His investment in Burma was one of his first in Asia, and remains so today, the joint mining operation remains in the hands of a cloaked secretive third party. One with links both the Burmese Generals and to Friedland's Ivanhoe Mines.
Our federal taxpayer funded CPP pension fund has investments in Ivanhoe Mines.
With pressure arising from international protests against the Burmese Military Ivanhoe issued a statement denouncing 'violence' in Burma. Too little too late.
Robert Friedland's Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. has taken the unusual step of condemning the deadly crackdown against anti-government protesters in Myanmar, even though the mining company no longer has operations in the Southeast Asian country ruled by an oppressive military junta.
In a statement issued yesterday by the company's directors, the Vancouver-based firm said it "deplores" the recent violence that has cost the lives of demonstrators marching for an end to the totalitarian regime.
"We share the revulsion of right-thinking people everywhere against unwarranted assaults on Buddhist monks and civilians," the directors said.
The missive marks the first time Ivanhoe, whose ties to Myanmar date back to the 1990s, has directly criticized the military government.
Yesterday's statement reiterated that, in February, Ivanhoe transferred its 50-per-cent stake in a Myanmar mine, the Monywa Copper Project, to an independent third-party trust in exchange for a promissory note.
As part of an agreement struck in October last year to invest in Ivanhoe's Oyu Tolgoi project in Mongolia, Rio Tinto PLC stipulated that Ivanhoe divest its Myanmar holdings.Ivanhoe said it has not received "any revenue or profits" from Myanmar since the divestiture. However, it recently received $6.6-million (U.S.) from the trust that was funded by dividends from the mine.
Ivanhoe Criticizes Myanmar Crackdown Amid Mine Sale (Update1)
Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. criticized a government crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Myanmar, where the company is trying to sell its 50 percent stake in the Monywa copper mine.
``Many years of discussions within Myanmar about constitutional change now appear to be jeopardized by the reactions of the state that threaten to set back, rather than advance, human rights and democratic ideals,'' Vancouver-based Ivanhoe said today in a statement.
Myanmar's security forces killed at least 30 people during last week's demonstrations and arrested 1,400, the Australian government said yesterday. The ruling junta in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, put the death toll at nine.
Ivanhoe invested more than $100 million in Monywa before transferring its stake to a trust in February in exchange for an unsecured promissory note, the company said. Ivanhoe said it has received no revenue from the project since, and will write off the amount owed on the promissory note if it can't find a buyer.
Ivanhoe got a $15 million dividend for accrued revenue from Monywa before the ownership transfer, the company said. The transfer was one of the conditions set by Rio Tinto Plc, which plans to develop a copper and gold deposit in Mongolia with Ivanhoe. London-based Rio loaned $350 million to Ivanhoe last month to help finance the venture.
On behalf of the management and employees of Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. (TSX: IVN)(NYSE: IVN)(NASDAQ: IVN), we wish to place our voices on the record in registering deep concern about recent developments in Myanmar.
Together with people around the world, we have seen news reports containing graphic images of suppressive violence being used to disperse and intimidate peaceful protesters advocating democratic change in Myanmar.
We share the revulsion of right-thinking people everywhere against unwarranted assaults on Buddhist monks and civilians. History has shown us again and again that clubs and guns cannot permanently subjugate broadly-based popular support for fundamental freedoms that now are taken for granted by much of the watching world.
We take pride in expressing our admiration for the spirit of democratic principles exemplified by the courageous monks and their remarkable parades for change that evidently encouraged their followers. We deplore the fact that so many years of discussions within Myanmar about constitutional change now appear to be jeopardized by the reactions of the state that threaten to set back, rather than advance, human rights and democratic ideals.
In 2002 and 2003, the Board of Directors of Ivanhoe Mines publicly declared its support for a democracy-building process in Myanmar that would establish and protect rights for all of the people of Myanmar. We also supported the work of United Nations representatives in endeavouring to lend leadership and support to the process of democracy building in Myanmar. Ivanhoe Mines' support remains unchanged.
Although Ivanhoe Mines disposed of all of its business interests in Myanmar by transferring their ownership to an independent, third-party trust seven months ago, pending their sale, company directors and employees are honoured to have worked with many dedicated, hard-working men and women involved in successfully operating the Monywa Copper Project to international standards for health, safety and environmental management. Ivanhoe Mines kept its economic and social commitments to them and their communities and we continue to respect their values and aspirations for their families and nation.
Friedland's Ivanhoe finds Myanmar copper mine assets divestiture tough going
In the wake of on-going violence by the Government of Myanmar to quell a democratic uprising, Robert Friedland’s Ivanhoe Mines declared they no longer own assets in the country.Author: Dorothy Kosich
Posted: Thursday , 04 Oct 2007
Mineweb reviewed a fact file on the Monywa Copper Project, which declared that "since the divestment, Ivanhoe Mines has not received any revenue or profits from any operation in Myanmar including its former 50% interest in the Monywa Copper project."
The company also stated that it has not recovered the $100 million it invested, and has not made a profit on the investment.
MICCL, the Myanmar JV that owns and operates Monywa "has not made regular dividend payments to its joint-venture shareholders during almost nine years of mine operations." Ivanhoe Mines is no longer represented on the MICCL board.
However, the Myanmar Ministry of Mines now receives a 4% royalty from MICCL on the sales of copper produced by the joint venture.
Ivanhoe has been trying to sell its stake in the S&K mine since 2004, retaining CIBC and HSBC to "review strategic alternatives for Ivanhoe's interest in the Monywa project. During 2005 and 2006, Ivanhoe had discussions with interested parties, including a South Korean company about potentially selling a significant portion of Ivanhoe's 50% interest in the mine. However, the deal was never completed.
The Monywa Copper project produced 19,544 tonnes of copper in 2006. Ivanhoe Mines received $15 million in dividend payments from the joint venture.
Out of Myanmar, but the cheques keep coming
From Wednesday's Globe and Mail
October 3, 2007 at 12:12 AM EDT
For Robert Friedland, getting out of business in Myanmar hasn't been easy.
The storied mining entrepreneur's Vancouver-based company, Ivanhoe Mines Ltd., has been trying since 2004 to sever its connection with a controversial mine in the country formerly known as Burma, and the task has only become more difficult amid the political strife in which as many as 138 people were killed last week when the military junta that rules the country smashed anti-government protests.
Ivanhoe officially gave up its stake in the Monywa Copper Project mine in February, transferring its 50-per-cent interest to an “independent third-party trust.”
Yet, as of July, money from the mine was still going to Mr. Friedland's company, albeit indirectly.
Mr. Friedland's connection to the Myanmar asset goes back to the 1990s. The stake was once held in one of the mining promoter's companies called Indochina Goldfields Ltd. In addition to Mongolia, Ivanhoe is also developing mining projects in China, Kazakhstan and Australia.
