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5/31/14

Excellent news for gold: The Kitco monkeys with dartboards think it's going down next week

The Kitco gold survey got replies from 27 of the monkeys with dartboards yesterday and the good news is that 2/3rds of them think gold is going to drop next week.

That's good news for longs, because aside the fact they have a bad overall record in a normal week (e.g. let's take last week, where 40.9% called gold higher, 31.8% and 27.8% called gold as tracking sideways,  with the result a -3.28% drop for our benchmark GLD) , the contrarian aspect to their stupidities cranks into overdrive when they give out a strong signal (i.e. 50% or more of them choose either up, down or sideways). When it's a strong signal, their record is just 9 weeks correct from the last 25. Yes, that says nine out of 25. Self-appointed, self-qualified, self-named experts  have a  36% score rate when adamant about their call about the single thing they base their professional life around.

Monkeys. With. Dartboards.

So, bottom line is that things look better for the gold price next week.

5/30/14

The Friday OT: Florence and the Machine; Leave my body

This is a really good song



Favela Tours: The only review you'll ever need

Dear Reader,

  • Are you going to the World Cup in Brazil this year?
  • Have you spent a lot of money on tickets recently (air, stadium etc)?
  • Do you have the urge to check out How. The. Poor. People Live. in the country you're about to visit, perhaps due to a slight existentialist nagging about wealth distribution*? 
  • Do you think the way to solve the issue in one neat package would be one of them there 'Favela Tours'?

If so, stop, go here and read On Favela Tours (or, “I went so you don’t have to”) by @ColinMSnider and then make a better, smarter, more informed decision. That's because Snider has written as close to the definitive critique of this nefarious tour mini-industry as you can imagine. Top read for a Friday.




*oh that Piketty, ain't he just the thing right now?

Simplifying your DD, Copper North (COL.v) edition

One benefit from this shitty market is that DD is getting easier. Take for example the NR out of Copper North (COL.v) and its Carmacks project up North.


You close the NR and move on. No need to check out the 43-101 filing, no need to open up Excel, no need to complicate your life with yet another mine project that's not going anywhere. Next, please.

What, you think this is hard on the hard-working and dedicated members of the COL.v  management team? Well ain't that there capitalism a piece of shit... 





Minera IRL (IRL.to) (MIRL.l) in America Economia

The Chilean based America Economia is arguably the region's premier business publication and this week it's running a headline piece on Minera IRL (IRL.to) (MIRL.L) and its developments in Peru and Argentina, mainly via a Q&A with company president Diego Benavides. Here's the link and perhaps the most interesting bit is where he says that the company is about to close a $120m financing package with Macquarie. That's shut a lot of people up who don't have a clue about this company (but they're guaranteed not to eat their humble pie in public).

5/29/14

From Chile, hands down the best World Cup commercial

This is awesome. Awesome.



Even if you don't understand Spanish you'll get the emotion. If you do know the language, be prepared to be blown away. Chile's "The 33", the famous miners trapped underground and then rescued, lend their support to the Chilean national football team.

Peru: The government's illegal mining crackdown in Madre de Dios is starting to work (plus kudos to AP)

And that's a very good thing. Here's AP on the creation of ghost town in the jungle, here's how the report starts.
HUEPETUHE, Peru (AP) - This nearly half-century-old Amazon boomtown has gone bust with the government's recent crackdown on illegal gold mining.
Mayor Marco Ortega estimates more than 22,000 people have left Huepetuhe since the government halted gasoline shipments in April and sent troops to destroy heavy machinery used in mining that it deemed illegal.
He says only about 3,000 people remain.
"The economy has collapsed," says Ortega. "The gold buyers, the hardware stores, hostels and all kinds of businesses have shut down. We are
continues here
While we're at it, kudos due to AP for the way they've led the coverage of this story. They were on the ground in MDD before anyone else and put the whole subject in front of the local politicians, who didn't know or didn't care about the depravation that was happening. It's not over yet of course, the illegal and highly polluting mining is still going on. But things are starting to get a little better there.

