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3/8/14

Christiane Amanpour interviews Nicolás Maduro

Amanpour does an OK job. She presses him on sensitive subjects (press freedom gets top billing, which is good) and lets the subject talk and give his views rather than making it a full-scale back-and-forth (also good journalism), but yes she could have been more critical and brought out more supplementary questions at certain points. Then again, you have to defer when you're speaking to a country President at some stages. 


In the end, we get the views of Maduro and his government on a lot of issues and can compare them against the reality of Venezuela and/or our own opinions. If only for that it's necessary viewing for anyone into the subject.

Argentina political figures are mapped and charted

For those of you really into their Argentina politics:

It comes from this sharp and insightful Spanish language article on the state of play in Argentina politics by Ernesto Calvo y Andrés Malamud, which also explains the methodology behind the chart creation (it's weird, but strangely it seems to work). If LatAm politics is your thing, it's well worth your time.

 Thanks due to @HealeyParera for pointing it out and to @colincdocherty for the continued debating.

The Economist, as usual idiots on Argentina

The Economist writes on Argentina, and piece this time starts, "IN JANUARY Argentina looked like it was in real trouble." It then goes on to explain that things really aren't that bad (though they do hold back some "Whooo!!! Ghosts!!! They'll come to bite you later!!! Whoooo!! moronity).

What its article this time really means is that The Economist thought Argentina was in trouble, rather than those of us who have an inkling about things like reality, with the precise phrase used by The Economist being "at breaking point" which was plain flat wrong However, back in January those that have even less clue about South America copied TE's line and created one helluva echo chamber.

Bottom line: Reality rears its meek head, Argentina isn't or wasn't ever "at breaking point", The Economist couldn't possibly say anything remotely honest, such as "we were wrong", oh no. We instead we get this next draft of stupidity, the "Well, it looked bad didn't it?" twattery. Too full of themselves to admit a mistake, oh yes.

So fuck off Economist. Zeroes.


3/7/14

Peru: A fight breaks out between cabinet ministers

Yesterday your humble scribe reported on how Peru's new Mining and Energy Minister announced that seismic exploration by oil and gas companies in the Amazon Basin would need no environmental impact study (EIA) or permit in the future.

Today we read that the Minister of the Environment is calling bullshit on his own ministerial colleague, via an official ministerial announcement. That's a Spanish link so go see if you enjoy the language, but the gist of it is that the  clear cut policy change as was made out is still under very much under discussion between related parties, and that it's up to Enviro to change the laws, not Energy&Mining. Which is polite diplo-speak for Enviro shouting "Get off my land!" to Energy&Mining.


The Friday OT: Chocquibtown; El Bombo

We like Chocquibtown.



Colombia's finest.

If you're wondering how Argentina's move into the space race is going...

...here's the country's "El Tronador II" rocket yesterday, just before its test launch:


And here it is afterwards:


Some fine tuning needed, methinks. Photos from here.

UPDATE: Reader R sends in a classic from Gary Larson's Far Side:

For which we thank reader R

Whatever makes you think there's a bad debt problem on the horizon in Peru, Otto?

Ooooh, just a  hunch:



Story (Sp) here

UPDATE: What, you think there may be a few more cards in circulation you say?
NB: Please note cut-down Y-axis

Whatever gave you the idea that banks were flooding people with instant credit and not explaining the consequences of debt to the general population?




Copper

Screw the BLS, this is the big metals story today:

Chart of the day is...

...the last few months of the gold/silver ratio:



For a while in Febraury silver improved in relation to gold and scraped back to under 60X, but it was a classic false dawn for those normal, well-adjusted people we know as love under the title 'silverbugs'. So silver's continuing to perform badly in comparison to gold, that's a fact and you'd need to be blind to deny it. The question is why. The answer is probably a combo of how it's really easy to mine an ounce of silver compared to an ounce of gold these days, plus how silver is a commodity that reacts to annual supply, while gold isn't and doesn't.

3/6/14

The last word on The Casey Cruise

You may already have heard that the Shylocks That Be in the juniorsphere are organizing a luxury cruise thingy. Well, even if you haven't it is necessary to go here and find out the real deal behind the bunfest. 

Peru to oil companies: No environmental impact studies needed for Amazon basin developments

According to Peru bizmedia Gestión today, the brand new Minister of Energy and Mining in Peru, Eleodoro Mayorga, plans to give oil companies a free pass on environmental impact studies for hydrocarbons projects in the Amazon Basin regions of the country. This move is to help accelerate investment in the O&G sector. He said (quote translated):
"Environmental Impact Studues will be eliminated for seismic activities. The industry has rules, has principles, has well-established practices and the idea is to move from permitting and bureaucracy to action."
What could possibly go wrong? After all, we know that when left unregulated, oil companies have a history of the highest possible standards of environmental responsibility and will always voluntarily set aside a large portion of their cash to keep things all neat and tidy in environmentally sensitive zones, don't we? Environmental watchdog groups won't have a problem with this new proposal, I'm quite sure. Expect warm greetings from local indigenous protection groups, too. 


