Thursday, August 28, 2008

Alaskan Mining looks brighter Northern Dynasty - National Post - Iliamna

Northern Dynasty gets Alaska boost

Initiative Defeated

Nathan Vanderklippe, Financial Post Published: Thursday, August 28, 2008

VANCOUVER - Shares in a Canadian miner with a potential blockbuster deposit in Alaska shot up yesterday after that state's voters chose gold over salmon in a hotly debated citizen ballot initiative.

Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. gained more than 20% after Alaskans narrowly rejected the measure, which would have created potentially punishing new environmental restrictions on mining.

The small Vancouver-based company and global mining giant Anglo American PLC are partners on the Pebble project, a massive copper-gold-molybdenum find that has stoked strident backlash from fishermen and lodge owners. They say its development will bring catastrophic consequences for some of the world's richest salmon runs in southeastern Alaska.

Their efforts produced the ballot measure, which was designed to strengthen environmental protection for salmon and aimed specifically at Pebble. The mining sector, which decried the measure as so vaguely worded that it jeopardized the development of all new mines, breathed a sigh of relief when it became clear on Tuesday night that 57% of voting Alaskans agreed.

"I didn't pop any corks or anything, but I'll tell you I was very pleased with the outcome. There's no question about that," said Ron Thiessen, Northern Dynasty president and chief executive, whose company is doing pre-feasibility work on Pebble and expects to seek permits in late 2009 or 2010.

"We think the existing [environmental] rules and regulations are very adequate, and I think this vote is an endorsement of that. So from my standpoint, I think this is good for Pebble."

Other Canadian companies also pursuing mining projects in Alaska include Barrick Gold Inc., Teck Cominco Ltd. and NovaGold Resources Inc., whose CEO said the outcome represents sustained confidence in Alaskan mining.

But he argued there is no reason mines and fish can't co-exist.

"Salmon is an extremely important resource in Alaska and that certainly is recognized by the mining industry," said Rick Van Nieuwenhuyse. "Nobody wants to have bad water quality."

Yet even if a slim majority of voters agreed, the road to production for the Pebble project, in particular, is likely to be littered with opposition. Since it acquired the property in 2001, Mr. Thiessen says Northern Dynasty has focused more on socio-environmental issues than on either engineering or geology.

"We believe that the Pebble project has spent more money on environmental and socio-economic matters than pretty much any other industrial project in the world," Mr. Thiessen said. "Our intention is to get it right."

That spending is likely to continue, however, as the company wrangles with how to protect the fish and an opposition that has promised it has only just begun.

Northern Dynasty shares jumped 21% to $6.67 yesterday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. NovaGold, Teck and Barrick also closed up slightly.


Remember mining junior TNR Gold Corp?

Well, their Iliamna Project is right next (as in kilometres away) from the Pebble expansion. We think there's something interesting here to say the least. Take a look at's news release and their exploration plans for 2008-2009 if you don't believe us.

Some relevent screen caps from NDM's slideshow July 2008. Tell me after looking at the presentation there is nothing at Iliamna? The last image of 39 square mile of additional exploration trends towards Iliamna...

TNR's market cap is less than $20 Million's trading at $6.50 and has 90+ million shares outstnading. Do the math, a worthwhile buyout here would mean quite a bit to the $0.20-30 range that TNR's been lingering about.

And we haven't even talked about Argentina yet! This is why diversified juniors are so favored - even in difficult times. The smart ones bulk on slowly on the quality juniors!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Joint Venture Projects - Pro's and Con's - TNR.v, Minera Andes MAI, Hathor HAT.v, Terra Ventures TAS.v

While everyone smirks and asks for 100% owned projects in a company's portfolio before they look away - there are a few things to keep in mind when inspecting a company's collection of properties.

Pros of Joint Ventures
1) Reputation - If you started a company tomorrow exploring your backyard and called up BHP Billiton, Barrick, or assortment of industry majors, they would probably laugh in your face! It's really not that easy to JV a good deal with a major... only if the management has proven themselves and has had extensive

Better yet, projects where majors contribute $ to the juniors in exchange for portions of back-in if project reaches feasilibility is even better.

2) Vote of Confidence - Your project is high quality and recognized by industry majors to warrant a joint venture. After all - majors have mining analysts thumbing through projects after projects ... why would they pick a certain company out of 2,000 others on the TSX?

3) Profitable Dealmaking & Additional Funding!! - Who is going to complain about additional funding from majors? In our past article we discussed fundings for explorations for different sizes of companies... whereas Barrick can afford $200+ Million per YEAR on explorations, a typical TSX junior will spend at most $4-7 million per YEAR.

Better yet, the sharp dealmakers out there can even get fully carried to production and end up earning royalties and become profitable on various lease and option payments.

For example - take the following news release from our favorite here, TNR's news release about a non-core property called La Carolina

Vancouver B.C.: TNR Gold Corp. ("TNR" or the "Company") is pleased to announce that its joint venture partner, Latin America Minerals (LAT), has exercised its option to acquire 75% interest in the La Carolina Property. LAT has fulfilled the required exploration expenditures and, with the final issuance of 175,000 common shares and payment of US $75,000 to the optionors, has acquired a 75% interest in the property. A joint venture agreement between LAT and the optionors, TNR Gold Corp and Geocom Resources Inc., will be put in place in due course.
What TNR has done here is pulled off a great case of value-added business deal.

You scope out a claim and secure the property title. Add some geophysical and studies (possibly light drill program) and hopefully find results that conclude there is potential for something big.

At this point another company comes along looking for project and you sell it off to them at a higher price - and keep a back-in option on it, just in case it becomes the next Pascua Lama.

In difficult times this has been a common practise for many juniors to stay afloat and juding by our markets it might become necessary again, but the shrewd dealmakers out there can still make this worthwhile to shareholders as they turn the company into a profitable project generating company. After all, this was what RAB Capital saw in TNR when it invested in a large series of private placements back in the early 2000's - a technically-capable team with smart business sense of running profitably and striking good deals that advance shareholder value.

4) Spread out risk over properties - diversification and fully carried to late exploration/production - Think about it, instead of putting all your eggs in one basket, you are able to option out properties, collect money here and there from various option payments, and if one property goes to production you might even end up with 1% Net Smelter Royalty (NSR). It's a very low-risk way to advance the company especially in tougher markets.

