Once Again a 5 Year Old

On January 12th I managed to fracture my 5th Metacarpal on my right (dominant) hand.  Not so painful but really a little inconvenient and its for the next 4-6 weeks.  Turning adversity in opportunity I am learning to write with the left hand and I will post the daily result here.

This is a remarkably interesting experience.  I now recall learning to write, something I had thought little about.  I now appreciate the issues our kids face.  This exercise also requires the most intense focused concentration.  In a short time I have noticed a significant improvement and my diary does not look quite so chaotic.


Nepal – Fantastic Mountains

Just returned from three weeks in the Himalayas –  truly wonderful.  The mountains and the geology were wonderful.  We walked from moderately deformed Lesser Himalayan Series though the Metamorphic Core of the Orogen and across the South Tibetan Detachment Fault into weakly deformed and metamorphosed marine sediments of the Tethyan Ocean.  If you are a geologists this is a transect that you simply need to do and in addition its just a  great adventure.  Planning has already commenced for the 2017 expedition up into the remote Tsum Valley in northern Nepal.


Trekking Around Manaslu, Nepal

Below is the final itinerary for the Manaslu Trek, commencing October 10 in Kathmandu.  We will be posting on Twitter and Facebook and you can follow our Spot Transponder here.

Mt Manaslu Trek, October 2016, cmi Capital Team – Click for High Resolution

View the Trek Route and Points of Interest in Earth Google.

Activity   Comments
Day -03: JLM/JCM/MKM arrive in Kathmandu Arrive in Kathmandu TBA
Day -02: JCM/JLM/KMK Kathmandu Shopping for equipment and provisions
Day -01:  JLM  Kathmandu Shopping for equipment and provisions
Day 01: Drive from Kathmandu to Barpak (2000m), depending on raod condition may have to walk up the final 1000 m elevation from the valley. 8-9 hours Today, we drive from Kathmandu to Barpak following the road towards  Pokhara before turning off .   We travel 50 km up the Prithvi Highway then turn north passing through Chanaute where we turn off the road towards Barpak.  We climb steadily passing though Baluwa and Rangrung.  We pass within 500 metres of the epicentre of the devastating 2015 7.8 earthquake.  From Rangrung at an elevation of 850m we climb through Mandre on narrow roads that follow the contour up to Barpak where we spend the night.
Day 02: Trek Barpak to Larpak (2200) 6-7 hours We climb from Barpak up 800 metres and over the ridge to Larpak through lush forests and spend the night in Larpak.
Day 03: Trek Larpak to Khorlabeshi (875m) 7-8 hours From Larpak the trek follows the contour of the ridge  with spectacular views across a 700 metre valley above Gumda and onwards around the contour towards Khorla and then down to the  Budh Kandaki river and the village of Khorlabesi where we spend the night.
Day 04: Trek from Khorlabeshi to Jagat  (1410m) 6 hours From Khorlabesi we take careful note of the weather conditions as this is one of the more hazardous portions of the trek.  The left side of the river is dominated by unstable geology and was the site of a recent avalanche which killed 4 and injured 11.  We pass upstream past Tatopani and Yaruphant before arriving in Jagarat where we spend the night.
Day 05: Trek from Jagat to Deng (1840m) 6-7 hours Today, our trail climbs over the ridge and reaches Dovan. We cross a long suspension bridge over the Yaru Khola and climb some stone stairs  to Tharo Bhanjyang. After crossing the river  and climbing through small villages, we get to Deng Khola and then to tiny village of Deng where we spend the night.
Day 06: Trek from Deng to Namrung (2630m) 6-7 hours Today, our trail climbs up to Rana which is a short distance beyond Deng. After passing some houses, our trail climbs high above the river and drops into the Shringi Valley passing through Bihi Bazar. Our trail makes further ups and down through the forest before reaching Ghap and eventually though thick bamboo and rhododendron forest we reach, after a steep climb,  Namrung where we stay overnight.
Day 07: Trek from Namrung to Samagaon  (3530m) 6-7 hours Today, our trail makes a serious and long ascent through the forest of bamboo and rhododendron crossing the river several times past the villages of Lhi and Lho Bazar.  We climb through a forest of oaks, fir and rhododendrons and enter the closely packed houses of Lhi. Further, our trail leaves Lihi village and enters another village of Sho (2960m) where we get some spectacular views of Mount Manaslu North (7157m) and Naike Peak (5515m). Walking further will bring us to the settlement of Shrip. We continue to the village of Samagaon where we stay overnight.
Day 08: Samagaon – Pungyen gompa – Samagaon or Manaslu BC Today is spent gaining acclimatization to altitude.  We will, depending on the weather and avalanche risk either climb to Pungyen Gompa or Manaslu Base Camp up the glacier.
Day 09: Trek from Samagaon to Samdo (3830m) 4-5 hours Our route from Samagaon passes juniper and birch forests and the stone huts of Kermo Kharka today. Trekking further for some hours, we eventfully reach at Samdo where we stay overnight.
Day 10: Samdo: Acclimatization and Exploration Day We spend a day in Samdo for acclimatization above 4000 metres. We will hike up into the surrounding hills and we stay overnight at Samdo.
Day 11: Trek from Samdo to Dharmasala (4470m) 4-5 hours Today, we descend on a wide and gentle trail from Samdo. We pass through a stone archway. We climb gently over the huge Larkya Glacier and get to the ridge where there is a viewpoint over the edge of a huge gorge. We reach Dharmasala after trekking for some hours. We stay overnight at a local guesthouse in Dharmasala.
Day 12: Trek from Dharmasala to Bhimtang (3720m) 8-9 hours Today, we leave Dharmasala very early crossing several moraines. We ascend past four frozen lakes and reach Larkya La from where we can witness the tremendous views of Himlung Himal (7126m) and others including Annapurna II, Gyaji Kung, Cheo Himal, and Kang Guru. We further descend along the grassy moraine to a small meadow called Bhimtang where we stay overnight.
Day 13: Trek from Bhimtang to Tiliche (2320m) 5-6 hours Our trail today drops from Bhimtang and crosses a glacial stream. We then descend into a beautiful forest of pine and rhododendron to Hompuk. After descending further, we reach the fenced field of Karache and to the village of Gho. Tilche is nearby, where we spend overnight.
Day 14: Trek from Tiliche to Tal (2300(m) 5-6 hours Today, our trail drops down and passes through several fields, houses, and forests of rhododendron and oak. We descend through a scrub forest and reach Dharapani. Trekking for some time, we eventually reach at Chyamje, where we stay overnight.
Day 15/ 26th Oct: Tal – Syange  (1080m) 6-7 hours  Today we trek down the Marvangdi Valley  to Syange where we spend the night.
Day 16: Drive from Syange to Kathmandu 8-9 hours Today, in the morning, we drive back to Kathmandu from Sange It takes approx. 8-9 hours to arrive at Kathmandu. We celebrate the farewell dinner together with Green Valley Nepal Trekking Team. We stay overnight at standard hotel on B/B plan.
Depart Kathmandu