Look on the bright side, Marin

You may have made yourself look like a complete twat and now need to desperately spin it all (you should seriously consider a third alert mailer, to clarify the second one*) but at least you don't look as stupid as John Mauldin, so it's all good. Well, it is until the moment Mauldin gets in touch with you from his Tuscany hideaway.


*Particular fondness for "...just relax. Don't worry about paper losses...". So cute.

PDAC attendance, 2014

In its presser yesterday, PDAC informed us that 25,122 people attended its big annual shindig in 2014, which compares to other years in the following way:


The rest you can work out for yourselves, no need for commentary here. But must say the above chart ties right in with Mickeyman's further observations (and his toe) from last night.

PS: For those who care enough, 2012 is still the record attendance number at 30,369.

Chart of the day is...

...the US Dollar index (USD):

In unrelated news, let me tell you about my favourite type of hatemailer. They're the ones who are so dumb they think that they're anonymous and untraceable on the internet (after all this NSA thing too) and leave a big fat trail of metadata when they mail in which lets you know where they work, what they do and even who they are. Over the last couple of years I've collected around a dozen of these bozos and another turned up last night from just outside Vancouver so thanks for that mail MV, you so rule and so does your boss.

For the rest of you, a timely reminder of that thing you've suspected for so long: hatemailers really are idiots.

3/5/14

Eric Coffin at PDAC

So much dross and waffle to wade through from these PDAC interviews and chat sections, but every so often there's a segment that's worth your time and here's one of them, Kitco's Cambone with Eric Coffin. A recommended six minutes that's way better than listening to all the numbskull CEOs spouting their collective books.


Parsing Brent Cook's new diplomacy

Gone are the days when Brent Cook would show up for his date at BNN's Market Call and say things like "Yeah well Rusoro's run by Russian mafia". Which is a pity of course, but as long as you can decipher the dude there's still plenty of OH MY GOD AVOID RUN AWAY RUN AWAY RUN AWAY!!" signals to get from him. As for yesterday's showing (video starts here, then runs through all segments), here's the big  little list of all-subtle-like diplomacy from his "Ugh! (thinks)...well, for me it might not be..." answers

  • Aurcana
  • Terraco
  • Allied Nevada (which was a particularly good chunk of diplomatic "run away!" without saying it out loud, I thought...pay special attention to this one)
  • Torex (and on this one I agreed with everything he said)
  • Guyana Goldfields
  • Sans Gold (sans teeth sans eyes sans everything)
  • Victoria Gold
  • Falco Pacific (no love for Thom Calandra's new pump vehicle)
And here is your gif:



Good news travels fast, bad news travels slowly

A very useful rule of thumb in the wild world of the TSXV. Today's example right here courtesy of PRD Energy (PRD.v) who offered up today the news that's been pending since January.. Though to be fair we need to point out to Marin Katusa's flock that his "great buying opportunity" mailer will be with them soon, so don't take any notice of reality.

Don't take any notice of this news about growing opposition to PRD's fracking plans in Germany, either. It's not real, only Marin's opinion is real.

UPDATE: It would seem Marin's "buying opp" mailer is already out there, as it's the only possible reason as to why PRD.v is still over a loonie.

Chart of the day is...

...the last five days of Silvercrest (SVL.to) (SVLC) compared to silver (SLV):



SVL has done a good job in tracking the metal closely these last few days. What it hasn't done is made a wholly necessary disclosure about the armed robbery at its mine last week. Inquiring minds, etc...

No Virginia, of course Venezuela is not Ukraine...

...because nobody there, not Nicolás Maduro, Henrique Capriles, Leopoldo López, God-Given Hair or any of their assorted cohorts or opposing lumpenmobs could ever get gold to do this, not even for a day:


And Putin can.

Mickeyman does the Barkerville (BGM.v) booth

Our host over at The World Complex toured PDAC today and gave us his reflections on the day, including this:
Over lunch I thought about what sorts of remedies there should be for disgruntled shareholders. It's unlikely they'd ever be allowed to physically injure anybody, but one idea that occurred to me was that for each board lot should entitle you to one sledge-hammer blow on the CEO's car. Now, it's true that after 50 or so such blows, the car would be a write-off, and the next 14,950 or so shareholder hammer-blows would technically be wasted, but may be cathartic. So that will be my next recommendation to the compliance officer at the OSC.

