Mine Tales: Four classic movies with Arizona mining backdrops – by William Ascarza (Arizona Daily Star – March 13, 2022)


Arizona has a rich history in the motion picture industry. Early production years at Old Tucson Studios west of Tucson produced “Arizona,” “3:10 to Yuma” and “Rio Bravo,” to name a few. Another filming location in Mescal, about 45 miles southeast of Tucson, produced such notable films as “Tombstone” and “Tom Horn,” along with serving as an occasional setting for the “Gunsmoke,” “Rawhide” and “Bonanza” TV series.

Aside from established movie sets, Arizona’s mines and their history have contributed to the backdrop and premise of some remarkable films in past decades. Some of these include:

‘Day of the Wolves’

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FILM REVIEW: Liam Neeson’s Manitoba-set The Ice Road is the best-worst movie in his unstoppable Daddy Action canon – by Barry Hertz (Globe and Mail – June 25, 2021)


Liam Neeson will fight anything. Ever since the actor has embraced the deliciously junky sub-genre that I’m going to call Daddy Action, the man has battled gangsters (Run All Night, The Commuter), sex traffickers (Taken), skyjackers (Non-Stop), corrupt politicians (Widows), drug cartels (The Marksman) and wolves (The Grey). Wolves! But with the new film The Ice Road, Liam Neeson is up against his greatest enemy ever: melting ice.

Yes, writer-director Jonathan Hensleigh’s thriller finally finds a foe – Mother Nature – worthy of going toe to toe with our generation’s most improbable butt-kicker.

An absolutely bananas mashup of History Television’s Ice Road Truckers reality series, the best and worst of the Die Hard franchise and just about every post-Taken project in Neeson’s disturbingly dense filmography, The Ice Road is destined to go down as one of the actor’s best-worst movies. It is a pure trashterpiece that must be seen to be believed.

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Liam Neeson’s ‘The Ice Road’ Netflix Movie: What We Know So Far – by Tigran Asatryan (What’s On Netflix.com – June 7, 2021)



Netflix has made another big purchase at the European Film Market along with Christian Bale’s The Pale Blue Eye and Colin Firth’s Operation Mincemeat. The third film the streamer acquired is The Ice Road, starring Liam Neeson.

The film that Netflix bought for $18M will be distributed by Netflix in the US (other regions’ availability not yet known) from June 2021. The Ice Road was written and directed by Jonathan Hensleigh, writer of Die Hard With a Vengeance, Jumanji and Armageddon.

Hensleigh also wrote and directed 2004 action movie The Punisher that starred Thomas Jane. The Ice Road is produced by Aperture Media (The Trial of Chicago 7, Atomic Blonde), Envision Media Arts (Mr. Church, Death of Me) and Code Entertainment (Kill the Irishman, Drowning Mona).

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Silver screen engagement rings get second life in popular culture – by Madison Darbyshire (Financial Times – January 24, 2020)


Spoiler alert: If a couple gets engaged inside a Tiffany’s store or visits to pick out a ring at the beginning of a film, chances are they will not be together by the end. Yet though these two on-screen romances did not last, the jewellery featured lives on in the real world.

Tiffany’s still sells the diamond flower ring (shown above) used in Meg Ryan’s ill-fated Sleepless in Seattle proposal, as well as the exceedingly large diamond solitaire Patrick Dempsey gave Reese Witherspoon in Sweet Home Alabama. Tiffany & Co, with its little blue boxes, invented the modern engagement ring and became the jeweller most associated with romantic engagements in the popular culture.

Jewellery selected for film is carefully considered for both its aesthetic as well as narrative value. The use of a traditional diamond ring brand such as Tiffany’s in film is significant. “A diamond solitaire just signifies engagement,” says Laura Lambert, founder of online jewellery start-up, Fenton & Co. Yet, “there’s nothing special about it”.

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‘Mine 9,’ movie about a coal mine entrapment, opens Friday (Associated Press/Bradenton Herald – April 8, 2019)



CHARLESTON, WEST VIRGINIA: A film whose chilling theme is known all too well by residents of coal producing states — an entrapment inside an Appalachian mine — opens in theaters this week.

“Mine 9” debuts Friday in West Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia. It’s expected to roll out nationwide starting next week, news outlets reported.

New Martinsville, West Virginia, native Eddie Mensore wrote, produced and directed the film, which takes place deep inside a coal mine where nine miners with a limited oxygen supply are trapped after a methane explosion.

