Sunday, August 20, 2017
Robert Friedland

Robert Friedland

Ivanhoe Mines

THERE appears to have been a shift of emphasis at Ivanhoe Mines with attention moving away from South Africa’s Ivanplats project, dubbed “... the single largest and most sustainable platinum mine in the world” to the Kamoa-Kakula project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) which Friedland described as having “... now demonstrated to be the largest copper discovery ever made on the African continent”. The quotes just confirm what we have said before about Friedland - who is arguably the world’s most famous mining entrepreneur - which is that he has never been prone to understatement. It helps that he has so far been right, twice in fact, regarding Voisey’s Bay in Canada and Oyu Tolgoi in Mongolia. The latter discovery was sufficient to justify his induction into the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame in January 2016. Friedland was cited for raising more than $10bn on world capital markets and being “one of the most recognised mining personalities and achievers in the world”. Which is all well and good, but it does not change the fact that developing the Platreef project in South Africa seems to be a lot harder than expected as Friedland contends with the depressed platinum market and, how shall we put this: South Africa’s unique socio-economic issues?

LIFE OF ROBERT

Friedland studied Sanskrit and Buddhism in India after graduating with a political science degree. This probably accounts for the unique way of employing the respectful Indian Namaste greeting whilst simultaneously rejecting media questions ... if he’s in a good mood. Friedland has notorious disaffection for the media which, in the case of Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper, appears to be mutual. The two have been feuding on various issues for years.

“Kakula is the most remarkable mineral discovery with which I have been associated.”