Which I liked. Go see all the post, which includes the interaction at the Barkerville Gold (BGM.v) booth that kicked it all into gear.

3/4/14

Who prefers using cash in Latin America

Colombia's banking people, Asobancaria, asked people around the some of the major economies of Latin America whether they preferred to use cash or other means (e.g. debit card, credit card, e-transfer, cheque etc) for transactions and here's what they came up with:


Bolivia loves using cash, Venezuela hates it (probably connected to the number of pieces of paper you have to carry around in your pocket in order to buy things) and a typical level in the region is 50/50. Though kindly note that Asobancaria asked whether cash was preferred, rather than used, because it stated that in Colombia for example, 90% of transactions happened using cash (mostly the small ones, of course).

By way of reference, Asobancaria also said that cash preference in the Eurozone was 17.7% and in the USA was 45.3% (that last one was surprisingly high for me, but wtfdik?). Finally, I'd just just like to add that Tango and Cash was the worst movie I ever saw when paying for a ticket in a cinema.

There's an App for everything these days

Via @Ricardo_blogger, IKN is proud to offer you this screenshot of daytime LatAm teevee (with necessary translation, of course):

Brent Cook's on BNN today

Check out all the details right here


(and fwiw Iwnattos (edit: plus PS Dave, Comet and Coasta) and your humble scribe have a good old chinwag about Brent Cook, Rick Rule and other related subjects on that link, too)

UPDATE: The BNN video is now available, it's a seven-parter with the first one here. Sit back, grab a coffee and enjoy. And, guess what stock got a Top Pick rating from The Legendary Cook at just before 2pm EST today?



Guessed yet?

Any minute now, Sulliden (SUE.to) will announce that financing package

Because on November 1st last year, company president Justin Reid told us it would all be sown up "very shortly" and the debt financing package for the Shahuindo gold project would be done, signed, sealed and delivered "in a couple of months".

As it's now over four months since those confident declarations, it seems only logical that the company has waited for a couple of extra weeks to make the big announcement at PDAC. So over to you Justin, because we at IKN are confident that you are not in fact full of shit and spouting any old crap that you cannot deliver.

Checking up on Canaccord's view of Belo Sun (BSX.to)

This time last year (well in Feb'13 to be exact), this humble corner of cyberspace pointed out that Stan "Altruistic" Bharti's Belo Sun (BSX.to) was having far more permitting and licencing problems than the company or its brokerage whore sponsors were making out. This elicited a sharp response from Nicolas CampbellSoup, analyst at the Can of Corn, which made it to this post and went this way:
Belo Sun Mining (BSX:TSX, SPEC BUY, Target: C$2.50): The incakola newsletter/blog issues a negative comment on Belo Sun's Volta Grande project stating that the Federal Public Ministry recommends the Para State Secretary of the Environment does not permit the Volta Grande project. We would note that permitting in Brazil is done on a state level not the federal level. Further, the link on the blog article actually recommended that the license be granted only after impact studies and consultations with indigenous peoples are done (and this is part of the normal permitting process). This newsletter has a track record of incorrectly representing facts in order to put a negative spin on mining stocks. In the past, the author has made similar attacks (but by mis-stating facts) on other stocks such as Argonaut Gold. The newsletter does have a bit of a following so this may cause some concerns but we would be buyers on weakness.

At the time BSX was trading at $1.40 or so. Today it's at 45c and yes indeed, it was and still is plagued by a whole bunch of permitting and community risk issues. So if you pass by the Canaccord stand at PDAC today, you may like to ask Nicolas CampbellSoup whether his view is now more aligned with that of IKN's. Or whether he took the opportunity to tell his Canaccord clients to "buy on weakness" at $1.20. And $1.00. And 80c. And 60c. And 50c. And 45c.

Oh wait...he doesn't work there anymore. Wonder why that might be?

Follow-up on Barisan Gold (BG.v)

Reader SF wites in with:

Good morn. I get your blog daily in my email and am a fan. 
But, your comments on Barisan Gold are incorrect and ignorant.

No they're not SF, and the only reason you think that is because you haven't worked out you're being ripped off yet. So you can stop being a fan now, because you won't be first first person put off from reading IKN by having a bit of truth rubbed into their greenhorn face.

Chart of the day is...

...Uranium Participation Corp (U.to), five year:



When U.to, normally a decent proxy to the metal due to its make-up, moves up by ~20% in a quarter when uranium spot prices refuse to move and stay around U$35/lb for the duration, it means Canada is making shit up. Japan's plans in March or not.

