Home Alone, Mystic Pizza producer wants to make Bre-X movie

The story of Bre-X which went from a penny exploration stock to a $6 billion dollar company and became the subject of a war for control between two of mining's most venerable companies on the basis of garnished samples, is one that begs to be brought to the silver screen (or Netflix at least).

The Bre-X debacle of the mid-90s may have damaged the reputation of North American gold miners like Barrick Gold, Freeport McMoRan and the erstwhile Placer Dome, and Indonesia's former ruling Suharto family, but others like the Filipino geologist at the centre of the scandal, Michael de Guzman, suffered worse fates.

Thousands of investors lost money including the Ontario Teachers Pension Fund but the founder of the Calgary-based company David Walsh, emerged relatively unscathed and lived the life of a billionaire in the Bahamas, albeit only briefly.

The tale that started as farce (200 million ounces of gold in the remote jungle!) then descended into tragedy (Guzman may have committed suicide by jumping out of a helicopter over the site, or was pushed or may stil be alive) may now be resurrected as farce.

The Financial Times reports Scott Rosenfelt, producer of such hit comedies as Home Alone, Teen Wolf and Mystic Pizza, has been awarded seed money by mining entrepreneur Malcolm Burne to make a film about Bre-X.

It would be Burne's second foray into the movie business – he was also an investor in another 80s comedy Crocodile Dundee.

“It’s an amazing story with political and financial intrigue and thousands of people’s lives shattered as well as those who are still standing tall like Peter Munk of Barrick Gold,” says Mr Rosenfelt, who has tentatively titled the film Bre X: King for a Day.

"Gold-mining companies struggled to raise money for years after the fraud, which prompted stock market regulators in Canada and Australia to bring in rules forcing miners to disclose detailed technical information about new finds.

"No one was convicted of wrongdoing in relation to Bre-X and the last class action suits brought by disgruntled investors in Canada were wound down earlier this year."

Rosenfelt is apparently approaching mining companies to invest in the movie, but the FT reports for obvious reason the Hollywood mogul won't try to tap Barrick or Freeport and neither would filming be done in Indonesia.

Continue reading at FT.com.

More on Bre-X from the CBC digital archives.