‘Gold’ misses out on rich story behind real-life Bre-X scandal – by Andrew Willis (Globe and Mail – January 27, 2017)


When the Bre-X scandal broke in 1997 and a massive gold find was revealed as a more massive fraud, mining executives predicted the true-life tale would be made into a movie, then joked about which actor should portray them on the big screen.

In one of my all-time favourite e-mails, the chairman at one of Canada’s biggest mining companies, Norm Keevil at Teck, sent a tongue-in-cheek note to suggest he be played by Sean Connery.

For the key role of Bre-X chief executive David Walsh, an affable mining promoter with an impressive beer gut, insiders tossed out the names of bumbling, rotund actors: John Goodman was a popular choice, so was George Wendt, best known as Norm from the TV show Cheers.

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Gold: The movie about the Bre-X mining scandal that ‘isn’t about Bre-X’ – by Sunny Freeman (Financial Post – January 20, 2017)



It has all of the elements befitting a classic Hollywood tale: mystery, adventure, treasure, greed, corruption, betrayal, exotic locales, plot twists and … gold.

Gold, opening in theatres across Canada on Jan. 27, is the story of a brash, chain-smoking, pot-bellied mine prospector whose dream of finding the motherlode is all-consuming. Down and out, he meets a rugged geologist, a fabled “river walker,” who convinces him to visit Borneo, Indonesia, and ultimately buy a property deep in the jungle.

They strike gold, big-time investment bankers and multinational miners come calling, their fortunes soar and suddenly they are the kings of the industry.

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Bre-X tale rich with Hollywood drama – by Jennifer Wells (Toronto Star – December 30, 2016)


Nearly two decades later, the gold-digging investment fraud gets the silver-screen treatment.

It’s The Treasure of the Sierra Madre meets Wall Street! How could it not be a movie? That was the husband speaking, lo these many years ago now. Certainly the component parts were all there. For atmospherics: the steam heat of the Indonesian jungle, replete with tigers and cobras and a gator infested river.

Greed? The muscle-bound tactics of some of the largest gold mining companies on the planet would fit that bill, their actions adorned by a cadre of bedazzled brokers and enabling analysts. Corruption? The Suharto regime was rich in the stuff. Intrigue? Surely the surprise helicopter exit of a geologist — a 250-metre plunge into a tropical rainforest — would tweak a viewer’s interest.

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On the island of Bougainville, located off the coast of Papua New Guinea, there is a vast untapped gold reserve. According to Red Carpet Crash, there is one thing that has stopped miners from prospecting in the area, and it’s not the years of political unrest the island has experienced.

Aggressive saltwater crocodiles guard Bougainville’s legendary rivers of gold, and they have claimed numerous lives. Now on Legend of Croc Gold, one team of fortune seekers is willing to travel into the lethal heart of crocodile country, where they are determined to mine the uncharted territory.

After the collapse of his previously thriving Alaskan mining business, Farley Dean decides that the reward far outweighs the risk and along with his family and crew, they venture off into the wilds of Bougainville Island.

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From ‘Gold Rush’ Star to Trump Administration Prospect? – by Matthew Wisner (Fox Business – November 16, 2016)


‘Gold Rush’ star Todd Hoffman took a break from mining for gold to weigh in on the election and President-elect Donald Trump’s potential impact on the mining industry.

Hoffman first explained his decision to move his mining business from Canada back to his home state of Oregon.

“We’ve been mining in Canada all these years, and I thought to myself, I’m an American, I want to come back to the United States. I want to either live or die on my own soil,” Hoffman told the FOX Business Network’s Ashley Webster. When told his style was a bit Trump-like, he reacted, “Is that good or bad?”

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[Mining Movie] Matthew McConaughey Discovers a Gold Mine in New ‘Gold’ Teaser (Aceshowbize.com – October 7, 2016)


A new teaser for Matthew McConaughey-starring flick “Gold (2016)” has been released for fans’ viewing pleasure. It shows the Oscar-winning actor as Kenny Wells, a failing businessman and modern-day prospector desperate to get back on his feet.