3/3/14

Daniel Ortega is alive and well and living in Managua

Turns out he was just restin' after all. Tonight (after 10 days of hiding and a storm of rumours about his death) President Daniel Ortega was filmed by Nica's Channel 15 TV at Managua airport welcoming back a couple of church dignitaries arriving from Rome.

So unless that's a pretty convincing 3D print full face mask, we're done for the day.

UPDATED: Is President Daniel Ortega dead, or just restin'?

All sorts of rumours flying around Central America about the conspicuous absence of Daniel Ortega, President of Nicaragua, these last few days, which are now at Schrödinger Cat level gossip. He was last seen in public 10 days ago, which may not be much for certain heads of State but that's a whole wowzer job lot for Danny especially as it involved cancelling two scheduled appearances, too.

That and the total radio silence from the govt of Nica in the face of the ever-louder rumours of his demise, that hasn't helped either

Anyway, good excuse to post this up:


UPDATE: This may turn out to be more than just idle gossip. Word is that Ortega suffered a double heart attack on Saturday morning and was rushed by plane to Cuba for treatment, but died while in transit. That's a lot of detail and it's in the face of a still hermetic silence from the government of Nicaragua. Another rumour flying is that they were going to announce his death on March 5th, but now that things are out of hand word will have to go out sooner, perhaps tonight. Anyway, it's still all rumours and hearsay to this point so let's see.

UPDATE 2: The rumours are stronger and stronger, including talk coming from unofficial sources in Nicaraguan foreign embassies that Ortega has in fact died of a heart attack in Cuba (or on the flight on the way to emergency treatment in Cuba). What's most noticeable about the talk is that it's all one-way traffic and there has been no attempt by officials to counter the rumours. They have a real air of truth about them now and we're now at the point where it'd be a surprise to find out it's all some sort of internet ruse. However, we need to underscore that there has been no official word either way, so it's plainly impossible to confirm his death as yet.

UPDATE 3: We're now just waiting for official confirmation that he's dead. Not much left to say until that happens.

UPDATE 4: Turns out he was just restin' after all. Or see the IKN update post "Daniel Ortega is alive and well and living in Managua" right here, as the dude did some live TV tonight and nipped the whole story in the bud. Must say it was fun while it lasted and I don't mind admitting they had me on the believing side for a while as well. Lessons, lessons...

More on Selwyn Resources (SWN.v)

Further to the post below, the following mail is received from A. Reader and is an object lesson in how scumbag juniors feed off the back pockets of the unsuspecting speculator.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
I nominate Selwyn for the Academy Award as The Most Egregiously Self-serving 'Screw the Shareholders' Approach. 
Last year they sold their Yukon properties (for a song, but that's another story) and then announced they were going to 'return the capital to shareholders' via a dividend. As someone who is unfortunate enough to hold some shares bought at much higher prices years ago when I was still learning this game, I made repeated attempts to contact them to get an explanation as to why they would so something so stupid when: 
1) the funding environment is so poor for junior miners
2) the zinc market is preparing for shortages within the next few years
3) the company has zinc properties in Nova Scotia that will need money to be brought into production to take advantage of that shortage. 
I made repeated attempts to contact the company to get an explanation but all were ignored, presumably because I stated my intentions in the e-mails I sent and phone messages I left.
And you guessed it, today they announced that they need to raise money to get the Nova Scotia mine into production. 
Oh, and new management came in just before this happened, and they just consolidated the shared 100:1. 
So the new managements distributes lots of cash they knew they would need to insiders via the dividend, consolidates the shares, and then announces they will need to raise the money they just distributed. It will be very interesting to see if this is done via PPs to those same insiders.


And later it'll be "B-b-b-but nobody told us!"

A chart:

The liars, wimps and pussies of PDAC

With few exceptions, the tone at PDAC so far this year is one of caution, and the self-styled industry moguls, heads-what-talk and experts are going around saying "...yeah well, a little better but we're not out the woods..." or "...long way to go yet, don't get too excited..." or "...no real money entering the sector yet, so cool your jets and..." and variations thereof. These people are either 1) buying without telling you and lying to your face so that they get the cheap prices for themselves 2) complete wimps or 3) have no fucking idea what they're talking about. If your chosen analyst, broker or fund manager can't recognize the start of a bull market when it's placed right before their very eyes, underlined, highlighted and lit up in bright neon letters (or simply refuses to tell you because you're an unimportant retailer and they need to place the big money first) then you need to stop listening to the dumbass and find somebody who'll make you money. The time for caution has passed.

