Asked whether he had any kind of concrete evidence like photos or old documents lying around that attest to the Zambian emerald mines, he replied: “To try and compare this to business in Europe or the USA is so laughable that I would not try to attempt it.”

“Think of the early Wild West, except add jungle, wild animals (and wild humans), and many many things that can kill you,” he added.

Finding anyone from northern Zambia who could attest to Errol’s tales is tricky. Mineralogical maps and satellite imagery could not locate the mine, and long-shot attempts to track down any living officials from the mining ministry in the 1980s were unsuccessful, but Errol’s anecdotes are consistent with the situation on the ground at the time, according to an expert. {read}