Thursday, April 30, 2009

Announcing the new site subscription service: The IKN Weekly

Ladies and Gentlemen, presenting......


The time has come to roll out the new site service, "The IKN Weekly", a subscription newsletter principally aimed at investors in the mining sector. The main objective of The IKN Weekly is simplicity itself: Empower investors with knowledge and views that give them a significant investment advantage. Or put simply: Make you money.

The content
To that end the following subjects will be covered:

  • Fundamental analysis of mining stocks. The weekly will include at least two NOBS reports per month (perhaps more), a format that has proved very popular with site regulars. These reports are likely to cover mostly junior miners but may include other regions than LatAm or different industrial sectors if good opportunity arises. The NOBS reports will likely aim at highlighting buying opportunities, but may also cover updates or even hold/sell calls if a company catches my eye. The reports will also eventually cover the 'Stocks to Follow' portfolio.
  • Stocks to follow. I plan on developing a short list (likely not more than ten stocks at any given moment) of companies that I believe will offer strong profit-making opportunities. Once again, Latin American exposed stocks will be favoured but other regions will not be excluded for simple geographical reasons. The performance will be tracked using a model portfolio. Additionally, as 'selling well' is equally as important as a successful buy call, the IKN Weekly will not hesitate in giving 'take profit' or 'stop loss' signals. Regular readers of the blog will know how I normally call my trades on site and the principle will be the same.
  • Regional Politics, but not any old gossip. Regional political or economic developments that offer the investor a potentially profitable knowledge advantage are the matters that will interest us in The IKN Weekly. What Hugo said to Evo about Barack will not interest us. The type of political development in Ecuador that allowed this blog to call Dynasty ( a buy just days before the beginning of its 300% upmove in December will most definitely interest The IKN Weekly.
  • Market Watching, providing impressions, thoughts, opinions on whatever happens in the sector during the week and how you as an investor might benefit going forward. This would really be a catch-all category covering many aspects of the junior mining investment world, but a topical example would be as in yesterday morning's blog content mentioning International Royalty Corp. ( (ROY). I wrote that would be a good way to play the positive news from Barrick about Pascua Lama. It subsequently rose 13% from C$2.63 to C$2.97, with the final push made when published its news release promoting the Pascua Lama link late Thursday.

The Service
The IKN Weekly will start this Sunday, May 3rd 2009 (so you have just three days to get on board if you want the first copy) and will be published and sent every weekend. Subscribers will also benefit from a flash alert service that will offer a headsup to any breaking news that your author believes offers an immediate investment advantage. It is impossible to say how many flash alerts will go out, but perhaps one or two per week is a possible.

The Price
As for the price, subscription to The IKN Weekly, including:
  • Fundamental analysis via NOBS reports
  • Our Stocks to Follow list, with regular commentary and analysis on the companies included
  • Regional Politics and the issues that normally only make the English language media once the advantage has disappeared
  • Market Watching, with tips, opinion, trends and nuggets that offer insight and advantage.
  • Flash Alerts, as if it can't wait until Sunday you'll hear about it in good time.

...... is U$25 per month, payable by PayPal. By way of making it easy, the button on right hand side of the page is pre-set for a U$25 monthly recurring subscription. Please note that you can cancel your subscription at any time, with no quibbles or comebacks and my personal word of honour. I plan to offer a quality service for the money but unsubscription will always be an easy to achieve option, guaranteed.

By way of special offer, an annual subscription of U$250 is also available for those of you confident about the service offered and looking to save two month's worth of fees. To get the discounted annual cost, use second button marked "yearly discounted subscription" also over on the right of the screen.

The Conclusion
So here the pitch for the new service ends. I hope you come aboard and subscribe to The IKN Weekly. If you have any questions, queries or comments about the new subscription service I'd be more than happy to hear from you via mail, no matter if you eventually sign up or not. My mail is.....

otto.rock1 (AT)

......exchanging the (AT) for the @ symbol. Thank you for your attention and I hope to see you on the mailing list soon.

July: There's now a free sample copy available for your viewing pleasure. The link to get a free copy of IKN7 is right here.

UPDATE August: I get a lot of testimonials from subscribers that say nice things but I don't tend to publish them. However I did post one today because it allows you to track back and ask the person in question directly if you wish, so take a look here.

So what was that about Irish Mercenary Michael Dwyer being unarmed again?

So, Michael Dwyer was some poor innocent unarmed traveller doing a bit o' dis and a bit o' dat?

Want to continue with your BS denial, Ireland?

Was "hard", now dead.

This below is a photo of the montage put on by Bolivian police today, including weapons and 58 photos of the mercenary terrorist cell that was plotting to kill Evo Morales and other political heads as well as destabilizing the sovereign state and forcing a breakaway of Santa Cruz from the rest of the country.

