Treasury used ESF cash to insure money-market funds

Section:

Treasury's Secretive $2.4 Trillion Mutual Fund Guarantee

By John Carney
CNBC, New York
Thursday, August 9, 2012

http://www.cnbc.com/id/48578949

Details about a secretive government program to bail out money-market mutual funds are finally coming to light.

Acting without any explicit congressional authority, the U.S. Treasury guaranteed in excess of $2.4 trillion of money market funds after the giant Reserve Primary Fund "broke the buck" following the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers. The program, which ended on Sept. 18, 2009, seems to have prevented a panicked run by money-market fund investors.

But until now the Treasury has kept the identities of the funds that received government backing and the amounts guaranteed secret. It was not clear how many funds obtained backing or for how much taxpayers were on the hook during the program's duration.

Linus Wilson, an assistant professor of finance at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, recently obtained data about the program from the Treasury, through a Freedom of Information Act request.

... Dispatch continues below ...



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Sona Discovers Potential High-Grade Gold Mineralization
at Blackdome in British Columbia -- 13.6g over 1.5 Meters

From a Company Press Release
November 22, 2011

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- With its latest surface diamond drilling program at its 100-percent-owned, formerly producing Blackdome gold mine in southern British Columbia, Sona Resources Corp. has discovered a potentially high-grade gold-mineralized area, with one hole intersecting 13.6 grams of gold in 1.5 meters of core drilling.

"We intersected a promising new mineralized zone, and we feel optimistic about the assay results," says Sona's president and CEO, John P. Thompson. "We have undertaken an aggressive exploration program that has tested a number of target zones. Our discovery of this new gold-bearing structure is significant, and it represents a positive development for the company."

Sona aims to bring its permitted Blackdome mill back into production over the next year and a half, at a rate of 200 tonnes per day, with feed from the formerly producing Blackdome mine and the nearby Elizabeth gold deposit property. A positive preliminary economic assessment by Micon International Ltd., based on a gold price of $950 per ounce over eight years, has estimated a cash cost of $208 per tonne milled, or $686 per gold ounce recovered.

For the company's complete press release, please visit:

http://www.sonaresources.com/_resources/news/SONA_NR18_2011-opt.pdf



The data from the Treasury show that taxpayers were backing in excess of $2.4 trillion through the mutual fund program. Hundreds of funds participated in the program, amounting to almost 99 percent of the total money-market mutual fund assets.

Mutual fund companies such as BlackRock, BNY Mellon, T. Rowe Price, Dreyfus, and Legg Mason took advantage of federal assistance. Banks that provide money market funds to customers -- including JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo -- also participated.

Despite the enormous size of the guarantees, the Treasury collected only $1.2 billion in fees from the participating funds. By Wilson's calculation, most participating funds paid just 0.04 percent, or 4 basis points, for a year's worth of insurance.

Treasury used $50 billion from an account set aside for exchange rate stabilization to fund the program. Those funds can be spent at the Treasury secretary's discretion -- even when it takes a pretty creative logical leap to connect the expenditures to exchange rates.

"Clearly, the tie between exchange rates and money-market mutual funds is very weak," Wilson points out. "Moreover, it is not clear that $50 billion was enough to guarantee over $2 trillion in assets."

Guaranteeing the money-market funds was not without risk. Although money-market funds have rarely seen their values drop below a dollar, guaranteeing the funds, it could be argued, encouraged moral hazard as investors lost the incentive to police the quality of fund management.

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Prophecy Platinum Announces Wellgreen Preliminary Economic Assessment:
38% Pre-Tax IRR, $3.0 Billion NPV, and a 37-Year Mine Life

Company Press Release

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Canada -- Prophecy Platinum Corp. (TSX-V: NKL, OTC-QX: PNIKF, Frankfurt: P94P) reports the results of an independent NI 43-101-compliant preliminary economic assessment for its fully owned Wellgreen nickel-copper-platinum group metals project in the Yukon Territory.

The independent assessment, prepared by Tetra Tech, evaluated a base case of an open-pit mine (with a mining rate of 111,500 tonnes per day), an on-site concentrator (with a milling rate of 32,000 tonnes per day), and an initial capital cost of $863 million. The project is expected to produce (in concentrate) 1.959 billion pounds of nickel, 2.058 billion pounds of copper, and 7.119 million ounces of platinum, palladium, and gold during a mine life of 37 years with an average strip ratio of 2.57.

The financial highlights of the preliminary economic assessment, shown in U.S. dollars, are as follows:

Payback period: 3.55 years
Initial capital investment: $863 million
IRR pre-tax (100% equity): 38 percent
NPV pre-tax (8% discount): $3 billion
Mine life: 37 years
Total mill feed: 405.3 million tonnes
Mill throughput: 32,000 tonnes per day

Prophecy Chairman John Lee says: "We are pleased with the preliminary economic assessment results. The numbers indicate that Wellgreen is one of most exciting mineral projects in the Yukon. The company is drilling to upgrade and expand the resource base. The infrastructure is excellent as the project is only 1,400 meters in altitude and 14 kilometers from the paved Alaska Highway, which leads to the Haines deep seaport. Discussions are under way with support from local stakeholders regarding permitting and logistics."

For the complete press release, please visit:

http://prophecyplat.com/news_2012_june18_prophecy_platinum_announces_res...