Thursday, March 27, 1997

Man Who Found Huge Deposit Left a Suicide Note

Andreas Harsono
American Reporter Correspondent
Jakarta, Indonesia

by Andreas Harsono
American Reporter Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- Bre-X Minerals Ltd. chairman David G. Walsh is a
chain-smoking, beer-drinking penny-stock promoter whose cooperation with
Dutch-born geologists John Felderhof and Filipino Michael de Guzman led to
the discovery of the Busang gold find in the jungle of Kalimantan, the
largest of 17,000 islands in the Indoinesian archipelago.
Admirers hailed Walsh as "a true capitalist hero" who had helped
thousands of ordinary Canadians to make their dream coming true: becoming
millionaires with his stocks.
Critics alleged Walsh is a dangerous adventurer who was once a
bankrupt financier and never paid back all the money that he took from a
financial institution in the early 1990's.
On the eve of the Bre-X stock's tumble, he gave an interview to
the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. radio service from his headquarters in
Calgary. He talked mostly about de Guzman's sudden death
Below is a transcript of the interview, which was aired
NARRATOR: The news of Busang co-discoverer Michael de Guzman's
presumed death] came as a great surprise. We just were with Mike de
Guzman last week at the Toronto Prospectors and Developers annual
convention, where he was in good spirits and anticipating getting back to
the Busang site.
Walsh said that on his way back to Indonesia, de Guzman, who had
14 bouts of malaria in his lifetime, got a checkup at a hospital in
Singapore. He said the hospital faxed his hotel before he was to go to
Busang, telling him he had hepatitis B, which is non-curable in his
case, and would have been a very painful, lingering end to his young life.
So we have recovered a five-page note he has left to his family
and ourselves, more to [co-discoverer] John Felderhof actually, saying
that he's had enough physical pain over the years and he was ending it.
We're taking it as a suicide note. I've got a copy of it and it is his
Q: He must have been in terrible pain, then.
A: He's been in pain on and off over the years, but I guess,
faced with this confirmation of this hepatitis B, he made up his own mind.
Q: And that's in keeping with the police theory in Indonesia that
he threw himself from the helicopter.
A: Yes, we understand that the pilot first noticed something was
wrong when a gush of wind went by his head. And he turned around, and Mike
was gone from the rear left side of the helicopter.
Q: Tell me about the man.
A: He was 41 years old, a remarkably bright fellow, extremely well
thought of, and indeed an unbelievable geologist. And he had his own
theories. He liked working with Bre-X. We do give our geologists the
freedom of developing their theories.
Q: Do you recall what went through your mind when you heard about
de Guzman's discovery in Busang?
A: It was certainly an unbelievable feeling when I was told about
the results from the first hole they drilled, a kilometer from the central
zone, which was line 24.
Q: Some people would have been skeptical about those results. Was
it your faith in de Guzman that gave you that feeling, or were you acting
on instinct?
A: No, it was just my faith in the technical team headed by John
Felderhof, who has worked with Michael for a number of years in Indonesia.
They worked very, very well as a team.
Q: He chose a very dramatic way to end it. It that in keeping with
his personality? Was he a dramatic kind of guy?
A: No, I don't think so. No, he was a very warm, friendly [guy
who had a good sense of humor, but took his work very, very seriously. He
was a perfectionist.

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