The Big Score


356 pages
Contains Photos, Index
ISBN 0-385-25758-9
DDC 338.7'6223485'097182





Reviewed by Melvin Baker

Melvin Baker is an archivist and historian at Memorial University of
Newfoundland, and the co-editor of Dictionary of Newfoundland and
Labrador Biography.


In 1993, Falconbridge Ltd. decided not to explore for minerals in an
area—namely Discovery Hill at Voisey’s Bay in northern
Labrador—where Newfoundland prospectors Albert Chislett and Chris
Verbiski had discovered a substantial nickel deposit. It would be a
fatal decision for the mining company, which subsequently became a pawn
in the negotiations and private auction in 1995 that saw the
International Nickel Company (Inco) acquire the deposit for half a
billion dollars.

The Big Score documents the fortuitous circumstances surrounding the
1993 discovery of the huge nickel deposit at Voisey’s Bay, and the
subsequent backroom machinations that made multimillionaires of the
penny mining stock speculator Robert Friedland and his associates at
Diamond Fields Resources Ltd. Diamond Fields had backed Chislett and
Verbiski as part of its worldwide search for diamonds. The power play
between Friedland and the two prospectors that developed after the
discovery was one of many that would characterize the project over the
next seven years. Other power struggles included those among the senior
officials of Diamond Fields, one between Diamond Fields and nickel
producers Falconbridge and Inco, and one between Inco and the Innu and
Inuit of northern Labrador on whose lands the nickel deposit is located.
Still unresolved is the dispute between Inco and the Newfoundland
government over the question of how Voisey’s Bay will be developed.

The Big Score is an insightful look at corporate Canada and the process
by which backroom deals are made (or not made).


McNish, Jacquie., “The Big Score,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 12, 2024,