In the past, Mr. Friedland has defended Ivanhoe's investment in Myanmar, suggesting in an interview with The Globe and Mail in 1997 that the venture would benefit the country and its people living under the totalitarian regime.
“I am firmly convinced that Canadian companies going to a country like Myanmar to engage in business will help the average person there. I will tell you there is no country in Asia that is a perfect democracy. But the historical pattern has been that with economic development comes the flood of the ubiquitous world culture and world ideas,” he said.
Mr. Friedland, who is perhaps best known for conducting the frenzied sale of the Voisey's Bay nickel deposit, argued that non-democratic countries are sometimes better at meeting the basic needs of the average person.
Ivanhoe Mines likely to sell to Rio Tinto once Mongolian investment agreement is concluded; two spin-offs in the pipeline, source says
By Nadia Damouni in New York
Published: May 23 2007
But it has been reported that since Ivanhoe and Rio penned their investment agreement with the government in April, company officials and government representatives are discussing problems created by the 68% windfall profit taxes imposed by the government.
The mine will double or even triple the GNP of Mongolia every year over a number of years, noted the source. “The Mongolians are very keen to get this agreement correct, so are taking a little bit longer, but we are in discussions with the government. There is a team out there in discussions, moving slowly, but it’s taking some time,” he added. Ivanhoe is anticipating an agreement and to begin work at the Oyu Tolgoi project this summer, the source said.
During the World Mining Investment Congress in London last week, a TSX representative sidelined Friedland asking for comment regarding potential spin-offs. Friedland confirmed that two were in the pipeline.
In addressing the same question, the source told this news service that Rio formed its investment partnership with Ivanhoe on the basis that the core holding for Rio would be Mongolia and all other assets held within Ivanhoe Mines were secondary. Ivanhoe made a decision that it would by a certain date, dispose, or otherwise transfer out of Ivanhoe, all those peripheral assets, he added.
The source said part of that effort was the transferal of the Burma copper project, which Ivanhoe has not disposed of yet, but which currently resides in an independent trust. “So it’s out of our control,” he said. In addition, Ivanhoe has a gold project in Kazakhstan called Bakyrchik, which the source said there is not much work being done presently. He said the asset is in the process of being dressed up for an IPO in 3Q07.
Myanmar Ivanhoe Copper Mines Company Limited, issued several reports noting that 15 locations in the S & K mine area of the Monywa Copper Project have been registered as contaminated sites, and
Whereas MICCL has repeatedly declared that it intends to clean up the contaminated sites and areas where other mine operations have occurred, after the mine is closed, and
Whereas shareholders of Ivanhoe Mines have agreed to divest its holdings in MICCL and other projects in Burma/Myanmar as a condition of the company’s financing arrangements with Rio Tinto Holdings International;
Whereas The Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants offers guidance to companies on using the Management Discussion and Analysis section of the annual report as the vehicle to report the impacts, or potential impacts, of environmental issues on financial performance,
RESOLVED: That management prepare a report to shareholders before the sale of the company’s interests in Burma/Myanmar is finalized, or by September 2007, at reasonable cost and omitting proprietary information describing in detail the environmental remediation plan for the S & K mine and in particular the company’s financial obligations for restoring the contaminated area of the existing site and authenticated by a third-party environmental audit company.
Updated: 27 February 2007
April 5th, 2006
Ivanhoe Mines announced yesterday that their mining operations near Monywa, in Burma had restarted this week, just two days after acknowledging a month-long shut down of their copper mine. Although several calls made by Canadian Friends of Burma (CFOB) were unanswered by Ivanhoe representatives, an article on Bloomberg’s newswire on the morning of Wednesday April 5th reporting on the cessation of Ivanhoe’s operations prompted an unidentified source at Ivanhoe to claim that the mine was once again operational.
CFOB feels that the most critical question that has come out of this story has yet to be answered, and in fact has yet to be asked by members of the press. That question is merely whether the disputes that led to the cessation of mining at Monywa have been resolved. If in fact the disagreements between Ivanhoe and the military have not been resolved, the fallout from this saga only serves to reinforce CFOB’s position that the social, economic and political conditions do not lend themselves to the effective operation of multinational corporations in Burma.
The company, oft-mired in controversy continues to “wrangle” with the military junta on issues ranging from import permits for mining equipment, to fuel shortages and new taxes imposed by the junta on Ivanhoe’s exports. There is also continued concern about negotiating satisfactory agreements between the Vancouver-based company and the Burmese military with regards to expansion of the Letpadaung project, six miles southeast of the mine currently operated by Ivanhoe.
According to the annual report for shareholders of Ivanhoe Mines released on April 3rd 2006, production at the Monywa mine in Burma is expected to drop to 16 000 tons of copper cathode this year, from 34 000 annually in 2005; less than 50% of expected output. These new numbers are a far cry from the expected output of 200 000 tons by 2008, and certainly puts a damper on the estimated $125 million in annual profits expected by 2008.
Ivanhoe will continue to face an uncertain future in Burma, both propping up the corrupt junta while potentially leading shareholders on a rollercoaster ride. While the profit margin continues to decrease for Ivanhoe Mines, there continues to be no discernible benefit for the Burmese population at large. At the same time, the military regime continues to profit the most from Ivanhoe’s ventures in Burma.
29 May 2006
The global mining industry did produce one piece of good news over the past fortnight. Canadian mining house Ivanhoe announced it would withdraw from Burma, expressing to sources discomfort with having to deal with the military junta, which jointly owns a copper mine with Ivanhoe. The company will sell its 50% in the Monywa mine to a consortium of South Korean investors, including Daewoo International, which already has investment deals with the Burmese generals.
The Ivanhoe Mines exit will happen in a July 2006 sale. Last week, Burma’s military junta extended the house arrest on Aung San Suu Kyi, 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner. Her strong voice for democracy and human rights in Burma has now been silenced for the past three years by the corrupt Burmese military rulers. In total, she has spent a total of ten of the past 17 years in detention.
August 2006 • Issue 392
Worldbeaters: Robert Friedland
‘What he does – trying to find the diplomatic words for this here – he brings the movers and shakers and the decision-makers in the country to his table as partners before anything is discovered. For example, his partners in Indochina Goldfields in Burma would appear to be the Burmese Generals.’ John Woods, Canada Stockwatch, talking to ABC’s Background Briefing in 1997.
Perhaps his most infamous business dealings involve the partnership Ivanhoe Myanmar Holdings – and later Indochina Goldfields (renamed Ivanhoe Mines in 1999) – forged with the Burmese regime SLORC/SPDC. In 1994 SLORC and Ivanhoe began a lucrative joint venture at the Monywa copper mine, reputedly the most profitable in the world.