The Gross, or Net Smelter Return (NSR) Royalty, is characterized by royalty payments that are a fixed or variable percentage of the sales price, or gross revenue, the mining operator receives from the sale of mineral product from the property. The mining operator's gross revenue, in metal mines, is often referred to as Net Smelter Return because it is common for the mining operator to sell the mineral product in a form that requires further processing by a smelter or refinery. The Net Smelter Return is the amount of money which the smelter or refinery pays the mining operator for the mineral product and is usually based on a spot, or current price of the mineral, with deductions for the costs associated with further processing. In non-metal mines the selling price is usually 'fob mine site' because of the transportation costs involved in delivering the mineral product to the buyer.

With all those good things and more, why do some analysts and investors thumb their nose at joint ventured out juniors?

1) Dilution of interest = less profit- You knew this was coming. Clearly if the original ownership was 100% and the property goes on to become a huge mine, you would have missed out the opportunity to capitalize (more). This happens - look at TNR Gold Corp and Minera Andes.

The fabulous Los Azules copper project that churned out 0.7% over 200+ metres was once TNR's project. 100%.

Then times got tough and it was optioned to Xstrata Copper who then ended up giving it away to Minera Andes who finally decided to bite the bullet and put some holes in the ground. This is a reality you have to live with when farming out projects. Most times though, it's either another private placement or a JV... unless the company in discussion is a hybrid producer/explorer (and profitable one that is)... there's no real other ways.

2) No control of News Release Timing - most of the times JV will have a principle operator while the other companies tag along.

Look at Hathor Explorations (HAT.v) that jumped from $0.6 to $3 on Uranium results in Canada. On the success of that tons of area plays popped up like dandelions...including Terra Ventures (TAS.v) who has a lucky minor back-in on the newsworthy drill result.

I'm talking about 10%. In this case TAS.v has been halting and resuming, copy-and-pasting Hathor news releases like clockwork. As expected, stock price has done well in the short term in close correlation. Take this recent news release "___ Partner drills ____ result"

Case in point, the flow of news release is dictated by the primary operator in this case - Hathor.

After a lengthy copy and pasting job, we see this line.

"Terra Ventures owns a 10-per-cent carried interest in the Midwest NorthEast property.

10%? That's it? Not very good dealmaking by the management but they certainly are making the best out of it!! Keep in mind TAS.v was only at $0.20 before all this fiasco started of the "area play" uranium. (see chart)

Going by the same logic - if TNR has 25% (not just 10%!) on an inferred resource (soon) on giant MAI's Los Azules, how about a jump from $0.2 to $1?? Not too out of the question now, is it?

3) Unfavorable dealmaking - if the agreement was not aggressively pursued - one could end up worse than before the JV, which really defeats the whole point of the idea.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Rob McEwan, large shareholder of Minera Andes, and CEO of US Gold, past CEO of Gold Corp speaks out re: Jr

I usually tell people to take investment advice with a grain of salt. But when the person advising you is the past CEO of Gold Corp, one of the best investments and lowest-cost producers on the NYSE, you might not need much salt, agree?

As usual I've taken the liberty to bold portions of the interview (as it is lengthy) that I think is very noteworthy. Take a read when you get a chance!

Coles Notes for those of you who are in a hurry - Juniors are expected to recover, althought may not be as soon as Fall 2008, but keep in mind (and watch) the increased cash in treasury of profitable producers and their dwindling resources... at some point they will have to start putting out cash for buyouts of more proven reserves.

Sounds reasonable, no?

Interview with U.S. Gold's Rob McEwen: 'Gold Will Start Shining Again'

Legendary mining executive Rob McEwen (U.S. Gold Corporation (UXG:AMEX, UXG:TSX) and Goldcorp Inc. (GG:NYSE, GG:TSX))talks with The Gold Report about the plight of the junior miners. Robshares some names he thinks are well positioned to weather the storm,and perhaps find that "big discovery" that will help jump-start thesector. He's optimistic that the price of gold will rise again,believing we're in a seasonal slump, and the fundamentals remain strong.

TGR:The junior mining stocks have taken a beating lately. Some peoplebelieve there should be a turnaround in the juniors in the fall… do youagree with that, and if so, what is the catalyst that’s going to getthem moving?

RM: I do agree with it, although I'm notsure if it will be in the fall, but it should be coming soon. Sincelast August we have seen all the speculative money come out of themarket because of the sub-prime issues. Then, despite the price of goldgoing up, none of the gold stocks followed until February, when money started going into the senior producers that were generating positive cash flow. And people were avoiding the junior exploration companies in droves because they’re negative cash flow, spending money to find adeposit.

It’s all about security and safety of capital, and our sector is unfortunately not viewed as a safe place to be putting moneyin. But at the same time, with the higher metal prices, the producers are just watching their treasuries bulge with cash, but their reserves are going down, so they’re going to have to replace their reserves. So,I think you’re going to see the majors feeling more confident, lookingat the juniors and saying, “These represent bargains,” and start buying.

Thecatalyst, as it’s been in most situations like this in the past, is going to be a major discovery, something that wakes investors up and shakes them out of their lethargy. You never know when that’s going to happen, but discoveries often happen at bottoms of markets when everybody’s given up and said, “Well, that’s a sector that I don’t wantto put my money into.”

TGR: With reserves going down, essentially we have a supply and demand issue. (EDIT : what do I always say? Simple Economics...)

RM: They have to replace their reserves.

TGR:Would we actually need a major gold discovery for the producers to comein and start buying? Wouldn’t they be in essence be speculating on sometype of discovery?

RM: I think they’re very cautious. Liquidity in the juniors is very, very limited, so if someone wants toget out, it's not always that easy, and the same is true if someone wants to buy. There are not a lot of buyers out there. When it does turn, it’s rapid and you will see a 20% to 30% move before you can really realize what’s happening.

A lot of the juniors have brought properties into production that have disappointed the market. The cost escalation in the industry has caught everybody off guard. Projects are being finished, but they’re over budget, they’redelivering less than they promised, and so the shares aren’t performingthe way investors expected. There has been a big disappointment when the promises haven’t been realized.

TGR: Is it the amount of gold that's disappointing, or the production costs?

RM:There are two elements, disappointment and economics. Say someone hasgone way over budget; they’re producing less gold than they said therewould be and at higher cost. So rather than reacting positively whenthey go into production, the market comes along and pans that story. Investors move on to a better story.

