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Up ] Telfer discovery ] [ Bronwyn Adcock interview ] Evans speech ] Geology ] Hormone manipulation ]

 

THE GREATEST AUSTRALIAN MINING COVERED UP SWINDLE OF THE 20TH CENTURY

The following URL appears to cover the basic issues concerning Jean-Paul Turcaud and his claims to being true discoverer of the Telfer Mine in the Great Sandy Desert. 

The Golden Riddle: Finder's Keepers? 
Produced by Bronwyn Adcock 
Sunday 6/06/99 
http://www.abc.net.au/rn/talks/bbing/stories/s28534.htm
 

Notes: 

1. Mr Turcaud did not stake the area. 
2. Mr Turcaud in the early 1980's reached an agreement with Newmont. He accepted $25,000 in settlement
3. Mr Turcaud was indeed the first person to find mineralization in a part of the Eastern Pilbara called the Paterson Ranges. 
4. Quote: Bronwyn Adcock: Jean-Paul Turcaud is not a formally trained geologist. Nevertheless, he developed his own geological theories about the origins of mineral deposits. These theories are different to conventional. 
                            


Regarding the inaccuracy of the ABC report concerning me [JP Turcaud], there are two folds to it.

1) I am supposed to have received $ 25,000 ! In fact this is what the American lawyer Bordelon received, but I was on a contingency fee, so he kept 40 % of that amount. The rest is what I received and should allow for all my years of prospecting in Australia, the investment in material and special superior Geological  knowledge, the 3 successive lawyers I had in Australia (Mazza, Picton-Warlow & Canon),  the chasing around of the Mining Criminals around the world, the waste of time in writing and participating in all types of actions with view to obtain justice ... and the satisfaction of having obtained nothing at the end !

In fact and being quite conservative, I may say that I cleared NOT ONE CENT NOR ONE THANKS OF THE WHOLE VENTURE !

2) I was not a trained Geologist, I agree, but so were none of all the Australian Mining Pioneers who made that country ! ... further trained Geologists are in fact patented idiots,  and this why they do not find anything at all indeed  ! Their alleged finds are in fact preyed upon real Geologists who are the Mining Prospectors. Further still, I am the founder and creator indeed of the True Geology based on the UPL, or Universal Pressure Law ! So regarding both the History of the Earth and its Genesis, I am the one who knows the True Story, and not those other Gogological Morons ( Don Findlay excepted of course )

THE GREATEST AUSTRALIAN MINING COVERED UP SWINDLE OF THE 20TH CENTURY

Disclosure of Australian Mining Crimes and Political Corruptness

http://membres.lycos.fr/jpturcaud/
( Scuttled on Oct 29th 2003 under the Mining Criminals' cheers, and 
having reached over 92 MHits )

* The True Geology    http://membres.lycos.fr/jpt
( Was also wound up on Oct 29th 2003 due to plagiarism hazards )

The Golden Riddle: Finder's Keepers?

Produced by Bronwyn Adcock
Sunday 6 June  1999
http://www.abc.net.au/rn/talks/bbing/stories/s28534.htm

THEME

Bronwyn Adcock: Today we bring you the story of a young French immigrant who walked alone in the formidable Great Sandy Desert of Western Australia. Out here among sweeping sand dunes, red dusty earth and dry spinifex, he discovered a large rocky dome. This dome is now the site of one of Australia's most profitable gold mines. The French prospector has never been given official credit for the discovery. These days he lives in north-western France where he operates a website on the Internet. The site is called

Reader: The Greatest Australian Mining Covered up Swindle of the 20th Century.

Bronwyn Adcock: This website documents his 30-year battle and has many, at times outlandish, proclamations, such as this one calling for a Royal Inquiry.

Reader: If I say, The promised Royal Inquiry is not convened in the shortest delays now, the poor people of Australia will be compelled, to their dismay, consternation and horror, to come to the immensely calamitous conclusion that now in Australia, the convicts and the outlaws have taken over control of Western Australia and indeed of the whole of Australia.

Bronwyn Adcock: Behind this website there lies an intriguing saga of adventure and obsession with a cast of colourful characters. There's the French prospector, a shy Swiss geologist, a reclusive Scottish geologist, a small company that lost the opportunity of a lifetime, and a massive gold mine called Telfer.

There are so many twists and turns in this 30-year-long saga that an analogy may be useful. It's like the feeding chain in a tropical fish tank. There's a small fish that gets gobbled up by a slightly bigger fish. This slightly bigger fish then gets eaten by a really big fish, and then finally, the biggest fish of all takes the lot.

Hello, this is Background Briefing. I'm Bronwyn Adcock.

The main character is Jean-Paul Turcaud, the French prospector who wandered alone in the desert. For 30 years he's been saying he's the discoverer, but the company who owns the mine and the West Australian government don't agree.

Jean-Paul Turcaud: Well I've never accepted this from the beginning and I don't see why I should accept it now.

Bronwyn Adcock: Why do you not accept it?

Jean-Paul Turcaud: Would you have accepted it? To be robbed that way, you see it's very, very difficult to be a prospector to survive and prospect in the desert, it's very hard. It's very difficult, you know, not many people can do that. You have to walk up to 50 miles a day sometimes, you have to survive in very harsh conditions and you have to keep on going with at times up to 15 pounds of samples or 20 pounds of samples on your back. You have to carry it all day and you know, sleep on dunes at night and so on.

So just to come back to your question, I do not accept that in return for all the risk and all the money I've spent, I spent all my money, everything went into that you see, I don't accept to be fleeced and robbed and put aside you see.

Bronwyn Adcock: While Jean-Paul may feel he has been hardly done by, there is no suggestion that the company involved has acted in any way illegally.

The Telfer Gold Mine lies in the Eastern Pilbara in an area called the Paterson Range. While the whole area is rich in minerals, the actual mine itself comes from a huge dome-like structure that rises out of the desert. This dome is called the Telfer Dome.

The Telfer Gold Mine has produced more than $2-billion worth of gold in its 20 years of operations.

The company that established and owned the mine was originally called Newmont Pty Ltd., registered as a US company trading in Australia. Following a number of amalgamations and name changes, this company became Newcrest Mining Ltd., a wholly-owned Australian company. Newcrest owns Telfer today.

Newcrest refused to speak to Background Briefing about the controversy that's dragged the jewel in their corporate crown, one executive saying, 'It's all been aired before.'

However not everyone agrees that the fully story has been told.

Bob Shepard: It's important for our heritage that the truth about our pioneer prospectors is known within the community.

Bronwyn Adcock: Bob Shepard is the President of the Amalgamated Prospectors and Leaseholders Association in Western Australia. APLA is a group that represents the interests of prospectors. He's been researching the discovery of what is now the Telfer Gold Mine for two years and he says that Jean-Paul was the original discoverer of the area. Bob Shepard first became interested when he was researching the discovery of all gold mines in Western Australia, trying to ascertain which were discovered by individual prospectors as opposed to companies.

Bob Shepard: We looked at all the large-scale goldmines in the State and Telfer was one of the goldmines that we thought was definitely found by companies. I asked the question around the place and I was told that a Frenchman by the name of Jean-Paul Turcaud had actually discovered the deposit at Telfer.