Those wonderful PDAC Monday junior NRs

The junior mining BS brigade hits top gear at around 7:30am EST on PDAC Monday morning, with all sorts of news release silliness for your general amusement. Here are a few so far:

Petaquilla Minerals (PTQ.to): "We were full of shit about February, but don't worry 'bout it, you can trust us".

Gold Standard Ventures (GSV.v) is forced into a BCSC retration NR this morning. Nice timing guys, enjoy all those people walking past your booth and chuckling to themselves now, wontcha?

Duluth Minerals (DM.to) took a really long, hard stare at its maps and suddenly noticed that there was a corner of one of them that they hadn't drilled which looks really prospective for PGMs and they just happened to notice it a couple of days before PDAC, too. And you thought Brent Cook was full of shit when he reco'd this one? Oh ye of little faith!

We'll be adding to this post I'd expect, so come on back later and don't be shy now.

UPDATE: More, by poplier demand:

Osisko's (OSK.to) Victor Bradley and Goldcorps' (GG) Chuck Jeannes got pissed together last night, it all ended up "YER MI BEST FOOKIN PAL!" "YOU ARE TOO...YER MI BEST FOOKIN PAL" and now OSK has dropped its dumbass litigation on GG.

Brent Cook kindly writes in to kindly inform that he called sell on Duluth back ni April 2013 after some drill program didn't work out. No word on whether he sold at a profit or a loss however, but we're sure he'll kindly make that one clear when he turns up on BNN's Market Call later this week.

Barisan (BG.v):, the same assholes you ripped off the world via East Asia Minerals a couple of years back, have started drilling their latest scam. Perfect fodder for PDAC mouthbreathers, so you can bet dollaz to donutz they'll have a couple of hot boothbabes to steer the CADPAT* brigade further into their web.

Duran Ventures (DRV.v) is halted "pending news"!! Ah, wonderful.

I've been asked to highlight an archetype PDAC junior bullshit NR, so the choice is now made and Selwyn Resources (SWN.v) is the lucky winner. Here's the link, here's the contents:
TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Mar 3, 2014) - Selwyn Resources Ltd. (TSX VENTURE:SWN) ("Selwyn" or the "Company") is pleased to provide a brief update on the Company's strategic intentions for 2014.
ScoZinc Project Update
In light of the recently improved fundamentals in the zinc-lead market, a more positive outlook for base metals generally, together with the benefit of a depreciating Canadian dollar, the Company is currently exploring options for financing the Company, with a view to restarting the ScoZinc operation in Nova Scotia, Canada.
The ScoZinc operation has all necessary environmental and industrial approvals and can be placed back into production in less than a year. A skilled workforce is available locally and Selwyn retains local and regional assets capable of extending the mine life.
Other Strategic Initiatives
In addition to actively considering options to refinance Selwyn, the Company continues to pursue other avenues to maximize the value of the ScoZinc Project, including, but not limited to, possible sale, joint venture or other transactions with third parties. Except as required by law, the Company does not intend to disclose developments with respect to the consideration of strategic alternatives until warranted. The Company cautions that there are no assurances that any strategic alternative will be undertaken or pursued.
Amazing how many words a company can use to say precisely and exactly fuck all, is it not?

Granite Creek (GCX.v) announces a 5m unit non-brokered private placement priced at 5c, which should be just about enough to cover the booth costs plus the hotel, bar bill and transport to/from Toronto. Or in company-speak, "operations and general working capital purposes".

UPDATE 2 post-close: Well blow me down, real news from Duran Ventures (DRV.v) after all. They're selling Aguila and a few other things for $7m cash to Mexico's Peñoles (via its Peru subsidiary). At 234.3m shares out as at the last set of financials that's 3c a share at face value, which is a theoretical win for anyone who bought last week but not much use for anyone else.



*just learned that one.




3/2/14

The IKN Weekly, out now




IKN251 has just been sent to subscribers who are currently eating guacamole and laughing at gifs of Jennifer Lawrence.

PDAC and crowdfunding

From here:

But the regulated space is “where the real money is,” said Oscar Jofre, chief technology officer at Klondike Strike. Along with founder Jason Futko, he is launching a mining-­specific equity crowdfunding portal during this year’s PDAC convention in Toronto. “What you are going to see is a lot of vertical-based equity portals like mining, oil and gas, real estate and solar energy,” he said. “It is very exciting and a major transformation of capital because the average person will be able to invest without anyone in the middle to tell you what is or isn’t a good deal.” 

WHAT

COULD

POSSIBLY

GO

WRONG?

And oh, is that the name Damien Reynolds I see mentioned in the brand new shiny no-fail possible world of junior mining crowdfunding? Well, now, there's a shocker...