The other factor is the cost escalation, which is gigantic right now. When I was running Goldcorp we built the Red Lake Mine in '99 and 2000. Then, you could goto a supplier and get your capital goods on short lead times. The consumables were in ready supply and reasonably priced. Drilling and assay costs were all quite predictable, but in the last three to four years, the cost of everything has gone through the roof.

So, say a company says it has a deposit with a feasibility study. If thestudy is more than four or six months old, you have to increase thecost estimate by at least 25%. And in some cases, it’s much more than that.

TGR: Is there a geographic area that we should focus on where you would expect a discovery to come from?

RM: Discoveries come usually from the most unexpected quarters. The marketis so sensitized to governments stepping in and taking a bigger pieceof the deposit or withdrawing permits, or there is some trouble in thearea that is obstructing the company from doing anything with thedeposit once they’ve found it. Certain parts of the world might be veryprospective for minerals, but not very good from the standpoint of ashareholder continuing to own what they have in the property. I haven’t been a big fan of Africa and certain parts of the former Soviet Union. There are very few places in South America I would want to go. (EDIT: Argentina is an investor friendly place obviously... RM owns 30%+ of Minera Andes in Argentina)

TGR: You’ve focused mainly on Cortez Trend in Nevada?

RM:I am up and down North and South America. I like the Cortez Trend inNevada because of the infrastructure in place and the size of the golddeposits there and the currency. It’s in dollars and I expect thedollar to fall further against gold. So, the cost of exploring is goingto be less in Nevada than, say, in Canada or in Australia or otherparts of the world where the currencies are appreciating against thedollar.

TGR: The price of gold fluctuates not necessarilyon supply and demand but because of anxiety over the value of the currency. How do you, as someone speculating, exploring, and mining gold, reconcile all that?

RM: The cost of producing anounce of gold is going up. In 2001, the average price to produce anounce was $160. Today, the cost is over $400. And that’s in the spaceof six years, seven years.

Gold is a monetary metal, andtherefore it plays a very different role than most of the other metals that are produced, which are industrial. Gold is a store of value, andat certain times, such as we’re in right now where there’s a great dealof financial uncertainty, people will seek to protect capital by using gold, as a place to put their money. And I can see much, much higher prices than we have today coming out of that concern about the financial system imploding on itself right now.

TGR: With the risks that come with investing in the juniors, what do you recommend?

RM:You have to diversify your portfolio across a number of juniors. And you have to recognize the very uncomfortable fact that a junior exploration company, despite all they say, can go out and drill in the right place and have the right showings, but it might never find a deposit big enough to be economical.

TGR: Given all theuncertainty—the longer lead time, escalating costs —the prices of goldjuniors are down. Do you find them attractive now?

RM: Ithink they’re becoming attractive. They’ve lost a lot of the appreciation they have had over the last few years. There’s a very cyclical aspect to this. Somewhere along the way someone is going tostart buying those juniors for what they have.

And I thinkwe’re at that point; summer is historically a slow period for mining stocks and gold stocks, and it’s certainly very true this year that fewpeople are paying attention. I always like looking at investments whenother people are shunning them, and I think we’re in that stage rightnow.

TGR: Someone we spoke with recently claimed that thenew gold ETFS are taking away the money that would have gone into thejunior mining stocks. Do you agree with that viewpoint?

RM:I do think the new ETFs have taken money out from the seniors and the producers. The gold ETFs were the product of the World Gold Council,which is largely the senior gold producers who really wanted to addsome stability to the gold price. Their ambitions weren’t very large;they just wanted to generate a small appreciation in the gold price to stabilize their revenues. I have to chuckle somewhat when I look atwhat happened, because it’s cannibalized them. The very people who were doing all the hedging were the ones who created the ETFs, and the ETFs have driven the price of gold up with all the buying and caused these hedgers to run to cover their hedges and incur large realized and unrealized losses.

And if people wanted gold exposure, the juniors offer a different exposure. In the juniors, you’re looking fora discovery or a rocket ride, which a senior won’t ever deliver.

TGR:Rick Rule (Global Resource Investments) says there are three phases ofthe market: stealth, the wall of worry, and the mania. He says thatwe’re in the wall of worry phase related to gold. Rule also says he thinks it’s going to get to a mania, that this market is going to be alot more selective in what it does in terms of juniors and seniors.What’s your viewpoint on that?

RM: Unless the juniors come back through a discovery or through the seniors dipping into the juniors pool and buying, I would have to agree with Rick. In May of '06 we saw a peak in the mineral junior exploration company prices. All you had to do was say you found gold and you saw your stock running away onthe up side.

Investors are now realizing that certain parts of the world aren’t as friendly to their investment as others. So theyhave pulled back. It’s just the education of the investor. There is apoint where it gets carried away, and that’s the mania stage where people forget about the risks that are out there and now I think peopleare more selective.

TGR: How does one begin to look at the junior markets and find one that’s going to give you that rocket ride?

RM:That is what everybody is searching for, and if one had a formula thatcould pick every winner, you’d be a very wealthy person. I don’t thinkthere’s a hard and fast rule here. You can get discoveries out of very unexpected quarters, and that’s what creates the rocket ride. There’s alot of money being spent on exploration, and it is going to bear fruit but it is just difficult to predict when and where.

TGR: Would you recommend that individual investors invest in gold, which is currently about $900?

RM:Yes, I believe that by the end of 2010, we’ll be seeing $2,000 gold,and before the gold cycle is out, it will go up and touch $5,000, andthat will be the end of the mania phase.

I don’t believe thatwe’re out of the woods on the financial problems, and the economy hasquite a bit to shake off before it will start to look good. And there will be more people looking for answers where to put their money so they can protect it. Gold will start shining.

The annual production of gold expands the world supply by about 1% a year, whereas the money supply has been expanding at better than 8% a year around theworld, so gold is in short supply. And as we talked about at thebeginning, the cost of producing an ounce of gold is going up, and it’s going up rapidly while annual production is going down. It’s harder to find gold; it’s more expensive to produce gold; and it takes longer to build new mines, yet more people want to buy it.

TGR: Are there some gold companies that you are interested in that may see some of this bounce at the end of the summer?