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“Mine 9” thriller filmed in Appalachia, depicts dangers of coal mining – by Ellie Romano (WCYB.com – December 19, 2018)



The movie “Mine 9” was partially filmed in Buchanan County, Virginia at the Calico coal mine. The storyline follows nine miners who get trapped miles below the earth’s surface after an accident at the mine. The thriller is about how they can get out of the mine before time, and oxygen run out.

The movie is inspired by several mining accidents that happened in the Appalachian region.One of the film’s stars, Kevin Sizemore, is a West Virginia native. He grew up in coal country, but says working on the movie opened his eyes to the hard work coal miners endure every day.

“I never anticipated how hard that job was as a kid. When you’re a kid you don’t think about it. But then, as you get older you realize how hard it is and how hard these guys work,” said Sizemore. “I learned about the sacrifice they make physically, and for their families.”

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‘Gold Rush’ Season 9 First Look: “I’ve Got Everything on the Line” (Exclusive) – by Kimberly Nordyke (Hollywood Reporter – September 24, 2018)



Gold Rush is coming back to Discovery Channel for a ninth season, and The Hollywood Reporter has an exclusive first look. This year, Rick Ness has decided to step it up and become a mine boss with a claim of his own — cashing in his life savings — after working six years under fellow miner Parker Schnabel.

“I’ve been working for Parker [Schnabel] for six years, but I’m done working for somebody else. I want to work for myself,” he says in the clip. “And this is my chance. I’ve got everything on the line. My house. Every penny I have. I’ve got my friends with me, their livelihoods. It doesn’t get any bigger than this.”

In the off-season, Rick spent most of his time nursing his mother until she died. As a result, he’s far behind the others as they race into the mining season.

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Mining financier Robert Friedland hopes to strike box-office gold – by Eric Reguly (Globe and Mail – September 22, 2018)


If you are rich, restless and want to reinvent your career as, say, a movie mogul, Villa TreVille can provide plenty of inspiration. Plastered on Italy’s Amalfi Coast, next to the village of Positano, it was the home of famed Italian film director Franco Zeffirelli, who played host to some of the greatest artistic talent of the sixties, seventies and eighties – Federico Fellini, Elizabeth Taylor, Leonard Bernstein, Rudolf Nureyev, Maria Callas, Leonard Cohen, the Beatles – in the villa’s fairy-tale gardens and terraces.

Today, the great muses have largely disappeared from the villa’s guest roster, but the artistic tradition remains. The villa is where Robert Friedland, the Canadian-American founder and executive co-chairman of Vancouver’s Ivanhoe Mines Ltd., is contemplating his new career as a film producer and celebrating the success of Crazy Rich Asians, the new hit movie co-produced by Ivanhoe Pictures. He happens to own Villa TreVille.

“This is heaven,” he says, perched on a high terrace that overlooks the Mediterranean Sea, the town of Positano – which cascades like a waterfall down impossibly steep cliffs – and the Amalfi Drive, the narrow, terrifying road that was built by Joseph-Napoléon Bonaparte, the king of Naples and Sicily and older brother of the emperor.

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MARVEL TO BEHOLD: Black Panther’s Lesson for Cobalt – by David Fickling (Bloomberg News – February 21, 2018)


The battery material used in electric cars is no vibranium.

An isolated African nation possesses unique deposits of a rare and valuable metal. Its leaders aim to nationalize mineral wealth, while a white South African trader seeks a more vigorous export market. Inevitably, resources bring tragedy as well as triumph. With great power comes great responsibility.

If that sounds like the plot of the current box-office smash Black Panther, it has a real-world echo. The Democratic Republic of Congo has an endowment of cobalt scarcely less outsized than the fictional Wakanda’s reserves of vibranium.

With the rise of electric vehicles forecast to increase demand for the battery material more than fourfold and cobalt prices tripling over the past two years, the paralysed, election-dodging government in Kinshasa is weighing a 150 percent increase in mining royalties.

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The Uranium Film Festival & The Perils of Nuclear Power – by Carolyn Fortuna (Clean Technica – December 27, 2017)



White block letters flash in over a stark black background. “You can’t smell it. You can’t see it. But if Tschernobyl” — a gray industrial landscape of towers and high walled enclosures appears. “Fukushima. You can hear it.” A Geiger counter eerily, constantly clicks in the background. “This is uranium.” uranium film festivalA disembodied hand wrapped in a purple latex glove lifts a wedge of rock.

Then cartoon characters scream and run haphazardly across the screen. They tear at their helmet-covered heads while a warning horn punctuates the chaos. A spokesperson with a wry smile then says, “Uranium changes everything.”