Updating the Mexico pedophile priest story

There's been a development on the story we featured yesterday on Eduardo Córdova, the Mexican Catholic priest who was featured on a "were you sexually abused by this man?" billboard, then subject to over a hundred people coming forward to file official charges. According to this follow-up in The Mex Files today, he's disappeared into thin air.

Probably just a coincidence.

5/28/14

Agnico Eagle (AEM) sells its shares of Sulliden (SUE.to) to Rio Alto (RIO.to) (RIOM)

Here is your NR.


Interesting that AEM would sell its block to the SUE.to friendly buyer when there were a whole bunch of instos snapping after this big block.

And here's the RIO.to version of the news with the suitable "Becasue AEM loves us we don't have to print paper for 8.6% of the company we're buying". Just bangs treasury down to $10m.


The Colombia government / FARC peace talks: A timely and sobering article

With a h/t to @mikelasusa your humble scribe would like to draw your attention to an article from Insight Crime, entitled "The Reality of the FARC Peace Talks in Havana". With the Colombia round one election just gone and round two run-off certain to have the FARC/Government peace talks as the central battle point, it's a necessary and clear-eyed view of what's been achieved so far by the Santos-sponsored negotiations and what's likely from talks to come (if anything, because if Zuluaga wins on June 15th kiss the whole thing goodbye). Here's the wrap-up to the note and if you follow this important regional story but don't feel the need to click through after reading this...
The conditions for a real peace agreement are in place. The environment is perhaps more propitious for a deal than ever before in the last 50 years. Yet it is clear that the talks in Havana are not what the government has been selling, and that peace is not around the corner.
...there's something wrong somewhere. Whole piece here, today's LatAm must-read.




The Kitco pumphouse (from IKN263)

Here below is how this week's edition of The IKN Weekly, IKN263, kicked off. It's getting an airing here because judgin by the mailbox reaction it's struck a chord with several people. One of them suggested sticking it on the blog too, so here you go.

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The Kitco pumphouse
Things have gone downhill at Kitco. Gone are the days when John Nadler would be the head op-ed writer at Kitco and add a measure of level-headed commentary to the usual assortment of rah-rah-gold-to-infinity articles jammed packed with stupidities. Nadler, always the cautious opinion and often an outright bear, would leaven the goldbug perma-pump articles and bring a little sanity but it now seems that Kitco’s a little more desperate for business than before and keener than ever to move merchandise. It tends to be around moments of market pressure when op-ed objectivity is viewed as a luxury to be discarded by financial houses, which is why a red flag is being raised high today.

Thursday’s lead opinion piece (1) on Kitco where the man who took over from Nadler, one Jim Wyckoff, touched on the Ukraine elections, then mentioned the U.S long weekend and market pause and came to the conclusion that going into this weekend “...I sure would not want to be short gold”. What the hell is that? It’s certainly not anything that could pass as responsible or level headed from one of the larger purveyors of gold to the retail community.

Aside the fact that geopolitical events have long been shown to make mere temporary dents in asset class prices (ask Gary Biiwii how long gold can be moved by a single country’s problems, he’ll tell you either short or not at all and then show you a bunch of charts to prove it) it just so happens that the weekend’s raft of elections have gone off in a reasonably orderly fashion, with Ukraine getting its “Chocolate President” who was received in reasonable tones by Russia’s Putin (who’s the hand on the gas pipe faucet), while the feared far-right overthrow there has fizzled to the point that no extreme candidate got more than 1% of the vote. Yes it’s still dicey in Eastern Ukraine  but no more so than a week ago. Meanwhile the hard right and far right (they prefer to call themselves Nationalists or Euroskeptics) made gains in the European elections, which makes for some juicy headlines but has large elements of mid-term protest voting hidden beneath the eyecatching headlines (they have to get your attention, after all). Come a National Presidential or General election and one of these hardline groups gains real national power in any of the big player countries (which like it or not means France, Germany or The UK), then we  can talk about a serious threat to the thing that matters for the rest of the world, The Euro currency. Until then, the threat is latent at very best, minor in reality.

