Mention of the Windfall Mines scandal of the 1960s and the recent Bre-X ruling drew a response from faithful reader Don Cranstone who lives near Ottawa. He is retired from NRCan where he was, for many years, the exploration analyst. He wrote:
“In the case of Windfall, at least there were no fake assays, only a long delay in getting and releasing assays. The interesting thing is that at that time, while the assays were awaited, I didn’t think there would be anything of value, but thought it was an attempt to manipulate share prices, which turned out to be the case. I recall being in the mine where I was working in 1964 as a geologist, waiting for the cage with Murray Trigg, our chief geologist, and telling him that I was an unbeliever regarding Windfall.
“In the case of Bre-X, I attended the PDAC talk by Michael De Guzman, and when I arrived home from Toronto, I told my wife, also a geologist, that I would never buy shares in that company (not that as a Natural Resources Canada employee I was allowed to own mining or petroleum company shares). Based on the information provided in the talk and slides, I simply could not believe what I was being told about 30 million ounces of gold. Yet the company had experienced people who should have seen it themselves. One Bre-X director, whom I knew, had been exploration VP for at least two large Canadian gold companies, and he honestly believed that Bre-X had discovered a very large gold deposit.”