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Web-only Exclusives
November 30, 2000

From Our Correspondent: Hirohito and the War
A conversation with biographer Herbert Bix

From Our Correspondent: A Rough Road Ahead
Bad news for the Philippines - and some others

From Our Correspondent: Making Enemies
Indonesia needs friends. So why is it picking fights?

Asiaweek Time Asia Now Asiaweek story

The Busang shuffle: A Chronology


MARCH 1993: BRE-X MINERALS, a small Canadian mining company, completes purchase of Busang site in Indonesia's East Kalimantan province.

March 1994: Bre-X announces that surface exploration has revealed a larger-than-expected deposit.

October 1995: Bre-X says Busang could contain more than 30 million ounces of gold. Its shares soar.

February 1996: Indonesia's Ministry of Mines and Energy says Bre-X has found evidence of more than 40 million ounces at Busang.

May 1996: Bre-X share price breaks the $200 barrier. Shareholders approve a 10-for-1 stock split.

Oct. 30 1996: Bre-X hires a company controlled by Sigit Harjojudanto, President Suharto's eldest son, as a consultant.

December 1996: Indonesia tells Bre-X to partner with Canada's top gold firm, Barrick Gold Corp., splitting Busang's ownership.

January 1997: Barrick deal falls apart. Businessman Bob Hasan takes control of Bre-X's Indonesian joint-venture partners at Busang.

Jan. 23: Fire strikes Bre-X geological office in Busang, damaging buildings and destroying records.

Feb. 16: Under a new deal, Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold of New Orleans is awarded 15% of Busang, Bre-X keeps 45%, Hasan controls 30% and the Indonesian government 10%.

Feb. 17: Bre-X raises estimate of Busang deposit to 71 million ounces.

March 19: Geologist Michael de Guzman falls to his death from a helicopter on his way to Busang.

March 22: Bre-X shares suspended after an Indonesian newspaper, Harian Ekonomi Neraca, citing a Freeport study, casts doubts on the size of Busang's exploitable reserves.

March 26: Bre-X announces that new studies show the size of the Busang find may have been overstated. Freeport says initial tests reveal insignificant amounts of gold.

March 27: Some $2 billion wiped off Bre-X shares in a frenzied sell-off.

April 9: Indonesian authorities report that de Guzman committed suicide, apparently upset at a diagnosis that he had hepatitis B. De Guzman's family denies he contracted the illness and questions the suicide claims.

May 4: Independent auditors announce that new tests show negligible gold deposits, and allege massive falsification of test samples.


This edition's table of contents | Asiaweek home



U.S. secretary of state says China should be 'tolerant'

Philippine government denies Estrada's claim to presidency

Faith, madness, magic mix at sacred Hindu festival

Land mine explosion kills 11 Sri Lankan soldiers

Japan claims StarLink found in U.S. corn sample

Thai party announces first coalition partner


COVER: President Joseph Estrada gives in to the chanting crowds on the streets of Manila and agrees to make room for his Vice President

THAILAND: Twin teenage warriors turn themselves in to Bangkok officials

CHINA: Despite official vilification, hip Chinese dig Lamaist culture

PHOTO ESSAY: Estrada Calls Snap Election

WEB-ONLY INTERVIEW: Jimmy Lai on feeling lucky -- and why he's committed to the island state


COVER: The DoCoMo generation - Japan's leading mobile phone company goes global

Bandwidth Boom: Racing to wire - how underseas cable systems may yet fall short

TAIWAN: Party intrigues add to Chen Shui-bian's woes

JAPAN: Japan's ruling party crushes a rebel at a cost

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans need to have more babies. But success breeds selfishness

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