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The Marc Faber affair: In praise of Sprott Inc and its CFO

The whole sordid Marc Faber issue may have indeed exposed that erstwhile thought leader and industry paragon for what he truly is, i.e. a grubby and pathetic racist, but it has its silver lining. Over the years this humble corner of cyberspace has been largely agnostic about the big industry player Sprott Inc (SII) but the way in which that company acted swiftly and decisively when faced with the fact that they'd unwittingly brought a bigot onto their board of directors deserves the fullest praise. There was no hesitation, the tone was set immediately and I am quite sure the way in which Ivanhoe and NovaGold quickly followed suit (not to mention the media companies who have vowed not to book Faber again) was at least in part to the lead given by Sprott Inc and its CEO Peter Grosskopf.

But special praise goes out to Kevin Hibbert, CFO of Sprott. He happens to be an African-Canadian and around midday yesterday sent this internal mail to his colleagues at Sprott. IKN has got its hands on the mail and it's well worth a wider view. Well said Kevin Hibbert and full kudos to Sprott. 

Note: One name has been redacted from the mail.

From: Kevin Hibbert
Sent: Tuesday, October 17, 2017 12:06 PM

Many of the people who reached out to me including a couple of my CFO peers on the street, one of the analysts covering our stock, and even (name removed) said how impressed they were with how it was managed.

I respectfully disagree with Dr. Faber's views. In my view, we are a smarter, more capable society when we are all embraced for who we are and what we can bring to the table. I like to think that if the concept of diversity and inclusiveness was in place 200 years ago (and admittedly we still have a ways to go as a society), that perhaps our world would be in a much better place than it is right now. To suggest that a majority group established to a large degree on institutionalized discrimination, racism and oppression was somehow "beneficial" in any way to a society (economic, political or otherwise as Dr. Faber suggested in his comments) is puzzling to me. I am still a little shocked and embarrassed to know that a board member of a company I was so proud of working for could have these views.

Actions speak louder than words, and clearly, the way Sprott responded to this matter shows me that this is truly home.

Fernando de Szyszlo 7

We finish our series in homage to the late Fernando de Szyszlo with the work widely considered to be his masterpiece, 'Inkarri'.

Asanko (AKG) demands a correction from IKN

Yesterday morning this humble corner of cyberspace received a mails from one Rob Slater, the "Executive Coporate (sic) Development & Strategy" person at Asanko Gold (AKG), which demanded "an immediate public correction" of the post published by IKN last Friday that stated Asanko had once again (i.e. these people are serial offenders) given special tip-off information to a select group of sellside anal ysts at a recent breakfast meeting. Sorry Rob, you can stick your correction where the sun doesn't shine because either a) you are not aware of the meeting in question which did in fact take place b) you are deliberately trying to confuse it with a meeting that was declared by the company or c) you are lying. 

This blog has previously and will happily provide in the future correction when information published turns out to be incorrect, but in this case there is no retraction at all, not a single intercoursing word. For further thoughts on this matter, Rob Slater coporate executive (see screenshot below), we refer you to the reply given in the case of Arkell v. Pressdram.


Michael Ballanger has been a naughty boy

And now Michael Ballanger is going to have his botty spanked. Link here.

IN THE MATTER OF Michael Ballanger – Settlement Hearing
October 17 , 2017 (Toronto, Ontario) – A hearing has been scheduled before a Hearing Panel of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) to consider whether the panel should accept a Settlement Agreement entered into between IIROC staff and Michael Ballanger.
The Settlement Agreement concerns conduct involving a failure to comply with the policies and procedures regarding new product reviews and the receipt and containment of confidential information at the investment firm where Mr. Ballanger worked.
The hearing is not open to the public, but will become open in the event that the panel accepts the agreement. If the agreement is accepted, the Panel’s decision and the Settlement Agreement will be made available at
Documents related to ongoing IIROC enforcement proceedings – including Reasons and Decisions of Hearing Panels – are posted on the IIROC website as they become available. Click here to search and access all IIROC enforcement documents.
Hearing Date: Thursday October 26, 2017 at 10:00 a.m.
Location: IIROC, 121 King Street West, Suite 2000, Toronto, Ontario
IIROC formally initiated the investigation into Mr. Ballanger’s conduct in October 2014. The conduct occurred while he was a Registered Representative in Toronto with Richardson GMP, an IIROC-regulated firm. Mr. Ballanger is no longer a registrant with an IIROC-regulated firm.
The Notice of Application announcing the settlement hearing is available at:

Thank you reader W for the heads up.

UPDATE: We don't know the details of the charges against Ballanger, but we do know it's about his conduct in October 2014. Just out of interest, in October 2014 Tinka Resources was trading at around 18c, sometimes as low as 16c. On November 13th 2014, when Tinka announced its graduation to the Tier 1 of the TSXV, it shot to 26c and 27c on volume. In that same NR Ballanger was named as the new member of the company's advisory committee. He has since then been fired by TK.