Bronwyn Adcock: This information surprised Bob Shepard at the time.

Bob Shepard: Because I'd never ever heard it anywhere else, I was just told that by a prospector. So I asked around, and a few people in the mining circle said, 'Yes, that's the case, that he claimed to have found the Telfer deposit', but most people thought it was really Newmont that had done all the work.

Bronwyn Adcock: After much research, Bob Shepard thinks the official history may be wrong.

Bob Shepard: The reports in the Mines Department, the official line that is provided by our Mines Minister now, which I've seen a copy of, which I have a copy of, is not entirely accurate in my view, and I think it's really important that the real story of the discovery of Telfer is well researched, and is told properly from all sides of the argument, not just from the corporate side, which has been to date.

Bronwyn Adcock: Jean-Paul Turcaud arrived in Australia as a young immigrant from France in the late 1960s. He was a former French Legionnaire, and by all accounts a very tall and handsome man.

He was also a very spiritual man, a believer in the ancient Christian sect called the Essenes, the sect who are believed to have written the Dead Sea Scrolls. Followers believe in being in harmony with nature and are strict vegetarians.

Jean-Paul had been involved in prospecting for most of his life; he arrived in Western Australia when Perth was in the grip of nickel boom and the mining industry in full flight. One of his best friends from that time was another Frenchman, Jacques Philippe. Jacques Philippe is a clinical psychologist, he still lives in Perth and remembers Jean-Paul and those days very well.

Jacques Philippe: I met him in a small place in Perth, Northbridge, which at the time used to be a place where the French would congregate. I used to go there to play chess. We used to meet practically every day, and I found as time went by, I found that he was extremely hardworking, extremely honest, very trusty of people, you see. With a very deep sense of the sacred, he was extremely, and still is, very deeply religious, right. Very, very intelligent, he taught himself geology, he became a commercial pilot, he learnt English I think when he came to Australia, he could hardly speak English but he learnt English in six months.

Bronwyn Adcock: Jean-Paul Turcaud's journey into the Australian desert was in 1970. It was then that he found a previously undiscovered mineralised area, in a part of the Eastern Pilbara called the Paterson Ranges. Just over two years later, a company called Newmont pegged that same area and started work on a mine. And so Jean-Paul's battle began.

SFX - "This Day Tonight"

Reporter: For Jean-Paul Turcaud, self-acclaimed finder of a modern-day Lasseter's Reef, the streets of Perth are paved with anything but gold.

Twelve years ago he fought as a Second Lieutenant with the French Army in Algeria. Now he's fighting another battle, this time with a national mining company.

Bronwyn Adcock: This is from the ABC program 'This Day Tonight' in 1975.

Jean-Paul's case received some prominence in the early '70s; Labor's Attorney-General supported Turcaud's claims and had raised the matter in parliament many times. In 1975 when Labor had returned to opposition, Mr Evans stood up in parliament and said there appeared to be 'a gross miscarriage of moral justice'. He called for an inquiry into the affair.

As well as political attention, it also attracted legal attention. Jean-Paul hired a lawyer called Jim Mazza.

When Background Briefing tracked Jim Mazza down in Perth, he was surprised but also delighted. He's never thrown out the files about Jean-Paul's case because he thought that one day they might be needed.

Jim Mazza: I did it because I thought it was a fantastic human interest story and you've picked it up now 30 years down the path. It was an interesting story, and interesting developments, not only on the discovery but the politics of the whole thing. It's just one of those files that you feel I'd like to keep.

Bronwyn Adcock: Jim Mazza was himself a passionate mining entrepreneur in his day. He proudly says that he was born on the goldfields. He immediately warmed to the French prospector.

Jim Mazza: Well my first recollections are that he was a young, tall, vigorous, good-looking Frenchman with a beautiful French accent, terribly polite, and rather apprehensive about his situation.

Bronwyn Adcock: Jim Mazza had a difficult job representing Jean-Paul. Jean-Paul had no legal leg to stand on. The Mining Act clearly states that the way to get rights to land is to peg it. This is the actual physical process of hammering stakes in the ground and marking out your territory.

Jean-Paul never pegged the area he found. This was his ultimate downfall in the eyes of the last.

The case was also difficult because Jean-Paul never had any written agreements with any of the companies he dealt with. He says he thought a culture of honour would be enough.

Jim Mazza: His legal position was very tenuous, because he had nothing in writing, there was no real contract, and it's like lots of things that happen in mining. If you discover something interesting and you tell somebody, and they go along and peg it, it's just bad luck for you.

Bronwyn Adcock: So you were relying on your powers of persuasion or negotiation with the company?

Jim Mazza: No, I was relying on perhaps the company relenting and having a bit of heart.

Bronwyn Adcock: Legal wrangling between Newmont and Jean-Paul went on for most of the '70s, without an outcome. Towards the end of the '70s, Jean-Paul decided to leave Australia. He was trying to study at university, but he was struggling financially and not coping. The pressure of his seemingly unwinable battle got too much for him.

Jean-Paul Turcaud: Well I didn't want to leave Australia, I just wanted to stay at university for the rest of the year, but I could not stand it, I could not stand seeing in the papers you know, the stories about the progression of the development of the mine and so on, so I just had to go. I could not see any outcome you see; I wasn't able to fight these people, and just had to leave.

Bronwyn Adcock: Jean-Paul's best friend, Jacques Phillipe, remembers this time well. For a while they were a flat together in Perth.

Jacques Phillipe: He was in a state of complete agitation. And I told him, I said 'I think it's time for you to go back to France,' because he didn't have any support, he was on his own. He had a few friends, like me. In actual fact I was his best friend. He couldn't take it any more.

Bronwyn Adcock: What was his state at that time?

Jacques Phillipe: Very agitated, suicidal, a lot of rage contained, rage within himself.

Bronwyn Adcock: Finally in the early '80s, Jean-Paul did reach a settlement, accepting $25,000 from Newmont's head office in New York. Legally that settled the issue. Jean-Paul however, has continued on, not for any money, but because he says the true story of the events surrounding the discovery still hasn't been revealed. He wants the Royal Commission that was promised to him by the politician, Mr Evans, back in 1975.

As well as running his elaborate Internet site, he's sent fliers outlining his case to outback pubs and RSL Clubs, and written hundreds of letters and emails to Australian politicians, companies and even the Queen.

Jean-Paul has just posted his latter letter to the Queen on his website, asking for the Royal Inquiry. Jean-Paul is confident this will happen.

Jean-Paul Turcaud: I was told by many people, especially by Mr Evans, the Honourable Evans, that the Royal Inquiry which was required would not be affected by time or space or anything of the kind. And I still remember very clearly, once Mr Evans came to my place in Kalgoorlie, Macdonald Street, and said to me, 'The requirement of this Inquiry is actually in the Acts of Parliament in the Hansard so that means it will come, it will eventuate.' So I don't think Mr Evans was a liar, and I think he said what he said will happen. I'm very sure this Inquiry will happen. I don't hope it will happen, I know it will happen.

