Bre-X: Gold Today, Gone Tomorrow (1st edition, 1Nov1997) is a book I highly recommend reading for the story itself and also for some background into the way things work (or used to work — some things have changed) in the mining/exploration industry. I found that a character list at the beginning of the book would have been useful. The book got into more than one mining scam story, mostly for background about the people involved in Bre-X, and also just as general background about what mining scams are all about (see a list of a few other scams here on page 16). Also read this review of the book by another Nevada explorationist.
I've seen a few would-be scams in my day, but they were fairly minor and easy to spot, and aimed at myself or other grass-roots and early stage explorationists looking for the next best property to pick up, drill, and turn into a mine.
I was out of the business when the Bre-X scandal hit (and when its stock price was going from nearly nothing to its peak in early to mid 1997). The price of gold already wasn't what it had been in the 1980s; it had been sliding gradually for quite some time.
|Historical gold price in USD and inflation adjusted gold price in USD,|
by Realterm, from Wikimedia Commons.
Funding for companies and projects bounced back slowly as the price of gold began to rise again into the early 2000s, and after implementation of Canadian National Instrument 43-101 (called "the NI 43-101," "the NI," or "the 43-101"; also see Wikipedia), which — although aimed primarily at properties with economic resources or reserves — became a set of standard procedures to follow for any grass-roots or later-stage exploration property one had even vague hopes of getting promoted to a Canadian or American stock exchange. I'm not sure that getting funding has ever been quite the same since Bre-X, but the 2008 market and commodities crash has also had a negative effect in more recent years.
A Few More References:
Bre-X Strikes It Rich in Indonesia (3Mar1997; with property location map)
The Bre-X Gold Scandal: First there is a gold mountain, then there is no mountain (Andrew Alden's About.com Geology, originally posted 20Apr1997, with later updates)
Bre-X Collapses (19May1997)
Jungle Fever: The Bre-X saga is the greatest gold scam ever. But to understand the enormity of the fraud, you had to be there. Our man in Borneo tells his story (9Jun1997)
The mine, The man, And the scam (probably 1997)
Bre-X Geologist Mike de Guzman Rumoured to be Alive (13Jun2005)
Report: A review of Michael de Guzman's death (24May2007; forensic report dated 17Feb1998)
The mystery of Michael de Guzman (26May2007)
Bre-X Timeline (updated 31Jul2007)
Bre-X Scandal Ends in Acquittal (Oct2007)
Life after Bre-X (31Dec2012; Felderhoff says de Guzman "had nothing to do with it"; probably paywalled)