I digress. The point here isn’t that the swathe of politics this weekend went off the way it did, the point is that Kitco looking really this keen to shift merchandise and to that end is playing on the nerves of people that don’t know better and trying to drum up emotion-trade. I don’t have any problem about them taking a bullish stance towards the market in general (after all, I’m the one aiming for U$1,400/oz by the end of this year, which is more than bullish enough at this point) but resorting to cheap tricks and op-eds? Sorry, I expect better from apparent market leaders. Much better.




The Clive strikes again? B2Gold (BTG) (BTO.to) linked to Papillon

So says The Australian, right here. It's "rising speculation", they say.

Personally I thought i'd be Anglo. Hey ho.

Lumina Q&A

After yesterday's Ottotrans™ edition, your humble scribe is asked via mail:

Doesn't Lumina already belong to the Chinese?
Which is a fair question (especially as the person who wrote the mail lives in Peru and follows Cajamarca things more closely than stocks and shares). Here's the answer.

There's Lumina and there's Lumina and there's Lumina. This particular project in Argentina (Taca Taca) is still an indy-owned junior exploreco that trades under the ticker LCC.v. What Lumina (as a group, roughly speaking) has done over the last decade or so is first gather together a whole bunch of deposits and sell them off one-by-one to the big boys. They picked up very prospective concessions when things were cheap and copper was out of fashion, then advanced them. When copper became fashionable again, they cashed in (another example is their sale of the Relincho property in Chile to Teck, there are others besides, full list available on request). In a nutshell, Lumina had the vision when others didn't and as a result has made a veritable shitload of money... and good for them too, winners who won. There are others involved but the brain at the bottom of the enterprise is Ross Beaty, who also founded Pan American Silver.  

So to answer your question, what happens is that when the deposits are sold to whoever, the local wholly owned subsidiary is spun out and then the name is often kept. Therefore for example, the Chinese-owned Galena in Cajamarca still goes under the name "Lumina Copper SAC".

For the rest of us, it's worth remembering just how insular the junior exploreco world is. For example, what may be obvious about the words 'Lumina Copper' to us is a whole entangled story to the vast majority, including people who follow the metals industries from different angles. Thus ends today's food for thought, metalhead.

Mexico news: A billboard calls out a pedophile priest, hilarity ensues



The Mex Files has the story on Catholic priest Eduardo Córdova, the face you see in that billboard above. By way of the quickest explanation, the street billboard is asking people to come forward and file charges against Córdova if they've been victims of sexual abuse by him. 

But the quick story does no justice to this, it's not a small story and its repercussions could be large, wide and deep. Go read the whole thing at the always excellent Mexfiles.

5/27/14

Mining PRs and the Ottotrans™, Part 84


We thank Lumina Copper (LCC.v) and its NR today for the opportunity to air the latest in our occasional series that tries to untangle the semantic mess found in junior mining news releases.

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - May 27, 2014) - Lumina Copper Corp. (TSX VENTURE:LCC) (the "Company" or "Lumina") announced today, in response to trading activity that may stem from market rumours, that its strategic review process that was announced on June 15, 2012 remains ongoing. As part of that process, the Company has examined a number of alternatives including, but not limited to, joint ventures, strategic partnerships, mergers, acquisitions, and the sale of the Company or other corporate transactions to enhance shareholder value.
From time to time, this strategic process leads to third parties conducting due diligence on Lumina and Lumina entering into discussions with third parties regarding strategic alternatives. There can be no assurance that any such current discussions will ultimately lead to a transaction. As a general policy, Lumina does not publicly comment on strategic discussions unless and until its board of directors has approved a specific transaction or such disclosure is otherwise appropriate. The Company intends to make no further comment or release regarding current market rumours unless and until such comment is warranted.
LUMINA COPPER CORP.