Bronwyn Adcock: But Jean-Paul, Mr Evans is dead now.

Jean-Paul Turcaud: Yes. All the more this Inquiry has to come through.

Bronwyn Adcock: The current government in Western Australia doesn't support an Inquiry. How do you think that this support will be gathered?

Jean-Paul Turcaud: Well I have made an appeal to Her Majesty the Queen. I don't give a damn about what they say in the opposition or the actual government of Western Australia, I think this government's going to go, I think this government's going to be dismissed. And I think this Inquiry will take place, despite these people.

Bronwyn Adcock: Will you ever give up, do you think, Jean-Paul?

Jean-Paul Turcaud: Well I don't think I have to give up. I have done everything which was humanly possible, and I have put everything on the table. I think the decision will be Her Majesty's decision. I think if something has to be done, it will come from this quarter, from the Crown. In fact I think it's out of my hands.

Bronwyn Adcock: There is no doubt that Jean-Paul Turcaud was the original discoverer of the area that is now the Telfer Gold Mine. After two years of looking at maps and Mines Department records, Bob Shepard is absolutely convinced.

Bob Shepard: Well I've had a look at Turcaud's maps, and I've tried to correlate the information or compare it to Mines Department records. There's no doubt in my mind that Jean-Paul Turcaud went to the site where Telfer now is. If anyone suggests that he didn't go there, I can't understand why they would say that, it would have to be a scam of just absolutely enormous scale for him to have dreamed all this up. And you've got to remember that he did actually take a number of mining companies back to the area in the early '70s, including Western Mining and Anglo American I think, and he knew his way round when he was there, so he'd definitely been to the place.

Bronwyn Adcock: And the maps show that he has marked what is Telfer Dome?

Bob Shepard: Yes, and it was actually marked as Pascale Hill, after his sister, that's what he wanted to call it. But the Department of Land Administration or the Lands and Surveys actually rejected that name.

Bronwyn Adcock: While there is no doubt that Jean-Paul was the first to the area, not everyone would agree that this makes him eligible for the title of discoverer.

David Tyrwhitt is the man who pegged the ground at what is now the Telfer Mine. He is widely credited as the man who discovered Telfer. He was the West Australian Manager of Newmont; he was also involved in the development of the mine, and eventually rose to the position of Director of Newmont. David Tyrwhitt is now the Director of a company called Quantum Resources.

David Tyrwhitt says Jean-Paul Turcaud is not the discoverer, because he did not discover gold. It is true that Jean-Paul didn't recognise gold specifically; he found a mineral-rich area that he thought would have many possibilities, though most likely copper. He says he realised that gold was probably there, but he didn't think it was the most important mineral in the area.

David Tyrwhitt.

David Tyrwhitt: Telfer is what it is, absolutely and only because it's a gold prospect, and later obviously became a major gold mine. A discoverer is the person who recognises the valuable metal, well in this case it was all about metallic deposits. If you don't recognise gold, you haven't discovered Telfer.

Bronwyn Adcock: Do you think though Jean-Paul Turcaud deserves any credit for the discovery?

David Tyrwhitt: Not really the discovery. As a pioneer, he deserves recognition of course. The trouble is, with pioneers who go out and don't find commercial indications, is that their pioneering work is never recognised. So I mean I suppose if you want a simple answer to that, no, he doesn't deserve any credit for the Telfer discovery, if you want just a straightforward answer. But yes, I admire his pioneering spirit. The fact that most of that work was done alone. So I take my hat off to him in that respect, but tragically he didn't pick up the gold and therefore he did not play a critical role in the discovery process.


Bronwyn Adcock: David Tyrwhitt.

While Jean-Paul did not discover the gold, Bob Shepard thinks this does not take away from his claim to be the discoverer.

Bob Shepard: I think perhaps in the minds of a lot of people it does detract, but in my mind it doesn't. Turcaud discovered the mineralisation which pointed the way to the discovery of the huge Telfer gold mine. Without that initial discovery, Telfer may still lay hidden under the sands of the Great Sandy Desert, and may not have yet been discovered or may have been discovered a lot later. So people who suggest that because Turcaud didn't see it as a gold show, or he didn't find gold, it really is irrelevant.

Bronwyn Adcock: This last point is the key to the story. The issue is not so much whether Jean-Paul Turcaud discovered gold, it's more whether his discovery of the area and his information directly led Newmont to the discovery of gold and subsequently the mine. This is the basis of Jean-Paul's claims and what's behind his calls for an inquiry.

To see if there is a connection, we need to trace the story, beginning at the time when Jean-Paul first journeyed into the desert.

MUSIC

Bronwyn Adcock: When Jean-Paul arrived in the Great Sandy Desert in 1970 it was an isolated, untouched land, dense with sweeping sand dunes. Other than Aborigines, a few 19th century explorers, and perhaps the fabled Lasseter, few people had ever ventured there.

Bob Shepard.

Bob Shepard: It must be some of the hardest country around I would think. There's a lot of sand dunes, not many landmarks. If you look at the early maps of the Paterson Range, the Paterson Range sheet, you'll find very few landmarks on there. But a lot of the landmarks actually had "PD" near them, which means 'position doubtful' and all prospectors know about that, that the locations of soaks, waterholes, those sorts of things with "PD" next to them are totally unreliable. So there wasn't much out there, it hadn't been explored to any great extent. There'd been no major mineral discoveries in the particular area, and it had really been ignored by companies and by the government, mainly because of the difficulties in getting to the area I suppose.

Bronwyn Adcock: Government reports from this time say there is no economic potential in the area. If anything, this isolation was an attraction to the young Jean-Paul Turcaud.

Jean-Paul Turcaud: I was involved at the time as independent prospector, and just decided to go to places where people thought nothing could be found.

Bronwyn Adcock: Jean-Paul Turcaud is not a formally trained geologist. Nevertheless, he developed his own geological theories about the origins of mineral deposits. These theories are different to conventional beliefs.

Jean-Paul Turcaud: So I just planned that trip according to these ideas, and you may have in fact, had a look at some of my theories and my way of thinking. I just think differently.

Bronwyn Adcock: Jean-Paul's friend, Jacques Philippe recalls.

Jacques Phillipe: He took his risks you know, he had some savings, he taught himself you know, the basics of geology, and he went by himself. He bought a second-hand pick-up truck, he bought two gallons of drinkable water, and he was completely on his own with a pick and a shovel.

Bronwyn Adcock: This makes him either brave or foolhardy, says Bob Shepard.

Bob Shepard: He must have been a very brave man. Some would suggest he would be a bit foolhardy to tackle it on his own, and from what I can gather, he went close to perishing on an occasion, on one of his trips. And he was in the Paterson Range area when he made his discovery for I think about four weeks on his own. So he carried enough supplies, fuel, water, lived off the land to some degree, though he was a vegetarian, so he never shot kangaroos or anything like that to eat. But yes, it would have been a very tricky job.

Bronwyn Adcock: Jean-Paul had his own special prospecting technique: he used his car as a base, radiating from it on foot for up to 20 miles in a wing-like pattern.