Lest we forget, SLORC/SPDC has a record of employing forced labour. With no environmental laws, mining operations in Burma are dirty. Even Rio Tinto refuse to do business there. Mining Watch Canada say SLORC/SPDC are being well supported by funds from Ivanhoe.
Ivanhoe Mines posted a loss of $23.2 million in the first quarter of 2006.Canadian Friends of Burma: Ivanhoe operations shut down in Burma
Wed 5 Apr 2006
Ottawa: Canadian Friends of Burma (CFOB) has learned that Vancouver-based Ivanhoe Mines ceased production at its copper mine near Monywa, Burma on March 30 2006, according to its annual report issued yesterday. The company cited expected decreases in production, inability to import additional mining equipment, and an additional 8% tax imposed on copper exports from Burma. The company also said that it is concerned about timely approvals for the expansion of the Letpadaung deposit.
Ivanhoe Mines was operating in Burma on the basis of a joint-venture with Burma’s state-owned Mining Enterprise No.1 (ME-1); the biggest mining company operating in Burma. It invested USD $150 million in mid-1990 and an additional USD $390 million was planned to invest in the expansion of Letpadaung project, located six miles southeast of the existing Ivanhoe-operated mine in Burma. The company’s stated ambition is to increase annual production to 200,000 tons of copper within four years, making it one of the largest copper mines in the world.
Until recently, Ivanhoe Mines has made steady profit - more than $25 million each year - from the existing S&K Mine. It stands out as one of the most profitable foreign operations for Ivanhoe, and was once considered the pearl of their mining empire. Ivanhoe has also diversified and entrenched its investments in Burma by partnering in ventures such as the Modi Taung gold project, holding 65% of its shares.
From the May 22-June 4, 2006 issue of Canadian Business magazine
Mining magnate Robert Friedland has made a career of dancing on the knife's edge. His Ivanhoe Mines Ltd., for example, operates in Mongolia, Myanmar and Kazakhstan--countries where, to varying degrees, governments can be oppressive and unstable, civil unrest can break out without warning, contracts can be abandoned with impunity, corruption may run rampant, or all of the above. Friedland's appetite for risk is not unique: surging metals prices have renewed interest for mining in unstable countries with promising ore bodies. Recent turmoil at Ivanhoe's property in Myanmar, however, provides a sobering reminder of what can go wrong. Which, in this case, includes pretty much everything.
While other foreign investors fled Myanmar (commonly known by its former name, Burma) because of its unfriendly business climate and opposition from shareholders and consumers, Vancouver-based Ivanhoe charged headlong into the Southeast Asian country during the 1990s. The fruit of its efforts is the Monywa Copper Project, an open-pit mine located on the lowland plains west of Mandalay. Ivanhoe owns half of the joint venture company; its partner is No.1 Mining Enterprise, which is controlled by the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC). The mine has become mired in international sanctions and disputes over taxation and permits. Ivanhoe is now in talks to sell a significant portion of its interest in the project to Asian buyers.
Much of Monywa's problems stem from Friedland's choice of business partners. The SPDC is a military junta that seized control of Burma in 1988 and held onto power despite democratic opposition and its loss of an election in 1990. Its international image is poor. According to the U.S. State Department, the SPDC maintains its control by censoring information, suppressing ethnic minorities and repressing the rights of its people. Amnesty International accuses it of restricting freedom of movement, employing forced labour and keeping more than 1,300 political prisoners in custody. And Human Rights Watch, a nongovernmental organization, claims that "the junta's pledges of democratic reform and respect for human rights continue to be empty rhetoric." Assuming that the SPDC earns the same amount of income from the mine as Ivanhoe, Monywa provided the junta with nearly US$23 million last year. Given the SPDC's international unpopularity, one might think that windfall would give the regime ample reason to keep Ivanhoe happy. In fact, relations between the two parties have evidently soured.
In early 2004, Monywa JVCo started in-fill diamond drilling at the Sabetaung deposit. The first phase of the drilling consisted of 28 holes for a total of about 1,800 meter (m). The objectives for the first-phase drilling were to test for potential increases in ore reserves, redefine copper grades, develop a new resource model, and identify potential target areas for future drilling. As of December 31, 2003, estimates of copper resources at the S&K Mine were 205 million metric tons (Mt) with an average grade of 0.37% copper, and at Letpadaung, 1,067 Mt with an average grade of 0.39% copper (Ivanhoe Mines Ltd., 2004).
Although most Western and Japanese mining
investors looked elsewhere in Burma in the mid
1990s, Canadian companies (for more about
Canadian involvement in mining in Burma see
Ivanhoe Mines Ltd., Appendix I) and Leeward
Capital Corp., obtained a gold exploration and
mining concession in Kachin State, which they
reportedly gave up in 1998 to pursue extraction
and export of amber in another part of Kachin
State. However, Leward Capital in early
September 2003 was in the final stages of
concluding an agreement to explore, “develop”,
and mine for precious and base metals on a 700
sq km block on the border of the Shan and
Kachin states. The site called Set Ga Done, north
of the Shweli River in Mabein Township has
already been partially explored by another
company and is currently being worked by local
surface miners. The 75% interest in the block
formerly held by East Asia Gold, an American
company, is now shared by Leeward Capital
Corp. and Canadian Jet Gold Corp (Jet Gold
Set Ga Done, Myannmar
Kaiser Bottom Fish newsletter April 2003
When Bre-X lurched into the limelight in 1995 and spawned a land rush in Indonesia, Jim Davis figured the market was ready for a broader look at the geological potential of southeast Asia, and, taking his cue from Robert Friedland, acquired concessions in Myanmar, an obscure military dictatorship tucked between China, India and Thailand with excellent but seriously underexplored
geology. Friedland’s focus was the existing Monywa copper deposit which he put into production with Japanese debt financing. Leeward embarked on grassroots exploration and managed to farm out several projects to other juniors. The collapse of Bre-X as a massive salt job in 1997, followed by the Asian currency crisis, and then the decline of gold to $260, killed off market interest in Myanmar,
prompting Leeward’s partners to drop out and Leeward to relinquish its concessions. The situation was compounded by Myanmar’s economic and strategic irrelevance to the United States, which made it a convenient poster-child for human rights organizations in need of a military dictatorship to lament. The Myanmar government’s insistence that it retain a 50% stake in mining projects was also an obstacle which has since been revised to a more reasonable 20-25% interest in line with other third world countries. Although Leeward was forced to drop its concessions it kept its toehold in Myanmar alive during the last five years by developing a small business buying “Burmese” amber from local miners. During the tough years Davis would spend hours examining the amber through a microscope in search of embedded insects with enough success to cover the
cost of maintaining a presence in Myanmar. (Entities such as the the American Museum of Natural History pay a handsome price for embedded insect amber specimens.) Leeward’s status as one of the very few juniors with a registration in Myanmar nearly paid off in 2001 when Robert Friedland explored the possibility of transferring Ivanhoe’s new Modi Taung mesothermal gold discovery into a separate vehicle. A lawyer discouraged the plan and to this day Modi Taung lies hidden in the shadow of Ivanhoe’s Torquoise Hill copper-gold project in Mongolia.ICEM news release No. 16/2003F or the third year running, the 20-million member ICEM and the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), the umbrella federation covering 2.3 million working Canadians, joined forces at the shareholders meeting yesterday of Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. in Vancouver, British Columbia. The union federations continue to press the renegade mining firm to end its joint venture in Burma with the ruling military junta there.
