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Archive for July, 2009

The heat is bringing out the nuts.  The low hanging fruit are the professors who are doing silly things and making asinine statements.  We all know about that Harvard fellow who got the President into a pickle—or was it the president who blundered into another misjudgement of old men who sound profound, but who in reality are no more than loud, empty drums–recall that Reverend Wright.  This time it was Gates, described by one blogger thus:

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Came into California yesterday.   Passed through San Francisco airport en route to Orange County where the kids picked me up.    Today is the perfect weather that is southern California besides the beach.  We pulled out the bicycles, pumped the tires, raised the seats (for the boys have grown a year older and taller) and rode to the huge pool newly renovated with more palm trees.  As the sun got hotter we retreated to the shade and then home to the PlayStation and the games left untouched since last summer.

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You must love the Europeans: they are sometimes so exuberant and so wrong.  This weekend I watched a Rossini opera in which the lead character comes from Canada to woo an Italian girl.  The problem is that the other opera characters keep referring to his impeccable American habits, manners, and customs.  The Canadian in dressed in Tucson cowboy gear. 

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With the weekend about to begin here are links to two extremes of Canadian Mining:

I leave you to formulate your own opinions. Enjoy the weekend.

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Here is a simple Investment Rule based on an absurd story –  which happens to be true.  First the story.  General Motors (GM) goes bankrupt.  GM cancels its contract with Stillwater Mining of Montana for platinum, a metal used to clean up the exhaust gasses in cars.  GM continues to buy cheaper platinum from South Africa and Russia.  Stillwater and Montana politicians complain that taxpayer money saved GM and now GM is screwing the Montana workers and taxpayers, and, in effect, subsidizing foreign workers.  The governor of Montana parks his GM truck in the driveway and refuses to drive it.

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Nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars were spent on the aborted takeover of Rio Tinto by BHP.  Just imagine what that would translate to in share dividends.  Instead it was directed to Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street folk for services rendered. 

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The best justification for mining is that it produces the basic materials we need to live: metal for windmills and Prius cars; uranium for power (electric & bombs);  talc for toothpaste and face powder.  The list is endless. Yet we cannot say the same about most gold.  Some gold indeed goes into caps for rotten teeth or connections in computers, but if the latest report from the Swiss banks is correct, most just goes into vaults in Switzerland.  Apparently Swiss banks are running out of space to store more gold bars. 

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More on weekend activities and Sunday religion.  The quote “For the free man, opera is the only plausible religion” is from an old book called A Song of Love and Death by Peter Conrad.  (more…)

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This weekend I will read about anything but mining.  I am half-way through Richard II purchased at Bard on the Beach last week;  part way into one of those Botswana Ladies Detective Agency books; nearly finished a book about your brain on music; and a chapter or two into a book on Canadian geology bought at the Oil Sands Discovery Center in Fort McMurray.

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Mining reporters with short memories, or selective vision, still write glowing articles about Robert Friedlund and what he will do for Mongolia by opening another mine.  The latest article, however, has a twist that bites.   Seems the Mongolian parliament rejected a deal with Mr. Friedlund and sent the prime minister off to Japan, where he is quoted as saying:

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