Archive for the ‘LEGAL’ Category

U.S. Senate reveals major banks had‘unfair advantage’ in global commodities business

Friday, November 21st, 2014

u-s-senate-reveals-top-banks-unfair-advantage-in-physical-commodities-business image wall st sign

A two-year probe into U.S. Senate-led into Wall Street’s top three banks’ involvement in physical commodities has concluded they exposed themselves to catastrophic financial risks, environmental disasters and potential market manipulation by investing in oil, coal and power plants.

A report published by the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations say the heavy involvement of Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) in the business of storing and moving commodities like oil, aluminum, uranium and copper also gives them unfair trading advantages in financial markets.

The 400-page report, which was made public on Wednesday evening, adds the lenders assumed a role of such significance in the commodities markets that it became possible for them to affect prices paid by consumers, while also securing inside information about the markets that could be used by their own traders.

Banks defend their businesses 

Bankers from Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan, along with other industry executives and regulators, will testify about the allegations at hearings today and Friday. According to the Wall Street Journal, they will address several questions, including “conditions at a Goldman-owned coal mine in Colombia and the airline fuel arrangements that Morgan Stanley struck with United Airlines.”

The lenders assumed a role of such significance in the commodities markets that it became possible for them to affect prices paid by consumers, while also securing inside information about the markets that could be used by their own traders

The subcommittee also studied over 30 power plants owned by JPMorgan, as well as its copper activities and trades.

Last year, JPMorgan had to pay a $410m penalty to settle with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which accused the bank of manipulating energy markets at the expense of consumers.

You can read the full report here.  Charts and exhibits can be found here.

Henry Sapiecha


Saturday, November 9th, 2013



Residents of a Northern Nevada town are $20 million richer after reaching a settlement with a company accused of covering up a leaking World War II-era copper mine, the Associated Press reports.

Seven hundred neighbours of the old Anaconda mine, located about 65 kilometres southeast of Reno, claimed that Atlantic Richfield and its parent BP America had “intentionally and negligently” concealed the extent of chemical leakage into their drinking water.

Atlantic Richfield, which purchased the Anaconda mine in the 1978, acknowledged no wrongdoing in the settlement. It argued that the region has naturally occurring uranium and that there’s no proof that the copper mine caused the contamination.

Residents filed the lawsuit after an EPA investigation determined that uranium, a by-product of the mine, was leaking into groundwater, resulting in “dangerous levels of uranium or arsenic or both” in 79% of wells north of the mine. A US Labour Department review in 2008 also revealed that the clean-up schedule had not been enforced.

The companies will pay $7 million in property damages, $900,000 for a medical monitoring fund and up to $12.5 million to connect water supplies with the city of Yerington’s water distribution system.

In its heyday, Anaconda Copper Mining, the company that originally operated the Nevada mine, was the fourth largest company in the world. Between 1952 and 1978, the mine produced 1.7 billion pounds of copper. It shut down due to low copper prices.


Henry Sapiecha

fine gold line


Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Various articles on commodities from mining magazine

$25 million spent in Albania by Tirex Resources going a long way

Receives unanimous community support for mining permit applicationsSubmits all required mining application documentation

New Gold goes all-in at Blackwater

Vancouver – New Gold (NGD-T, NGD-N) has put pen to paper with two B.C.-focused junior gold explorers holding land near the company’s most recent acquisition, the Blackwater gold-silver project, located 150 km southwest of Prince George.

La Ronge Gold Corp Announces a Private Placement

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA–(Marketwire – Oct. 18, 2011) – La Ronge Gold Corp. – (TSX VENTURE:LAR) (the “Company”) announces it will undertake a private placement (the “Placement”) consisting of 1,600,000 flow-through units (the “FT Units…

Pebble to challenge borough ordinance in Alaska Superior Court

VANCOUVER, Oct. 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ – By a narrow 280 – 246 (53 – 47%) margin, voters in Southwest Alaska’s Lake & Peninsula Borough have supported a ballot measure that, if upheld by the courts, would restrict future development that affects more than one square mile of land within the 31,000 square mile borough. The Pebble Limited Partnership (the “Pebble Partnership” or “PLP”) and the State of Alaska view the initiative sponsored by anti-Pebble activists as unconstitutional and unenforceable because it seeks to restrict development of state-owned resources on state lands through a municipal ordinance, and will challenge it in Alaska’s Superior Court.

Northern Vertex announces $12.65 million non-brokered private financing

VANCOUVER, Oct. 18, 2011 /CNW/ – Northern Vertex Capital Inc. (TSXV: NEE) (“Northern Vertex”) is pleased to announce a Non-Brokered private placement (the “Private

Alaska voters say no to gold, copper mine 1:58 am APNews

Voters of a small southwest Alaska borough narrowly passed a measure blocking a proposed gold and copper mine that conservationists said would have threatened one of the world’s premier wild salmon fisheries in a local election that gained national…

Barkerville Gold Mines intercepts 21.5 meters (70.5 feet) of 9.97 g/T (0.291 oz/t) gold including 2.8 meters (9.2 feet) of 52.0 g/T (1.516 oz/t) gold on Cow Mountain

Further to the news releases on the high grade VG-cosalite-quartz-pyrite zones discovered by the Company on Cow Mt. reported by the company respectively on June 27, July 26 and September 13, Barkerville Gold Mines Ltd. (TSX VENTURE:BGM)(FRANKFURT:IWUB) (the “Company”) reports the more significant intercepts of drill results conducted on Cow Mt. recently.