And this is what it means:
A couple of guys with binoculars at the Lindero property saw a bunch of Chinese getting out of a 4X4 over the other side of the valley at Taca Taca. They made a phone call to Cal Everett and before you can say Vancouver Yeehaw, our market cap shoots up $100m. So can you please stop fucking around with our share price, people?

For Cuba: Yoani Sanchez interviews Joe Biden

We hear that Yoani Sanchez's website 14 y Medio is being blocked internally in Cuba, which means islanders can't read the interview it has today with Joe Biden.

I'm no fan of Sanchez's but I'm less of a fan of media restrictions. So here's the paste-out. If and when Cuba unblocks the site I'll respect copyright and delete this post.

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"Podemos actuar de forma creativa respecto a Cuba"
Entrevista con el vicepresidente de Estados Unidos, Joe Biden
YOANI SÁNCHEZ, Washington | Mayo 27, 2014
El debate sobre sobre las relaciones entre Cuba y Estados Unidos está al rojo vivo a raíz de la publicación de una carta firmada por 40 personalidades de EE.UU. pidiéndole al presidente Barak Obama flexibilización hacia la Isla. La propuesta ha desatado las pasiones y las especulaciones, alimentadas también por la inminente llegada a La Habana de representantes de la Cámara de Comercio de EE.UU.
 
