Bre-X: The real story and scandal that inspired the movie Gold – by Suzanne Wilton (Calgary Herald – January 30, 2017)

Please note that this series of articles are from 2017!

It’s often been said that the story of Calgary’s Bre-X Minerals had all the makings of a Hollywood script: gold, love, betrayal and mystery. Two decades after stock-market darling was declared a colossal hoax, the mining firm’s amazing tale is finally getting the celluloid treatment — though loosely based on true events — in a new film called Gold, starring Matthew McConaughey.

Real life can be stranger than fiction, which is why stories from the news often form the basis of scripts for the big screen. Such is the case with the tale of Calgary’s Bre-X Minerals. It’s a story of greed, gold, and downright mystery even today, two decades after Bre-X became the Cinderella stock darling of the world before suffering a dramatic collapse.

What follows is a series of timelines, photos and newspaper articles that tell the story that inspired the movieGold, starringMatthew McConaughey. This is the real-life story and scandal of Bre-X. The compilation starts with a story published on the 10-year anniversary of the Bre-X collapse, in which two Postmedia journalists — Suzanne Wilton and Ted Rhodes — went back to the Indonesian jungles where the gold fraud started.

BUSANG, INDONESIA — Alfred Maliangga hunches over a bucket, one hand in a silvery soup of mercury and dirt, the other gripping a hose held together with rubber bands.

He’s seemingly unconcerned, or unaware, the highly toxic mixture could kill him. Instead, Maliangga and a half-dozen other Indonesians are more interested in the recipe to make a fortune.

“There is gold here,” says Robert Lomban, 26, who has patiently waited three months for a dime-sized bit of sparkling bullion to be produced by a primitive, illegal mining operation.

This is Busang 10 years after a $3-billion hoax called Bre-X Minerals unfolded. It is the centre of an unprecedented scam, the ideal location to manufacture a motherlode and sell it to voracious investors on the other side of the world.

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