Jean-Paul Turcaud: The conditions are quite tough, but I was used to these types of conditions; I was in the army in the Sahara Desert, and I was quite used to these types of conditions. You have to be very careful and plan your trip, and do things carefully, and then everything's fine. Also at the time I was quite tough and could walk quite a long time, a long way, and how could I say? I had very good stamina I would say.

Bronwyn Adcock: In late 1970, Jean-Paul Turcaud made his discovery. In the Paterson Ranges he found a massive stretch of gossans, mineral-rich rock. The area was huge, there was the main dome, but also many other structures in the same area.

Jean-Paul Turcaud: I was impressed. I thought it was a good find and I thought it was a major discovery. I estimated the deposit at the time to be 2400 square kilometres in size. So it was a very good thing, and I just explored it north and south in all directions.

Bronwyn Adcock: Jean-Paul Turcaud emerged from the desert exhausted, but excited about his discovery. He drove his dusty four-wheel-drive into the nearest town, which was Marble Bar. Marble Bar is just south-west of Port Headland and holds the honour of being the hottest town in Australia.

On his first day in Marble Bar, Jean-Paul was outside the grocery shop in the main street when he met a man called Bill Brook. Bill Brook was the Marble Bar Exploration Manager for the company Newmont.

Today Bill Brook is living in Fiji, from where he spoke to Background Briefing by phone. Bill Brook says he was stunned by his meeting with this young French prospector.

Bill Brook: Well I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I was quite amazed that a Frenchman was out there doing what he was doing. I thought he was fairly naive and I thought he was fairly stupid trying to do what he was doing. I thought he was probably endangering his own life.

Bronwyn Adcock: But nevertheless he did survive out there for that time.

Bill Brook: He did, he did, and seemed to thrive on it.

Bronwyn Adcock: After chatting for a while, Bill Brook invited Jean-Paul out to the Newmont camp for dinner that night. Ironically Jean-Paul's first real meal in weeks was as a guest of the company that he was to spend the next three decades of his life fighting.

Jean-Paul had already decided that he wanted to interest a big company in his find. He didn't want to peg the area himself for a number of reasons. He thought it was too big for him to physically peg on his own; it also would have been too expensive, potentially costing thousands of dollars. He was also wary about causing a bout of claim-jumping: during the Nickel Boom it was not uncommon for hungry prospectors to flock like flies. As soon as one person started pegging, others would peg all around just in case there was something to be gained.

Jean-Paul thought that such a large area needed a big company to control it. Newmont was the first company he tried to interest. During dinner with Bill Brook that night at Marble Bar, Jean-Paul told him about the discovery and asked if Newmont would be interested.

Bill Brook: He talked about his prospect out in the Paterson Ranges, which I'd never really heard of. It all sounded a bit far-fetched.

Bronwyn Adcock: What were your impressions of what he'd found, what did he tell you about his discovery?

Bill Brook: Well obviously I didn't think very much of it, otherwise I would have high-tailed it out there and given him some assistance or whatever. Certainly at the time he approached me it was fairly hot and I was fairly busy finalising the end of the year work and I said, 'Well, come and see me when it's cooler'.

Bronwyn Adcock: Jean-Paul left Marble Bar and went to Perth, taking with him his maps and diagrams of the area and hundreds of pounds of samples.

In the next 18 months he approached in all, 15 different mining companies, trying to get some interest in his discovery. He succeeded in getting two big companies, Western Mining and Anglo-American, to go out to the site with him, but he couldn't convince them to peg the ground.

This lack of interest can in part be attributed to the fact that no-one assayed for gold. While it may seem hard to believe now, in the early '70s the price of gold was so low that it wasn't seen as a viable prospect. If anything, gold was seen only as a useful by-product, for example at the Mount Isa copper mine in Queensland, gold was just used to pay for the cost of extracting the copper.

Jean-Paul also approached Newmont again, taking Bill Brook up on his offer to come and see him when the weather was cooler. Bill Brook was in Perth now, so Jean-Paul came to see him, taking along his samples, some assay results and his maps of the gossanous areas.

Jean-Paul says he left all this with Bill Brook for a week. When he returned he was told, 'Sorry, Newmont is not interested.'

This is Bill Brook's recollection of events.

Bill Brook: I can recall seeing his map of the area showing his gossans, and it was fairly boldly-drawn thing, with I think the gossans shown in red. It's about the only bit of data I recall. Obviously he had some assays I think, probably some copper assays; there were no gold assays as far as I recall, and if there were some gold assays we might have taken it a bit more seriously.

Bronwyn Adcock: Do you remember why you decided that Newmont wasn't interested? I understand that you said to him after about a week that they were not interested.

Bill Brook: No I didn't make that decision at all. I gave the data and information to David Tyrwhitt who was the then manager of Newmont in Western Australia. And he would have made the decision.

Bronwyn Adcock: Right, so you gave all Jean-Paul's data to David Tyrwhitt.

Bill Brook: Yep, yep.

Bronwyn Adcock: And how long would he have had that for?

Bill Brook: Oh, I can't recall that, it probably would have been only a matter of a week or two or thereabouts, if that, perhaps it was a couple of days I can't remember, I don't recall it being a long period of time, otherwise Jean-Paul would have been getting annoyed. We would have discussed it with Dave and the same thing, 'Well, it's too far away, we don't want to bother going out there', and it wasn't a prospective area, nothing was known about it and they had no faith in the area; it was a brand-new discovery and we didn't appreciate what he'd found.

Bronwyn Adcock: Do you recall what David Tyrwhitt said to you when he came back to you after looking at the work?

Bill Brook: No, no, I don't recall that, except that I passed on to Jean-Paul that Newmont weren't interested.

Bronwyn Adcock: Newmont wasn't interested then, but just 18 months later, David Tyrwhitt went out and pegged the ground for Newmont. Upon hearing this news, Jean-Paul was furious. He met with Newmont and was told that Newmont arrived at the area completely independently of Jean-Paul Turcaud.

Jean-Paul Turcaud: I was quite upset you see, I did not accept that, and I have never accepted that from the time they done that.

Bronwyn Adcock: David Tyrwhitt says his pegging of the site had nothing to do with Jean-Paul Turcaud, and that he definitely didn't use the information that Jean-Paul had given Newmont 18 months earlier.

While Bill Brook's recollection is that he gave Jean-Paul's data to David Tyrwhitt, David Tyrwhitt has a different recollection. He says Bill Brook just mentioned it to him.

David Tyrwhitt: I think it was actually '71 that he mentioned it to me, though me may have discussed it in 1970, and it was one of probably I would think, at least ten prospect issues that Bill raised with me, he was running our Marble Bar program for Newmont. And my recollection of that conversation was, 'Oh by the way, there was some data that came in from a French prospector.' He probably named him, to be honest I really don't recall that, but I imagine he would have done. 'And I've had a look at it, the maximum grade was a few percent copper and some malachite stained samples. Nothing really worth following up. And I returned the data to him.' And I acknowledged that yes, that was fine.

He didn't specify the location other than it was in the remote East Pilbara. So it wasn't given to me in a sort of specific form.