RM: I have conflicts as I have large investments in a number of companies. One that’s good is Minera Andes Inc. (TSX:MAI;OTCBB:MNEAF).They have what appears to be a very large copper discovery in northern Argentina. I like that. It’s like many others down there, but it also has production, although it hasn’t seen any cash flow from its partneryet. Production should be effectively doubled by the second quarter of next year.

TGR: How about some of the other companies you have in McEwen Capital? Can you make any comments on those?

RM: I like Rubicon Minerals Corp. (RBY:AMEX, RMX:TSX),which has recently reported some very interesting high grade gold results. They are the second largest landowner in the world’s richestgold district, Red Lake, Ontario, Canada. As you know, this area is myfavorite spot because this is where we discovered a fabulous golddeposit that powered Goldcorp's growth and produced fantastic returnsfor our shareholders. Goldcorp's recent $1.5 billion takeover bid forRubicon’s neighbor, Gold Eagle Mines (GEA:TSX),dramatically highlights the big potential of the area. Rubicon appearsto be at the early stage of making an important new discovery in RedLake. It has a strong treasury in addition to large land holdingsaround a new mine and a exciting new gold discovery in Alaska andNevada, respectively.

TGR: Can you make any comment about Freegold Ventures (TSX:ITF)?

RM:Some very good explorers with good experienced management. They market it well. They’ve got some interesting projects up in Alaska — oneproject I bid on myself, trying to joint-venture it. It had some veryhigh-grade assay results, which they’re going to be drilling thissummer. And they have two other properties they’re putting intoproduction as well. It’s a good team, and they have the investor verymuch at heart.

Unfortunately, our government has put so manyrestrictions in place that from the time you say you have enoughmineral resource or reserves to justify a mine, you’re three to fiveyears away from generating any revenue. You have to permit it, buildit, and start getting a cash flow.

I’ve met a number of Chinese mining people, and they say, “What’s wrong with you people?When we find a deposit, we put into production within a year.” That’sthe competition. We have introduced our too much regulation and at the very time when a lot of our manufacturing jobs have gone off shore. Natural resources are going to be one of the sectors that keeps North America afloat. We need to abbreviate the regulatory and permitting process. The government needs to make it easier to get business donewhile maintaining all the safeguards for protecting the naturalecosystem.

TGR: Well said. Of course, we have to ask about your own company, U.S. Gold.

RM:We’re exploring in Nevada and Mexico; we have a couple of projectsthere, with two or three resource estimates coming out this quarter. Wehave 1.7 million ounces in Nevada in the Cortez Trend, which is rightnext door to Barrick’s Cortez Mine, which Barrick has stated is one ofits most exciting exploration projects. This deposit has in excess of 35 million ounces of gold and it is next door. So, our drill program isto see if we can find something that looks like the next Cortez Hills deposit.

In Mexico we have about a million acres spread acrossthree states. We have focused our drilling on the site of a historicmine where there is currently a little over a half million ouncesoutlined on that property by our 43-101 report, which is the Canadianstandard and according to the SEC we call it mineralized material. Wehave another resource estimate coming out this quarter on nearbyproperty on which are quite encouraged by what we’ve been finding.

TGR: Great. Rob, thanks for your time. We really appreciate it.

What did I miss? Bernake says things are A-OK and Gold Price stays low yet mints are N/A

So last week I took the much needed time away from the craze of investments and stock market. Checking up on what I missed during the week, I noticed Bernake's optimistic statement that spiked a short rally on Friday...

New York, NY (AHN) - U.S. markets were bought up on Friday. Positive inflation comments from Fed Chairman Bernanke and a big drop in oil prices sparked a broad-based rally in stocks.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, speaking at an annual retreat in Jackson Hole, WY, said with the dollar stabilizing, coupled with recent declines in commodity prices, that inflation is likely to slow. His word sparked a rally in the markets as investors view that as a sign the Federal Reserve will likely leave interest rates unchanged the next time they meet.

Interestingly enough, gold and silver prices have indeed fallen - as summarized by the wise chairman's "falling commodity prices". Gold today is at $822, down $100 from less than 2 weeks ago, yet if you walked down to your local bullion you would be told there's a line-up and wait-list to buy minted gold ounces. In fact, US government has gone as far as suspending sale of all non-collector gold mints just mid August 2008!!
The Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee (GATA) reported Friday that the United States Mint has suspended sales of American Eagle gold coins to their network of Authorized Purchasers.

The suspended coins are bullion coins (non collector versions) the Mint will not sell directly to the public, but instead to Authorized Purchasers who can then sell to the public.

At the time of this writing, fractional collector proof and uncirculated American Eagle gold coins are still available through the Mint’s website, although the sharp drop in gold prices without a similar reduction in coin prices has resulted in much higher premiums for collectors to assume.

An ounce of gold peaked above $1,000 an ounce as recently as March. Friday, the yellow metal plunged below $800 an ounce — falling more than 8 percent during last week’s trading sessions.

What’s the reason for faltering gold prices? According to a statement on GATA’s website by Chris Powell, Secretary/Treasurer of GATA, the Mint’s suspension is supporting evidence of a scheme to lower precious metal prices.

Last I checked, the supply-and-demand curves works this way - when supplies are down, first come first serve - people pay what they think the items' worth. A simple analogy - when inflation was in the 100%+ in Germany and USSR, a loaf of bread was $1000+. What would you rather have, worthless devalued dollars, or something that can fill your stomach and fend off hunger? The chart below shows the US Banks' involvements in short selling of Gold Futures Contracts.

For years, the data contained in the weekly Commitment of Traders Report (COT), issued by the CFTC, have indicated that several large COMEX traders have manipulated the price of silver and gold. For an equal number of years, the CFTC has reluctantly responded to public pressure over this issue with blanket denials of any wrongdoing. Many analysts have agreed with the CFTC’s position, conjuring up various ways to explain why a massive short position held by a handful of traders is not manipulative.

The recent widespread shortage of silver for retail purchase coupled with a price collapse appears to have shaken these analysts’ confidence that the COMEX silver market is operating ‘fair and square.’ Well it should, since there is no rational explanation for a significant price decline going hand in hand with product shortages other than collusive manipulation.

For any remaining doubters that COMEX silver and gold pricing is manipulated, the following CFTC data should be considered. This data is taken from a monthly report issued by the CFTC, called the Bank Participation Report. Here’s the link for the report -

An interesting dilemma, what business does the bank have in manipulating gold prices? Unlike actual gold producers hedging against gold prices to manage their risk in production costs, banks hedge against commodities merely to add to their bottomline. So what happens when they have to cover their short position and cut their losses?

