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2/9/18

It was twenty years ago today...

...Sgt Pepper taught the band to play. March 1997 to February 2018 is close enough.

 This humble corner of cyberspace notes the following NR out of Ivanhoe Mines (IVN.to) yesterday:
TORONTO, Feb. 08, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Robert Friedland, Executive Chairman and founder of Ivanhoe Mines (TSX:IVN) (OTCQX:IVPAF), and Lars-Eric Johansson, Chief Executive Officer, today announced the strengthening of the company’s senior management team with the appointment of Egizio Bianchini as Ivanhoe’s Executive Vice Chairman. continues here
Over the last 20 years Egizio Bianchini has been going in and out of style (but guaranteed to raise a smile), but his name will ring bells with many of the longer-serving members of the mining sector community due to his involvement in the BRE-X scandal in the 1990's. At the time the "discovery" was made, Bianchini was working as an anal yst at Nesbitt (eventually bought and morphed into part of the BMO we know today) and as the story unfolded  over the years, he was one of the lead voices in sell side (because he made sure his name was closely linked to it). He wrote prose such as, “What most people are now realizing is that Bre-X has made one of the great gold discoveries of our generation” in 1994 when the "discovery" first became apparent to stoke the fire and his pushing of the name was heavy all through the 1994 to late 1996 period, but to be fair he was hardly the only Canadian suit fooled by the scumbags in the middle of the scandal. It's what happened at the end of the BRE-X scandal, the moment it all unraveled, that strongly links Bianchini with the snafu in the minds of most people to this day. For that, I'll hand you over to this narration:

Of course, everyone makes mistakes. But here's what Mr. Bianchini wrote on March 25, 1997, and, as mistakes go, it's a whopper.
The day before Bre-X asked for a halt in trading the company was trading at roughly $15 a share. This was down calamitously from weeks before as a result of other bad news and nagging rumours that something was fishy. These rumours were coming as a result of independent drilling audits being undertaken in Indonesia by Bre-X's partner, Freeport-McMoRan of New Orleans.
Even so, the fearless Mr. Bianchini faxed clients and brokers that day and forecast that Bre-X stock would hit $29 soon.
"Our sources indicate that [Bre-X partner] Freeport's initial sampling of the deposit has indeed come up well short of Bre-X's announced grades," wrote Mr. Bianchini. "However, this has not been substantiated, as Freeport is not making any public statements regarding its Busang due diligence. If indeed there is a discrepancy between Bre-X's and Freeport's initial sampling, we are of the view that it is more likely related to the sample preparation or sample assay procedure employed. That is to say that it is likely that the assay method used by Freeport may not give an accurate representation of grade. In addition, the protocol for sample-preparation procedures for this deposit must ..."

Needless to say, Nesbitt clients (and anyone else inclined to believe him over the Freeport drill assays and their lyin' eyes) lost many, many millions (and the lawsuits dragged on for years). But thanks to the magic dust that is Canadian CapMkts here we are, 20 years later, and after two decades of behind scenes movin'an'shakin' Bianchini pops up again on the public scene as...the exec vice chair of a hot junior exploreco. Owned and run by the PT Barnum of 21st Century mining. And doing its thing in the DRC. 

Canada, land of opportunity for all.

UPDATE: Reader 'R' writes in:

"You forgot his most memorable line: 'I’ve seen the gold!'"