Bronwyn Adcock: Background Briefing learnt of Bill Brook's claims after the recorded interview was done with David Tyrwhitt. We did however contact Tyrwhitt again and put Bill Brook's version of events directly to him. He said he didn't think he had actual physical possession of Jean-Paul's data, though he probably would have sighted some of it, but he never made any copies. He said the bottom line is that Jean-Paul's information did not lead him out to the area.

The question here is obvious: how did Newmont come to peg the same area that Jean-Paul had discovered, without using any of the information that Jean-Paul had passed on through Bill Brook?

David Tyrwhitt says it was via a company called Day Dawn.

Jean-Paul didn't know at the time but around six months after he returned from making his discovery in the Paterson Ranges, geologists from a small exploration company called Day Dawn Minerals made a trip out to the exact same spot. This company had assayed for gold, and had got incredible results.

This is how the story goes: the Directors of Day Dawn decided not to peg the area and shortly afterwards ended their contract with the firm that supplied all their geologists. One of these geologists, a man called Ronnie Thomson, then got a job with Newmont. Over a beer one night Ronnie told his new boss, David Tyrwhitt, about the promising gold samples that had been found. Together they went to the Managing Director of Day Dawn to see if he would be willing to sell all the data about the area. The Director said yes, and a deal was struck whereby Newmont was to pay Day Dawn a total of $15,000 dollars. The maps, reports and assay results were handed over.

Ronnie and Tyrwhitt then flew over the area in a light plane while Ronnie pointed out the main gossanous areas. Ronnie then flew back to Perth and Tyrwhitt made one more trip out to the Paterson Range before returning to peg the ground in May of 1972.

David Tyrwhitt happily acknowledges that it was Ronnie Thomson who led him out to the area, but he says he undertook the vital step of pegging the ground.

David Tyrwhitt: Well I suppose I'd have to say, and I'm not being boastful about it, it was a pivotal role. I was the exploration manager in Western Australia at the time, so I had responsibilities for all the prospecting we were doing throughout the State, and Telfer came to me through Ronnie Thomson who we just hired in early '72, and it was a prospect that he'd worked on the year before in '71, that he drew to my attention which encouraged me to go out and have a look at Telfer, even though it was very remote. But the first samples that he drew to my attention were pretty high-grade, so they came in after I encouraged them to go and have a look at it. But I did stake the claim, so I suppose that literally is where it all started.

Bronwyn Adcock: So you would say that your role I guess was the beginning of the mine?

David Tyrwhitt: Well yes, absolutely, because staking claims over the discovery outcrops is absolutely fundamentally the beginning of what later became a very large gold deposit. I mean that is the first stage of any mineral exploration activity, acquiring title to the ground.

Bronwyn Adcock: David Tyrwhitt did what everyone else failed to do: recognise that the ground was worth pegging for gold. His gamble also ensured the future success of Newmont as an Australian company.

The fact that Newmont says they got to Telfer via Day Dawn does not exclude the French prospector Jean-Paul Turcaud from the picture. Even this trail could lead back to Jean-Paul.

One of the first places Jean-Paul Turcaud went to when he came out of the desert was to a consultancy firm in Perth called Berven and Schiller. He'd been told that getting a consultant might help him find a company to back him. Jean-Paul gave his samples to Berven and Schiller to assay. Like everyone else they didn't assay for gold. Bob Berven, who still lives in Perth today, says he remembers the results as being average and not worth them pursuing. Nevertheless Bob Berven says he passed Jean-Paul on to someone else who might be interested.

Bob Berven: Well I guess we felt maybe there was some reason for at least somebody follow up, and so we introduced him to a company called Day Dawn Minerals, which had a technical group called William Johnson and Associates working for them as geologists and geophysicists, and we sent Jean-Paul along to see them, I believe through a person called Percy Jenkins, who was the office manager or general manager at the time. And some of their geologists then started working with Jean-Paul and probably I think one of them was Ronnie Thomson, and they started pursuing things a little further. And Dr Schiller and myself kind of dropped out of the scene.

Bronwyn Adcock: Jean-Paul's recollections about this are unfortunately for him, very foggy. He thinks it was Day Dawn he went to, but he can't remember the name of the person he spoke to. He is definite about one thing though, he was told they were not interested in his discovery.

Bob Berven says he sent Jean-Paul along to see a man at Day Dawn called Percy Jenkins. This can't be confirmed because Percy Jenkins is dead. The second man that Bob Berven mentioned, Ronnie Thomson, is still alive and lives in Perth. He denies that he had any dealings with Jean-Paul.

Ronnie Thomson is reclusive character. He's not spoken on the record about the Telfer affair for decades. He's known for hanging up on anyone who calls to talk about the controversy. Ronnie did not want to do a taped interview with Background Briefing, though after several phone conversations he agreed to meet. We met at a Chinese restaurant in North Perth.

RESTAURANT BACKGROUND

Bronwyn Adcock: Ronnie brought his own herbal tea along to the restaurant, it's a special Chinese blend. He proudly tells me that he has no addictions, he doesn't drink or smoke.

He's a tall bearded man, with a strong Scottish accent. Ronnie told me that Jean-Paul had absolutely nothing to do with Day Dawn's trip out to the area. Ronnie said he devised the plan to go out there himself; he used his knowledge of the copper belts in Africa and was looking for the same kind of formations.

Ronnie also told me how he unsuccessfully tried to convince the Day Dawn board to go out and peg the area. But once he left Day Dawn, he didn't mention the amazing gold discovery to anyone, until he was hired by Newmont, then he told David Tyrwhitt about the find.

SFX- Fade out restaurant noise

Ronnie only had a six-month contract with Newmont. This contract was not renewed by Newmont.

Background Briefing has also spoken to other people who were employed by William Johnson and Associates, but worked for Day Dawn. Ian Martin is one. He worked for Day Dawn in the period both before and during their exploration in the Paterson Ranges. I went to see Ian Martin one rainy afternoon in Perth.

Ian Martin: I had never heard of Jean-Paul Turcaud until 1975.

Bronwyn Adcock: So there was no input at all?

Ian Martin: Obviously no input.

Bronwyn Adcock: Is it at all possible that Percy Jenkins or anyone else in Day Dawn could have been given Jean-Paul Turcaud's information and that was not passed on to anyone else in the company?

Ian Martin: It's always possible. But it seems surprising that that information wouldn't have been passed through to the geological side of the exercise.

Bronwyn Adcock: So you think that if the information had come through, it would have been passed through to you and the other geologists?

Ian Martin: Yes, I am sure it would have been. So I don't believe the information ever reached Day Dawn.

Bronwyn Adcock: Ian Martin did not go out to the Paterson Range area himself. However he says he was instrumental in the planning of the trip. 
Ronnie Thomson told me that it was his idea to go out there, but Ian Martin says it wasn't Ronnie's idea, it was his. Ian Martin described in detail how he conceptualised the trip to what is now Telfer. He started by studying aerial photos that were on file in a government department.

Ian Martin: Aerial photography, known as RC9 photography which is to a scale of 1 is to 79600 produced by the Commonwealth Government.