Also today, one of the men arrested earlier this week admitted having sold leader Eduardo Rosza Flores (ERF) a gun for U$1,000. He also said that ERF was plotting to kill the Prefects (i.e. governors) of Santa Cruz and Beni because they had been ineffective in the struggle for a separate state of Santa Cruz

Finally, here are close-up shots of the photo montage. Click on them to make them big, because they get very big and you an see all the details of Dwyer, Flores, the others and their guns....all in hotel rooms. It only remains to be seen whether the bigoted mailers and anonymous commenters this blogger has had the displeasure of reading these last two weeks (mostly Irish, according to IP numbers) have the guts and common decency to write again and apologize. You people aren't quite as disgraceful as examples of Irish as Dwyer, but you certainly aren't any credit to your nation.

Click to enlarge (they get very big)

Octagons Index

Theorems and Problems about the Octagon

 Octagon Index.

Read more: Octagon Index, Collection of Geometry Problems

Level: High School, SAT Prep, College geometry

Trading Post (tee hee hee edition)

Seriously, you guys make me laugh. I just saw this group of headline links on the Yahoo!Finance front page:

Capella Resources (KPS.v) down 16% at $0.46. Oh dear. How sad.

Telecom Argentina (TEO) up 2.5% at $8.73. TEO has managed to ignore my short call last weekend (how dare they!) and rise on the week so far. The news about the Argentina windfall tax seems to have become a sleeper. Time will tell....

Rusoro (RML) up 5.7% at $0.56. Just sayin'.........

Fronteer (FRG) up 5.9% at $2.52. As the old saying goes, one man's "pumping it left and right" is another man's "I really want to highlight good quality companies, encourage you to do DD and invest in quality". Gawddarn high falutin' charties :-)

An in-depth report on South American humour

One of the things that separates cultures is humour. What makes one people laugh leaves another people cold and asking "And this is funny?" (believe me on this...I lived in France). When it comes to South America there is one humour trait that, even after all these years, leaves me scratching my head. Over the length and breadth of the continent, ask people what makes them laugh and the consistent top polling answer is:


It's always bothered me, this one. The best answer I've ever got was from my wife. Very early into our relationship I asked her why people falling over as so funny. I mean, my wife is a very smart lady, educated and intelligent etc etc, but she also cracks up laughing over this. It's not some socioeconomic phenomena here. So when I asked her why slips'n'falls were so funny she said "It all depends on the fall". Great answer, i thought.

So with that in mind, here's a video of a Playboy model who fell over on a catwalk just two days ago. With 22,000 views racked up already it's going viral down here and there are several other Youtube versions already made available. I'm glad to say that the model, named 'Josi', didn't hurt herself badly.

From the depths of depravity, reader "G" (who should know better at his advanced age) sends in this mail:

Man, I was hoping that she would fall a 2nd time at the end of the cat-walk. Now that would have been funny.

Disclaimer: I, in no manner, wish any harm on the poor lass in saying this. In fact, I would be perfectly willing to nurse her back to health if, indeed, some injury was to befall her. I am a very caring individual and great attention would be paid to her recovery in such a circumstance.

Bolivia Mercenaries update

El Gaviero has two posts that neatly sum up in English the latest happenings in the investigation into the mercenary terrorist cell dismantled in Santa Cruz.

  • This post sums up the latest arrests and the backbround to what the terrorists were planning.
  • This post links the fascists to local Santa Cruz leaders and also to Human Rights Foundation, a very dubious NGO that has some nasty rightwingers behind it, including our old friend the bipolar Alek Boyd.

Two recommended reads to keep you fully up to date. Nice work from blogmeister MG and good to see El Gaviero back and regular, too.

Aquiline ( The Canadian pissing contest continues

Here's a follow up to last week's post on Aquiline ( as we shed a further tear and pity poor, hard done by Aquiline ( being used as a football by competing Canadian houses.

Well, not really. Pity is a real exaggeration as AQI's management are fully responsible for the current low cash "somebody please buy us" situation. However what is clear is that there are two factions playing financial games with AQI's stock right now.

  • In the red corner we have a whole buncha suits that want to drive AQI's stock price down because they know the comapny needs to raise capital soon and they want to get in cheap (put simply they'd like to see AQI raise $10m by selling 6.66m shares at $1.50)
  • In the blue corner we have those already bought in that want to see their holding rise in value and don't want to see the company dilute too heavily on the next financing round (put simply they'd like to see AQI raise $10m by selling 4m shares at $2.50).

