|Print List Price:||$19.95|
Save $11.96 (60%)
Bre-X: Dead Man’S Story? Kindle Edition
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
About the Author
- File size : 568 KB
- Publication date : January 17, 2014
- Publisher : AuthorHouse (January 17, 2014)
- Print length : 258 pages
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- Language: : English
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- ASIN : B0793TR84F
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,670,593 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
If this book is not fiction, then we are dealing with another Ian Fleming. It is well known that Ian Fleming was a British Naval Intelligence officer and that his novels were recollections of real operations. Suffice to think about Ian Fleming’s intervention in “four-rotor-crisis” following the Germans’ addition of a fourth level of encryption to their Enigma Code (One Day in August: The Untold Story Behind Canada's Tragedy at Dieppe by David O’Keefe). Bre-X: Dead man’s Story? has everything: thriller, suspense, action, true love, victims, Opus Dei, greed, international villains (and big ones at that) and sadly all those characters actually existed. Without spoiling the plot, here are some of my considerations:
Aside from some people’s resentful remarks on the author described in the early pages, it seems that the author has done well for himself and yet not once in the book one sees him bragging about his success other than occasionally mentioning his beautiful wife who seems to be the author’s only true reason of pride. In fact, rather than bragging about his successes, the author admits mistakes and disappointments. He candidly and humbly mentions how tight in cash him and his team were while the Busang saga was about to start, he admits his disappointment when his company’s first drilling results came out and how he actually shared his concerns with people in the industry. His company, Minorca, “the other company” in Busang, was drilling in a property adjacent to Bre-X Busang’s deposit and the core samples did not show any gold. How could that be possible? As the author says, nature is unpredictable and sometime harsh, and yet how can the biggest gold deposit in the world precisely stop at the fences of the Bre-X property? I once was a few miles south of Daytona Beach and once arrived to a beach I asked one of the employees of the resort, a lovely lady, whether or not there were sharks in that area, she said “mmmNaaaa, sharks are in Daytona beach, they stay in Daytona, here we don’t really have sharks”, she made me smile and I said “So let me get this straight: sharks deliberately remain confined within the boundaries of Daytona beach? They deliberately do not cross over? They do not move freely in the ocean?” She smiled back and we both had a good laugh. I still have a hard time to believe that most of the luminaries in the mining industry ignored the red flags raised by the author and others and conducted absolutely no due diligence. It is true today, as it was back then, that people put more due diligence in shopping for a dog than in choosing the right financial advisor or let alone buying online stocks with they hard earned cash; some went as far as mortgaging their house to buy stocks of Bre-X, and why? Because the media circus led them to believe that it was a great opportunity. Mr. Egizio Bianchini from Nesbitt was acting as a cheerleader for Bre-X and was only to happy to pump the stock; and on what ground I ask myself? What due diligence had Mr. Bianchini done on such investment? I will point out some of the red flags raised (facts) later in this review, but for the moment suffice to say that all the signals were out there in the open and the big brains not only ignored them but threatened anybody who could undermine the raise of the stock price; here is my favorite threat “I am the big gorilla in this jungle, so you little monkeys have to follow me and listen.” (I let you figure out who said it…). Talking about monkeys, monkey see, monkey do, collective irrationality and greed led people to buy stocks of Bre-X just because everybody was buying them.
If one believed that this was scam perpetrated by one man, Michael De Guzman, on his own and without anybody’s help or complicity, think again and don’t be naïf. Michael de Guzman comes out as a geologist, badly dressed and slightly nerdy; do people really believe that he was the only one guilty? How such a person all of a sudden becomes an international man of mystery who single-handed creates the biggest mining scam in the world? Even Madoff was not alone as everyone was led to think initially. It seems to me that De Guzman, a very religious man, was the sheep that got lost along the way and there seems to be some redemption of the character as the story unfolds. When I read the book the first time I was perplexed with respect to the role played, if true, by the Opus Dei; well, to be precise, at least It was not portrayed as the villain from the Da Vinci Code, but, still, I wanted to read the book again to better understand what was the role of Opus Dei in De Guzman’s life. I was initially surprised knowing the humanitarian role of the Opus Dei and its good nature and, after re-reading the book and dissecting Mr. Guzzo’s tale I came to the conclusion that the Opus Dei had a passive role if any at all. According to Mr. Guzzo, the Opus Dei listened to De Guzman’s interior struggle and referred him to professionals who helped De Guzman; probably, if true, the only actual intervention of the Opus Dei in De Guzman’s life, other than educating him in his childhood, was to help him find his once lost love. Was Mr. Guzzo actually a re-born De Guzman or was he just a close friend who knew De Guzman well? I have my thoughts on that but I will let anyone come up with his or her own conclusion.
I did not expect to write such a long review but this story hypnotized me like few other ones have done in a long time. To conclude, as earlier promised, I will list a few red flags that were willingly ignored by all the professionals who should have conducted a thorough due diligence and did not do so; in the meantime, before I list the red flags, I do believe that the mining industry needs a new breed of managers and geologists willing to sweat in actual exploration sites, courageous enough to admit failures and humble enough to silently rejoice of successes. This story truly inspired me.
Here is the list of red flags:
#1. The Bre-X site was off limits. No communication with the outside world (we are talking about a public company), no site visits allowed and the few permitted visits had to be well planned in advance, not even reports on explorations disclosed.
#2 Minorca team worked very hard and without success in an adjacent site; the biggest gold deposit in the world was confined to the boundaries of Bre-X property.
#3 Bre-X completely closed-up communication and did so even with the actual license holder.
#4 Minorca’s management shared its concerns with the industry and most people ignored and in some cases threatened to desist.
#5 John Ing was equally frustrated with Minorca’s disappointing drilling results.
#6 Nobody bothered to check Bre-X exploration permit which was actually expired (and what about the right of first refusal in place?).
#7 Scotia participated in the Bre-x financing and was not invited for a site visit.
#8 Another favorite of mine: P.D.A.C. 1997, John Felderhof contended that having 90% of 100 Million ounces of the gold deposit was the same as having 45% of 200 Million ounces of the same deposit. As the author notices, the gold deposit was growing faster than the jungle. Well, my father always told me that if the neighbors’ grass is greener it’s because they are using more fertilizer….
#9 This should have actually been the first red flag…: Bre-X crushed the core samples rather than splitting. A Geologist with a Ph.D. vehemently disagreed with this procedure but it seems that nobody had an issue with this method.
#10 Bre-X hired Kilburn to prepare the audit of the resources and eventually the feasibility study. John Felderhof dictated the terms and conditions (the controlled dictating terms and conditions for the controller).
These red flags are well documented in the many articles out there and are spread in several of the pieces of the puzzle presented in the book; for the due diligence, one could have hired a person without any mining background, had the person pick up randomly two or three of these well known red flags and ask for a recommendation for buying the stock. I want to believe that such as person, say for example a English literature professor with no mining background whatsoever, on the basis of only a few red flags would have recommended against buying this stock; and yet, the who’s who of the Canadian financial institutions and investors worldwide purred in millions.
Top reviews from other countries
Above all, this is a novel (or more appropriately, 'faction') about a flawed protagonist who traverses narratives of hope, desperation, love, responsibility, and greed.
In the end, we know there were lots of BRE-X losers, but the author beckons the reader to reconsider who 'won' -- and more interestingly what propagated such a calamitous series of events -- us?
Can’t recommend this enough