Bronwyn Adcock: Do you recall why you chose that particular area just there in the Paterson Range around where the Telfer Dome is?

Ian Martin: I started at an area known as Mickey Pool on the Rudall River and simply followed the outcrops of rocks visible on the aerial photographs further to the north, and eventually ended up in the Telfer area in the Mallu Hills area, which is immediately to the north of Telfer. It was only at Telfer that I saw similar structures to what I was looking for, and had been looking for down in the Ruddal River area.

Bronwyn Adcock: So it was you who initially pinpointed that structure and said, 'We should go out there'?

Ian Martin: That's correct, yes.

Bronwyn Adcock: Ian Martin.

The decision by the Day Dawn Board to not peg the discovery seems to fly in the face of commonsense. So does their decision to sell the information about the area to Newmont for a mere $15,000. The Managing Director of Day Dawn at this time was Ian Cornelius. He's now involved in a new business venture in New Zealand. I called him one evening to ask what happened with Day Dawn.

Ian Cornelius: It's a great after-dinner story actually, because it's probably one of my worst-ever deals. The Paterson Range prospect which was being examined by the company, along with many other prospects I might add, subsequently became the Telfer gold mine, which I think went on to become the biggest gold producer in Australia, probably it's not now the largest producer, but certainly it was at one time.

Bronwyn Adcock: So you don't think you made a good deal, with hindsight?

Ian Cornelius: A terrible deal! But based on the information available to me, I really had little choice.

Bronwyn Adcock: Ian Cornelius says that he doesn't recall Ronnie Thomson trying to convince the Board to peg the area while he was Managing Director. Nor does he remember being told about the potential for a major gold deposit.

However Ronnie Thomson says he tried extremely hard to convince the company to take up the project.

Ian Cornelius says the first he knew about the areas was when Ronnie and Newmont came to see him about selling the information. This was after Day Dawn had decided not to peg and Ronnie had left Day Dawn. This is what Ian Cornelius remembers Ronnie saying.

Ian Cornelius: He'd been working for a number of months in connection with the Paterson Range project, he would like to pursue the project with Newmont and would I mind selling the data. Of course my immediate response was 'Well, that's fine, but what are the merits of the area and what's the purchase price being offered?'

Bronwyn Adcock: And what did he say the merits of the area were?

Ian Cornelius: He thought that it had quite some potential, but they needed a lot of work and I can't remember the price being sought but my recollection, although vague, is that we ended up settling for $150,000, but I'm really not sure about that.

Bronwyn Adcock: Newmont says it was $15,000.

Ian Cornelius: ( laughs ) Well in that case, they stole it from me anyway at $150,000, so if they only paid $15,000 then they really got a good deal. When I say stole it, I mean that not in a literal sense, but it was one of those situations where the Telfer gold mine became of extraordinarily high value at some later point in time and at the time that we made the decision to transfer the data, we either were not in possession of the facts or the facts had not been revealed to us, or alternatively the facts had been revealed to us and the prospect was in a very premature, very early stage of development.

Bronwyn Adcock: One of the other possible reasons for Day Dawn looking for quick cash could have been their financial situation. Day Dawn went into liquidation in 1974, two years after they sold Newmont the information.

Whatever happened, there's no doubt that the shareholders of Day Dawn Minerals missed out on an absolute bonanza.

And if this story wasn't twisted enough already, there is one more important character who feels his story hasn't been told.

It appears that Jean-Paul Turcaud isn't the only person who's been left out of the history of the Telfer discovery.

MUSIC - Handel's Largo

Bronwyn Adcock: Phillipe Koehn is a Swiss geologist. I went to visit him in his small flat in suburban Perth, where classical music plays against the backdrop of chainsaws pruning trees.

Bronwyn Adcock: Why do you like this piece of music?

Phillipe Koehn: It's something to do with my family. my father used to play it.

Bronwyn Adcock: Ask Phillipe Koehn who made the discovery at Telfer and he'll tell you straight: it was him.

Phillipe Koehn: Well if you ask me, me. Yes.

Bronwyn Adcock: Phillipe Koehn is the first geologist from Day Dawn who actually went out to the area in the Paterson Ranges that is now Telfer. He also appears to be the first person who actually discovered gold.

Phillipe Koehn: This is my field notebook.

Bronwyn Adcock: Phillipe still has all his data and maps from this trip. He showed me the assay results of the samples he took.

Phillipe Koehn: That first lot is for copper zinc, lead, nickel, manganese, cobalt, silver, antimony and here you have gold and uranium.

Bronwyn Adcock: So that stands for gold, AU, is it?

Phillipe Koehn: Yes.

Bronwyn Adcock: Are those results good?

Phillipe Koehn: Oh, you could say that, yes. This one in particular has got 124 gramme per ton, you know, people are quite happy with 3 gramme a ton.

Bronwyn Adcock: And this was 124.

Phillipe Koehn: Yes. So you can imagine that people got really pretty excited, yes.

Bronwyn Adcock: It was after Phillipe got these results that Day Dawn made a second trip out to the Paterson Range. This was the trip that Ronnie Thomson went on. Phillipe wrote a report about his gold find; part of this report was a recommendation for pegging. The area he recommended pegging was nearly identical to that eventually pegged by Newmont.

Phillipe Koehn: This is the recommendation and as you can see on that, this is the actual map which I retrieved in the '90s and it's pretty much the same, isn't it?

Bronwyn Adcock: So your map here which is from around 1971 recommended pegging, which is identical to what Newmont eventually pegged?

Phillipe Koehn: That's correct, yes.

Bronwyn Adcock: There is nothing sinister about this. All of Phillipe Koehn's work, including his recommendations for pegging were the property of Day Dawn, the company. So when Day Dawn agreed to sell their data on the prospect to Newmont, Phillipe Koehn's work would have all been part of the package.

While Phillipe Koehn and many of his former colleagues resent the fact that he was never recognised as the person who discovered gold at Telfer, Phillipe tends to be philosophical.

Phillipe Koehn: I mean I get more and more philosophical about it, because really it didn't have such an impact. When you get a divorce by example, it is a shocking experience, but then you know, you go on, you marry another person and it's the same thing. You know, it's just one of these instances in life where I had to change tackle, and the result wasn't catastrophic you know. It would have been if I had just sat around and said, 'Oh, you know, I missed the opportunity of my life.'

MUSIC - Handel's Largo

Bronwyn Adcock: By way of an epilogue we'll return to the fish tank analogy. At the end, there was only one very big fish left. But he was full of unhappy little fish.

Today Ronnie Thomson has two rock domes in the Paterson Range named after him. Phillipe Koehn is looking forward to moving to a quiet spot out of town, and Jean-Paul Turcaud is still pushing for a Royal Inquiry. Jean-Paul is so upset by the lack of recognition for his pioneering work that he's renounced his Australian citizenship and hasn't returned to this country since he left in the late 1970s.

While Newmont says that their pegging of the Telfer site had absolutely nothing to do with the French prospector, Bob Shepard says he believes the tangled trail left by Jean-Paul does lead to Newmont.

