The Northern Miner 1996 “Mining Man of the Year” David Walsh and John Felderhof – by Vivian Danielson

Since 1915, the Northern Miner weekly newspaper has chronicled Canada’s globally significant mining sector.

The following year, it was discovered that the Bre-X core samples had been salted (falsified) and the company’s stratospheric share prices became worthless. Bre-X is infamously known as the most elaborate and biggest mining scandal of all time. To this day, no one has ever been held accountable.

David Walsh died in 1998 of an apparent stroke claiming his innocence until the end. John Felderhof was cleared of illegal insider trading in July, 2007.

The Busang gold deposit in Kalimantan, Indonesia, is known around the world as one of the most important gold discoveries of the century. A few years ago however, it was a small prospect being explored in a remote region by a little-known junior from Calgary, Alta., Bre-X minerals (BXM-T).

The Busang story came to the mining forefront earlier this year when the company’s Southeast zone discovery was described as having the potential of “30 million ounces plus, plus, plus”. This find, however, was not the result of overnight success. Rather, the discovery was the culmination of years of hard work and teamwork between two Canadian – David Walsh, an entrepreneur and financier, and John Felderhof, a geologist and mine-finder.

While Busang became the mining story of 1996, it is a tale that may not have materialized without the single-minded dedication of the Walsh-Felderhof partnership. On a shoe-string budget and with little encouragement or interest from majors, the men were exploring in Indonesia long before it was fashionable.

The industry was skeptical of the venture, at least in the early days, and the region’s geological puzzle was as difficult to put together as the funds for exploration.

Read more