The video opens with Kenny saying, “I had a dream. It was like I was being called. That was a gold calling… Gold.” He continues, “It was 88. I lost my house. I lost everything. Most people would have been dead, but not me. I had a dream.”

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Dawson City’s mining office is booming, and some thank reality TV – by Cheryl Kawaja (CBC News North – July 14, 2016)


‘A lot of people don’t understand how the mining system works here,’ says Dawson mining recorder

Dawson City’s mining recorder is having a busy summer, and some locals believe reality TV is one of the reasons. “It’s been fairly hectic,” said Janet Bell-MacDonald at the Dawson Mining Lands Office. “We have up to 30 visitors a day coming through our office.”

Bell-MacDonald says 1129 quartz claims were staked last month, up from just 184 in June of last year — a six-fold increase. The number of placer claims staked is also up, from 57 in June 2015 to 265 last month.

What accounts for the jump? Bell-MacDonald said it’s hard to say exactly, since there are no statistics to track why people are staking, but she said there are likely several factors.

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Emily Riedel of ‘Bering Sea Gold’ is one of the best Alaska reality stars working. Here’s why. – by Emily Fehrenbacher (Alaska Dispatch News – April 19, 2016)



If there’s anything I’ve learned from watching thousands of hours of lowbrow TV, it’s what makes something continuously watchable. Though by way of context, I’m a 30-year-old who’s pretty basic. I still watch “The Real World” even though every person on it is the worst. I almost cried when “The People vs. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story” ended, because it made my Tuesdays. And I think 30-minute sitcoms (“You’re the Worst,” “Master of None,” “Veep,” “Catastrophe,” “Togetherness,” etc.) are the best thing happening in the television world. Sorry, “Game of Thrones.”

There is a Discovery Channel program that I believe deserves more mainstream love than it’s getting: “Bering Sea Gold.” For whatever reason, I missed the boat (pun!) on “Deadliest Catch,” which, based on its staying power, is a legitimately good show. Even in its early seasons, when I caught several episodes, it never was able to reel me in (pun again!).

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Deadwood’s a TV masterpiece that deserves your time – by Adam Proteau (Toronto Star – January 16, 2016)


Catch up with the brilliance of David Milch, Ian McShane et al now, before the promised Deadwood movie arrives.

When news broke last week that HBO’s shamefully short-lived series Deadwood will be brought back to life via a feature-length movie, its fans were elated.

From 2004 to 2006, David Milch’s show — set in gritty 1870s South Dakota, with real-life historical figures including famous frontierswoman Calamity Jane and folk heroes “Wild Bill” Hickok and Wyatt Earp — became a darling of critics and a smash hit with anyone who loved the Western genre and/or superb dramatic dialogue.

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The real Deadwood: The South Dakota town made famous by the hit TV show – by Peter Fish (Sunset.com – 2006)


This is a tale of two cities. The first is a mining camp in the Black Hills, where greed, lust, and violence kindle in such volatile combinations, you think they may burn the whole town down. The second is a tourist attraction whose tidy Main Street throngs with tourists jingling the quarters they won in the casino slots.

The first town is Deadwood, Dakota Territory, in 1876, as experienced on the HBO series Deadwood. The second is Deadwood, South Dakota, as experienced in real time in 2006. The genuine and virtual towns have become inseparable. It’s Deadwood’s real history that made the television series possible. It’s the television Deadwood that is breathing new life into the real town ― proving that in 2006, some juicy Western history can be as valuable as gold.

For proof of that statement, you can ask Mary Kopco. Director of Deadwood’s Adams Museum & House, she was in her office when someone from Hollywood phoned to gather facts about her town. How much would a miner’s pick have cost in 1876? What about a gold pan?

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In The 33, ‘living under a rock’ describes both the characters and the filmmakers – by Chris Knight (National Post – November 13, 2015)


The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

Even if you don’t remember news reports from 2010 about the Chilean miners trapped by a cave-in, it’s clear The 33 is based on actual events. Take that title; Hollywood screenwriters working from a blank page would have made it The Seven, or The Nine tops.

