End of the Mine

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TORONTO: The Bre-X saga came to an ignominious end Thursday when the upstart mining company filed for bankruptcy and removed its shares from trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market. Bre-X had already been dumped by the Toronto Stock Exchange following a plunge Tuesday in which Bre-X shares, once worth more than $200, closed at about 6 cents. At Tuesday's close, the company's market value was about $14 million, compared with its peak value of $4.5 billion last year. The bankruptcy will provide protection against a host of current and expected lawsuits against the company stemming from the gross overstatement of gold in its Busang mine on the island of Borneo. The company, which now faces a possible criminal investigation by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, said in a statement it wanted to show shareholders and creditors that the company's assets will remain intact despite the intensifying crisis.