And on the day of the meeting, Brussels-based International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) released an updated list of global companies engaged in various forms of business transactions in Burma, and Vancouver-based Ivanhoe is one of seven Canadian firms on the list of 375. ICFTU, representing 158 million workers in 231 affiliated organizations in 150 countries, broadened its denuniciation of the Burmese regime to bring further international pressure against a regime that on 31 May re-arrested Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the political party that won the last free elections in Burma.
"The list provides proof that, despite the increase of human rights violations in the country, some companies are still taking a 'business as usual' approach with this oppressive regime," said ICFTU General Secretary Guy Ryder. "Governments should act together to end investment and to end this trade with tyranny. Business should be responsible and act immediately to pull out."
Ivanhoe, publicly traded but majority controlled by Robert Freidland, is involved in a joint venture operation called Monywa Copper Project with Burma's ruthless military junta, a regime notorious the world over for murder, torture, ethnic cleansing and use of slave labor. Ivanhoe is now pushing forward on extending its mining operations to a larger field called Letpadung, as well as a new gold mine at Moditaung. The firm's annual meeting 12 June saw union members combine with Burmese refugees, religious leaders and human rights activists in protest.
"Events in Burma in recent weeks are impossible to ignore," stated CLC President Ken Georgetti. "They cannot be glossed over by the public relations spin of companies like Ivanhoe or additional noises of concern from the Canadian government. To do so requires a moral blind spot too large to live with." Georgetti predicts strong public support if the Canadian government were to react with full and effective economic sanctions against investment in Burma.
Ivanhoe Mines of Canada is seeking a multi-million-dollar financial injection from Japan to expand its huge and controversial copper mine in military-ruled Myanmar, a report here said.
Efforts are underway to attract Japanese input following a 60 million dollars investment by Ivanhoe and 90 million dollars spent by Japanese corporations, including Marubeni and Nissho Iwai, on the first phase of the Monywa copper project, according to the Myanmar Times. "We are trying to negotiate a financing package from Japan," Ivanhoe president Daniel Kunz said in the weekly's edition to be published Monday.Ivanhoe is a 50 percent joint venture partner with the government in the project, which began in 1998 and now produces 27,500 tonnes of copper per year from deposits in northern Myanmar's Sagaing Division.
Completion of Monywa's second-phase development would see total annual production surge to 155,000 tonnes, the newspaper said, making it one of the world's largest copper mines. But Kunz said poor electricity supply in the country could be a factor which influences the start of the second phase "We are interested to confirm a reliable (electricity) supply as it is five times bigger than the first phase and we are looking at a very large amount of power," he was quoted as saying.
He said a "perfect supply of power" was needed to operate the highly modern facility, which could require 70 MW of electricity in the second phase. Monywa has caused controversy in Canada, where groups such as the Canadian Labour Congress have linked the copper project to mass conscription of forced labour and called for Ivanhoe to cease investment in Myanmar.
According to the Department of Geological Survey and
Mineral Exploration (DGSME), which reports to the Ministry
of Mines of Burma, only four foreign exploration companies
remained in Burma and invested $217,0003 during fiscal
years 2001 and 2002. Of these four, the only two that were
active in 2002 were Ivanhoe Myanmar Holding Ltd. (IMHL)
[a subsidiary of Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. (IML) of Canada] (gold)
and Cornerstone Resources Ltd. (zinc); the remaining two,
which explored for copper and gold, ceased mainly because
of a shortage of funds.
In an effort to boost foreign investment, the Government
of Burma modified the Foreign Investment Law and the
Myanmar Mines Law and created a series of incentives to attract
international metal producers and mining companies by mid-
2002. Some of the changes include a tax holiday during the
construction of a mining project and a 3-year tax break from
the startup of commercial production. Also, the rate of royalty
required by the Government has decreased; for gold and other
precious metals, it dropped to 2.5% from 5%, and for base
and other metals, to 2% from 4%. Another significant change
is the elimination of production sharing between the foreign
investor and the local private partners. The only requirement of
the Government is its option to buy shares from the investors’
project once the investors have recovered the initial investment;
in this way, the Government can have an ownership of 50%
(Metal Bulletin, 2002c).
Demonstration at AGM of Robert Friedland's Ivanhoe against support for Burma's misery
"FOREIGN INVESTMENT = MORE SOLDIERS, LANDS CONFESCATED, DISPOSSESSION, SLAVE LABOUR" - a sign at the demonstration
Shareholders of Ivanhoe Mines were greeted by 40 to 50 demonstrators at the company's annual general meeting Friday morning at the Pan Pacific Hotel in downtown Vancouver.
Burmese exiles and student groups joined together with environmental, social justice and human rights activists, Filipino and Indian activists and labour leaders from the Canadian Labour Congress, BC Federation of Labour, the Steelworkers, CEP, and the ILWU Local 400 to denounce Ivanhoe for its partnership with Burma's military regime, cited internationally for gross human rights violations, its refusal to recognize the results of 1990 democratic elections and the persecution of pro-democracy and ethnic groups.
Demonstrators staged a mock "die-in", lining chalk-marked bodies with words such as "child soldier", "slavery", "dead student protestor" across the entrance way, while sign waving protestors carried a gigantic puppet of controversial Ivanhoe chairman Robert Friedland and a banner depicting sites of forced labour in the Southeast Asian country.
Ivanhoe Mines, which is listed on both the
Sydney and Vancouver Stock Exchanges, has
faced increasing criticism in Canada of its 50%
stake in the Monywa copper project in joint
venture with a Burmese government owned
With protests at its meetings and outside its
Vancouver offices increasing, Ivanhoe has
lashed out at its critics. “It is Ivanhoe’s position
that the determination of a project’s social
priorities cannot be a one-way street controlled
by those with the megaphones whose motives
approve of the publication of false and
defamatory claims in statements that are slanted
to mislead and influence decision makers in
Western societies”, stated an Ivanhoe statement
posted on the website of the government-owned
Nor is Ivanhoe prepared to accept that the
Myanmar military government is benefitting
from its 50% share of the profits. “Some critics
have mistakenly claimed that substantial profits
from the mine are a major source of revenue
for the government of Myanmar and its military
budgets. Such allegations are false”, it claimed.