La sociedad cubana, sin embargo, parece mantenerse al margen de los titulares, los artículos encendidos y las réplicas -o apoyos- a la llamada “carta de los 40” que ya circulan por las redes y los correos electrónicos. Con el pensamiento puesto en esa población desinformada y sumida en sus grandes problemas cotidianos, realicé esta entrevista al vicepresidente de Estados Unidos, Joe Biden, que me recibió en Washington pocas semanas antes de la salida de 14ymedio.
Pregunta. El Gobierno cubano ha aprobado recientemente una nueva ley de inversión extranjera directa que se ha encontrado tanto con críticas como con un cierto nivel de expectativa. ¿Impulsará esta ley algún cambio en la política de EE. UU. respecto a Cuba, específicamente en lo que se refiere a la capacidad de los ciudadanos estadounidenses de invertir en la Isla?
Respuesta. La política de EE. UU. respecto a Cuba se guía por el compromiso de apoyar el deseo del pueblo cubano de determinar libremente su propio futuro, impulsar los intereses estadounidenses y promover los valores universales.
Desde que el presidente [Barack] Obama asumió el cargo, hemos demostrado que estamos dispuestos a promover cambios pragmáticos en nuestras políticas sobre Cuba en función de nuestros intereses y de los del pueblo cubano. Nuestras políticas de viajes, remesas y contactos personales están reduciendo la brecha entre las familias cubanas divididas y están promoviendo el flujo libre de la información y la asistencia humanitaria para el pueblo cubano. Estas medidas ayudan a poner los recursos en manos del pueblo cubano y ayudan a fomentar, en palabras del Presidente, "espacios de libertad" en Cuba.
Tomamos nota de los cambios del Gobierno cubano en sus leyes de inversión, y esperamos que estos esfuerzos para atraer la inversión extranjera a Cuba estén acompañados por una ampliación de los derechos y libertades del pueblo cubano para que pueda desarrollar todo su potencial.
"Seguiremos buscando formas prácticas para apoyar una mayor conectividad en Cuba"
P. Aunque los cubanos son capaces de eludir la censura y los altos precios de conexión a Internet, todavía no tienen acceso a una serie de servicios y sitios web debido a la actual ley de EE. UU. Esto incluye el acceso a las tiendas en línea para aplicaciones Android o iOS, así como servicios de Google seleccionados. ¿Existe alguna posibilidad de disminuir estas restricciones en un futuro cercano?
R. Seguiremos buscando formas prácticas para apoyar una mayor conectividad y para ayudar a eliminar los obstáculos que se interponen en el camino de la comunicación abierta y la libertad de expresión. En 2010, Estados Unidos suavizó las restricciones y permitió un mayor acceso en Cuba a los servicios gratuitos que ayudan a conectarse a través de Internet, como mensajería instantánea, chat y correo electrónico. Antes, en 2009, cambiamos nuestras políticas para que los ciudadanos de Estados Unidos pudieran donar teléfonos celulares y otros aparatos electrónicos a la gente de Cuba. También animamos a las compañías estadounidenses a ofrecer servicios de comunicación de fibra óptica y por satélite en Cuba, al igual que comenzamos las conversaciones con el gobierno cubano para establecer el servicio de correo postal directo entre Estados Unidos y Cuba. Deseamos que los ciudadanos cubanos puedan comunicarse más fácilmente entre ellos y con el mundo exterior.
P. En 2009, en una entrevista con el Presidente Obama, le pregunté sobre una posible invasión estadounidense de Cuba. Su respuesta fue un "no" categórico. Sin embargo, los dirigentes cubanos no paran de hablar de un plan inminente de EE. UU. para derrocar al Gobierno de La Habana. Más allá de la posición oficial de EE.UU.,me gustaría oír una respuesta simple para dársela a mi hijo. ¿Qué le digo cuando me pregunta? ¿Deberíamos estar preocupados?
R. Le puedo dar la más simple de las respuestas, y la respuesta es no. Tal como dijo el Presidente Obama.
Apoyamos la evolución de una Cuba próspera, segura y democrática y continuaremos apoyando a los cubanos valientes que tratan de ejercer sus libertades. Nuestra posición es firme: solo los cubanos pueden o deben determinar el futuro de Cuba. Estas acusaciones son una reliquia de un pasado lejano. Están siendo utilizadas para infundir miedo en los corazones de los cubanos decentes para desviar su atención de los problemas más cerca de casa. El pueblo cubano merece más honestidad de su Gobierno.
"Promover un cambio para que los cubanos puedan disfrutar de una vida normal"
P. Durante los últimos meses, su Gobierno ha utilizado en varias ocasiones el término "creativo" para calificar el rumbo de la política de EE.UU. respecto a Cuba. Me intriga esta palabra: ¿podría ser más explícito?
R. El Presidente Obama ha señalado que él no había nacido todavía cuando Estados Unidos decretó un embargo comercial contra Cuba. Nuestro objetivo es promover un cambio positivo en la Isla para que los cubanos puedan disfrutar de una vida normal y productiva en su propio país, tener la libertad de expresar sus puntos de vista y beneficiarse de un sistema político inclusivo y democrático. Hemos visto un movimiento positivo en algunas áreas, tales como el aumento de la capacidad de los cubanos para viajar al extranjero, pero seguimos profundamente preocupados por la detención continuada y el maltrato a los cubanos por ejercer libertades que están protegidas en otras partes del continente americano.
La pregunta es cómo podemos actuar de forma creativa para fomentar tendencias positivas y demostrar nuestro apoyo al pueblo cubano sin dejar de presionar para que mejoren las condiciones de los derechos humanos. Nuestra opinión es que las medidas del Presidente para facilitar los viajes familiares, los contactos personales, las comunicaciones, las remesas y las donaciones humanitarias han tenido un efecto positivo y han contribuido al bienestar de los cubanos. Del mismo modo, nuestro trabajo con el Gobierno cubano sobre asuntos de interés mutuo ha beneficiado a los ciudadanos de ambos países. Establecimos estos cambios de política sin dejar de defender nuestros valores y de fomentar las reformas democráticas en Cuba.
Por último, quiero enfatizar que la detención de Alan Gross en Cuba es un obstáculo importante para mejorar las relaciones entre Estados Unidos y Cuba. Podemos ser tan creativos como queramos con nuestra política, pero el caso de Alan sigue en el primer lugar de la lista de los asuntos por resolver. Él debe ser puesto en libertad por razones humanitarias.

A Flash update...

...has been sent to subscribers, Tuesday morning pre-open. More news and views.

The IKN Weekly, out now



IKN 263 has just been sent to subscribers.

Hoopy, man.


5/26/14

(now concentrate on this): Britain asks Cuba to support the England football team in the Brazil World Cup because "we're really not that good"

Via Stephen @wicary comes this gem.

