By Richard Smith, who is easily distracted.
I promised in my last meander, about international scammers and media screwups, that my next post was going to be set in Australia. But I found this little gem, while looking for something else, and so the exotic locations this time are Colombia and Vancouver (the big Canadian Vancouver, not the little Vancouver in Washington, US, which, as it happens, might also get a look-in in a future post in this rambling series).
But this one is still about scammers and media screwups, so we are still on track, sort of. Here’s BBC World Business giving Rahim Jivraj an opportunity to puff his pump-and-dump Colombian mining company, Mercer Gold.
That was February 16th 2011. What a pity it is that the researchers at BBC World Business hadn’t found out how to use Google by then. If they had, they might have found this (10th Sept 2010), from the blogger Otto Rock, at the blog IKN, about Mercer Gold:
The stock is open for promotion and will try to jump on the Colombia gold bandwagon, but the management team put together has an air of improvisation about it (new recruit James Stonehouse ran the local ops of the trainwreck known as Ascendant Copper/Copper Mesa, kicked out of Ecuador due to bad practices) and inquiries made by this author regarding the property have been met with comments such as “skinny veins…..ok for smalltime producing….will probably be good for a flashy NR headline….not a real mine”. So once the $2m is spent and the pumped-up headlines are shot, MRGP is 100% certain to be adding paper in return for extra cash before too long.
… we ran this post that included director and geologist Keith Laskowski’s differing opinion on points raised by this humble author’s position.
All fair enough and we admired (and still admire) Laskowski’s wherewithall in replying, pushing back on the IKN post and also agreeing to allow his mail to be put in the public sphere. Here at IKN nerve centre we have no problem about that and no problem at all over the potential of the Guayabales deposit as explained by its director, but once again we’re forced to raise a red flag on the stock as today it’s getting its name screamed at the naive by bullshit boilerhouse pennystock pump houses in some sort of paid-for in-cahoots concerted promo push.
That gets Otto a legal threat, the very next day, from the soon-to-be televised Rahim Jivraj. At which Otto scoffs:
Now for obvious reasons I’m not going to directly paste up here his private mail to this author without permission, but what we can do without problems is offer my full reply to him, which went like this:
So how come you popped up on those scumbags’ radar? Just unlucky, I guess.
Rahim, I was not born yesterday. You know the one about “if it walks like a duck?”. You’re the duck. So if you want to jump straight from point A to point ‘legal action’, well I suggest you better just get on and do it. Your lazy threats are of no import to me and it’ll be interesting to find out just how much of it is pure talk.
He then wrote back quickly and I can report he backtracked somewhat, saying that his his threat of legal action wasn’t a threat at all (note to readers; it was and he’s a lying scumball).
And Otto follows up with an explanation of how these pump and dumps work; (23rd September 2010),
Next Otto kindly identifies the man behind the scam, Brent Pierce, (9th October 2010), and notes that killer bad sign, the resignation of the Chief Geologist, (4th November 2010). The new capital raisings foreshadowed in Otto’s posting here (30th December 2010) further substantiate Otto’s claim that there’s a pump and dump underway.
Mercer Gold issue one last bit of tortured PR (4th January), glossed by Otto as follows:
DENVER, Jan. 4, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Mercer Gold Corporation (“Mercer Gold” or the “Company”) (OTCQB: MRGP; AN4 -Frankfurt) has received a whole heap of crappy gold and silver values from Hole MGDH-02 from the Guayabales Gold Project in the Marmato District in Caldas Department, Colombia but is determined to slap a kilo of lipstick on this pig and try to pass off the pisspoor results as something positive and encouraging.
To that end, we publish the mediocre grades but immediately launch into a whole bunch of geological babble to try and pull the wool over the eyes of those stupid enough to have believed us in the first place and who have already bought into our spiel. We understand the power of suggestion and affirmation because that’s exactly how this type of scam manages to survive more than a few weeks.
The company is also pleased to report that we managed to re-negotiate optioning terms with the local owners of our property. This is because we didn’t spend enough money on the property in 2010 due to the fact that we have no cash to spend. We’re now obliged to spend $5.75m in 2011 which means that either we’re going to dilute your asses to kingdom come or that we’re going to lapse on the terms of the deal at the end of 2011 and lose the whole shebang.
Next (we are now back at Feb 16th 2011) Mercer Gold co-opt the numbskulls at BBC World
Business Scam, who haven’t noticed any of Otto’s very penetrating and accurate commentary. Which means they haven’t done much in the way of background checking their Colombian mining expert, Rahim Jivraj, and Mercer Gold; not even a couple of Google searches.
Just 6 weeks later, (29th March 2011) Mercer Gold dumps.
The typical junior mining scam such as Mercer Gold (MRGP.ob) that’s pumped by paid newsletter tripe suddenly swandives and dumps out on no apparent newsflow. This is because the scum behind it, in this case previously convicted securities fraudster Gordon Brent Pierce, decide to pull the plug and get out with whatever’s left over. Meanwhile the poor bagholder innocent are left wondering WTF is going on.
If anyone can find any trace of BBC Business World following up on the dump part of the story, I’d be happy to post it.
Overall I reckon we can notch up a score to the blogger and a black mark to the BBC.
Maybe one day I’ll have something more to say about Colombian mining. It is full of, ahem, color. Or colour.
Let’s see if we make it to Australia in my next. In the mean time, BBC World Business join
FT Advisors FT Advisers FTAdviser, Reuters, the BBC, The Sun, The Oxford Mail and BBC Radio Oxford in NC’s trophy cabinet of scammers’ stenographers.