Mining Journal Bullish on Ilovitza

Mining Journal is remarkably bullish on the Ilovitza project in Macedonia.  John C. Menzies, CEO of Cmi Capital Limited was previously the CEO of Euromax and built the company and its exploration assets over an 8 year period.

The ilovtiza mine is planned for the back of the large bald mountain behind the villages of Ilovtiza and Stuka in Macedonia
The Ilovtiza mine is planned for the back of the large bald mountain behind the villages of Ilovitza and Stuka in Macedonia

The Ilovitza mine is planned for the back of the large bald mountain behind the villages of Ilovitza and Stuka in Macedonia\n\n\”Multi-billion-dollar returns from a world class gold-copper resource are usually the preserve of mining’s majors, not a minnow. But they are exactly what investors in Euromax Resources (TSX: EOX) have to look forward to from the US$475 million Ilovica project in Macedonia, which is ready to move forward in what president and CEO Steve Sharpe describes as an ideal environment for building major new mining projects.\n\n“This is exactly the time to be building a copper-gold mine of this size because the amount of chits that are being offered to us now in terms of major capital items that would normally be the long lead stuff,” he says. “The offers are coming from mining companies, from suppliers that have cancelled orders, and this is all brand new equipment at a fraction of the retail price or list price. So I expect to see some fairly chunky capex and operational savings.”

Production is slated at 83,000 oz pa of gold and 16,000tpa of copper, starting in 2018, with overall average process recoveries at 83.3% for gold and 81.3% for copper”.

Ilovitza is a Tertiary porphyry copper-gold deposit and is ideally situated for development being close to services, water and infrastructure.  The measured and indicated resources total 250 million tonnes containing 2.6 M ounces of gold and  550,000 tonnes of copper.   While the grade is low, the low stripping ratio, low infrastructure capital and operating costs and proximity to rail and smelters reports an attractive NPV and IRR in the feasibility study.

Manaslu Trek Update

Sunset on false summit, Manaslu. Credit Himalayan Expeditions


As departure date approaches for our trek in the Manaslu region,the monsoon season remains in full swing.  On Manaslu (8,163m) this year there are a remarkable number of foreign climbers and climbing Sherpas.  Seven Summits Trek is reporting 60 climbers and 70 Sherpas on the mountain, Asian Trekking has 18 foreign climbers and Himalayan Experience has five.  Trekking Camp Nepal is managing a Korean team and then there are the Chinese.   Considering that Manaslu has only been summited 980 times since Toshio Imanishi and Gyalzen Norbu first climbed it on May 9, 1956, 2016 should see a large number of summits.  This large increase in interest should have a very positive economic impact on the Budh Kandaki Valley communities hit hard by the 2015 earthquake.

