The Australian-based mining company Zanex, paid
magician and mentalist Uri Geller $US250,000 (over
$A350,000) for his advice on where to look for gold in
the Solomon Islands and near Maldon in Victoria.
He was also granted an option to take up 1,250,000 Zanex shares at 20c each by 5th June, 1987.
Zanex brought Uri Geller and his assistant Schipi Strang to Australia in October, 1985. He was taken to the old gold mining town of Maldon in central Victoria by Zanex director, Peter Sterling.
There Geller had long discussions with Zanex geologist Alan Svansio it is believed Geller did not reveal anything about the Maldon area not already known by geologists.
Geller then visited the Solomon Islands for the opening of Zanex's Mavu gold mine in November last year.
Zanex brought a twin-engine plane to the Solomon Islands at considerable expense to fly Geller over the Solomon Islands. Geller indicated three areas which he believed had potential.
Uri Geller has no qualifications as a geologist but is a talented magician with a reputation for being able to convince people he has psychic powers.
Uri Geller made international news in the early 1970s
with demonstrations of spoon bending, watch starting,
and alleged extra-sensory perception.
Since then magicians such as James Randi have shown his supposed metal bending abilities are merely tricks accomplished by sleight of hand, his claims of having been tested under rigorous scientific conditions are false, and that his claimed "telepathic" abilities are merely well-known magician's "mentalist " tricks.
Psychologists such as Professor David Marks and Richard Kammann have shown that Uri Geller has the same sensory powers as any other normal human being, but state he is trickier than most people in the way he uses them.
The latest book on Uri Geller was written by Australian Skeptics magic consultant, Ben Harris. Titled "Gellerism Revealed", its photos and accompanying text teach the reader how to do Geller's tricks.
In the past couple of years, the media has carried articles on Geller's latest claims of psychic prospecting. After reading one of these articles, Zanex director Peter Sterling met Uri Geller in London in May, 1985. He was impressed by Geller and later in 1985 watched Geller perform on stage at the Young President's Club in San Diego.
About the same time, Geller's stage act was observed by the Bay Area Skeptics (San Francisco). After the performance Bay Area Skeptics magician Bob Steiner met Geller, and the two magicians posed for this photo.
The Bay Area Skeptics then watched Bob Steiner repeat Geller's act and explain how the tricks were done. The Skeptics were not impressed with Geller's claim.
Peter Sterling was impressed with Geller however, and negotiated a fee of $US250,000 for Geller to come to Australia and the Solomon Islands.
Geller came to the Solomon Islands after Zanex had already located a potential gold mining area downstream from Gold Ridge on Guadalranal Island in the Solomons.
At the opening of Zanex's mine, Geller entertained the guests with magic tricks and even bent a spoon being held by the Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands, Sir Peter Kenilorea.
Another Australian Skeptics magic consultant, professional magician Tim Ellis, was briefed on the matter. Tim was winner of the close-up magic award at the twentieth Australian Convention of magicians in June this year.
Tim spent two hours with Peter Sterling showing how Geller's tricks were only magic, but could not persuade Sterling to his viewpoint.
Gary Wiseman in "People" magazine wrote that Geller has located minerals for Britain's Rio-Tinto Zinc Corporation (RTZ), and John Pinkney claimed that Geller's biggest client was RTZ. RTZ have informed the Australian Skeptics in writing that Geller has not been employed by them in any capacity.
The financial newspapers are reporting that several large shareholders are seeking to have two of the current Zanex directors replaced and another three elected.
One wonders if Geller foresaw these developments.