When I left, Harry was in the middle of his normal daily news conference. I walked to the door, stood out of sight and listened to the questions. He was holding his own so I left. There were no media people at the gate as we drove away.
I was home in time so the meeting could start early. We used a world renowned mining survey and geological minerals and assessment company. A company representative was going to explain the report page by page for us.
Joel Moss had just arrived so one of my security team brought him to the meeting room. Joel was a senior analyst for International Minerals and Resources Consulting (IMRC). He had seven copies of the final report along with copies of a previous report.
“The IMRC survey of the Polokwane central mine was completed quickly as you asked. One thing that made it go faster was IMRC did a detailed survey of this mine just three years ago for a Crown Prince of the Saudi family.”
“The first twenty pages are general geologic studies for the area with emphasis on mineral composition. The studies for oil and natural gas came up negative in the first studies so there was no need to repeat them as there was no need to do the geologic ones as well.”
“Page twenty one in the old survey shows the recommended direction the mining operation was to take and for the best results. The mining operation ignored those suggestions in every instance, as you can see when you compare the maps. Compare pages twenty two and twenty three to the maps respectively.”
“Page twenty four and twenty five give anticipated mineral recovery prospects. There were and still are substantial mineral deposits located in the identified multiple untouched areas of the mine.”
“We expect those veins to continue for several miles based on the scans and seismic test. The mineral of abundance is gold in nugget form. I say nugget because soil tests show little recoverable gold particle in the spoils.”
“The Polokwane East mine – referred to by some as the diamond mine – is a different story. There are still minerals there at the marked locations – enough to be a profitable venture. Set up costs will be high for conversion to modern mining techniques but very profitable, offsetting the cost.”
“The Polokwane West mine on the adjacent property was a platinum mine. It was barely profitable in the glory days of the platinum market. The deposits were difficult to reach and so few of them. Testing proved there were no marketable minerals left in the mine or surrounding property.”
“However, the miles of dry massive horizontal tunnels offer many possibilities as the demand for old mines is growing for storage and manufacturing. The better possibility is aggregate production from the previous mining waste. There are millions of tons of rock in easy to handle sizes for crushing mills if a market were to be developed in the area,” Joel said to finish out his presentation.
There was a general discussion before he left; informative but left a lot of questions. There were going to be several long meetings in the next few days.
Marcy suggested we start another division to handle the South African (SA) Properties and associated development. I was inclined to agree with her; let BMM and a manager from the new division start putting things in order.
Marcy did make the statement that there was a hotel manager and an airport manager she was dealing with who were running the show. Altogether there were a total of twenty people involved. They were being paid the SA minimum wage at the time we took over – one dollar and fifty eight cents.
The sales information we signed to conclude the deal included all the information on all employees that the Saudi government was paying on the site, along with their contact information.
I thought it was interesting that the Saudi’s – rumored to be worth trillions – wouldn’t pay a penny more than the required minimum wage that was only a buck fifty eight.
But then there were plenty of accusations from the many foreign women who went to work in the Saudi households as to how they were treated, abused and enslaved.
“In order to build loyalty until we get a management control team there and decisions made, I bumped the pay to two dollars an hour and the managers to two twenty five,” Marcy said.
It made sense for the time being to do that but it also made sense for us to put a rush on getting people there. I was worried about the miles of tunnels in the abandon platinum mine. They could be used to stage and hide a lot of things and with Iran’s interest and Russia’s involvement, only added to the worry.
The discussion turned to the property in Portugal. The Realtor Lorrie had been working with found a suitable twenty acre parcel near Loures, about 20 miles from Lisbon.
It had been a military post that had been closed for several years, but was still owned by the government. Prime Minister Cordeiro was anxious to sell the property to us when he found out that we were interested.
The fenced-in property with a firing range, four helicopter pads and housing for five hundred would require some work. Well what didn’t require work to get it like we wanted?
The sale of the property would be closed tomorrow.