Bob Shepard: It just goes on and on. Of course Turcaud told a lot of people about what he had discovered in the Telfer area in the area of Paterson Range, what we now know as the Telfer mine. And yes, he gave that information to Day Dawn through his consultants or through himself. Eventually Day Dawn, as a small exploration company, was involved with Newmont, providing Newmont with information about the Telfer area. I think Turcaud's quite right to claim that the information that he provided eventually ended up with Newmont, directly and indirectly.

Bronwyn Adcock: There is no doubt that the first pioneer to discover the area that is now the Telfer Gold Mine was Jean-Paul Turcaud. While few people dispute this, people like Bill Brook say it was Jean-Paul's own actions and nothing else, that dealt him out of the equation.

Bill Brook: He certainly was hawking the information around quite a few people, and it was an open secret. He was really putting himself at risk and he dug his own grave, in many ways. I think it's very sad; he was extremely courageous and very independent, and with either poor advice or simply not taking that advice and not pegging the ground, and talking to a lot of people, the information came out, and finally somebody must have gone up there and done something about it, and at that stage Jean got dealt out of the equation.

Bob Shepard: I think perhaps Turcaud was a bit naive in his dealings with the companies. I think he believed that there was a sense of honour that possibly didn't exist.

THEME

Bronwyn Adcock: Co-ordinating Producer is Linda McGinness; Research, Jim Mellor; Technical Production, Colin Preston; reading by David Downer. The Executive Producer of Background Briefing is Kirsten Garrett.

I'm Bronwyn Adcock.



Publications:
Desert Gold: The Discovery and Development of Telfer
Author: David Tyrwhitt w/support from Newcrest Mining
Publisher: Louthean Publishing Pty Ltd, West Perth (undated; ca. 1979)  

Major section of book 'No two the Same', by A.A. (Bert) Mason, one time Telfer mine Manager. 

Tyrwhitt's book does include his view of Turcaud's role in the discovery process while Mason neglects to mention Turcaud by name at all in his reminiscences. 


The Golden Rule: He Who Has the Gold Makes the Rules
http://www.tnet.com.au/~warrigal/

The Golden Rule is now available. For further details email warrigal@tnet.com.au

"THE GOLDEN RULE
Gold and Intrigue in the Desert,
The true story of the discovery of the Telfer gold mine"
Author : Bob Sheppard, President of the Australian Prospectors' Union
Author's contact & web page : www.tnet.com.au/~warrigal/
Order from : Hesperian Press, PO Box 317 Victoria Park, 6979 W.Australia.
AUS 40.00 + post

Published in  Perth 15th December 2002

Of all the gold mines in Australia the Telfer is one of the few huge deposits that appeared to have been found without any input from a prospector. In March 1998 APLA reporter Les Lowe contacted a French prospector Jean-Paul Turcaud, who claimed he had found the Telfer gold mine. Lowe's article, Who Found Telfer? Short Shrift - The Truth of Discoveries, challenged the current belief that it was the corporate miners who found Telfer.

In 1970 a lone French prospector, Jean-Paul Turcaud, penetrated the unexplored wilderness of Australiaís Great Sandy Desert searching for minerals. He was astounded by the mineral potential he believed he had found.
Exhausted and almost penniless he drove out of the desert and into the hottest town on earth: Marble Bar. He needed help to develop his prospects but the representatives of the giant American company he first spoke to were not interested in what he had discovered. Three years later the company announced the discovery of the mighty Telfer gold mine in the Great Sandy Desert and claimed they had found the mine without any input from the prospector.
So began decades of acrimony between the French prospector and the mining company. It was a dispute that reached company boardrooms, parliamentary chambers, public servantsí offices and eventually the world wide web. The stakes were high for the Telfer gold mine has yielded millions of ounces of gold, thousands of tonnes of copper and there is more to come.
Turcaud joined a long list of people who claimed to have found Telfer. For the trusting prospector came the awareness that in the mining industry there is one rule: a rule that is superior to all other. It is known as The Golden Rule.
He Who Has The Gold Makes The Rules.

Now, after four years of research by author Bob Sheppard, Hesperian Press and Warrigal Press are to jointly publish The Golden Rule. The book, which is now for sale, contains previously unseen photographs, maps and documents and tells the real story of the discovery of one of Australia's largest gold mines.

Excerpts from The Golden Rule
The Pilbara 1847
... to his unspeakable satisfaction the prospector came upon a reef which his practised eye at once told him was a veritable gold one. The outcrop upon investigation proved to be rich beyond his most sanguine expectations. This, however, was no time to be hampering his movements with mere bullion, so having taken such measures as he was able to for ensuring the finding of the spot on some later occasion he packed away a few specimens from the most metallic portion of the quartz and sorrowfully turned away with but one object now in view which was if possible to reach the coast to find his ship.

The Pilbara 1954
Although he wasnít a geologist the surveyor Syd Kirkby had some gold prospecting experience and he remembers the Paterson Range area was nothing like any gold bearing country he had ever seen before. However he kept his eyes on the ground. In an amazing revelation in 2000 Kirkby told the author that in the vicinity of Mt Crofton, some 25 km northeast of Telfer, he may have made an incredible discovery.
"I picked up what I thought was a rock with gold in it. I wasnít sure. It wasnít like any hard rock ore I had ever seen. I asked one or other of the geologists. I said: 'It looks like gold to me,' and it was pooh- poohed. And I find that I threw it away, I thought as I was completely wrong whatís the point, I wonít keep it, Iíll just dump it, and I did. I donít think the geologists ever had any notion that that part of the world was auriferous."

The East Pilbara 1958
The old ute carrying the two prospectors bounced along the track near Tongolo Creek. Their prospecting gear rattled around in the back and the passenger held onto the windowsill to steady himself as each obstacle approached. It was hot and dusty in the cab and both men were wondering what the hell they were doing out in the summer heat. They should have been sitting in the cool of the Nullagine Hotel sipping a cold beer and reliving past glories rather than shaking their guts out on a track to nowhere. Theyíd heard the old rumours though, about Treacle Dickís lost show somewhere in the Great Sandy Desert and they were drawn to the search for the lost bonanza.
It was very hot and the dust hung in the cab causing them to cough through lips that were clamped on hand rolled cigarettes.
Their heads rocked back and forwards from the motion of the ute, the monotony and the heat. It was too uncomfortable to talk.
They were suddenly shocked by a loud explosion and they felt a thud like a stick of gelignite exploding in the back, but it couldnít be! The detonators were rattling around in a tobacco tin in the glove box! Their sticks of gelignite could not explode without them.
"What the fuck was that!" exclaimed the driver as the cab filled with smoke. The ute rolled to a halt and the men jumped out. The petrol tank was on fire and in moments the vehicle was engulfed by flames. The prospectors only had time to save their rifle, a billy-can and the waterbag off the roo bar.
They stood dejected, away from the flames. The vehicle burned to a charred heap on the red, sandy flat.
It wasnít good, they were miles from anywhere and no one else would be silly enough to be in the area at that time of the year. They would be dead before the alarm was raised.
They discussed their options: the station, town, the grader driverís camp or the manganese mine. None of them were very good. They were all too far away for comfort, but they started walking anyway. Perhaps they could find the grader driver on the way to the nearest station.
One of the prospectors was a big man, 18 stone or more, and he faded first. He only lasted a few miles before he was forced to sit in the shade of a stunted tree. His mate had no option but to leave him with a billy-can of water and a promise to return with help as soon as he could.
He walked towards the station carrying a waterbag that was soon empty. He could not find the grader driver but he found a drum of water left on the side of the track by prospectors for this sort of emergency. Drinking as much as he could and filling his waterbag he staggered on in the heat, knowing his mate only had enough water for a day.
The two station hands were returning from the mill-run when they found him staggering down the track. The prospector had walked 90 miles in the summer heat and was one mile short of the homestead. He could not tell them how long he had been walking but he pointed back down the track. 'For Christís sake, donít worry about me, go get my mate, heís back there,' he said before collapsing.
They took him to the homestead and spread him out on the old shearerís bed on the verandah, letting the fine mist of a sprinkler cool him as he drank and recovered enough to tell them what happened.
One of the men drove back down the track, alone, not knowing what to expect.
It was dark when he arrived at the spot and he found the prospector using his headlights. He was still propped up against the tree, clutching the billy-can that was half full of water. He had been dead for days and the fluids had oozed from his body and onto the desert sand. It was as though he was slowly melting. The station hand was able to lift him into the back of the ute on his own, something he never would have been able to do a few days before.
The legendary fortune of gold and copper in the Great Sandy Desert had claimed another victim.