Ivanhoe stridently rejected calls by human rights
activists that Ivanhoe withdraw from the project.
“Sanctions have been described as a form of
war. Our experience has convinced us that there
is a viable alternative to escalating sanctions
on aid and trade. We believe that there is a place
for appropriate investment that can significantly
contribute at a local community level to peaceful
and progressive improvement within a
Canadian journalist Karen Connelly told a
recent protest outside Ivanhoe’s Vancouver
office, “There is a direct link between military
violence in Burma and the money-making
ventures of companies like Ivanhoe Mines. By
its presence in Burma, Ivanhoe Mines and other
Canadian and international companies prop up
a savage military regime and make money on
the backs of impoverished and oppressed
Forced labour and pollution rampant at Canadian-owned mineAccording to a recent report, Ivanhoe Mines Ltd., a Canadian company owned by Robert Friedland, is "raping the environment" and using forced labour in Burma.
Ivanhoe operates the US$90 million Monywa copper mine, Burma's largest mining investment, in a 50-50 partnership with the Burmese military dictatorship (known as the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC). The mine is the centrepiece of Friedland's corporate holdings, which include properties in the U.S., Indonesia, South Korea, Thailand, China, Australia, Fiji, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Angola, Sierra Leone and Namibia.
The report, titled Grave Diggers: A Report on Mining in Burma, was written by mining expert Roger Moody and released by MiningWatch Canada and the Canadian Friends of Burma (CFOB).
For Immediate Release — September 18, 2000
The largest single mining investment in Burma, Ivanhoe Mines Ltd., is a company registered in the Yukon to take advantage of Canada's generous tax breaks for foreign exploration and development.
Neither the mining industry itself, the Canadian stock exchanges, nor the laws governing corporations in Canada, currently provide any safeguards against the impacts of irresponsible mining on communities and the environment in conflict-torn countries like Burma, Sudan and Sierra Leone.
The military coup in Burma took place 12 years ago today, on September 18, 1988. Burma continues to be ruled by an illegal military dictatorship that continues to prevent Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi's democratically elected NLD from taking office. This new report on mining in Burma, written by internationally renowned mining expert Roger Moody, is being simultaneously released in Ottawa and Whitehorse by Canadian Friends of Burma and MiningWatch Canada.
Entitled Grave Diggers, the report exposes the shocking state of mining in Burma, where regulations are lax and environmental standards absent. It is the first systematic investigation into mining in Burma, naming the companies involved, their relationship with the ruling regime, and in some cases, the situation of miners, local people and the general population.
"Grave Diggers makes it clear that Canada is complicit in maintaining the dictatorship in Burma, through its unjust tax and corporate laws," said Joan Kuyek, National Coordinator for MiningWatch Canada.
Ever grateful for the economic sanctuary he found here in the shady Vancouver and Alberta Stock exchanges of the nineties, his success at using the Canadian pro-capitalist courts to sue the U.S. Government and EPA, and after his success with Voisey Bay, he still describes Canada as ‘Soviet Kanukistan’.
It is ironic that the Voisey bay nickel discovery that he sold to Inco led to the mutual internecine merger battle between Inco and Falconbridge attempting to buy each other out which led to them being bought up by foreign investors last year.
He has not only been involved in dealing acid (LSD), which is how he got his start in venture capitalism, his early gold mining investments were plagued with acid leaks in particular cyanide spills. He went from hippie to hip capitalist.
The man allegedly responsible for the costliest mining disaster in U.S. history has beaten the latest government efforts to make him pay to clean up the resulting mess.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Justice argued successfully for Canadian courts to freeze $152 million in assets owned by Robert Friedland in order to pay for the clean-up of the cyanide and heavy metal contamination of a mine in the San Juan mountains of southwestern Colorado.
But a Canadian judge early last month lifted the asset freeze, ruling that there wasn't enough evidence to hold the dual Canadian-U.S. citizen responsible for the toxic spill at the Summitville mine.
This is not the first time that Friedland has escaped harsh censure from the U.S. legal system. In 1969, he was sentenced to two years in a youth corrections facility selling the hallucinogenic drug LSD. He served several months before being paroled for the incident.
Around the world, Friedland has left a trail of environmental wreckage behind him. There was a spectacular cyanide spill from his gold mine in Summitville, Colorado, in 1993, dubbed the 'Exxon Valdez of the mining industry'. He avoided legal responsibility by making a timely resignation. He then tried to sue the US Environmental Protection Agency and Justice Department for 'conspiracy, abuse of process, libel, breach of disclosure duties, loss of business opportunities and damage to reputation'. He subsequently moved his assets out of the country, reaching a settlement in 2000 for $27 million a fraction of the $150 million needed to clean up the mess.United States and State of Colorado v. Robert Friedland, Civil No. 96 N 1213
Pursuant to the proposed Consent Decree, defendant Robert Friedland
will pay $27,750,000, to be paid over a nine year period, to the United
States and State of Colorado to resolve the claims of the governments.
This action also resolves claims of Robert Friedland filed in Canada
against the United States and employees of the United States, including
claims by each side for attorneys' fees. The United States will pay
$1.25 million to defendant Friedland to resolve all issues related to
the Canadian litigation.
Attorney General Ken Salazar announced today that U.S. District Court Judge Edward W. Nottingham on February 17 issued an order striking all of Summitville defendant Robert Friedland's claims against the State of Colorado and most of his counterclaims against the United States. (United States and Colorado v. Friedland, CA 96-N-1213, U.S. District Court, Colorado). Colorado and the U.S. had filed motions to dismiss the various counterclaims and a February 25 hearing on those motions to dismiss has now been vacated in light of the Court's order.
"This is great news for Colorado as we continue to proceed with the prosecution of this case," Attorney General Salazar said.
Friedland was the Chief Executive Officer of Galactic Resources Limited, a Canadian Corporation, whose wholly owned subsidiary, Summitville Consolidated Mining Company, Inc., (SCMCI), operated the Summitville Mine Site near Del Norte, Colorado from 1985 to 1992. SCMCI abandoned the Site in 1992 after declaring bankruptcy. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the State of Colorado have spent nearly $150 million cleaning up the environmental problems at the Site.
The United States and Colorado filed suit against Robert Friedland in May 1996, alleging that Friedland was an "operator" of the Summitville Mine Superfund Site under federal environmental laws and therefore liable to the U.S. and to Colorado for the cleanup costs incurred by the state and the federal government. Last year Salazar vowed to renew action on the dormant case and move forward in recovering Colorado's cleanup costs from Friedland and any others who might be liable. Last October, the attorney general's office amended its complaint against Friedland to add more defendants.