Greens tying up Olympic Dam with new parliamentary inquiry, $30 billion project faces delays

News reports from Australia say BHP Billiton may face delays in getting approvals for its $30 billion Olympic Dam expansion, as Greens and other minor parties holding the balance of power in the South Australian Parliament push for an inquiry into the project. The legal agreement between BHP and the State Government will be introduced to parliament on Tuesday or Wednesday, but the Greens now want BHP Billiton officials to appear before a parliamentary committee to investigate the indenture legislation for the expansion. The project will create an open pit mine adjacent to the current Olympic Dam underground operation that would be the world’s biggest – trucks will haul overburden 24/7 for five to six years just to reach the ore body.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Saturday, August 20th, 2011

Finland to pass new mining law

on Tuesday; miners critical of it.

Miners are worried that the new mining law, which is expected to be passed by Finland’s parliament on Tuesday could increase bureaucracy and compensation to landowners which may make future ops more difficult

Author: Terhi Kinnunen (Reuters)
Posted:  Monday , 14 Mar 2011

HELSINKI (Reuters)

Finland’s parliament is expected to pass a new mining law on Tuesday that miners fear will increase bureaucracy and compensation to landowners, making future operations more difficult.

Updating a law from the 1960’s, it is seen coming into force on July 1.

The government says the new law promotes mining but also takes into account environmental issues, citizens’ and landowners’ rights and gives municipalities more potential to influence decision-making on mining projects.

Supervision of mining issues will move to the Safety Technology Authority, Tukes, from the Ministry of Employment and the Economy.

“The compensation fees will be higher than in Sweden,” Olavi Paatsola, executive director of Finnish mining industry association FinnMin, told Reuters.

“The harsh bureaucracy is to be introduced to the ore prospecting stage, which in our opinion is unnecessary, because prospecting work has a minimal impact on nature.”

Environmentalists say the reform is good for nature, although it is not perfect.

“The reform is a clear improvement to the current situation. Firstly, it will take into account environmental points, and secondly it will secure citizens’ rights,” said Leo Stranius, secretary general for the Finnish Nature League.

He added the Finnish Nature League had demanded the law would prohibit ore prospecting in nature reserves and that uranium would not be included in the mining law.

The reform to the mining law began in 2005, but the process has been slow due to its thoroughness. The parliament is expected to give the green light to the new law at the current parliament’s last session. Finland will hold general elections on April 17.

The new law requires a final approval from President Tarja Halonen.


Finland’s location in the middle of the Fennoscandian Shield gives it an excellent potential for a variety of minerals such as nickel, gold and chrome. Its geology is similar to that of areas of Canada and Australia, both big mining countries.

Currently there are nine metallic ore mines operating in Finland, and five of them are gold mines.

In addition three mines — two gold mines and one mine producing nickel, copper and palladium — are being built.

The mining sector in 2010 amounted to only 0.4 percent of Finland’s gross domestic product (GDP).

One of the biggest mines is Talvivaara (TLV1V.HE: Quote), which produces nickel, zinc and copper. It delivers nickel and cobalt to Norilsk Nickel GNKN.MM refinery in Harjavalta and zinc to Nyrstar (NYR.BR: Quote).

Finnish stainless steel maker Outokumpu (OUT1V.HE: Quote) owns Europe’s only chromium mine in Kemi with current annual production of about 1.3 million tons of ore. The mine produces chromite concentrates for its ferrochrome smelter in Tornio, some 35 kilometres (22 miles) away.

“If I look at this law from the perspective of the industry, it has been an awful project,” Antti Pihko, chief of the Kemi mine told Finnish daily Kauppalehti.

“After this, international companies will prefer to go to Sweden where fees are only a tenth compared to Finland and where production can be started much faster,” he was quoted as saying.

(Editing by Jane Baird)

© Thomson Reuters 2011 All rights reserved

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Former CEO sues gold firm for $1m

Leonie Wood      March 23, 2011

ED ESHUYS may have set some ambitious performance goals over the four years that he was chief executive of the gold producer St Barbara Ltd, but in the tumultuous year of 2008 he may have been too ambitious.

St Barbara’s production and budgetary targets were not met, cash was tight, and with a global crisis of confidence paralysing the banking sector there were grim prospects of refinancing the company’s facilities. As the Victorian Supreme Court heard yesterday, disappointment followed disappointment at St Barbara in 2008.

A five-year management budget did not meet Mr Eshuys’ standards, so was deferred; a multimillion-dollar accounting error emerged in October; and there were difficulties mining ore at the company’s West Australia operations.

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By November 2008, the court heard, Mr Eshuys’ fellow directors had become ”alarmed” by a further deterioration in the cash position. By mid-December, St Barbara’s board found a replacement for Mr Eshuys.

