The truth about Elon Musk’s emerald mine

Elon Musk claims that his father did not actually own an emerald mine, but what is the truth?

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00:00:00:04 - 00:00:25:10
Bennett Tomlin
Elon Musk has been repeatedly insisting that the famous emerald mine that his father owned actually does not exist. Elon has even offered 1 million Dogecoin, which is about $70,000 as I'm writing this script for anyone that can prove that this mine exists. So if Elon says the mine doesn't exist. Where did the rumor come from? Well, it comes from a couple of different places.

00:00:25:12 - 00:00:50:07
Bennett Tomlin
Let's start with a James Clash interview with Elon Musk that was published in AskMen and as a Forbes contributor piece in 2014. In this interview, Elon Musk talks about the mine. I'm going to use A.I. to simulate Elon's voice here, but I'm going to show the quote on screen from the interview so you can read. Elon was asked, How about the fear when you will be sitting on your rocket ready to launch into space a physical danger?

00:00:50:18 - 00:00:52:01
Bennett Tomlin
And Elon responded.

00:00:52:01 - 00:01:06:18
Elon Musk
In South Africa, when I was growing up, my father had a private plane. We'd fly in incredibly dangerous weather and barely make it back. This is going to sound slightly crazy, but my father also had a share in an emerald mine in Zambia. I was 15 and really wanted to go with him but didn't realize how dangerous it was.

00:01:07:01 - 00:01:23:09
Elon Musk
I couldn't find my passport, so I ended up grabbing my brothers, which turned out to be six months overdue. So we had this plane load of contraband and an overdue passport from another person. There were AK 47 s all over the place. And I'm thinking, Man, this could really go bad.

00:01:23:10 - 00:01:44:23
Bennett Tomlin
This story is truly incredible. And I want to highlight a couple of different parts of it. First, Elon admits that he used ID that was not his on this trip, that they flew there on a private plane full of contraband, that there were assault rifles everywhere, and that his father had a share of an emerald mine in Zambia.

00:01:45:02 - 00:02:04:16
Bennett Tomlin
The central claim that Elon is now trying to pretend is absurd is a thing he previously claimed in interviews. Okay, so glad we put that to bed. Thank you all for joining me for this video. Nice and short today. Elon previously admitted there was a mine and that he had traveled to it. So it's all done. Thank you.

00:02:04:27 - 00:02:28:18
Bennett Tomlin
Okay, fine. Let's get a little more context and see if there's other sources that can help us fill out this story. You are Musk's father. Errol was also interviewed by Business Insider South Africa in 2018. And you can still find that interview on News24. Before we get into that interview, I want to note that Elon has accused his father of being abusive and has said that his father depends on financial support from Elon also.

00:02:28:27 - 00:02:54:14
Bennett Tomlin
Errol claims to have multiple children with his stepdaughter and claims that he has been asked to donate his sperm to women in Colombia. So he is absolutely a pervert weirdo who we should take with massive grains of salt. In this interview, Errol's recollection of events overlaps significantly with Elon's previous interview. Errol describes a private plane trip where he was flying with the intention of selling his private plane in London.

00:02:54:24 - 00:03:18:13
Bennett Tomlin
They were diverted back to Africa, where luckily they ran into a group of Italians. These Italians needed an airplane and Errol made a deal to sell the plane for cash from them. Apparently, these wealthy Italians had £80,000 in cash sitting in a safe that they were willing to hand over to. Errol must now right after handing over this cash.

00:03:18:15 - 00:03:43:19
Bennett Tomlin
Reportedly, these Italians then made a new proposal to Errol, asking if he would be interested in purchasing a half stake in an emerald mine in exchange for the cash they had just given him. And he agreed. Again, we need to pause and highlight the strangeness of being diverted to an airport in Africa, where you happen to encounter a group of wealthy Italians who want to buy your private plane in cash right before selling you a stake in an emerald mine.

00:03:43:28 - 00:04:11:24
Bennett Tomlin
These are not transactions that most people engage in. Errol also did a more recent interview in the US Sun in which he provided some more information about the mine, the airstrip he had previously described being diverted to was identified as owned by the wealthy Italians. And here we find out even more about how weird this arrangement was. Allegedly, the Italian owners of this African airstrip employed locals to dig emeralds in an operation described as under the table.