Friedland's counterclaims alleged that Colorado and the U.S. were liable parties under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Recovery Act (CERCLA) as a result of Colorado's regulation of the Site prior to 1992 and that both parties participated in the ongoing remediation. Judge Nottingham had dismissed similar counterclaims against Colorado and the U.S. in September 1999, but granted Friedland leave to refile his counterclaims, which he did in October. Nottingham's February 17 order strikes those counterclaims.
Finance-Guyana: Backers of Gold Mine Have History of Disaster
By Pratap Chatterjee
August 31, 1998.
Backers of the two gold mining companies implicated in Guyana's biggest environmental disaster were also associated with the two biggest cyanide-related gold mining disasters in this country, an IPS investigation has discovered.
On Aug 19, the holding pond at the Omai gold mine, located some 160 kilometres from the north-eastern Atlantic coast of South America broke, spilling some four billion litres of cyanide-laced waste into a tributary of the Essequibo River over a period of five days.
The mine is run by Cambior of Montreal, Canada, and Golden Star Resources of Denver, Colorado, which together own 95 percent of shares in Omai, which produced 252,000 troy ounces of gold last year.
The Guyanese government owns the remaining five percent. Profits from the mine contributed about a quarter of the Guyanese national income of 500 million dollars in 1994, according to Golden Star officials.
Golden Star Resources was controlled by the man who ran the Summitville gold mine in Colorado, site of the most expensive environmental disaster in U.S. history. Cambior bought up a mining company that ran a South Carolina gold mine which was the site of the biggest-ever cyanide spill prior to the Omai disaster.
These two companies also control major mining operations in Burma, French Guiana, Namibia, Papua New Guinea, Suriname and Venezuela.
The man who helped raise the money to create Golden Star Resources was Robert Friedland, a U.S. native who has taken Canadian citizenship. Friedland once owned a company called Galactic Resources that operated the Summitville mine in the San Juan mountains of Colorado.
His African and New Guinea mining operations brought him into partnership with private mercenary armies used to maintain those operations.
His newest project is a giant copper mine in Mongolia which he describes as a giant 'empty' space a perfect area for dumping mine tailings. As if no one lived there.
“‘Interview With John Macken, CEO and President of Ivanhoe Mines, and Layton Croft, Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs,’
LD: A lot of the protests and also articles in Mongolian papers have been specifically directed at Ivanhoe without taken other foreign mining companies or Mongolian mining companies into account. Just last week there was an article in “Odriin Sonin,” (Daily News) titled, “The Faster Friedland Leaves, The Better.” Then there was the effigy burning. Are these more personal, or business related attacks?
JM: I look at them as personal attacks and I’ve tried to correct them. Robert Friedland is the founder of Ivanhoe and has really given it its vision. He is also the Chairman of the Board and I recently became the President and CEO of the company, and my mandate is to understand his vision, which I happen to agree with, and I am here to make that a reality. My whole career has been building mines, I’m not a promoter or anything else, I’m a miner. But Ivanhoe has taken on a lot of Friedland’s persona in many ways, and he is a very colorful and flamboyant person, and a delight to be around. It’s very easy to go on the web and find out stuff about him, both negative and positive; obviously the negative tends to stick longer, so he’s an easy target. If you want to pick on mining in Mongolia, obviously the foreign companies are a simple target, and then if you look at companies in country, Ivanhoe is the highest profile in terms of investment and discovery, so then it is very easy to end up with Robert Friedland. So I’m here to give Ivanhoe Mines a new face and show that we want this project to go forward and that we don’t want to have the message diluted with all of this negative stuff about Robert Friedland. That is my mission at the moment; mainly to correct the record and show that what we propose for Mongolia is fair and equitable. We understand that there are sentiments in Mongolia that since the resource prices are so high that they want more of it, and we do not see a problem with mechanisms that will allow that to happen. However we also need to protect the investors and keep the country attractive for foreign investment. The key to development in Mongolia is foreign investment; the type of investment that is clear and transparent and governed by laws in their home countries that don’t allow unpleasant things in these countries; be it corruption or human rights abuses or environmental degradation. The Mongolians, by and large, and those who have had the chance to go abroad understand that western companies and democracies have to answer at home to very strict laws and codes that Mongolia doesn’t have at the moment. So really the key is to attract disciplined and transparent investment from abroad, into Mongolia and then incorporate it with the citizens. It is really lead by example, and that is our philosophy.
He has charm and wit, his admirers in the mining and venture capitalist world claim he is a new kind of venture capitalist, a philanthropist and visionary. While ignoring his partnering with Burmese warlords, mercenaries, and those who would exploit indigenous peoples as forced labour.
Thursday, 7 June 2007
IN A wide ranging speech covering global warming, nuclear proliferation and the murder of Russian spy Alexander Litivenko, Ivanhoe Mining managing director Robert Friedland today wowed an audience of Australian resource industry heavyweights with his plan to breed more geologists to create world peace.
In the case of Ivanhoe Mining, the focus is on talented promoter Robert Friedland. The operative word is "promoter".
In any stock promotion there will be (i) a "compelling" story, (ii) a network of information distribution, and (iii) numerous financial advisors who in effect pass the good word (??) to their clients.
Consequently, the buying comes in waves, and astute traders remain on stand-by during these opportunistic times.
Successful traders who make trading decisions related to such situations have always studied the modus operandi of the promoter. In Robert Friedland's case, I have put in the necessary hours of study. At certain times (not today), I have been a major trader of Friedland's stocks.
These days, I don't have sufficient time to monitor "special" situations as closely as I'd like. But I know many of you do. With IVN you will have to avoid the media stories, and pay special attention to price and volume, including options price and volume.
At the end of the day, if you are nimble, you ought to do well. The mining property of Ivanhoe Mining is apparently an excellent one, and Friedland is a superb promoter. The wild card is Mongolia.
But rather than read anything in the media about that, just pay attention to price and volume. There are big traders involved and they know the facts " minute by minute " and occasionally are known to even have a media story or two published.
His investments are far and wide. Gold , nickel, copper, coal, oil and gas, oilsands technology, Palladium and Platinum, diamonds.
He and his wife were the founders of Sirius Satellite Radio.
But there is a deeper dark-side to Sirius and the origin of some of its capital. The largest single shareholder of Sirius, the origin of about $2 million of its seed capital, is Robert Friedland, who has a long and checkered history of running penny stock mining companies on the Vancouver Stock Exchange (recently merged and renamed the Canadian Venture Exchange), which is to equity markets what Jerry Springer is to talk shows. By some estimates, the chance of a private investor making money in the companies on the VSE is around 1 in 10. Mr. Friedland ran several companies up and down on the VSE, and always came out unscathed. By his own admission, he was attracted to the unregulated nature of the VSE.
