Archives of the late Jane Gaffin, Yukon writer/ journalist

I recently stumbled upon two repositories of articles and books written by Jane. Jane was a staunch defender of Yukon’s prospectors and the mining industry. She was also highly focused on Freedom and Gun Rights and against the UN and it’s agencies. Jane hated the Yukon bureacracy when it went off the rails, and led towards what she called  “Yukonslavia”! And Jane wasn’t afraid to name names.

As Jane describes the site:

A WordPress site primarily focused on government bottom-spanking and political Blastograms


This site includes 3 very extensive compilations of mining related articles and musings. One is on the Whitehorse Copper belt, it’s history, geology and the people who explored and mined there. Another is an archive of articles associated with the late prospector/ geologist Jim McFaull and his trials and tribulations. This includes Jim’s long time struggle to retain the powers of the Yukon Quartz Mining Act. The third (and longest) archive is related to prospector Al Carlos, his life and times with a focus on a run-in with authority that demonstrated the general lack of gun rights in Canada.

The second site is

This site has a large list of articles by Jane that only partially overlap with the WordPress writings. Quite a few stories about prospectors….



US, world holds its breath with uncertain Yukon election results

WHITEHORSE – With the outcome far from certain in the Yukon territorial election on November 7th, other nations across the globe have been increasingly anxious about who will become Premier.

The upcoming vote for the second-most populous territory in Canada has been closely watched by US media outlets for the past two years.

Last week, world markets were sent into a tailspin when a recent poll showed the governing Yukon Party virtually tied with the Yukon Liberal Party, and the Yukon NDP close behind.

According to Sean Trende of RealClearPolitics, hourly polling of Yukon residents have demonstrated that it could come down to a single vote to determine the next government. “Our website has crashed repeatedly from millions of viewers trying to see the latest likeability poll between Premier Darrell Pasloski, Liberal Leader Sandy Silver and NDP Leader Liz Hanson. Americans are also concerned about fourth party candidates such as Green Party Leader Frank de Jong splitting the vote.”

US Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have both said they will be biting their nails as the first results trickle in on Monday night. “Whatever the outcome is, I am calling for calm in the Yukon,” announced Clinton in a campaign stop in Florida.

“The swing riding of Vuntut Gwitchin will be key to a Liberal victory,” explained Fox News commentator Charles Krauthammer. “If all 165 voters show up to the polls, Silver may pull off an upset, unless [Yukon Party] Darius Elias crosses the floor again back to the Grits.”

Russia has made an effort to influence the outcome of the election by conducting two military drills in near Herschel Island in response the NDP’s proposal to improve Yukon College.

According to CNN, the race has been very divisive. Wolf Blitzer explained “Locals who support opposing parties will only say ‘Hello, how are you?’ to each other rather than sharing long anecdotes about recent hunting or hiking trips. Whoever is declared Premier at the end of this will have to do a lot a reuniting the territory, if it’s not already too late.”


Well, first off I am no Muckpile Mike. My name is Teddy Salad, a Yukon mining investigator disguised as a sled dog. You know what they say, when you aren’t the lead dog, the view never changes. So my slant on northern mining is likely to be more cynical, sarcastic, poorly written and less frequent than the gems regularly produced by Mike. And I have had to dust off my Fortran programming skills to write a blog for the first time. Also, cut me some slack, as typing with paws really sucks…

Sincerely, Teddy


PS All posts older than this one were written by Muckpile Mike, though they now appear to be written by me… not sure how to fix this.


Debt, space and data expropriation

Debt extinction watch…

We’ll take the cash: Anglo bondholders tender $1.2B. [Bloomberg]  Looks like the buyback is one of the gotta-do-it things that come up when your bonds get downgraded to junk.  A portion was purchased for less than face value.

Vale looking to sell core assets to reduce debt. [Republic of Mining]  The wolf must be getting closer to the door:

Vale is “actively exploring more aggressive actions for this deleveraging, including the sale of core assets,” Mr. Ferreira [CEO] said.