What these two bickering parties have in common, of course, is that they want AQI to go up in value AFTER the next round of financing. That's when this humble corner of cyberspace will be looking more closely at AQI as an investment, by the way, but until then it's fun to watch the boyz and their games (fun for a wonk like me, anyway).

The latest round comes from the blue corner today. Cormark published a report on AQI that I've had chance to read. I generally agree with their take on the company and consider it a good report. I don't know where the devil you, kind and gentle reader, can get a copy of this member's only analysis. Not a clue.

Oh, by the way my e-mail address is otto.rock1 (AT) gmail (DOT) com if you ever feel like dropping me a line...about anything at all.

Novagold: But Seriously Folks.......

Ok, no Nadagold or Rick! Van Alphabet jokes here for a second. It's time to seriously question this company and examine the short case for Novagold (NG) ( To do that we need to check out the circumstances of its three main projects, Rock Creek, Donlin Creek and Galore Creek.

Rock Creek: Supposedly opened last year but soon closed down and has remained shut. Violated environmental regulations and got into trouble with the authorities. Bad atmosphere and community relations with the people of Nome, Alaska. NG has no plans to re-open Rock Creek and has made noises about selling the asset. The Rock Creek debacle demonstrates that this company is inept and incapable of running a goldmine.

We should also remember the very shady and underhand insider selling that went on late last year. For sure Rick Van Nieuwenhuyse and Greg Johnson can claim they were forced to sell by margin calls once the financial woes were made public. However Johnson started systematically selling his stock way before any margin pressure could have been put on him. He started selling stock at the very same time as Rock Creek's "production" ran into serious problems...almost to the day, in fact. He also started selling his stock the very same day that Wellington West recommended NG as a buy with a 75% upside price target.

So thanks to its Rock Creek operation we have evidence at Novagold of managerial and mining incompetance, poor social and community relations and shady inside dealings.

Donlin Creek: The 43-101 compliant feasibility report announced two days ago was woeful. And this isn't just my view, as Ron Coll of Jennings called the numbers "atrocious". Novagold will push the absolute amount of gold at Donlin but it cannot and will never make up for the fact that the study calls for $4.5BN in capex, $803m in sustaining capital and then, after all that cash, can only promise a meagre 10% IRR if gold manages to get to and stay at $1,000/oz. That in layman's terms is a lot of buck for not much bang, trust me.

Then yesterday we heard JV partners Barrick (ABX) telling us that Donlin Creek was way down the list of its priorities. So let's put this as simply as possible: Unless gold goes to and stays at $1,500/oz, Donlin will never be a mine. Never. Not now not ever, it really is that simple.

Galore Creek: Finally we get to Galore Creek, a JV with Teck. As everyone in the mining business knows, Teck is going through a whole house of pain right now as it scrambles to make payment on the bridge loan it took out to pay for a whole heap of coal it wanted to buy (aka Fording). And as Teck is at heart an industrials mining company it's selling off all the non core PM asset that it can. There's very little chance that Teck will do more than the strict minimum at Galore to keep its share, something the market and NG has already acknowledged. Galore is another project along the lines of Donlin, and we already know that capex projection at Galore turned out to be shockingly high. Also, it has been examined and dropped and examined and dropped by several different mining company for decades on end and has never become a mine. This in itself is a wake-up call.

Company Struture: To cap this all off, the company reported having cash of $78m and working cap of $62m on February 28th and a burn rate of $100,000 per day once one-time charges are backed out. If that burn has kept on burning we'll be down to $56m in working capital by now.

However the market prices NG at a touch under $500m. So in the strange world that is Novagold, $56m + two unworkable projects + one for sale booked as a $110m asset= $500m. Even if we're as generous as can be, say NG has $80m cash right now and ignore any debt on board, we're assuming $300m for Donlin and Galore combined. To give you more colour here, Scotia this morning (Apr 30th) reduced the NPV of Donlin to zero. Also, Teck announced today it was continuing with its fire sale of assets by selling its Pogo project to Sumitomo. You seriously believe they're going to move forward a marginal project like Galore under present circumstances? Wanna buy a bridge?

Bottom line at NG: Inept management + bad assets + high burn rate+ rapidly declining cash pile = NG is a seriously overpriced stock. It's currently being held up where it is by a group of people in serious financial denial. That will change.

Recommendation: Short NG


UPDATE: Oh look who's selling his stock again...just days before that Donlin 43-101, too. Lordy, this mgmt stinks to high heaven.

Apr 29/09 Apr 22/09 Van Nieuwenhuyse, Rick Direct Ownership Common Shares 10 - Disposition in the public market -10,000 $3.000

Doe Run Peru: Public Relations Fail of the Day

Yesterday I got the following comment from a reader named 'Dremco' added to the bottom of this post about Doe Run Peru.