At four thirty the receptionist called up, “A gentleman named Fazel Al-Farsi is here. He says he is the deputy Ambassador to the US from Pakistan and has an appointment with BJ.”
“He called in at noon wanting to discuss the property we bought from the Saudi’s,” Jenny said, “None of us were going to talk to him without you here.”
“Have security search him and bring him up,” I said to the receptionist.
Things had changed for visitors coming to gain access to the executive offices. Various office shootings and pieces of intelligence caused Robert and Andy to join forces in pushing for the change and then demanding it.
I trusted both of them; if they felt it was necessary, it was going to happen even if I didn’t like it. But as usual when they put the evidence on the table, there could be no argument; they both built strong cases for it.
There was now a screening station similar to what government installations and the courthouses were using. People that did not have a JBG ID went through the station. They were emptying their pockets in the tray, had briefcases and bags go through the x-ray and then had to walk through the square and finally, the hand wand if necessary.
“Good afternoon Deputy Ambassador Al-Farsi; you represent Pakistan I believe. There was no need for you to come to the shore, we could have met in Washington on one of my days there,” I said.
“If this were related to official business I would have done so,” he replied.
“OK, what can I do for you then,” I replied.
“Ah right to the point. Pakistan – as I’m sure you know – acts as an intermediary for several countries in the Middle East and elsewhere.”
“Yes I know – every country does to some degree,” I replied.
“Several of the countries we work with were in the process of negotiating a joint purchase of a sizable parcel near Polokwane South Africa. It seems that you had been negotiating for the same piece of property. Then you fast tracked the purchase of the property and closed the deal before they could counter offer.”
“It’s interesting that you closed so fast – raising questions among the partners – as if you found out they were bidding against you. Did you buy it as an investment to resell? If so, they are still interested and will offer you a profit for your time. You have an unusual business to be buying property there,” he said.
“No, it is not usual for JBG; after tomorrow we will own property on five continents either for our vacation or security division,” I said.
“I assume we are talking about the property at Polokwane. Which parcel are we talking about? We bought a couple there,” I said.
I could tell I had caught him off guard by the expression on his face; it disappeared quickly.
“The property that was owned by the Saudi’s with the town, mines and airport,” he replied.
“Yes that is the one with six thousand acres. We also bought the adjoining property that was over six hundred thousand acres. No, we did not buy them for investment purposes.”
“We are changing and expanding our security business. We are going to use the properties for advance training and we are adding more aviation to the security department. We will have attack helicopters and ground support attack aircraft.”
“American law prevents us from training with that type of equipment in the states.”
“We currently bring all of our employees back to Maryland each year for training. This property will allow all of the African, Middle East and part of South American employees to train there. The airport, town and hotel fit the needs perfectly,” I said.
“What about the mines?” he asked.
“We just had a survey done; they will not be profitable for a decade. All the equipment was looted or destroyed. To replace all the equipment and find a suitable workforce will offset any short term profitability,” I said.
“After the investment it is unlikely the east mine will ever be profitable. It is a good thing mining was not our interest in buying the property,” I said.
“Why are you adding ground support aircraft to your business?” he asked.
“We have customers demanding that we have that capability and are willing to sign contracts,” I replied.
‘Let the guessing game begin’ I thought to myself. They will soon be wondering who and what kind of aircraft and who I am working with. Was I was getting to be a master at misinformation or a good liar? Maybe I had been around Washington too long.
The meeting ended cordially, with the usual, “We will stay in touch.”
It was time to go to the house via the tunnel. I was going to pick up any reports from my box on the way.
The evening was spent with taking turns watching the boys, taking turns so we could each help clean the house and make supper. What used to be simple was not any more. Trying to get the boys to eat when we did and then eat healthy was a challenge.
We were done early and the boys went to sleep early. We spent an hour in hot tub watching baby and boy monitors drinking wine coolers. It was a good evening, the best we had in days.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.