In my research on Sirius, I found article after article on Friedland and his mining activities, most of them containing tales of environmental disaster, industrial mismanagement of resources, and most importantly, Friedland somehow sliding out of harm's way in advance of the cavalry. It's a pattern that is too consistent and too deep to ignore. Whether it has anything to do with the operations of Sirius is another question.
But allow me to paint a picture. The lead investor of Sirius has a past history of using other people's money, raised on the equity markets, as his risk capital. This may not be out of the ordinary; obviously every public company is depending upon the willingness of investors to assume risk by holding shares. But the sheer Machiavellian brutality with which Friedland has conducted his corporate affairs in the past would give me grave pause as to his motivations with Sirius. And, since he, through his wife, is the largest shareholder, his wills and desires can in fact wag the dog.
While he remains tied to Canada via his corporations, his home now is in Singapore. He uses Canada's lack of a single regulator and loosey goosey provincial securities exchanges to engage in raising venture capital. He uses others money to fund his investments. And if they fail he somehow still comes up the winner.
Friedland and Ivanhoe take on their opponents aggressively. Last year he challenged Forbes description of his less savory endeavors when they published his bio in their list of billionaires. And Ivanhoe maintains an activist like PR web site that challenges media and other public statements about him and his companies endeavours.
Former Ivanhoe executives are moving into a variety of mining companies, giving Friedman access to even more partners for his investment schemes.
His brother Eric is President of Peregrine Diamonds Ltd. which is mining diamonds in the NWT. Peregrine is another off shoot of the family business; Ivanhoe Mining.Peregrine is partnered with Australian mining giant BHP Billiton.
Position: President and Director
Mr. Friedland has over 20 years of exploration and development experience in mining as well as mining finance and was the founder of Peregrine. Mr. Friedland was the President and Director of Fairbanks Gold Ltd. and played a primary role in the creation, development and financing of the Fort Knox gold discovery in Alaska and the subsequent sale of Fairbanks Gold and partners to Amax Gold Corp. for $86 million. He was formerly CEO and Director of Carson Gold Corp., which explored and developed gold mining assets in Venezuela, and which, as DiamondWorks Ltd., developed two producing diamond mines in Angola as well as the re-opening of the Koidu Diamond Mine in Sierra Leone. Mr. Friedland was also a Director of Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. from Ivanhoe's inception to its recent major copper gold discovery in Mongolia called Oyu Tolgoi. Mr. Friedland has a B.Sc. degree in Geophysics and Geology from the Colorado School of Mines.
Position: Chief Financial Officer
Mr. Shenton is a Certified General Accountant and has worked with the Ivanhoe Group of companies from November, 1989 until joining Peregrine. During this time he served as Chief Financial Officer for three Ivanhoe Group companies including Ivanhoe Nickel & Platinum Ltd., Jinshan Gold Mines Inc. and Asia Gold Corp. Mr. Shenton also held the position of Controller with Diamond Fields Resources Ltd., DiamondWorks Ltd. and Ivanhoe Mines Ltd.
Mr. Challis is a mining engineer with over 30 years experience in the operation, management, financing and analysis of mining projects around the world. Mr. Challis started his professional life in London as a Mining Engineer with Gold Fields of South Africa Limited and eventually returned to London to work as mining analyst for James Capel & Co., Barclays Bank Ltd. and MecLeod Young Weir. In 1994, he joined CM Oliver in Toronto as a Director and Senior Mining Analyst prior to moving back to London where he was instrumental in establishing a European presence for that company. In 1997, he joined Ivanhoe Capital Corporation and was involved in numerous early stage exploration ventures in diverse locations. In 1999, he become President and a Director of Shore Gold where he oversaw the planning, engineering and initial extraction of nearly 23,000 tonnes of kimberlite from Shore's Star kimberlite in Saskatchewan via vertical shaft. In 2003, he joined Cornerstone Capital as President, COO and Director and recently he has accepted the Presidency of Solex Resources Corp. Mr. Challis has an honours degree in Mineral Exploitation from University College, Cardiff and an MBA degree from Cranfield University. He has both South African Metalliferous Mine Captain's and Mine Manager's Certificates of Competency. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Mining and Metallurgy and a Chartered Engineer.
In mining the interlocking boards of directors and the mutual overlap between competing companies as partners is the very model of monopoly capitalism. And Ivanhoe is a good example of how overlapping and interlocking boards end up benefiting Friedland by creating 'new' partners for his and his families resource development plays.
EXCO RESOURCES - first class takeover candiadate.
If Robert Friedland goes on "shopping tour" a lot of of investors looks with argus eyes at him. Robert Friedland is famous for having a good nose for commodity. In 1994 as Robert was searching for diamonds in the Canadian Vosey Bay did he stumble over the largest nickel discovery on the planet. Some years ago with his new founded company Ivanhoe Mines in the Mongolia he discovered high graded gold- and copper deposits. His new engagement's name is Exco Resources. Exco has in Australia the copper- and gold project "Cloncurry". This has currently 350'000 tons copper and even so much ounces of gold. Especially of interest is the situation of the currently producing mine in the neighbourhood of the Cloncurry project where BHP Billiton and Xstrata are active. Xstrata operates e.g. the copper- and goldmine Ernest Herny which however will be depleted in 2-3 years. New deposits are needed - maybe a takeover of Exco Resources? A speculation on which Robert Friedland counts on. His company Ivanhoe has acquired in the meantime 12 per cent of Exco's shares
Former and current executives of Robert Friedland’s Ivanhoe Mines are helping to guide the development of China’s newest and third or fourth largest gold mine, Jinshan Gold Mines’ Chang Shan Hao 217. Meanwhile, the Chinese government plans to open up even more impressive gold projects to development by foreign mining companies.
Author: Dorothy Kosich
Posted: Thursday , 21 Jun 2007
Walsh is the former vice president of corporate development for Ivanhoe Mines, which holds 46% of Jinshan. Über mining promoter Robert Friedland is the founder and Executive Chairman of Ivanhoe Former Ivanhoe Vice Chairman Edward Flood, former Ivanhoe President Daniel Kunz and current Ivanhoe Deputy Chairman Peter Meredith are directors of the company, while former Ivanhoe Mines and former Ivanhoe Energy executive Beverly Bartlett is Corporate Secretary of Jinshan.
China Mineral Acquisition Corporation has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to merge with Sunwing Energy Ltd., the Chinese oil and gas exploration and production subsidiary of Ivanhoe Energy Inc. CMA will acquire Sunwing in an all stock transaction with Ivanhoe becoming the owner of approximately 75-80% of CMA's common stock.