Dremco has left a new comment on your post "
Doe Run Peru: The truth will out": I have visited La Oroya several times over the years, since 1984, in order to visit and work at the Metallurgical plants. In the early years, of Centromin ownership, there was never any apparent environmental work done in the entire area.

However, since Doe Run bought the company there has been a very extensive cleanup of the plants, and especially in the communities. La Oroya looks entirely different, and more attractive since the Doe Run purchase.

It is probably impossible for any company to do a good enough cleanup effort to satisfy the environmentalists, but from my perspective as a visitor to the area, Doe Run has done a remarkably good job.


Now when somebody sticks up for one of the worst polluting companies on the planet in such a sycophantic way (not joking either; the Blackstone Institute put Doe Run Peru in its top ten most polluted places on the planet), my BS meter tends do that "Geiger Counter meets U308 yellowcake" thing. So on checking the where reader Dremco was sitting when writing the comment*, it turns out to be Chandler AZ, a town just South of Phoenix. Our mystery reader arrived directly on the page by searching "Doe Run Peru" in Google and then stuck around for over 30 minutes checking out other Rennert-related articles (some of the following has been XXXd out to respect privacy):


Referrer Run Peru
Search Engine PhraseDoe Run Peru
Search Engine
Search Engine HostGoogle
IP Address67.XXX.XXX.XXX dremco
CountryUnited States
ISPSun Lakes Cable
Returning Visits0
Visit Length31 mins 22 secs
BrowserIE 7.0
Operating SystemWinXP

Navigation Path

Date Time Type WebPage
29th April 200917:32:08Page Run Peru
29th April 200917:36:39Exit Link
29th April 200917:44:42Page
29th April 200917:58:00Page
29th April 200918:03:21Page
29th April 200918:03:26Page
29th April 200918:03:30Page Run Peru


Bizarrely enough, if you leave Chandler and travel South 30 miles or so on I-10 you arrive at the town of Casa Grande, home of a very large lead (Pb) products plant owned by.....yes you guessed it folks...The Doe Run Company.

So let's see now: Is it just a wild coincidence that somebody sitting 30 miles from one of the few Doe Run operations in the world suddenly decides to type "Doe Run Peru" into Google and leave glowing and demonstrably false comments about just how wonderful, clean and caring Doe Run is at La Oroya, Peru? Or maybe there's a connection somewhere. Waddya think?

Therefore commenter Dremco, you win this week's coveted award. Public relations dumbassery taken to a new level. All yours, dude:

*and don't worry, I rarely do it and unless you're at a company registered IP there's very little I can find out.

Chart of the day is.......

.....the gold/silver ratio.

If you put a gun to my head I'd say "it's going higher" (a higher GSR = more nerves), but a move downwards would be the world greatest surprise, either. What I do know is that things can't stay the way they are for muh longer.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Barrick on Donlin Creek: "An Interesting Strategic Value"

During the Barrick Conference Call today, the CIBC analyst dude asked ABX mgmt about its 50% owned Donlin Creek project.

The ABX dude had a really (that big enough?) hard time in finding something positive to say, but managed to squirm out with "there's a lot of gold there", that Donlin Creek "offers good option value" (a coded phrase in itself meaning "we can delay forever"). However he couldn't avoid saying that Donlin Creek comes way down the list on its project pipeline and ended up by calling Donlin Creek "interesting strategic value". LOL!

Or in other words, Rick Van Alphabet and all at Nadagold (NG):

I still find it incredible to think that Rick! told shareholders to reject a $16 offer and is still Nadagold's CEO.

By the way, Barrick's CC was pretty good. They were coy more than once about Pascua Lama and promise a full update some time in 2q09. Overall I'd certainly rather be holding ABX than NG going forward.

Swine Flu Mind Map

Interactive Mind Map
Swine influenza (also swine flu) refers to influenza caused by any strain of the influenza virus endemic in pigs (swine). Strains endemic in swine are called swine influenza virus (SIV).

Click the figure below to see the interactive mind map.

 Swine Flu Interactive Mind Map.

Read more:
Swine Flu Interactive Mind Map

Trading Post (bit o' math edition)

Just thought I'd share a graph with you. Despite rumours to the contrary spread by the Wistar&Bob show, I do know a bit about mathematics.

Meanwhile in the crazyshow, I could pick up on about two dozen stock stories worth featuring today. So I won't. Here's just a couple.

Colossus ( up 12.5% at $3.15. You can't beat a good pump, can you? Who needs fundamentals and risk analysis to make money in this market anyway? I reiterate my call on Don't buy, don't sell, just avoid.