Jean-Paul Turcaud (Ray Forma Photo)

October 1970
On October 14 Turcaud left the sanctuary of Christmas Pool and headed north to make a striking discovery of mineralisation and gossans. He believed he had found another Mt Isa. One of the gossanous areas he discovered was at the site of what would become one of Australiaís largest gold mines.
Turcaud was in an area largely devoid of any evidence of previous mineral exploration and he was alone with his discovery, one he believed would make a valuable contribution to the future of the country he was happy to call home. As he sat at his camp at night he dreamed of a rosy future. As far as he was concerned his gamble as a prospector had paid off, he had found a fantastic new mineralised area and all he had to do now was find a company interested in helping him develop it.

Philippe Koehn (Koehn Photo) The Paterson Range 1971
On July 9 geologist Philippe Koehn reached the Telfer structure which was close to the rockhole. His report reads:
The Telfer structure was reached on July 9th, the second stop of the day, still early in the morning. The outside rim of the structure, particularly the NW end was obviously mineralised with a quantity of disseminated pyrite casts and small quartz-bearing gossanous veins. I walked all over the structure and collected 7 samples of mineralised material and also some soil samples.
Koehn was very excited by his discovery of a gossanous area. Although there didnít appear to be much copper evident in the samples, there were some specks of gold.

Perth 26 July 1973 (Living Today)
"After about six weeks the field party returned with 'interesting specimens' Ronnie Thomson rushed them for analysis. And as a rapid afterthought, and playing on another hunch, he followed up and has them checked for gold as well as the base metals he initially ordered. And the gold was there in trace amounts. But there was enough present to excite Thomson and prompt him to fly north and make the tough trip to the area and prospect it thoroughly on foot. He spent two and a half painstaking weeks going over the ground with a fine tooth comb. His phrase for every day was 'eyes down-look in.'
During that time he discovered rocks poking from the ground - gossans in technical terms - and from these he chipped samples.
At night he speculated with some of his precious, small supply of fresh water panning crushed samples and running field chemical tests.
Results were disappointing at first. Then about the fifth day in the area, the tests indicated exciting amounts of gold and base metals. The disappointment of the previous few days evaporated, and the search was extended and it was during the next couple of days that he found 'the big one'.
He rushed back to Perth, had his field test confirmed by a laboratory and broke the news to the exploration company."

Ronnie Thompson (William & Anthony Nixon Photo) Perth June 28 1973 (Living Today)
"The fabulous Lasseterís Reef of Gold has been found!
That is the essence of a persistent rumour which has not yet gained wide currency in Perth.
The legendary reef- 'with gold in it like plums in a pudding'- has lured a least 12 men to their deaths since is was reported discovered by stocky little 'Das' Lasseter around 1897. But now, says the rumour, a big American company, unlisted on any Australian Stock Exchange, has found it and is keeping quiet about it.
The grapevine sources say the company is taking out gold which assays at an incredible 30 to 40 ounces to the ton."

Perth 2000
Turcaud claims to have seen another huge deposit in the Great Sandy Desert which he calls 'Telferís Sister'. It is a deposit which may have been partly revealed by the enigmatic prospector Rooney at the turn of the century. Turcaud is convinced it is a show of immense size and value, the whereabouts of which the French prospector will almost certainly take to his grave.

The East Pilbara sometime soon after the turn of the 20th Century
Rooney specked the first nugget while he was leading his camel along the edge of the small gully. It gleamed up at him in the early morning sunlight. He tried to remain calm as he bent over to pick up the nugget of almost pure gold: but his hand trembled slightly. As all prospectors do when they find gold he looked around at the surrounding bush just in case someone was watching before allowing himself the luxury of having a good look at the prize.
He had experienced the thrill of finding gold before, many times. He had once found a 68 oz slug at Sharks Gully. He looked around at the desolate landscape, willing there to be more nuggets on the ground nearby. He had been caught before by the scourge of all prospectors: the one piece patch. But he neednít have worried for within 20 paces of where he stood he soon found a handful of small nuggets. Somewhere perhaps, the mother of all nuggets might be lurking. He tethered his camel and went about his work. There wasnít another white man for at least a hundred miles. The blacks were watching him though, he knew that, he had seen their smoke. They had been watching him for days. Rooney knew they had been visiting the area for years as he had found their rings of stones and cave paintings nearby. He checked his lever-action rifle had a bullet in the chamber and leaned it up against his swag within easy reach. He had a small pistol tucked in his belt. The close proximity of his weapons was comforting but he knew he would have to be on his guard: he was taking a terrible risk prospecting alone.
After one trip into Marble Bar he never returned and stories of how Rooney had found a bonanza became legend.
A tale of how the prospector was found tied to a tree with the spear that had been shoved down his throat protruding out of his anus began to circulate the Pilbara.

Western Australia 2001
After lobbying from APLA, Mines Minister Norman Moore supported amendments to the Western Australian Mining Act which broke the strangle hold companies had on ground held under huge exploration licences. Corporate mining organisations were totally opposed to the concept. Permit holding prospectors can now explore for alluvial gold on exploration licences without permission subject to a permit application. The changes were made in recognition of the contribution that Western Australiaís non-corporate prospectors have made and continue to make in discovering new ore bodies. Perhaps the Golden Rule should be changed to: He who finds the gold makes the rules!
Late in 2001 the bush telegraph records that a small party of prospectors turned up at Telfer with their permit in hand and an intention to explore exploration licences held by Newcrest near Telfer in the Great Sandy Desert. Their actions were sanctioned under the Mining Act and they commenced prospecting in areas where Australian prospectors had never worked before.