Russel Brice from Himalayan Experience reported September 8:

    • Himalayan Experience now in Base Camp (BC) after leaving Kathmandu on August 29 for their 9th trip to Manaslu;
    • Himalayan Experience team flew into Samagaon by helicopter. Supplies however still portered over Larkya Pass from the Marvangdi Valley to the west. Team Cmi will however be trekking up the Budh Kandaki valley after a steep descent following a traverse just 1 km from the 2015 earthquake epicentre.
    • Russel Brice reports considerable new house development in Samagaon but slow progress on road and track clearing along the Budh Kandaki Valley which was severely impacted by the 2015 earthquake.
The thriving village of Samagaon, just before the trek up to Base Camp. Credit Himalayan Experience
The thriving village of Samagaon, just before the trek up to Base Camp. Credit Himalayan Experience

On September 13 Russel Brice reported that the rain continued.

    • Rain in Base Camp (BC) continues. Meteotest suggests that the tail end of the monsoon is approaching with BC on the edge of the rain band –  still its very wet.
    • BC is filling with Himalayan Experience, Seven Summits and Japanese teams with a large group of Chinese waiting for a weather break in Samagaon.
    • The Japanese team is attempting the East ridge route to the summit and reportedly making good progress.
    • Seven Summits have the rope fixing contract for all teams for 2016 and are making good progress and on the 11/9 got within 200m of C2 after using 8 ladders on the upper reaches of the Hour Glass.  They made the route to C3 yesterday.
    • Himalayan Experience spent the night at C1 on the 12th.
Benegas Brother Expedition to Manaslu trekking down the Budh Kandaki valley towards Samogan which they reached yesterday September 15. Remote spectacular and currently wet. Manaslu is up to the right of the image and Samogan is directly ahead. Team Cmi will be walking in the opposite direction. Credit: Benegas Brothers
Benegas Brothers Expedition to Manaslu trekking down the Budh Kandaki valley towards Samogan which they reached yesterday September 15. Remote spectacular and currently wet. Manaslu is up to the right of the image and Samogan is directly ahead. Team Cmi will be walking in the opposite direction. Credit: Benegas Brothers
View down Manaslu from C1. Note the absence of snow due to heavy precipitation. Credit: Himalayan Experience
View down Manaslu from C1. Note the absence of snow due to heavy precipitation. Credit: Himalayan Experience


Alan Arnette comments that Seven Summits is already on their final acclimatization rotation aiming to spend nights at Camps 1, 2 and 3 before returning to base camp for the usual late September weather window.

Meanwhile Benegas Brothers Expeditions are mounting an expedition this year as well.  The last members of their team arrived in Kathmandu on September 4.  They left for Manaslu BC, September 7, via 4×4 to the village of Nagani Khola –  the end of the road.  The team trekked up the Marvangdi Valley and over Larkya Pass.  The Benegas Brothers team members reached Samagaon on the 15/9.  They will now stage to Base Camp.  This is a rapid ascent route and gives limited opportunity for acclimatization for climbers.  We will be trekking in the reverse direction over the pass after visiting Manaslu Base Camp.\n\n Benegas Brother Expedition to Manaslu trekking down the Budh Kandaki valley towards Samogan which they reached yesterday September 15. Remote spectacular and currently wet.

In summary, it’s been wet in Nepal this season and as of writing the freezing level was up to 5,000 metres.  There is little snow on the lower slopes and progress up Manaslu has been fast.  This more remote region of Nepal, around  Manaslu should be both a challenge and a delight. 

Our route will begin in Barpak with a  steep 1000 metre ascent to the ridge and rapid 2,000 descent to Laprak, Gumda and the Budh Kandaki river –  in the first two days.  We will then walk up the Budh Kandaki Valley and eventually over the Larkya Pass at just over 5,000 metres.   We will post regularly on this blog ( and Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin) when communications allow.

We leave Kathmandu on on 12th October –  should be quite the hoot.

First Production from Bangka by Chevron Indonesia

Chevron Indonesia has started production from the Bangka Field in the Kutei Basin offshore East Kalimantan following an investment decision by the company in 2014 and subsequent Indonesian government approvals.  Development drilling commenced in September 2014.

Chevron Production platform


The 60,000 km2 Kutei basin extends from the central highlands of Borneo, across the eastern coast of the island and into the Makassar Strait. It is the largest Tertiary basin in Indonesia with up to 15 km of sediment.  The Kutei is an extensional basin in a foreland tectonic setting. Extension began in the Mid Eocene with subsequent thermal sag, and isostatic subsidence.  Rapid, high volume, sedimentation related to uplift and inversion began in the Early Miocene.