Fortuna Silver (FVI.v) up 4.8% at $0.87 and seventeen days to go, but the way things are today methinks less than seventeen days left to get on under 90. I own. I like. I bang on table. DYODD.

Rusoro (RML.v) up 4% at $0.52 and doing good volume. This is another that I like for its upcoming earnings report. I have a small position recently taken at 50c...lord help me for buying Venezuela exposure again. It's like scratching a mosquito bite.

Capella Resources (KPS.v) down 6.7% at $0.56. Oh dear. How sad.

I have the worrysome habit of writing up the Trading Post at the precise time that FVI peaks on the day. Now $0.83...gotta laugh, eh?

Swine Flu: THE VIDEO GAME! had to happen I suppose. The graphics are pretty good to be honest (I passed level one to check it out).

Here's the link, go knock yourself out.

Lithium: Let's make this clear, yeah?

The following commentary does not apply to well-run companies such as SQM and FMC that are already producing and selling lithium as a minor part of their total revenues.


So will you please cut it out with all the mails and comments about the sector? You don't know what you're talking about and this snake-oil is most definitely a case of a little knowledge being a dangerous thing for your back pocket. It's being promoted by dubious sources who are targetting suckers. Current supply easily covers demand and China is growing its internal industry far quicker than anything in the Americas. Finally and importantly, people who think lithium is the energy source of the future are barking up the wrong tree. You need to stop believing the hype and research the latest developments in battery technology. One you do you'll know what I know and you won't touch any of these BS scammy lithium juniors with a barge pole, either.

If you're considering an investment in a lithium junior you should also consider ingesting it on a daily basis to combat the mental imbalance that is manifesting itself. That clear enough?

Barrick and Pascua Lama: Munk and Borg's lobbying pays off

In the last couple of weeks, both Argentine and Chilean press reported that Peter Munk and Vince Borg of Barrick (ABX) met with the countries' respective presidents (Klishtina and Michelle) to try and get the company's massive but expensive and environmentally complicated Pascua Lama gold project moving.

The sticking point of the project that straddles both countries high up in the Andes has been the tax regime, but it seems that the three parties have come to a broadstroke agreement. Here's Reuters with the info:


SANTIAGO, April 29 (Reuters) - Chilean tax authorities reached a deal late Tuesday with their counterparts in Argentina over tax issues related to Barrick Gold's (ABX.TO) Pascua Lama gold project, but said some minor issues remain to be resolved.

Pascua Lama, one of the world's last known mega-gold finds, is located about 5,500 meters (18,000 feet) above sea level and holds a treasure trove of some 18 million ounces of gold. It is also one of the world's largest silver deposits.

Chile's tax authority said the tax issues were agreed upon at a meeting in Buenos Aires on Tuesday.

"During the meeting, a deal was reached to resolve tax issues related to transborder services and some others that remained outstanding," Chile's tax authority said in a statement.



So what to expect from here? Tough to say how it will pan out right now, to be honest. The whole thing certainly isn't cut'n'dried and done with and I'm anticipating a mix of the following

1) Enviro protesters ramping up their voices in opposition. To be honest they have a case, here. Details can be found all over the interwebnetpipes via that Google thingy, but I'd strongly suggest you read both sides of the argument and not swallow either sides' propaganda whole.

2) Argentina and Chile will likely get bogged down in the unspecified details, as this saga has been going on all decade and there's no reason to suspect that today's announcement declares a final definitive accord. LatAm is as LatAm does and you'd be wise to remember that.

3) Barrick will do the pipes and whistles on the news in the next few days.

That's just three personal ideas and there will be a lot more thrown into the mix, for sure. My personal bottom line on this is witout particular opinion, but I'm a keen observer of the issue and will be watching the developments going forward. However for those looking for an investemnt angle on this news, take a good look at International Royalty Corp ( (ROY) as it has a chunk of the revenue stream of Pascua Lama and is trading at low levels right now. You'll probably get more bang-per-buck playing the latent behind-the-scenes royalty holder than ABX itself. But make sure you DYODD dude, as I own in my long-term never-touch-it portfolio.

