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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

MOUNTAIN OF DECEIT


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.

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