Syn-rift deposition in the Eocene was focused in small, localised depocenters within individual half-grabens.  The initial graben fill is highly variable due to the wide zone of rifting, and ranges from fully terrestrial in the western basin, to entirely marine in the eastern basin.  Syn-rift sedimentation following the initial graben fill is variable across the basin, but several distinct facies tracts have been identified. Non marine, deltaic, shallow marine, deep marine and carbonate platform syn-rift deposits are found in the basin.

Sag phase deposition began in the Upper Eocene to Oligocene. A regional depocenter developed in response to marine transgression. The eastern basin, already influenced by marine conditions quickly transitioned to a deep marine depositional environment, while the western basin transitioned more slowly. A thick marine shale was deposited across much of the basin, while carbonate sedimentation continued on along the basin margin and across topographic highs.

Large carbonate platforms developed along the basin margins as the result of shallowing marine environments in the early phases of the Late Oligocene tectonic inversion combined with a marine regression. As tectonic uplift of central Borneo continued into the lower Miocene, the westernmost portion of the Kutai Basin was inverted above sea level, forming the Upper Kutai Basin.\n\nIn the Early Miocene large amounts of clastic sediment derived from the rising central mountains, and the now inverted Paleogene flowed into the lower Kutai Basin. Basin inversion in the middle Miocene and Pliocene saw a shift in the deltaic depo-centre eastwards into the Makassar Straight.

Neogene sediments in the vicinity of the modern Mahakam delta are up to 9 kilometres thick with total sediment thickness of up to 15 km.

Production & Development

In the Kutei Basin in East Kalimantan, most of the Chevron production has come from 14 offshore fields in the shelf area within the East Kalimantan PSC, with the remainder from the deepwater West Seno Field in the Makassar Strait PSC.\n\nThe development will be the first deep-water subsea tieback thus far in Indonesia and will utilise subsea well connections to the West Seno FPU.  It will also be Indonesia’s first deepwater flexible pipeline and the first single deepwater umbilical installed.

Nameplate production capacity in this initial development stage is 110 MMcf/d of natural gas and 4,000 b/d of condensate. Chevron has a 62% operating interest in the Bangka project with ENI SA holding a 20% interest and Tip Top Energy Ltd with 18% interest.

Manaslu, Nepal: October 2016

Team CMI is now preparing for 3 weeks hiking around Manaslu.

We will climb to base camp and reach 17,000 feet.  October 2016 before heading over the Larkya La (pass).   Manaslu is the eighth highest mountain in the world reaching 8,163 metres (26,781 ft) above sea level. It is located in the a part of the Nepalese Himalayas known as the Mansiri Himal.  Manaslu means “mountain of the spirit” in Nepalese comes from the Sanskrit word manasa, meaning “intellect” or “soul”.  Manaslu was first climbed on May 9, 1956 by Toshio Imanishi.  Our expedition will start a few kilometres from the epicentre of the 2015 earthquake that devastated much of the country.

Sea, Sand and Kata – Heaven!

Sea, Sand and Kata  – Heaven!

White Beach Phuket

Time for 10 days holiday by the sea on the island of Phuket.  Will be in residence from August 2 through August 12 then back to our energy and metals endeavours from our HQ in Phonm Penh.

Andaman White Beach Resort

White Beach Phuket – Looks like a great beach for sunrise and sunset workout and meditation.

This was a fantastic resort.  Not quite 5 star but very comfortable and quiet enough.  The beach is the real asset and is not accessible except from the resort.  The most memorable event was Qi Gong on the beach at 0500 to a thundering surf and a wild tropical storm lashing the beach with wind and rain. Strongly recommended. Planning to return on the way back from Manaslu in Nepal.


A Very Quiet Sun

Solar Disk 20160704 – Very Quiet with no numbered sun spots on the face

As we come off the Solar Maximum the sun continues to show very low levels of activity.  For months solar activity has been at very low levels despite being at solar max.  Currently there are no numbered sunspots on the disk and activity is expected to remain at these levels for the coming few days (the limit of forecast capability).  The geomagnetic field is also at low levels and solar winds peaked at 593 km/sec at 03/0341Z.  As we head into what could be the quietest solar minimum in several hundred years the impact on climate will be very interesting.

International sunspot number Sn, with last 13 years and forecasts

Given the hiatus in global temperatures in the last 20 years plus the onset of La Nina Pacific Ocean cooling event, the coming Northern Winter could be a cold one.  Given that we are at the peak of the warming cycle,  we could well be close to the terminal phase prior to a significant decrease in global temperatures.  Will the coincidence of La Nina and weak Solar Minimum prove to be a tipping point in global climate.  Given the current orientation of the earth, this would seem quite likely in coming few years.

Reference Sites:

The World Around Us!