Troy Resources reports its quarter

On this link you can get your own copy of the quarter end March 2009 report that was released today. Overall its a pleasing report and the market rewarded the Aussie listed stock with a 9.4% increase to A$1.335 (CAD$1.15 approx). Not bad at all considering what happened to gold while Australia was asleep yesterday anjd as gold has managed to climb back above $900 on this side of the world today there's plenty of reason to expet a very decent pop in this morning. Here are four points (from many others) that caught my eye in the report:

  • The most important positive is the doubleplay that cash costs have dropped and its Australian Sandstone mine is producing competitively.
  • Another positive is the reported A$64.8m in cash/bank/bullion deposits. This represents U$46.8m at current forex and means that the new Casposo mine and capex an be paid for out of treasury and there's little reason to expect any dilutive financing going forward.
  • Another intriguing bonus is talk of a sale of its Iron Ore to one of two possible Brazilian purchasers. Although I personally am not holding my breath on this one (see today's Chart of the Day) if TRY can do a deal it would be a great cash bonus to the company.
  • The major negative in the release is the delays experienced at Andorinhas in opening up the high grade underground extraction. By no means serious, but all the same the company is now behind schedule on that count. TRY now expects to start feeding significant amounts of high grade into the mix beginning June 2009. Let's see if they make that on time this time. TRY reports difficulties in procuring equipment and also power outages. The power problem sould now be a thing of the past as they've invested in back up diesel generators.

As said, those are just a few of the points I picked up and I strongly recommend that you read the full report (on that link above) for yourself. It's my idea of a great investment and I cannot be louder and clearer than that. Great prospects, growth baked in, under the radar and importantly run by honest management that truly put shareholders first and don't just pay lip-service to that angle. I'm long and have been since $0.84 and expect plenty more upside to come. My NOBS report on Troy Resources is still available if you are enough, find details here. However be clear that if you pay $10 all you'll get is plenty more detail and the same reco; "buy" as I'm not trying any hard sell here. I'll leave you with the Australian-listed stock and its performance from last night.

For Sale in Chile: Prospective Copper deposits, only one previous owner

Map of Chile (it fits better this way)

A very interesting report from BN Americas on a speech given by Codelco's CEO Arellano yesterday. The prospect of some tasty copper resources coming on the market in everyone's favourite miner-friendly Chile might put the damper on investment in other parts of the world as mineheads change plans and head South. Here's the BN Americas report:


Once markets start booming again Chile's state copper company Codelco will rid itself of more properties it owns but which are too small for Codelco to be interested in taking into production, CEO José Pablo Arellano said.

Codelco's most recent attempt to rid itself of one of its many small and mid-size copper properties in Chile was a try at bidding out 66% of the Inca de Oro deposit in region III near its Salvador mine, an effort to keep the mine open past its 2011 closure date.

But with the global crisis Codelco postponed the bidding indefinitely. "We've all fallen victim to the financial crisis," both large and small miners, Arellano said in a speech at a luncheon hosted by Chile's engineer's association in Santiago.

Prior to that Codelco unloaded the Boa Esperança project in Brazil for US$80mn to local miner Caraíba.

But despite the sales, Codelco has been accused for some time of hoarding deposits by Chile's small and mid-size copper miners.


Bolivia: Two arrests and one telescope

Foreword: I prepared this post last night for publication this morning. Later I went over to Bina's place and found she had already covered both subjects...and better than me, too. So if this subject interests you make sure you hightail it over to Bina's and read more and better with a ton more linkies, too.

Late yesterday Bolivian police made two more arrests
as they try to mop up the terrorist cell built to certainly force an armed separation of Santa Cruz and most likely assassinte Evo Morales. PL reports that Juan Carlos Gueder Bruno, aged 48 and member of the far-right wing UJC in Santa Cruz (remember the guys with the the Swastikas on their rides?) along with an un-named second person thought at this moment to be a Paraguayan national known as "El Capitan" (the captain) who is known as an arms smuggler and supplier

Intriguingly, the official investigator into the terrorist cell said last night that he would be in a position to provide the names and positions of the people who were funding the group and would be making an announcement today, Wednesday. Watch this space.

Meanwhile, more photos of the defeated terrorists have emerged. Elod Tóasó is one of the two people in the Santa Cruz mercenary gang that didn't die in the shooting. He is presently in a jail cell somewhere in Bolivia waiting his turn to be heard, but when this photo was taken he was hanging out at the expense of the Santa Cruz lodges in one of the swankiest hotels in Santa Cruz, the five star Buganvillas. According to the hotel owners, Tóasó and cohorts were there for a couple of months and they all used false names, too.

Now I don't know about you.........

.......and I'm not the greatest expert on firearms in the world.......

....but that telescope looks like a serious piece of kit to me. Especially as we see it held by a Croatian war veteran who was trained in sniper warfare and likely knows what it means to put a bullet through the head of another human being at long range. So will you all just cut it out with all this innocent victim BS, yeah? This gang:

1) Was in Bolivia to do dirty work.
2) Got caught and are now either dead or in jail.
3) Deserving of nobody's sympathy unless you happen to be fascist apologist scum.

The end.

Chart of the day is.....

..iron ore production at Vale (RIO) per quarter since 2007.

