Wow, that's a major screw-up on the editors' part, longpicker. ETFs most definitely do not "allow investors to buy physical gold." In fact they do the opposite, they distort the market by allowing investors to gamble in the PM market without actually owning anything. It's like trading in pork bellies, only with hundreds of times more bellies traded than there actually exist pigs in the world. (Or, for that matter, on Wall Street.)
As for McEwen, he is undoubtedly a pioneer in the industry, but as such he is also considered something of a renegade, and his outspokeness shouldn't be surprising. Like Sprott, he is only saying publicly what other insiders have no doubt been saying privately for months now, that the mining industry should stop rolling over for the market manipulators and start to take charge of its own destiny.