00:04:12:03 - 00:04:44:07
Bennett Tomlin
This under the table arrangement involved the locals being paid to dollars for the loads they would bring in of emeralds. They also added that this mine he owned half of had no mining company, no signed agreements, no financial statements, just a handshake deal with these wealthy Italians who owned an airstrip on the border of Zambia. Errol claims that this mine definitely existed, but not legally, and that he used the proceeds from this mine to help fund sending Elon to North America in the late eighties.

00:04:44:17 - 00:05:14:28
Bennett Tomlin
A fact that Elon vehemently denies, insisting that his father did not provide that kind of financial support and that he ended up running a large amount of student debt while in college. Around this same time, reportedly, the Emerald mine began to struggle and eventually Errol apparently had to liquidate a bunch of his assets, including his yacht. He then claims and again, I am not embellishing that in order to send the money to Elon he had to use an Israeli broker because of strict currency regulation.

00:05:15:13 - 00:05:35:06
Bennett Tomlin
And then he adds that I took a hell of a chance because people I knew were sent to jail for doing a similar thing. I need to pause here before my head explodes and provide a short list of red flags for irregular financial transactions in the story. I, of course, am not saying that anyone involved here was breaking the law.

00:05:35:17 - 00:05:56:19
Bennett Tomlin
I may think they were, but I'm not saying it. I'm just highlighting details that jumped out at me, including Elon flying with ID that was not his, a private plane, large cash transactions, a group of wealthy Italians operating an under the table emerald mine in Africa where they pay out to other investors in cash without any signed agreements.

00:05:57:00 - 00:06:20:15
Bennett Tomlin
Interest in a company that's not actually a company with no agreements or documentation use of international currency brokers that get others sent to jail in order to send your money flying planes full of contraband, being surrounded by people with AK 47. Each of these details on their own tend to raise eyebrows together. Like this is truly stunning. So back to the central question.

00:06:20:20 - 00:06:46:13
Bennett Tomlin
Did the emerald mine exist? Well, there's one last piece of evidence I went to discuss, and it's this. This is a golden emerald necklace that sold for $51,000 at auction. It was put up for auction by Elon’s college girlfriend Jennifer Gwynne, and she says that he gave it to her in college. This artifact is important because it shows that in college you can either had access to emeralds or enough money to buy them.

00:06:46:27 - 00:07:09:12
Bennett Tomlin
And as we previously discussed, he claimed that he was effectively destitute in college. And when he was starting his first companies. So, Elon, where did that necklace come from? Was it the unincorporated mine that you visited with a passport that was not yours, or was it purchased using cash that you inexplicably had in college? Fundamentally, I just mean no one else has to follow.

00:07:09:18 - 00:07:33:08
Bennett Tomlin
I believe that there was a mine. Elon’s own description of events, including claiming they were flying with contraband, makes it seem plausible to me that Elon’s father would absolutely be the type to enter into a large cash transaction to own a stake in an under the table mine involving selling a private plane to get into it. So why is Elon denying it?

00:07:33:14 - 00:08:06:13
Bennett Tomlin
I think it's plausible that Elon’s father is very much exaggerating the amount of support he provided Elon. I think it could absolutely be true that that's just a boldfaced lie. But if this story is going around that says Elon’s dad owned this emerald mine, fewer people are going to believe that Elon actually did not get that support. And even if Elon did get that support, he wants people to believe that his particular brand of billionaire genius is one that was fully self-made.

00:08:06:21 - 00:08:29:12
Bennett Tomlin
And so he denies the mine. He denies the support. And he knows that no one is ever going to be able to show a stock certificate for the mine with Errol’s name on it because it doesn't exist, because this was an under the table arrangement. Because let's be honest, contrary to what I said before, I feel pretty confident there absolutely was crime happening here at the very least.

00:08:29:23 - 00:08:53:11
Bennett Tomlin
I do not believe that everyone involved was paying the taxes they were supposed to and the emeralds they were mining. Maybe they were. I could be wrong. And it seems unlikely anyone is going to investigate tax evasion of an under the tables and be an emerald mine from the 1980s. So instead will be left with Elon continuing to deny it and Errol will continue to be a gross weirdo.

00:08:54:04 - 00:09:04:14
Bennett Tomlin
But until I hear a better explanation for that necklace, I believe that the mine existed. If you enjoyed this, then you should absolutely check out my video on Elon’s takeover of Twitter.

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