This is a follow-up to this post dated January 24th that featured the same subject. At the time I wrote "Gawd help 1q09 and onwards" and as it turns out RIO is going to need all the help Gawd might offer. The 46.9MMT production figure for 1q09 sucked harder than the bilge pump on the Titanic and considering that Chinese iron ore demand has fallen off a cliff again (now the restocking is over) there's no reason to think the rest of 2009 will be anything better.

Think this recession has bottomed out already? I laugh in your face.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Swine Flu H1N1

Swine influenza (also swine flu) refers to influenza caused by any strain of the influenza virus endemic in pigs (swine). Strains endemic in swine are called swine influenza virus (SIV).

 Swine Flu H1N1 Index.

Read more:
Swine Flu H1N1 Index
Swine Flu Interactive Google Maps
Symptoms of Swine Flu, video.

Loose Change We Can Believe In (great video)

It's not a LatAm thing, but this is the kind of show'n'tell that the interwebnetpipes does best. Anybody who takes obscure financial concepts and makes them intelligible gets my applause, and this clip is a great example. H/T to Sullivan's Daily Dish (where I found it).

Obama made that $100m spending cut sound pretty big and important, didn't he? I ask you to invest one minute and thirty-eight seconds of your time to put a little context in your life and see The Hawaiian can BS just as much as the last crew when he puts his mind to it.

News roundup (half the news, some of the time)

Trade-in, che?

Venezuela has recalled its ambassador to Peru 'for consultations' by way of protest against Peru's granting of asylum to Manuel 'BraveSirRobin' Rosales. Hugo himself has been pretty quiet about the whole Peru far.

Ecuador. Only in Spain would Studmuffin have to field such dumbass questions about an Axis between Ecuador, Bolivia and Venezuela. Sincerely, the Spaniards make your average US Joe look smart on LatAm and there's not even the language barrier to deal with. Anyway, Mr Prez-Til-2013 said (and I quote), "I've probably travelled more to Brazil than to Venezuela. I've travelled many more times to Argentina. If they (you) want to look for axes, look for them and find them....If there were an axis it wouldn't (necessarily) be a bad thing, but explicitly there isn't one. There's too much talk and popular is confused with popularism."

Yay, The Muffin still rules!

Fox News again accuses Mexico of...being slow off the mark with its swine flu prevention program. They even managed to find some Neocon doctor to agree with them.....que sorpresa.

Argentina, and big agromachinery company Agco reports country tractor sales down 60% in the first quarter even though they climbed 3% in Brazil in the same period. The reasons being a combo of the drought weather period and total dumbasses in government. Klishtina&Co still insist that GDP is rising in's skin-crawlingly embarrassing.

Trading Post (rumours in the village edition)

Fronteer (FRG) down 5% at U$2.27. Bummer that it couldn't hold on to yesterday's springing gains, but with gold weak and a general sector sell-off in progress it's not that surprising. Ho hum...patience is the virtue here. I'm long.

Greystar ( up 8% at $4.21 and the saga continues. If it had truly been a false trade yesterday then surely we would have dropped back to the $3.60 or so price of Monday, but instead GSL has motored on ahead. Not only that, but.......

Ventana Gold ( up 19.3% at $1.79. Greystar's neighbour in Colombia has been very popular this morning. There's clear fire from where this smoke is rising, just watch out for those paras, dudes.

Vale (RIO) down 1.8% at $15.44. In the USA it's all about Hope™. In China it's all about Impossible Hope.

Dorato Resources (DRI.v) down 9% at $0.57. It's been a while since we checked in on DRI and to be honest nothing much has changed. Still over-promising and underdelivering, still zero point zero zero percent chance of ever building a mine on the Peru/Ecuador border......but since when has that been important to the Canadian mining industy anyway?

Exeter (XRA) down 2.5% at $2.77. Oh dear. How sad.

Swine Flu: I heart XKCD

The link to cartoon strip people XKCD has been down there on the right for a while. Go today (here's the link) and check out this pearl* in situ.

Click to enlarge

UPDATE: More porky sniffly fun here, as sent in by kind reader MM


DES MOINES, IA - As the cases of Swine Flu continue to multiply around the globe, a parallel outbreak of Swine Flew is plaguing farmers and rural residents throughout the U.S.

Iowa hog farmer David Lyons described the startling phenomena. "I came out of the house about six in the morning, and I saw three of my sows floating up in the air. They'd grown wings overnight and were flying?like really big birds. I was in such a state of shock I couldn't move, but then they just flew off over that cornfield and that's the last I seen of them."

Experiences similar to Lyons' have been reported by dozens of other hog farmers throughout the Midwest.

"Half of my hogs flew off yesterday to God-knows-where," said Ted Zigler, a Kansas hog producer. "If this keeps up, I'm going to go broke. I'll have to switch to growing Tofu."