That's when the long term investors reap what they sow.

Good luck to all longs in the juniors, keep in mind even the legendary long term value investor like Warren Buffet is down 33%+ so far in 2008.

Though he would be the first to caution against focusing on short-term performance, 2008 hasn't exactly been a banner year for Warren Buffett and his legendary firm Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-A - News, BRK-B - News). The stock is down over -16% year to date, and the company recently reported underwhelming Q2 earnings, as price competition in most insurance markets is expected to reduce underwriting profits throughout the year.
If you don't know of him - this is the man who averaged 27%+ and beat the S&P Index consistently for the last oh say... 40 years?
US billionaire investor Warren Buffett issued the latest of his renowned annual letters to shareholders on Friday to coincide with Berkshire Hathaway's 2007 earnings report.

"For the entire 42 years, our compounded annual gain in per-share investments was 27.1%. But the trend has been downward as we increasingly used our available funds to buy operating businesses," Buffett wrote. "Berkshire's past record can't be duplicated or even approached. Our base of assets and earnings is now far too large for us to make outsized gains in the future."
Companies like TNR Gold Corp and Minera Andes isn't so bad after all, eh?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Gold & Commodities Plummet, new-found confidence in USD$, What's going on? LUN, ABX, AUY, TNR

The last few days the price of gold has seen a dramatic drop of the $950+ days months ago.

After July 28, when interest rate is expected to be increased for $USD, the dollar has been gaining on nearly all currency and commodity. It certainly doesn't help that Europe is seeing its first economic decline since the unifying currency came into play.

Gold chart notes that we are still above the 1-year low of $650 but at the current rate, it only takes few more days of panic selling from the commodities traders to declare "the Golden Bullrun is over"!!

Is it?

Analysts say a good chunk of the story is the rebound in the U.S. dollar, which always moves in the opposite direction to gold. The greenback has soared versus the euro in recent weeks. Meanwhile, U.S. consumer prices jumped to a 17-year high in July.

The consumer price index climbed 0.8 per cent, twice as much as anticipated, the U.S. labour department announced yesterday in Washington.

The cost of living was up 5.6 per cent in the year ended in July – the biggest surge since recessionary times in January 1991.

Merrill Lynch economist David Rosenberg argues that declining inflation expectations could be the reason why people aren't clinging to their gold bars just yet, and that it's a big underpinning for the equities too.

"August is typically a period of doldrums for the industry, but it's weaker than what we had initially anticipated," noted Barry Allan of Research Capital Corp.

Funny enough, last time the US Federal Reserve Board met up on August 5, 2008, 10 out of 11 members of the committee voted in favor to keep interest rate at the current level. Only Mr. Richard Fisher, well known interest rate hiker, voted against.

Keep in mind, higher interest rate curb economic activity (more expensive for entrepreneurs to borrow funds) and inflation (stronger dollar = can purchase more goods... stronger savings interest will mean foreigners will invest more in USD$).

Rate cuts on the other hand, boosts borrowing (cheaper interest expenses) and spending in the area (encourages new businesses / economic stimulus).
Factoring in dropping price of oil per barrell to a still-high $112/barrell from its highs of $140 earlier in July, all of a sudden things are looking rosy again?

I would caution against believing popular media too much. After all, media is after sensational news and are by nature reactionary.

Clear minds would prevail with physical gold and right mix of risk of exploration company in their portfolio.

Few great companies to mention that's spectacular value before the hopeful rally in Oct-Jan 2009.

Lundin Mining ( , LUN )
Properties all over the world - exposre to Gold, Copper, Nickel, and Zinc

Down to $4.73 earlier on high volumes - construction of a large mine. Great speculator of smaller firms like Mantle Resources (zinc - MTS.v, MTS) and previously buyer of $1.4 billion offer for Tenke in South America & Argentina (ore, copper, cobalt).

Yamana Gold (AUY on NYSE)
With proven reserves and positive cashflow even in falling commodity prices - Yamana has grown from an explorer to marking its fifth anniversary this year in operation / production.

Most recent Earnings Per Share (EPS) was $0.15, not bad for a stock trading at $8 today. They are present in Argentina as well always looking for the next favorable property to acquire.

Although it would continue to evaluate noncore assets for possible disposal, Yamana would take a longer-term “portfolio approach”, Marrone said.

The Chapada, El Penon, Gualcamayo and Jacobina mines were viewed as the group's core assets going into 2009 and, as far as the rest were concerned, cash costs would be a key criterion by which operations would be judged.

Yamana has so far been able to keep costs well below the industry industry average, and any assets that did not meet this profile in the longer term could be considered noncore.

“It's not necessarily about size, it's about performance,” Marrone said.

The company was also still looking for a strategic partner to take a stake in its Agua Rica deposit, in Argentina.

Marrone conceded that the capital cost of a mine at Agua Rica, which contains copper, gold and molybdenum, would "clearly" contain cost escalations from the figures estimated in the 2006 feasibility study on the project.

However, he added that the company has received interest from parties would could take a stake in project, and pointed out that any potential investors would be more than well aware of the current inflationary environment in the mining sector.

Next we come to Barrick ( ABX ), the mining world's giant.
At $32+ a share it may not appear to be a bargain, but with proven reserves waiting to be mined at Argentina's Pascua Lama and production expectations like this:
ABX projects an annual output of 750,000 ounces of gold and 30 million ounces of silver in the first five years

At a conservative price of $700/ounce of Gold and $12/ounce Silver, that still comes to $525,000,000 of revenue per year from Gold alone and $360,000,000 of Silver sales... over first five years!!

Lastly we have a small explorer TNR Gold Corp, owned partially by Barrick (10%) that has historic reserves of 60 million tons of 1% Copper and 1 gram/ton Gold, several promising projects, and ability to revert back to project-generating company that can produce positive cashflow if needed.

If anything the company offers great solid financial backings from major funds and surpringly at this price level of $0.225 today, a cut into profits and ownership of what looks to be an interesting late exploration project at Los Azules - inferred resource by late 2008 - big milestone in terms of valuation.

A great pick up at this price with solid trading volume daily and strong longterm shareholders and proven management.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Peak Production Copper Dropping

If someone told you that production is increasing, yet inventory is going lower.

