Timeline of Events
May 30, 1988: Bre-X Minerals is incorporated as a junior mining company by David Gordon Walsh, who’d struck out on his own after resigning as a vice-president of a national securities firm that moved him to Calgary from Montreal. Forty-three per cent of the outstanding shares were owned by Bresea Resources, a company Walsh had incorporated in the early 1980s.
July 11, 1989: Bre-X begins trading on the Alberta Stock Exchange with the issue of one million 30-cent shares.
The company’s prime objective is to explore for gold in the Northwest Territories. It’s a risky venture. Its prospectus states buying Bre-X stock would be “highly speculative due to the nature of the corporation’s business and present stage of development.”
June 1992: With little money rolling in and mounting debt, Walsh declares personal bankruptcy.
March 1993: Bre-X is basically a shell, barely surviving. Walsh looks up an acquaintance he’d met 10 years earlier in Australia, geologist John Felderhof. Walsh asks Felderhof if he knows of any potential mining projects. A month later, Walsh spends his last $10,000 on a trip to Indonesia to visit him.
April 1993: Felderhof recommends Busang, an isolated patch of rainforest on the island of Borneo. The company divests itself of its North American mineral interests and Walsh pulls together $150,000 US to pay for the acquisition of Busang and to begin exploration work. In a newspaper interview Walsh says: “I’m looking for the bucket of gold at the end of the rainbow.”
October 1993: Bre-X begins drilling at Busang and, two months later, exploration manager Michael de Guzman reports to have hit the golden pot at holes three and four at the site. By the end of the year, Bre-X stock has gone from less than 20 cents to around 70 cents a share.
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