End times: Moody’s threatens to downgrade Exxon. [Bloomberg]

Step back

Meanwhile…  on a planet far far away from reality,  Space mining race heats up. [Reuters]

Space mining, extracting resources from near-earth asteroids, is “not science fiction any more”.  With these words, spoken by Jean-Jacques Dordain, the former director general of the European Space Agency, Luxembourg announced its entry into the space-mining race.

The biggest component of operating in space is that of launching rockets from Earth, around $100,000 per kg of material, according to NASA.  NASA’s Osiris-Rex mission to the Bennu asteroid, scheduled for launch later this year, will cost $800 million and bring back a maximum two kilogrammes of sample.

Private operators such as Planetary Resources Inc. (PRI) and Deep Space Industries are getting in on the action, chasing the promise by U.S. astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson that, “the first trillionaire, in the world, is going to be the person who first mines  asteroids”.

You wouldn’t take investment advice from a geophysicist; why would you trust an astrophysicist?

Zinc flips, now leads lead. [Reuters]  Bottom line: winter’s over and it wasn’t a bad one.  Back off on the battery production.  The zinc bulls of course see it differently…

Diamond miners getting ahead of themselves? [Rappaport]  Only De Beers seems to be holding back production and stockpiling.  Alrosa and Rio need cash and are selling.

diamond produciton

New mindset needed for exploration. [Northern Ontario Business]   Here’s a bright idea from Douglas Morrison, president and CEO, Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation; network director, Ultra-Deep Mining Network in Sudbury:

There is a huge amount of data tied up in large claim holdings around long-closed mines and old mine workings near to operating mines, much of it ignored for many years.  In many cases, the corporation has no interest in the data, or does not even know what it has.  It should be shared with, or transferred to, provincial agencies to manage access for future study and perhaps new ideas and techniques will initiate a new phase of investigation and discovery.

Got it.  Expropriate proprietary data so a government-&-big-boy-funded “centre for excellence” can generate a value-added product for … who?  Actually this sounds like an old idea:

eminent domain

Diamond market news

Molycorp creditors strike a deal. []  Vultures being trained to share….

According to court documents, the deal allows for the sale of the company or a reorganization and ends litigation between the company’s unsecured creditors and Molycorp’s lender, Oaktree Capital Management.  The unsecured creditors had accused Oaktree of using its position as lender to place an “exorbitantly expensive noose around Molycorp Group’s neck” and seize control once the miner had been pushed into bankruptcy.

Trouble ahead in the rough diamond market.

Indian polished exports plunge -42% while rough imports are up 16%. [Rough & Polished]

More American jewelers are closing up shop. [Rappaport]  +10% in 2015 Y0Y.

And if that weren’t enough…   Fake natural diamonds showing up on Alibaba. [Rough & Polished]

The World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) warns that a vendor on the world’s leading online global wholesale trading platform Alibaba has offered CVD lab grown diamonds inscribed with the numbers of genuine GIA graded natural diamond reports.  According to WFDB, a New Delhi based company called International Trading Corporation (ITC) claims to have an ability to supply 10,000 carats of CVD diamonds per week and to have a stock of more than 25,000 certified diamonds. 

Synthetics are cheaper (by ~30%), flawless and you can’t tell them from natural diamonds. [JewelryNotes]   … unlike another popular natural diamond competitor…

Cubic zirconium

On PDAC’s perennial annual flow through campaign. [LinkedIn]  One Jean Pierre Colin tells it like it is….

Does PDAC or anyone else possibly think that by making junior mining shares more attractive in price, even though they are now trading at all time historic bottom lows, does anyone really think that will restore exploration expenditures in Canada. Is that what anyone thinks? A few more tax deductions will restore a dead market?

The only people who do think that a Mineral Exploration Tax Credit is a solution that the Government of Canada should implement as a solution are the ones who already benefit from such a credit. Those people are the mining Flow-Through Share Funds, the mining exploration limited partnerships and the ones who make a living doing clever tax charity donation flow through deals. It appears that the PDAC has been hijacked by non-mining people! Is history being re-written by some conqueror?