What would you think the reason is?

Could it be massive population booms in China and India meant infrastructure and construction required base metal is driving demand up?

And now that we know peak production is going down for most majors (Xstrata Copper) in Chile and worldwide... what would that mean for juniors with stake in Copper-rich areas like Chile, Bolivia, and Argentina??

World mine copper output up 26 pct in 1998-2007 -ICSG

Article layout: raw
LONDON, July 28 (Reuters) - World copper mine production rose by 26 percent to 15.4 million tonnes in the 10 years to 2007, the Lisbon-based International Copper Study Group (ICSG) said in a release on Monday.

World mine capacity rose by more than 37 percent to 17.887 million tonnes over the same period.

"Mine capacity utilization rate averaged 91 percent during the period, the rate fell sharply during the second half of the period and averaged only 87 percent in 2006-2007," ICSG said.

"(That was) as a result of lower head grades, labour unrest, equipment and utility shortages, and operational failures."

Mine production grew by an average of 1.7 percent per year in 2006 and 2007 compared with an average growth of 3 percent per year during the preceding 8 years.

World refined production rose by 28.5 percent to 18.1 million tonnes in the 10 years to 2007.

Within the total, primary refined production rose by 28 percent to 15.308 million tonnes in the 10 years to 2007 and secondary refined production increased 31 percent to 2.775 million tonnes.

"During this 10-year period, China's annual refined production nearly tripled, increasing by 2.4 million tonnes to around 3.5 million tonnes," ICSG said.

"In Chile, by 2003 production had risen to about 2.9 million tonnes, an increase of 600,000 tonnes, before stabilizing at about that level."

ICSG said significant increases also occurred in Australia, India, Japan, South Korea, Russian Federation and Zambia. Together they added more than 1.7 million tonnes to world refined production.

The United States, which had been the leading world producer in 1998 slipped to fourth position as a world producer of refined copper.

"Annual refined copper usage increased by 34 percent during the 10-year period from 13.5 million tonnes to 18.1 million tonnes -- annual growth rate of 3.4 percent," ICSG said.

"Growth has been driven by China, where usage over the 10-year period increased by around 3.5 million tonnes -- a rise of 250 percent. The annual growth rate over the period excluding China was only 1 percent."

Total world copper stocks rose from 1998 to a peak at 2.05 million tonnes in 2002. Stocks began to decline in 2003, and by the end of 2007 had fallen by around 1 million tonnes.

(Reporting by Pratima Desai; editing by Michael Roddy)



Copyright Thomson Financial News Limited 2008. All rights reserved. The copying, republication or redistribution of Thomson Financial News Content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Thomson Financial News.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Minera Andes Inc - McEwan (aka. past CEO and Founder of Gold Corp GG ) joins board!

Minera Andes is a favorite of us here at Mining 101, simply because the hybrid production-explorer business model guarantees certain protection against shareholder dilution like most risky explorers out there.

From one of their recent news releases, they have been making some good money last few quarters.

Minera Andes Inc. has released details of the San Jose mine performance to June 30, 2008. The San Jose project is operated by Minera Santa Cruz SA (MSC) and is owned 49 per cent by Minera Andes and 51 per cent by Hochschild Mining PLC. Hochschild is the operator of the project. Gross proceeds from metal sales during the second quarter of 2008 were $63.7-million. Over the past 12 months, the San Jose project has produced gross sales of approximately $74.6-million in gold and silver, mostly from the last three quarters.

The San Jose mine commenced its operation a year ago and is now at full production. Production in the second quarter 2008 totalled 1,093,000 ounces of silver and 12,410 ounces of gold, of which 49 per cent is attributable to Minera Andes. Currently, plans are under way to expand the mine and double the current production rate by year-end 2008.

Allen Ambrose, president of Minera Andes, said: "The San Jose project now has cash flow that is being used to pay for the expansion of the mine this year and for the connection to the regional power grid. Remaining funds will be used to begin repayment of the joint venture project debt. With our current cash position of approximately $8.4-million and the mine with cash flow, we are well positioned to grow the company."

Very impressive indeed. So when they added their last news release, you would only expect their share price to go up even more, right!


Apparently adding the expertise of the founder and ex-CEO of Gold Corp. (Yes, the one and only), Robert McEwan, is not even enough in this market to trigger a positive response!

Remember, this is the man who grew Gold Corp and gave investors $23,000 for every $1,000 invested from 1993, before he resigned to start his new company US Gold.

WHEN ROBERT MCEWEN got up to speak at his company's annual meeting earlier this month, his first words were: "GOLD is money." It's become a mantra for the soft-spoken chairman and chief executive of Goldcorp Inc. "You can help your family and friends," he went on, offering advice to the 500 or so believers and investors gathered at the CBC's Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto, "if you get them to buy gold." It's worked for McEwen. In a market that's lost 50 per cent in value since its September 2000, peak McEwen's company's stock price has doubled, twice, in the past two years. Investors who put $1,000 into Goldcorp in 1993 now have an investment worth close to $23,000. With $460 million in assets and no debt, McEwen is sitting on a gold mine. Literally.

McEwen's firm is a mid-size Canadian mining company with operations in North Dakota and Saskatchewan. It has stakes in a handful of junior exploration companies. But its crown jewel is in northwestern Ontario: the Red Lake mine, first developed in the 1940s. By the time McEwen bought it, in 1989, it was thought to be nearly played out. Wrong. Today, Red Lake is the world's richest gold mine. It's made his shareholders happy and McEwen enormously wealthy. Recently, he donated $10 million for research to Toronto's University Health Network (three major hospitals) and on June 23, Prince Edward will officially open the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine. But before riches and royalty entered his life, McEwen had to overcome major hurdles. In his bid to extract the gold he believed all along was at the Red Lake site, he faced lawsuits, a family feud, a debilitating strike and a death threat, not to mention an investment community that didn't believe in him. "It's funny," McEwen says today, "how things turn around."

Looking at Minera Andes`s chart from that news release and onwards, you would think that maybe a horrible accident had happened at the San Jose mine or something!

It spiked from $1.04 to $1.14, then down to $1.01, lower than it opened earlier before the news release!

Minera Andes operates in the very mining friendly province of San Juan, Argentina, and has two key properties.