The British Ambassador to Cuba has sent this open letter to the people of Cuba asking them to get behind the England team. The whole letter is must-read material but here are a few snippets of joy from the thing:
"Out of regional solidarity, many Cubans will probably think of cheering for one of the Latin American teams – perhaps Brazil or Argentina ... [b]ut the only team it really makes sense for Cubans to support is England. Here's why." 
"...the British introduced football to Cuba."
"...football was invented in England. At least that’s what we English like to think."
"...like Cuba today the England team is racially diverse with an emphasis on youth."
"...England really needs all the help we can get...we’re really not that good.
I wonder what Miami will make of this entente cordiale? Go read the whole thing here (Spanish version available via that link, too)

Money talks bullshit walks, Euro Elections edition

Yes the chattering class is chattering about the sharp move to the right (or advent of 21st century fascism if you want to play the rhetoric game) in Europe, and academic circles are having a field day about

what
it
all
means

but over in the real world...


...the people who move the money around know how important a mid-term election protest vote that puts a bunch of idiots into a non-important parliament really is. 

5/25/14

Technical analysis on gold

GM Jenkins made me laugh today with this eruption of purple prose. Here's an excerpt, do make sure you click through and read it all:
Brigade Commander Sprott surveys the landscape from a high (very high) emplacement. The attrition has become evident. Long specs lie motionless by the thousands, their grotesque twisted corpses sprawled out in blood-soaked grass, riddled with shrapnel, gashed in scores, bored with bullet holes. They had been frightened out of their position by repeated raids at fifteen minute intervals carried out with the clock-like precision for which the Cartel was known. The sweet spoils of victory were not theirs to share. Sprott murmured between his teeth to Private Embry, whose eye had fixed upon a fallen man of broad muscled back, his white well-fed body made marble statue by Death.

UPDATED: Initial results from the Colombia Presidential election: A big day for Zuluaga

It's not all over, but with just under 90% of the very accurate fast-vote count now in we can make some very solid calls. Here's a screenshot from CM& that helps the eyes:


The main news is that Oscar Zuluaga, the opposition candidate backed by ex-President Alvaro Uribe, has polled highest in round one.

Second place comes current President Juan Manuel Santos. He looks like finishing around 3 1/2% to 4% behind Zuluaga.

These two will go to the round two run-off scheduled for June 15th, the vote that will decide who becomes the next President of Colombia.

The number of abstentions in this election is very high, as only around 40% of potential voters turned out and of those, around 6% of people who cast a vote decided to vote for nobody (the so-called "vote in white").

As for forecasts for round two, most polls now indicate Oscar Zuluaga is now favourite to beat Santos. That's an impressive result for the right-wing candidate and speaks volumes for the backing given to him by ex-President Alvaro Uribe, as Zuluaga has had to ride out a pretty serious scandal this week. If he can come through what he's been through and still top the polls, it's eye-raising to say the least.

UPDATE: Now with 97.71% of the fast votes counted it's Zuluaga with 29.23% and Santos with 25.58%. Voter turnout is going to just scrap over 40%, i.e. very low (e.g. in the last Presidentials in 2010, turnout was 49%)

It would seem that Santos's best chance in the second round is to get more people out and voting. That may happen, because in the last few days it was clear to just about everyone that OZ and JMS would make it to the run-off, which may have caused a measure of voter apathy. Still, Zuluaga must still be counted as fave from here.


Polling is now closed in Colombia

As of six minutes ago, the polling centres all over Colombia were officially clsoed and the couting now begins in an important election for the whole LatAm region, never mind just Colombia. 

There is good news to report already, though. Election authorities are calling this vote as the most peaceful in recent memory, with no terrorist attacks or attempts to forcibly close to close forcibly* voting stations in any part of the country. As for first results, the normally highly accurate fast-count should be available and announced by 9pm EDT, less than four hours from this post publication.


*oops splittin' mi infins, naughty. TY setty