Default watch

Moody’s watch list. []  Companies poised on the verge of junk status…

Junk list

Rough diamond market is marking time. [Polished Prices]

Traders in the secondary market said the buying frenzy witnessed over the past few weeks had somewhat eased. “The rough market seems less crazy, but it’s still active,” said one trader. All eyes are on the De Beers February sight this coming week. There was talk among sightholders of a small sight, which some said was surprising given that there was a shortfall in polished. Alrosa is expected to push sales volumes at its February sale, after selling double the amount it planned to sell in January. “Retail sales results in China are not good, so maybe one or two more strong months for rough and then we might see a reversal,” one trader said.

First Quantum in danger of default. [Mining Weekly]  Low Cu and Ni prices combined with production restrictions because of low water levels (power) in Zambia could put them in default of covenants on some of their $3.5B debt.  A cascade effect is possible.

Want lithium?  Head to Chile. [IKN]  Lithium …. not common but not rare.


Debt zinc and … lithium again

Banks worried about commodity boom debt. [Bloomberg]  Borrow $100K and can’t pay it back; you have problem.  Borrow $3.6T and can’t pay it back?  The banking system has a problem.

Chinese zinc refiners slash fees as zinc supply shrink.  [Reuters]  Just in time for PDAC, some red meat for zinc bulls:

Chinese zinc refineries have agreed to take sharply lower fees for processing raw material into metal as a long awaited shortage rears its head following the closure of several giant mines, industry sources said this week.  Zinc mine supply has been shrinking as several blockbuster mines such as Australia’s Century and Ireland’s Lisheen have dried up with no new major lodes in the pipeline, and as prices near six-year lows force miners to slash output.

Zinc crossed lead again this morning and doubtless there will be talk of xx% gains this year.  Which is easy to do when you’re down in the $0.70 range…


Kinross gets thrown on the junk pile. [Bloomberg]  S&P downgrades them a couple of notches citing:

“We expect the company’s competitive position to remain weaker than its investment-grade peers over the next two years, which primarily reflects Kinross’ comparatively higher cost structure.”


S&P also cited Kinross operations in Russia as a reason for the downgrade. The company is “highly reliant” on production from mines in the country, “which contribute to operating risk exposure that we no longer consider commensurate with a ’BBB-’ rating,” the agency said.

tossing junk

Finning to slash another 500 jobs. []  … which on top of last year’s cuts will reduce their work force by 17%.   Looks like the plunging loonie hasn’t cushioned miners (and especially oilsand miners) as much as hoped.

Lithium news…  where all the cool kids are now.

IKN on LIX. [Inka Kola News]   It’s kind of fun to watch….


Avalon Rare Metals Tin Lithium. [Stockhouse]  Ya gotta do what you’ve gotta do when the circus moves on.

10.          What is the most common misapprehension investors have about your company?
The most common misapprehension that investors have is that Avalon is a one-project company, focused only on rare earths. This has never been the case but investors tend to assume that all resource companies have a single commodity focus.

More on Prima Fluorspar Diamonds Lithium. [Resources Clips]  Details on the deal:  First we roll you back, 1:5 back to 6.5M shares.  Then we issue 15M shares to the vendor of this shut-in oilfield in Utah.  Then we issue another 15.8M shares to “settle debt”.  If you’re a shareholder – don’t do the math or your head will hurt.

BTW: There’s no evidence this was done here but I heard recently that the final sweetener on some of these deals is to sell the debt before closing for $1 to whoever puts up the cash.  I think this is what Rick Rule calls “capitulation”.

Debt and lithium

Aussies going all out for lithium. [Bloomberg]  Promoters down under move to exploit the only glimmer of hope left in the market.

lithium boom

Barrick plans to cut debt by $2B in 2016. [Bloomberg]  Waterton and Kinross walked away with assets last time.  No word yet what’s for sale.

Yard sale

Oreinc index pops this week. [Oreinc]  Rumours of market death are premature but the trend is still unchanged.


And S&P makes three:  They jump in and cut Anglo’s debt rating.  [Mineweb]  … and in what can be construed as either a wise use of limited funds or a “screw you” gesture to Wall Street, Anglo offers to buy back $1.3B it’s own debt. [Bloomberg]


Rio Tinto to move ahead with Jadar. [Junior Mining News]   Never heard of it you say?  This is the deposit in Serbia that could supply 10% of the world’s lithium requirements at a grade 42 times that being mined in Clayton Valley.