The 33 is so crowded with Chileans, casting executives had to call in Spaniards (Antonio Banderas), French women (Juliette Binoche), Brazilians (Rodrigo Santoro), Cubans (Oscar Nuñez) and whatever nationality Lou Diamond Phillips is. In fact, The 33 is remarkably Chilean-free, although local boy Diego Noguera plays “man in suit.”

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True or False: ‘The 33’s cinematic treatment of the 2010 Chilean mine disaster – by Jennifer Yang (Toronto Star – November 13, 2015)

The Toronto Star has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on federal and Ontario politics as well as shaping public opinion.

What do the filmmakers get right and wrong bringing the harrowing rescue attempts to the big screen?

On Aug. 5, 2010, a gold and copper mine near Copiapo, Chile, collapsed and trapped 33 miners underground. Sixty-nine days later, they were brought back to the surface in a spectacular rescue televised around the world.

It was an event so momentous that some have compared it to the moon landing. And I was lucky enough to be there.

My three weeks covering the rescue of “los 33” were among the most memorable of my life and I often wish I could revisit that inspiring moment in time. Well, now I can — sort of. And you can, too. Today, the movie version of the rescue, The 33, hits the big screen.

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The 33 review – solidly made but cumbersome chronicle of Chilean miners’ miraculous rescue – by Andrew Pulver (The Guardian – November 9, 2015)


The ordeal of 33 men trapped in a Chilean mine in 2010 attracted the world’s media. That story demonstrated the indomitable human spirit in a way this Hollywood film version doesn’t match

Almost as soon as the 33 men trapped in the San José mine in Chile were rescued, the disputes and recriminations over potential film adaptations of their extraordinary ordeal began to surface too; for low-paid men in a normally ignored industry in a marginalised part of the world, unwittingly caught up in a genuinely astonishing feat of derring-do that commandeered the world’s media for weeks, an unthought-of opportunity had opened up.

The disagreements are still rumbling along in the background, even as the film is unveiled: a modestly budgeted Hollywood production, starring Antonio Banderas and Juliette Binoche, with the Mexican-born director of Girl in Progress, Patricia Riggen, behind the camera.

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The love triangle that raged while Chilean miner fought for survival – by Isabel Vincent (New York Post – November 8, 2015)


It was the dirty laundry that did him in.

Yonni Barrios was one of the 33 men who found themselves trapped at the bottom of a century-old mine in Chile. They were worried about air. They were worried about food. They were worried about survival.

Barrios was worried that his wife and mistress would kill each other.

“After 17 days, the miners were found alive and well, and we started to send provisions down to them through a tiny borehole,” Jean Romagnol, one of the doctors involved in the rescue operation, told the BBC. “They would send up their dirty laundry to be washed. The problem was they sent the washing to Yonni’s wife . . . but she refused to do it or to hand it over to his girlfriend.”

The situation got so out of hand that Barrios, then 50, was forced to beg Romagnol, through notes to the surface, to lend him some clothes.

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BookFilter: Homer Hickam, The Author Whose Story Inspired “October Sky,” Soars Again – by Michael Giltz (Huffington Post – October 14, 2015)



Best-selling author Homer Hickam has enjoyed a varied and acclaimed career, ranging from decorated Vietnam veteran to scuba instructor to working as an aerospace engineer at NASA where he contributed to spacecraft design and crew training. Hickam even had a satisfying creative outlet in a stream of magazine articles capped by an honest-to-goodness military history hit about U-boats attacking the US coast during World War II. Called Torpedo Junction, it was published by the Naval Institute Press (the first home of Tom Clancy), got great reviews and is still in print today.

But all that is dwarfed by the Cinderella story of his first memoir. It began as an article commissioned by the relatively obscure Air & Space/Smithsonian magazine in 1995. Hickam talked about growing up as a kid in coal mining country and how Sputnik inspired he and his friends to start shooting off rockets with gleeful abandon and scientific rigor, scoring a top prize at the national science fair when kids from coal mining towns never even went to science fairs.

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