"Think of the early Wild West, except add jungle, wild animals (and wild humans), and many many things that can kill you."
For an emerald mine that Elon Musk continues to claim doesn't exist, his father, Errol Musk, sure seems to know a lot about it.
Despite having previously bragged about the existence of the Musk family's alleged emerald mine on record, Elon has spent the last year or so disputing his own claims, tweeting — back when it was still called that — just a few months ago that the "fake emerald mine thing is so annoying (sigh)."
But Errol, for his part, hasn't let his son's mine-denialism slide, and in a recent interview with The Daily Beast asserted once again that yes, the mine is absolutely real — as were the bloodthirsty crocodiles who roamed the waters around it, apparently.
"Half of my colleagues were killed, all of my colleagues got malaria, yellow fever, blackwater fever, and more," Errol told the Daily Beast. "One was eaten by a crocodile on the banks of Lake Tanganyika."
"Are the silly little Western wimps of today able to understand all this?" he added. "I doubt it."
So, son says that the emerald mine is a lie, dad says it was real and that a colleague was gobbled up by croc. A classic he-said, he-said!
Musk the Elder
Erroll's latest interview comes on the heels of the release of the new "Elon Musk" biography, penned by former Time Magazine editor Walter Isaacson. The wide-ranging book does mention the mine, noting that Errol cashed in on the production upon a chance encounter with a Panamanian-Italian businessman at an airstrip in Zambia. The businessman asked if he could buy Errol's plane, and "instead of taking a payment in cash, Errol was given a portion of the emeralds produced at three small mines that the entrepreneur owned in Zambia" — and thus, the Musk family's emerald empire was born. (Errol apparently declined to comment on Isaacson's account in the new interview, however, describing the biography as "wobbly" and "suspect.")
Speaking to the Daily Beast, Errol confirmed that the mine was nestled into the African bush near an elite-frequented safari lodge dubbed Kasaba Bay. But as swanky as the neighboring lodge might have been, the mine, according to the controversial engineer, was anything but.
"To try and compare this to business in Europe or the USA is so laughable that I would not try to attempt it," Errol told the Daily Beast. "Think of the early Wild West, except add jungle, wild animals (and wild humans), and many many things that can kill you.
Is it stranger than fiction? Surely. But the saga of the Musk family often is.
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