The producing San Jose gold mine (49% MAI`s) joint with Mauricio Hochschild & Cia. Ltda (51%) - keeps MAI`s bottomline profitable, while most of their exploration goes towards bringing their promising Los Azules project to production stage.

As MAI`s already at $1+ 200 day moving average range, I would put my money on the promising junior - TNR Gold Corp which has a 25% on portions of Los Azules.

Think about it, TNR`s at about $0.25 - when this inferred resource is announced from Los Azules by 2008 Q4 (CEO from MAI says so!) TNR would have 25% on say... 4 million lbs of copper... it would really solidify the company`s worth. If MAI`s at $1.40 and has only a 49% portion on a mine, 25% on Los Azules should at least justify $0.50 from where TNR is currently at, no?

the exploration program at Los Azules is designed to define an inferred resource and provide sufficiently detailed engineering and technical information to allow the completion of an economic scoping study (a preliminary assessment as defined by National Instrument 43-101) of the property by the fourth quarter of this year.
Not to mention MAI is the type of company that loves to advance projects with help of a major, and with a heavy weight advisor like Mr. McEwan, I am pretty sure the name Gold Corp carries some weight in the mining world... financing money wouldn`t be as big as an issue for him...!

I am definitely liking the story for TNR more and more... if they are fully carried to production with this Los Azules and MAI... story is going to get really interesting, to say the least.

Did I mention, Barrick Gold also owns close to 10% of TNR?

Barrick on the brink of a new century was much the same as Barrick historically aquisitions, steady production, and exceptional profit. In March, the company reached an agreement with TNR Resources to buy many of its Argentinian properties, an area in which Barrick was already established through its El Indio gold belt explorations and mining. Yet Peter Munk was determined not to take his company's fortunes for granted. Quoted in the corporate history by Peter C. Newman, which Barrick commissioned and published in 1995, Munk said: '... We tell each other not to get too euphoric. I remind them [his executive management team] not to be caught in the deadly sin of hubris. We must never start believing we're invincible; that would be fatal. I keep repeating to my people--and I make them repeat it back to me so I'm sure they get it--that we are still the same human beings we were 10 years ago when we were struggling. Balance sheets change but people don't. We'll never get too big for our britches.'

Monday, August 11, 2008

Georgia - Russia - US War Conflict, Oil / Gold prices plummets, Junior Stock Prices

As far as mining goes, oil is a huge expense for drills and mobilization into difficult to reach areas. Some companies have reported $100,000 a day just in helicopter expenses and drill costs.

Responding to supply and demand, when production is lowered, or when there is a threat of oil supply tightening - prices inflect upwards in correspondance.

This is where it gets interesting - or to be accurate, completely irrational.

The Pipeline War: Russian bear goes for West's jugular
By Svetlana Skarbo and
Jonathan Petre
Last updated at 1:00 PM on 10th August 2008

The war in Georgia escalated dangerously last night after Russian jets reportedly bombed a vital pipeline that supplies oil to the West.

After a day of heightening international tensions, Georgian leaders claimed that the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, which transports oil from the Caspian Sea to Turkey, had been attacked. But it is thought the bombs missed their target.

Their claims came after Russian jets struck deep into the territory of its tiny neighbour, killing civilians and ‘completely devastating’ the strategic Black Sea port of Poti, a staging post for oil and other energy supplies.

Reports last night also said that Russia had bombed the international airport in Tbilisi.

A bloodied woman lies injured in the ruins of an apartment block in Gori after another Russian air strike

Georgian economic development minister Ekaterina Sharashidzne said: ‘This clearly shows that Russia has targeted not just Georgian economic outlets but international economic outlets as well.’

The pipeline is 30 per cent owned by BP and supplies 1 per cent of the world’s oil needs, pumping up to a million barrels of crude per day to Turkey.
It is crucial to the world’s volatile energy market and the only oil and gas route that bypasses Russia’s stranglehold on energy exports from the region.

As President Bush led the West in intensifying pressure on Russia to halt the bombing in Georgia last night, the two countries were edging closer to full-scale war over their conflicting claims for disputed territory.

Under attack: Georgian soldiers in the town of Gori sprint past a block of flats destroyed by a Russian bomber

Georgia’s President Mikheil Saakashvili called for a ceasefire and accused Moscow of mounting an unprovoked invasion that put ‘the entire post-Cold War order of Europe and the world at stake’.

But Moscow said that the conflict could not be resolved unless Georgia withdrew from its breakaway region of South Ossetia. The alarming developments followed a second day of drama and bloodshed in the pro-Western country in which:

• Russian jets widened the offensive by bombing the central Georgian town of Gori – Joseph Stalin’s birthplace – in an attack on military targets that Georgian authorities claimed killed 60 civilians, and attacked the port of Poti.
• Georgia claimed that Russian troops had opened a new front by moving into another disputed province, Abkhazia, which has also suffered from ethnic tensions.
• Georgia declared a state of war, recalled all its 2,000 troops from Iraq and ordered a mass call-up with reservists being sent to the war zone to ‘defend the motherland’.
• Russia claimed that it had ‘completely liberated’ the capital of South Ossetia Tskhinvali – a claim denied by Georgia – after flying in elite troops in an operation Moscow said was intended to force Georgia into a ceasefire.
• Georgia claimed to have shot down 12 Russian combat aircraft – but Moscow confirmed that only two planes were missing.
• Georgia may pull its 35-strong Olympic team out of the Beijing games because of the Russian military attacks, the country’s National Olympic Committee said
In the past any type of remote threat to the oil supply has been met with another hike in oil prices - is the rise in USD that powerful of an emotional roadblock that people can no longer think rationally?

Freddie Mae and Fannie Mac's debts have not been written off magically into thin air. It's coming from taxpayer's pocket, in times when unemployment is hitting all time highs and consumer confidence is at lows.

Humor is a must to get through these tough times, have a chuckle at the latest variation of inflation as deduced by professional economists... Stuckflation.

We can see headlines today all over NYSE and NASDAQ

U.S. stocks solidly up as crude offers definitive drop

Will this be sustainable? Only as far as until the next round of bad news I think. Rounds of quarterly reports are due soon - but some experts are conservative about issuing pure statements about gold and commodity prices in the short term.

Well respected fund managers alike and amateur investors from Minyanville comments that lowered gold and oil prices aren't necessarily a good thing.


