whether TAHO needs to run a prior consultancy and get permission from locals to operate the mine largely rests on whether local inhabitants are indigenous (they claim they are, which means they must be consulted) or not (the company claims that they are not, which means they wouldn't need locals' permission). 

The two universities came to the same conclusion and reported as such to the Constitutional Court; Yes, Xinca indigenous peoples live in the zone. These reports were handed into the court in April, since then they were kept secret from one and all. However they were leaked last week and we on the outside have now found out what the court has known for nearly four months.

7/29/18

This blog will continue with a lower than normal frequency of posts for the next few days

For secret reasons.

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