Two sets of clips from mid-20th century black-and-white horror films are next, followed by a blinding yellow ball of light with a golden halo and violet rays around it. The light dissolves into an atomic bomb detonation with accompanying screams of terror.

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[Mining Movies] Here Is Where All The Men Went On Godless – by Ariana Romero (Refinery29.com – November 22, 2017)


It feels like Westerns have have been around since the dawn of the film camera. That’s why it feels nearly impossible to shake-up the genre, which I grew up watching thanks to my father, who is absolutely obsessed with throwback-ish style. And, yet, Netflix’s new series Godless manages to do just that by giving us a story where the women outnumber the men in a landslide in the central town of La Belle.

While this fact is admirable, even the most feminist viewers are likely to wonder, “…Where did all the men go?” Did Wonder Woman’s Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) show up in 1800s New Mexico to craft each of the ladies of Godless’ dusty burg from the ample amount of sand lying around? Unfortunately, no. Instead, the answer is much more tragic, creepy, and mine-related.

In premiere episode “An Incident In Creede,” we slowly come to realize the town of La Belle isn’t simply filled with women, it’s filled with widows. We meet three of them throughout the opening: the reclusive Alice Fletcher (Michelle Dockery), the newly more masculine Mary Agnes (Merritt Wever), and perpetually worried single mom Sadie Rose (Kayli Carter).

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Mining magnate Frank Giustra takes a break from producing Blade Runner sequel to return to his first love — mining – by Natalie Obiko Pearson (Financial Post – May 20, 2017)


Bloomberg News – Frank Giustra likes to see big where others think small. The Canadian mining maverick’s latest target is a subterranean patch of red earth in southwestern Mexico. In January his new undertaking, Leagold Mining Corp., bought the Los Filos mine from Goldcorp Inc. for US$350 million.

It wasn’t the open pits churning out 200,000-plus ounces of the precious metal that caught this attention — it was the untapped deposit stretching for roughly 600 meters below. “We just looked at it and thought: This is a jewel,” Giustra, 59, said in an interview at his downtown Vancouver office, where a George Rodrigue blue dog painting hangs at the entrance.

The plan is to use Los Filos to build “a major gold producer over the next two, three, four years,” he says. “Unless the world changes dramatically, I think we’ll pull it off.” Giustra has a track record of finding the sparkle in the dirt. He’s used what he calls a grow-by-acquisition model to help build Endeavour Mining Corp. as well as a predecessor to Goldcorp, which is now one of the largest gold producers and Leagold’s biggest shareholder.

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Robert Friedland goes to Hollywood – by Trish Saywell (Northern Miner – April 24, 2017)


One of Robert Friedland’s pet peeves is that as people move away from the country to the city they become divorced from the supply chain and no longer understand where things come from. They don’t realize, he says, that everything they touch is either grown or mined. Take a look at everything around you, he urges, “we either mined it or we grew it—there are no exceptions.”

“Most people who live in urban environments think a ham sandwich comes from a refrigerator—they don’t really visualize all those pigs being slaughtered in a river of blood outside Chicago,” he adds.

“Most people don’t realize that when they walk into a dark room and turn on the light, somewhere a generator has to kick in and give them that power, because there’s virtually no storage of electricity in the grid. We think miners have to do a much better job of explaining how fundamental we are to improving this world. That’s why we have gotten into Hollywood—that’s why we are in the movie business.”

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BNN’s Andrew Bell – ‘It’s a fraud’: Bre-X memories still fresh as ‘Gold’ hits the big screen – by Paul Bagnell (BNN Commodities – January 27, 2017)


I was at one of the nicer restaurants in downtown Toronto, just beginning a get-to-know-you lunch with an executive of a large Canadian mining company. We talked about metals markets, the company’s growth strategy and his recent move from one company to another. With white linen napkins on our laps, we began eating.

Then a waiter approached the table. He had a telephone in his hand, and said there was a call for me. It was my editor, back at the Financial Post newsroom, about four blocks away on King Street West. “It’s a fraud,” he said. “Total fraud. You need to run – not walk – back here right now.”

And run I did, leaving my somewhat flustered guest to finish his grilled salmon alone. The Bre-X story had just exploded. Not that it hadn’t already been a wild ride up to that point.

Bre-X Minerals was a Calgary-based junior gold company with a deposit in Indonesia that had become an obsession among Canadian stock market investors. Drill results indicated the deposit was rich, big and getting bigger. Each time Bre-X issued new results, the stock would lunge upward again.

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TIMELINE: The Bre-X Files: The rise and fall of a junior Canadian mining company – by Tony Seskus (Calgary Sun – January 26, 2017)


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.

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