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On Christmas Day in 1999, the late Roger Kebble — then chair of Durban Roodepoort Deep — got some bad news.

The Browns Creek gold mine in Australia was being flooded after blasting hit an aquifer. The mine could not be saved; in fact, it would be inaccessible within days, such was the pace of the flooding. Barely six weeks after completing the purchase of the mine’s holding company, Hargraves Resources NL for $15m, all the "Roodepoort Rocket" had to show for its endeavours was a very deep, watery hole...

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