When he left in March 2009, the company paid its outgoing chief executive various entitlements plus a sum of $150,000, ostensibly for hitting some performance targets.

But Mr Eshuys is suing St Barbara for up to $1 million, which was the most he could receive for reaching performance-based goals.

He argues that while St Barbara under his management fell short of stated operating cost targets and gold production targets, the board did not fairly and reasonably take into account other factors.

Mr Eshuys yesterday told Justice Stephen Kaye that by December 2008, despite the setbacks and cash-flow figures being below budget, he believed the company’s position was improving and that by February 2009 it would have gone ”close to, if not exceed” the budgeted cashflow forecast.

A letter from Mr Eshuys’ lawyers to St Barbara’s lawyers in December 2008, which was tendered in court, contended Mr Eshuys ”is meeting the milestones” set out in his performance contract, namely gold production targets and the company’s cash position.

Asked by counsel for St Barbara, Philip Solomon, SC, what he meant by ”is” meeting the targets, Mr Eshuys told the court that at the time he ”fully believed that we would achieve them [the targets] by the end of February”.

Later he told Justice Kaye that in January 2009, ”we were short of budget but we were improving”.

The court heard St Barbara in mid-2008 raised $120 million through a rights issue, but some St Barbara directors and some of its shareholders were concerned about the suddenness of the raising. In February 2009 St Barbara again tapped the market to raise $75 million.

The court also heard that St Barbara’s woes in late 2008 and early 2009 coincided with rapidly rising Australian dollar prices for gold. Under cross-examination, Mr Eshuys conceded it was a ”poor” outcome that gold production fell 16 per cent short of budgeted figures between September 2008 and February 2009.

St Barbara, which is expected to begin calling witnesses today, argues it was not obliged to pay Mr Eshuys more than $150,000


Thursday, December 30th, 2010

California woman arrested

in insider trading case

By Jonathan Stempel and Emily Chasan

NEW YORK | Wed Dec 29, 2010 6:05pm EST

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. prosecutors on Wednesday charged a California woman with leaking secrets about technology companies to two hedge funds in exchange for illegal payments, expanding their probe into insider trading.

Winifred Jiau is at least the sixth person arrested since U.S. authorities raided three hedge funds last month, ratcheting up the pressure on the industry in their more than two-year-old probe.

Primary Global Research LLC, an “expert network” firm that linked investors such as hedge funds with industry experts, in a statement said it used Jiau as a consultant from September 2006 to December 2008, when “the relationship was ended.”

The period roughly corresponds with the time frame in which prosecutors said Jiau’s alleged illegal activity took place.

Jiau’s lawyer was not immediately available to comment.

Prosecutors accused Jiau, 43, of selling inside information about publicly traded companies including computer chipmakers Marvell Technology Group Ltd and Nvidia Corp to hedge funds, including the founder of a New York fund that prosecutors did not identify.

They said the information was sold through an expert network firm, in exchange for more than $200,000 of payments funneled through that firm, also not identified.

Nvidia spokesman Hector Marinez said Jiau had been a contractor at Nvidia before leaving about a year ago. Marvell did not return a request for comment.

Hedge funds pay expert network firms for access to experts who are supposed to offer insights on industry trends.


Jiau was charged with one count of securities fraud and one count of conspiracy, and could face 20 years in prison on the securities fraud charge, according to U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara for the Southern District of New York.

The defendant was arrested at her Fremont, California, home on Tuesday, and ordered detained by U.S. Magistrate Judge Nandor Vadas at a hearing Wednesday in San Francisco.

A bail hearing is set for January 3. It is unclear whether Jiau’s case will eventually be transferred to New York.

Jiau’s arrest follows criminal charges on December 16 against three technology company executives who allegedly sold secrets about companies including Apple Inc and chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices Inc.

Also charged on that date was James Fleishman, a salesman at Primary Global, which had used the executives as consultants.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Thursday, August 12th, 2010

Brazilian group sues over shark killings

BRASILIA, Brazil (UPI) — Asia’s insatiable demand for shark fin soup has led to the illegal killing of nearly 300,000 sharks off Brazil, an environmental group alleges.

The Environmental Justice Institute in Brazil has accused a seafood exporter, Siglo do Brasil Comercio, of illegally killing sharks and is suing for what it calls massive damage to the marine ecosystem, the BBC reported Tuesday.

The group is suing the company for $790 million in damages for its alleged sale of 290,000 sharks since 2009.

Many of the sharks were thrown back into the sea after their fins were taken for clandestine export, the group charges.

“As we can’t put a value on life, we have calculated the impact on the ecosystem,” group director Cristiano Pacheco said.

“We think the shark fins were exported clandestinely, in containers, likely from the ports of Rio Grande do Sul to the Asian market,” he said.

It is illegal to separate shark fins from carcasses in Brazil, but the high value placed by Asian diners on the fins has encouraged the illicit practice, the BBC said.

Copyright 2010 by United Press International

Note-The pic above is not from Brazil but of a legitimate shark hunter in Australia

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha