Marcy was busy on the phone, her clerks just as busy. I decided to stay out of the way.
I went to my office and opened the State Department’s fancy world search Google program that I knew they paid a bunch for and was the best that could be bought. I wanted to look at Polokwane and the surrounding areas again. What I wanted to know was what made this location attractive to the Iranians?
I had looked when we were getting ready to kill the Prince, but not with any other ideas.
To the east was the national game preserve – butted right up to the line – so there was nothing there. Or was there? The game preserve was five hundred thousand acres.
To the west was an abandoned mine; it looked like it had been closed for decades. To the north from the satellite it looked like someone had done extensive testing there, or could the terrain look that way from heavy shelling or bombing in the past? I knew of no wars in that area which would have used those kinds of weapons.
To the south there was just land; it looked like nothing exceptional. I went back to the abandoned mine and kept blowing the picture up. When it got large enough I moved the pointer around again and still saw nothing worthwhile.
When the courser passed over the complex of junk and falling down buildings up popped a name, Brazil Mining and Minerals – BM&M. Damn, we had used their plane to fly from South America to South Africa in the mission to kill the Prince.
I had the company president’s number in my cell phone. Alanza Fernando and I had met when I was Ambassador to Uganda; he was easy to get along with. BM&M had contracts in South America and most of Africa where it was safe. He was at a meeting I had to attend while I was in Uganda.
We talked 30 minutes about a lot of things before I could direct the conversation to the abandoned mine. One of the things that held the conversation was he knew several of my Embassy employees in Brasilia. He was a frequent visitor there.
“The property you have near Polokwane – what are you going to do with it?” I asked.
“Nothing. It is worthless for our mining business; every square mile had been tested for minerals and any deposits that would make us money. There is nothing there but rock and dirt,” he replied.
“Not even rare earth minerals? I thought Africa was the hot spot for them,” I said.
“Other parts of Africa – but nothing in that part,” he said.
“It has been on the market several times in the last twenty years, the cattle ranchers do not even want it for pasture,” he said.
“To be honest I am in the process of buying the other Polokwane mine to make into a training facility but I need more property away from the game preserve for safety reasons. Are you still interested in selling it?” I asked.
“Absolutely! But you would have to take the whole parcel off our hands. The property borders all three sides of the piece you have bought. I’m looking at the computer as we talk. We gave five dollars a hectare American twenty four years ago. The stock holders would want to make some money.
“Ten dollars American per hectare,” he said.
That is roughly twenty five dollars an acre, I figured.
“How big a parcel is it?” I asked.
“Two hundred and fifty thousand hectares,” he said.
Damn – that is a little over six hundred twenty thousand acres, two thirds the size of the King Ranch and a bargain at six and a quarter million dollars at our land prices. Better yet, that takes both mines off the market for the Iranians. There were no other large abandoned mines or any mines for that matter in the northern half of South Africa.
Whatever Iran wanted them for, us buying both of them would close the door in this part of Africa. I wondered if the mullahs knew the mines could still be productive. According to old information on wiki there were miles of manmade caverns and tunnels.
Marcy is going to have a fit I thought.
“OK, you have a deal. Send me the information and where you want the EFT to go,” I said.
The faxes, emails and signature exchanges began; an hour later we were done. I had copies of the deeds, property plot and bill of sale along with bank drafts on my desk.
To add icing on the cake I had a list of qualified people he recommended to set up and reopen the gold mine and train our people to run it for us.
I was just refilling my coffee mug to go see Marcy when she came in with a hand full of papers.
“Done, other than receiving the original documents. I see you have been working on something as well,” Marcy said.
“Yes, I will fill in the blanks at our meeting,” I said.
Our meeting was in fifteen minutes, just enough time to put everything together for the Spanish inquisition.
Every time I stepped out of my domain into one of my mate’s areas, they gave me the Perry Mason cross examination at the meeting. At times I felt like Hamilton Burger – out gunned.
It was all in fun – of course – to keep me on my toes and that nothing any of us did was going to slip by unnoticed even if it was by me. And in the end they let me know it was alright – but.
I let Marcy go first and put out the facts and paper on the mines and a property plot of the six thousand acres and the roads. I questioned her about little details on the transaction. I questioned Lorrie about the hangers, the runway and the hotel and what her plans were for them. She had Google Earth close ups that we had paid for from Vicky’s security accounts.
They could clearly see I was stalling. The finger nail drum beat started ta-ta-dum; first it was Ching Lee then Jenny added to it and Vicky. Lorrie was still talking plans.
When she finished I started with the intercepts from the trio about their quest to buy the mines. They reinforced my thoughts the mine could be productive or that it could be used for advanced weapons testing. We felt that Iran knew about the false production by the Prince. Iran needed hard currency badly; gold and diamonds would do nicely for them.
That explained why the purchase had become a rush. Then I opened the property plot of my purchase and placed Marcy’s in position on it.
Almost a thousand square miles! Damn, what had we done? Better yet, what had we started? There had been a lapse of thought on my part.
I had forgotten that the Prince had a mixture of Taliban, ISIS and other renegades working for him. We had killed a few – where were the others now and had they regrouped and organized? Could we be walking into a hornet’s nest?
Was it possible that Iran already reassembled that group? I wondered if any of the replies to the General Kader’s postings were from the area. More work for Roberts’s group and needed in a rush.
The girls were not unhappy about the land purchases. If we bought property for a training center and housing in Portugal, JBG would own property on five continents. North America, Europe, Africa, South America – we owned hangars for the helicopters in several countries , and Asia – hangars and the housing complex for our embassy men in South Korea – truly making JBG an international company.
Marcy was hoping that the mine surveys came back favorable. If they did it would be a sizable income not connected to the federal government, helping with the diversity in income numbers she wanted so badly.
The fun – logistics was just beginning. First order was to post a general email message to all security employees to find if we had any with mining and general contractor experience that were willing to go to South Africa for months as supervisors.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.