Like so many others, Lisa Conklin of rural Wisconsin said she never thought she'd see the day when pigs could fly. "I always used to say, 'Yeah, that'll happen when pigs fly. Now they are."

Conklin expressed a concern raised by many Americans since the onset of Swine Flew. "Let's just pray that monkey's don't start flying out of our asses."

UPDATE: I've just found out the origins of the above thanks to the author comment below. The author is John Andreini and he deserves kudos (for the record I was sent the text as stands above in a mail with no link). Here's the clicky linky to clickylink to get to John's blog.

*pearls before swine?

Junior Silver Companies: Spot the dog

A short update on a sector followed quite closely at this humble corner of cyberspace.

Personally I have my issues with Great Panther ( as its cash cost is high and it's recently been mining all the high grade ore to make its results sparkle. This tactic will deplete the grades going forward and goes against its own mining plan. But in the end, the market is judging it as being in-or-around the same as my idea of a great little miner, FVI.v (caveat, I own), so WTFDIK anyway?

First Majestic ( has issues, too, as resource ounces tend to be inferred or even just implied, even though most people say the concession around the machine is prospetive enough. However we might expect a bit of a pump soon, as the company are right now shipping a bunch of Peter Schiff/Europac people down on a site tour. It's not a done deal of course, but don't be surprised to hear warm and glowing things from that corner in the near future.

But it's clear that one silver "mining" company (used in loose terms, as it does very little actual mining and a lot of shareholder pocket mining) sits apart from the others. Ever feel like you backed the wrong horse. Wistar?

Gold: La plus ça change.........

It was true back on October 20th 2008 and it's true today. Until those obsessed by the stuff take a long, hard look at themselves in the mirror they will not be good investors.


Event goldbug analysis recommended action
Broad markets lower It had to happen BUY GOLD!
Broad markets higher manipulation! BUY GOLD!
Gold higher The upwave begins BUY GOLD!
Gold lower manipulation! BUY GOLD!
Gold holds steady it's a coiled spring BUY GOLD!
dollar lower fiat crap going to zero BUY GOLD!
dollar higher manipulation! BUY GOLD!
Fed raises rates inflation is rampant BUY GOLD!
Fed lowers rates inflation will be rampant BUY GOLD!
LIBOR rate rises systematic breakdown BUY GOLD!
LIBOR rate eases liquidity returns BUY GOLD!
Silver higher Short squeeze! BUY GOLD!*
Silver lower manipulation! BUY GOLD!*
Gold lease rate up banks not lending gold BUY GOLD!
Gold lease rate down easy to get cheap gold BUY GOLD!
*or silver

Swine Flu believed to have begun in Smithfield-owned pig farm in Mexico

I would not like to be long Smithfield (SFD) right now

A plague a' both your houses!
Romeo and Juliet, Act 3, scene 1 L91

RG over at The Mex Files alluded to this two full days ago and now it's being picked up by some of the better mainstreamers. Ironic that while the USA tries to pin the blame on Mexico for it all, NAFTA and US corporate culture may well be the driving force behind the sanity lapse that caused swine flu to break out. Capitalist swine given a new spin.

The following extract comes from this report in The Times:


"...The Mexican Government said it initially thought that the victim, Edgar Hernandez, 4, was suffering from ordinary influenza but laboratory testing has since shown that he had contracted swine flu. The boy went on to make a full recovery, although it is thought that at least 148 others in Mexico have died from the disease, and the number is expected to rise.

"News of the infected boy is expected to create controversy in Mexico because the boy lived in Veracruz state, home to thousands of farmers who claim that their land was stolen from them by the Mexican Government in 1992. The farmers, who call themselves Los 400 Pueblos – The 400 Towns – are famous for their naked marches through the streets of Mexico City.

"The boy’s hometown, La Gloria, is also close to a pig farm that raises almost 1 million animals a year. The facility, Granjas Carroll de Mexico, is partly owned by Smithfield Foods, a Virginia-based US company and the world’s largest producer and processor of pork products. Residents of La Gloria have long complained about the clouds of flies that are drawn the so-called “manure lagoons” created by such mega-farms, known in the agriculture business as Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs).

"It is now known that there was a widespread outbreak of a powerful respiratory disease in the La Gloria area earlier this month, with some of the town’s residents falling ill in February. Health workers soon intervened, sealing off the town and spraying chemicals to kill the flies that were reportedly swarming through people’s homes."

Chart of the day is..... gold, Kitco 24hr chart.

No extra commentary needed.

As an extra, here's copper.

The selloff continues and we're at $1.90/lb. As mentioned before I'm looking for $1.70/lb and as mentioned before I'm also looking for 20c on as an entry point. DYODD