Marc Faber can go fuck himself

"I don't want to enter into a serious discussion of about the tearing down of monuments of historical personalities, but I cannot omit mentioning how the liberal hypocrites condemned the Taliban when they blew up the world's two largest standing Buddhas (one of them 165 feet high), situated at the foot of the Hindu Kush mountains of central Afghanistan, in 2001. But the very same people are now disturbed by statues of honourable people whose only crime was to defend what all societies had done for more than 5,000 years: keep a part of the population enslaved. And thank God white people populated America, and not the blacks. Otherwise, the US would look like Zimbabwe, which it might look like one day anyway, but at least America enjoyed 200 years in the economic and political sun under a white majority. I am not a racist, but the reality — no matter how politically incorrect — needs to be spelled out as well. (And let's not forget that the African tribal heads were more than happy to sell their own slaves to white, black, and Arab slave dealers.)"

There are several thousand things that could be said about this, but let's keep it succinct: Taking a myopic view of one segment of history, packaging it not only as an objective fact but the only one that should be considered, then using it as a prop for white supremacist opinion isn't just racist, it's the epitome of racism. I spit on your grave, Marc Faber.

UPDATE: I hope the boards of NovaGold and Ivanhoe follow suit quickly:

Sprott Announces Resignation of Director

TORONTO, October 17, 2017 - Sprott Inc. (TSX: SII) ("Sprott" or the "Company") today announced that at the request of the Board of Directors and Sprott management, Marc Faber has resigned as a director of the Company effective immediately.
“The recent comments by Dr. Faber are deeply disappointing and are completely contradictory with the views of Sprott and its employees,” said Peter Grosskopf, CEO of Sprott. “We pride ourselves on being a diverse organization and comments of this sort will not be tolerated. We are committed to providing an inclusive workplace for all of our employees and we extend the same respect to our clients and investors.”
Also, this on Bloomberg now:



UPDATE 2: And NovaGold and Ivanhoe also do the right thing:

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Oct. 17, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ivanhoe Mines’ (TSX:IVN) (OTCQX:IVPAF) values of equality, respect and dignity for all people are a fundamental underpinning of the company’s enterprise and the conduct of every aspect of its business. There is zero tolerance for racism. Ivanhoe Mines disagrees with, and deplores, the personally-held views about race that Marc Faber has published in his current investment newsletter. As a result, Ivanhoe Mines requested, and has accepted, Dr. Faber’s resignation as a member of the Ivanhoe Board of Directors, effective immediately.

NOVAGOLD Announces Departure of Director

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Oct. 17, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- NOVAGOLD RESOURCES INC. (TSX:NG) (NYSE American:NG) today announced the resignation of Marc Faber from NOVAGOLD’s Board of Directors effective immediately.

There will be no further posts on this blog today

For secret reasons.

Fernando de Szyszlo 6


So here's the juice on the "BTO is buying SBB" rumour...

...that's been doing the rounds this morning.

It's Bullshit.

But like all the best rumours, it's wrapped in a package of small facts and logical assumptions. We know The Clive has had informal chats with Sabina and we know BTO likes the project, but for one thing the asking price is too high and for another, the whole sale will be one of those shopping processes, an auction that won't kick off til 2018 earliest. SBB isn't even going to entertain formal offers before then.

Bottom line: Another BS tale doing the rounds in order to try to drive BTO's share price down.

The brainstorm meeting at the junior mining company

"Well gents*, we need to do something. Commercial production has been delayed again, we're going to run out of cash, the balance sheet is an unholy mess and we're going to have to raise via another dilutive placement soon."

"But that's going to kill our share price! And it's already a pig this year!"

"Yeah I know, so we need to think of some way to pump it up and get a bunch of sheep to run it up before we announce."

"Hey! I have an idea! Why don't we announce a "three year plan"? We can tell them we're going to explore and add a boatload of ounces. After all, getting a resource out of all the sulphide stuff we have will be easy!"

"But we can't leach the sulphide like that! Totally different thing!"

"Dude, the dumbass sheep won't catch onto that! They'll just look at the headlines like they always do. This is a way of sounding serious, making it look long-term and adding resources without it costing much. And the longer we do this, the less they'll look at our financials. We can talk up adding oxide ounces too if you want."

"Hmmm...not a bad idea. When can you get a NR out there?"

"I'll put it together this weekend, we can publish on Monday."

"Great. Do it."

Welcome to the Rye Patch Gold (RPM.v) news release this morning.

*There are no ladies present. This is, after all, a junior mining management team.

There aren't many certainties in this world, but... thing you can bet the house, car, dog and contents of your kitchen upon is that after its production NR today, in the next few days Eric Sprott is going to choose one of his preferred lines of media communication and pump the merry bejeez out of Excellon Resources (

And don't say you weren't warned.

Fernando de Szyszlo 5


The IKN Weekly, out now

I don't know if that number's still accurate. I presume it must have been.

IKN439 has just been sent to subscribers. Gold producers day.