Simple - it means the economy is slowing down, for North America at least.

And with falling currency and China / Russia / India starting to wake up, it could be the London Exchange that takes over as the dominant exchange soon.

Jeff Saut, lead economist and analyst from Raymond James is still bullish on gold. He's a well known advocate for gold back in 2001 and continues his holdings for his clients.
With the dollar rallying and commodities slumping of late, a lot of folks have declared the commodity boom to be dead.

But "it's still the first or second inning" of the cycle, says Jeff Saut, chief investment strategist at Raymond James, citing a ratio of the CRB Index vs. the S&P and (more importantly) growth in emerging markets

Saut was one of the first on Wall Street to recognize the approaching boom, turning bullish on commodities and "stuff stocks" back in late 2001.

He reduced those bets - and corresponding bearish dollar positions - in late 2007 but still believes "the wind is still at the back" of not just oil, gas and coal but base metals, agriculture, timber i.e. Anything where "if you drop it on your foot it hurts," he says.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Wave of Bank Loss Continues led by RBS,, HSBC - Who to believe?

For those of you who missed the slaughter yesterday, gold's now down below $900 again - first time in over a month. The loss of gold futures yesterday was summarized as a drop in overall commodities with oil dropping by $22/barrel to $120.

With the drop in commodities surely interest is set to go up for the banks and such... has the economy already recovered?

Not so fast... another array of bad news is seemingly inevitable in light of recent headline.

Britain's second largest bank expected to reveal it has lost £1 billion in first half

THE Royal Bank of Scotland is poised to unveil the biggest loss in UK banking history after taking a hit of almost £6 billion from the credit crisis.

Britain’s second-largest bank is this week expected to reveal a pre-tax loss of at least £1 billion for the first six months of the year, with analysts warning it could slide to as much as £1.7 billion in the red.

The loss would be roughly five times higher than the deficit racked up by Barclays in 1992 at the height of the last recession.

RBS chairman Sir Tom McKillop is already under pressure from investors after the bank’s recent £12 billion rights issue. His chief executive, Sir Fred Goodwin, who marks 10 years at the bank this weekend, also faces shareholder scrutiny.

The bank is scouring the world to find three new non-executive directors to shore up its board in response to shareholder concerns.

The RBS figures will cap another terrible week for Britain’s biggest banks as the credit crisis continues to take its toll.

HSBC is expected to write off almost $7 billion (£3.5 billion) in bad debts at its struggling American business from the first six months of the year. The charge will drag its profits roughly 30% lower to about $10 billion.

Barclays is forecast to reveal a 35% drop in profits to £2.6 billion as bad debts around the world, particularly in South Africa, combine with further losses from its exposure to the credit markets.

Some analysts believe Barclays could chalk up another £3 billion of writedowns, in addition to the £1.7 billion it recorded in the first quarter.

Scary isn't it? Even those banks that seemingly had its hands clean from the subprime is uncovering some nasty skeletons from their closets... TD Canada Trust (TD on NYSE) and HSBC.

HSBC Holdings PLC, Europe's biggest bank by market value, reported the steepest earnings decline since 2001 on record subprime mortgage defaults in the U.S.

Net income for the six months ended June 30 dropped 29 per cent to $7.7 billion US, or 65 cents a share, from $10.9 billion, or 94 cents, a year earlier, the company said Monday. Chairman Stephen Green called the outlook "highly challenging."

HSBC, the first European bank to take losses on U.S. subprime mortgages, set aside an additional $10.1 billion this year.

With that in mind it's difficult for a rational person to realisticly expect any of their investment and dollar holdings to be secure 100% in a traditional bank. After all, IndyMac was trading at $35/share a year before its full collapse and a literal bank run (grab your cash while you can!!) last month!

Newsletter writer ClifDroke, featured regularly on Financial Sense, a great network of well respected writers and analysts (Doug Casey and guru James Turke , recently commented on a few junior stocks worth looking at.

Mag Silver (MAG on TSX at $9.67), NAK Northern Dynasty of the Pebble Deposit fame at $7.19, and our perennial favorite, the resilient stock that just comes back every time, TNR Gold Corp ($0.25).

Mr. Droke goes on to refresh readers on the key properties:

1. El Salto - 6km x 1km huge property capable of hosting many world class mines - water, road, fully accessible year round (weather moderate at 1500m elevation). Tremendous potential - pending drilling results from 6000m drill program releasing soon?

Famous belt of Gold-Copper mines called "Yellow Belt" - Barrick and Yamana both have large holdings there... Lundin still holds company called Suramina Resources there still. (read: Lucas Lundin manages it).
Last I remember, Barrick also owns 10% of TNR. If that doesn't mean a vote of confidence I don't know what will!

2. El Tapau - Just started drilling recently - very promising especially with past results of 0.7% Copper over just a shallow 100m+? Hopefully assays are faster now that so many mining companies are moving out due to cold weather!!

3. Eureka - I like this one personally - after all Penoles is a respected mining company in Mexico - and they provided a historic estimate of 60 million pounds of 1%+ Copper and 1 gram/ton Gold

In case you don't know who Penoles Minerals are - they are operators of the world’s richest silver mine and Mexico’s richest and largest gold mines - I'm talking about the equivalent of Barrick!! - Safe to say the report shouldn't be too far from the truth... but like most investors I am awaiting the 43-101 to fully have my confidence in the estimate... keep in mind this was based only on 70m of 450m depth of explorations too!!
Industrias Peñoles really has a silver lining -- the company is one of the world's largest silver producers. Peñoles has proved and probable reserves of more than 350 million ounces of silver, some 4 million ounces of gold, 6500 thousand tons of lead, and 2 million ounces of zinc. It is also involved in several mining joint ventures, as well as mining exploration projects in Peru. The company's Metals segment smelts lead, refines silver, and produces sulfuric acid and other smelting byproducts. Its Chemicals group produces such chemicals as sodium sulfate and ammonium sulfate. Exports account for nearly two-thirds of sales. Peñoles is part of Mexican conglomerate Grupo BAL.
4. Los Azules - Minera Andes - inferred resource by 2008 - 25% back-in - always interesting
and puts more "minerals in the ground" for the company so to speak - should help stabilitze TNR's valuations once it comes... less than 1/2 year away if sticks to their promise (which they have been impressive on so far)

That's it for today, happy investing everyone!