CMA, based in New York, New York, was incorporated in March, 2004 as a blank check company whose objective is to acquire an operating business having its primary operations in the People's Republic of China.
Glenn R Baldwin (35)
Executive vice president: Head of international operations
BEng (Hons) Mining
Mr Baldwin was appointed executive vice president: head of international operations in April 2007. Prior to his appointment at Gold Fields, Mr Baldwin was the chief operating officer at Ivanhoe Nickel & Platinum Ltd. After finishing his degree, Mr Baldwin spent seven years in Australia developing his mining skills. Coming to South Africa, he further developed his technical and operational skills as the vice president operations for Southern Platinum Limited and in various roles within the Anglo American Group.
Ivanhoe's President and CEO Joe Gasca, reports that Dr. Michael Silverman has been promoted to Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, with responsibility for all technical and engineering aspects of Ivanhoe Energy's proprietary HTL(TM) heavy oil upgrading process. Dr. Silverman's promotion to this important role is being made at a key time for Ivanhoe Energy as the company intensifies its efforts to secure a heavy oil resource in the Athabasca region of Western Canada, along with other business development activities.
Silverman, who joins Ivanhoe Energy from Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR), will be responsible for all technical aspects of Ivanhoe Energy's proprietary heavy oil upgrading process (HTL(TM)) as the company prepares for full-scale commercial operations. This will include interfacing with leading engineering firms in the design of the first commercial HTL installation. Silverman has almost 30 years of experience in technology development and management, including the commercialization and marketing of new technologies, and is a leading expert in fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) processes. In addition to FCC responsibilities, Silverman's most recent position at KBR was Vice President of Petrochemicals where he was responsible for all aspects of the petrochemicals technology portfolio for the 56,000-employee engineering, construction and project management firm.
Mr Robin Jones – Project Manager, Engineering
Mr Jones has a BSc degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Cape Town and holds a RSA Government Certificate of Competency (Mines and Works). He has 15 years experience in the mining industry, the majority of which is in the development and operation of PGM mines in South Africa. Mr Jones has extensive experience in project management and developing resource projects from scoping study level through to implementation.
Prior to his current position of Project Manager for CopperCo’s Lady Annie Project, he spent several years working for Impala Platinum before joining Aquarius Platinum as part of the executive team that developed the highly successful Kroondal Platinum Mine.
Commencing his career at Impala Platinum Ltd, Mr Jones gaining considerable experience in PGM underground mining operations and mineral processing at Impala’s operations located near Rustenburg in South Africa. While at Impala, Mr Jones was also responsible for various brownfield concentrator process plant additions and upgrades.
Mr Jones spent a year working at engineering contractors Dowding Reynard and Associates (DRA), as a project engineer on the implementation of Southern Era’s Kilpspringer diamond project before joining the DRA project team on the Kroondal Platinum project.
Mr Jones joined Ivanhoe Nickel & Platinum and relocated to Australia in 2005 where he held the position of General Manager Project Development for Ivanplats Syerston Pty Ltd while undertaking a complete update of the feasibility study for the Syerston Nickel Cobalt project during 2005.
Below is a history of Robert Friedland and his venture capitalist schemes. Good, bad and ugly.
Robert Friedland is in the vanguard of North American natural-resource sector leaders who have pioneered business links in Greater China during the past 20 years. One of the mining industry’s best-known international financiers, Mr. Friedland is the founder and Executive Chairman of Ivanhoe Mines, a Canadian public company whose shares trade on the New York, NASDAQ and Toronto exchanges.
He also is Deputy Chairman and controlling shareholder of oil and gas producer Ivanhoe Energy and Co-Chairman of its China operating subsidiary, Sunwing Energy. Ivanhoe Energy owns a breakthrough upgrading technology that permits recovery of heavy-oil reserves around the world and their conversion to lighter, more valuable crude oil at lower costs than other available technologies.
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Sept. 26, 2007) - The Mining Association of British Columbia is pleased to announce that Robert M. Friedland, Executive Chairman of Ivanhoe Mines, will be speaking at the Asia Pacific Forum on Mining and Minerals, taking place at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver from September 30 to October 3, 2007. Mr. Friedland will be the keynote luncheon speaker on Monday, October 1.
Robert Friedland is in the vanguard of North American natural-resource sector leaders who have pioneered business links in Greater China and the Asia Pacific region during the past 20 years. One of the mining industry's best-known international financiers, Mr. Friedland is the founder and Executive Chairman of Ivanhoe Mines, a Canadian public company whose shares trade on the New York, NASDAQ and Toronto exchanges.
Mr. Friedland was named the "2006 Mining Person of the Year" by Canada's Northern Miner, a leading industry publication, for his coup in gaining Rio Tinto as a partner for Ivanhoe Mines in Mongolia. The Northern Miner said the partnership was "a defining moment in one of the world's biggest mineral-development success stories of the past decade." It described Mr. Friedland as "a dynamic force for a quarter-century in the minerals industry through a host of private and public-company vehicles."
Mr. Friedland has been associated with resource and technology ventures for more than 20 years. In 1996, he was named Developer of the Year by the Prospectors' and Developers' Association of Canada for his work in establishing and financing companies engaged in mineral exploration and development around the world.
Mr. Friedland is Chairman of Ivanhoe Capital Corporation, his family's private company, specializing in venture capital and project financing from bases in Singapore and Beijing. With his leadership, Ivanhoe executives and affiliated benefiting companies have raised several billion dollars on international capital markets since 1993.
Robert Friedland, the Orient’s Occidental oracle who doubles as chairman of Ivanhoe Mines [HUGO], claimed to have been blindsided on Tuesday at a resource investment conference. Scheduled to tell investors about African Minerals, his soon-to-be-listed play on nickel and platinum, Friedland professed ignorance. “African Minerals is a private company. I have nothing to say about it. . . I don’t know how I got roped into talking about this private company. We literally really have nothing to say.”
In case you missed that: African Minerals, private company, Robert Friedland, hush-hush.
Friedland went on to deliver a feature length prequel for Ivanhoe’s Oyu Tolgoi deposit, reiterating how the demand of the modernising masses in India and China will soak up copper – and almost irrespective of price because large run manufacturing efficiencies are driving unit prices down even where metal components are significantly more expensive.
As Co-Chairman and controlling shareholder of Ivanhoe Nickel & Platinum Ltd. (Ivanplats), Mr. Friedland is closely involved with several mining projects in Africa and Australia, including a copper-cobalt discovery in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the development of a significant nickel-platinum-copper deposit on South Africa's Bushveld Complex.
Old Names (Code) African Minerals Limited (AFM)
State/Province BC Country Canada
Pan Palladium Limited
Private Canadian mineral exploration company. Substantial shareholder in Pan Palladium Limited.
Top 19 Shareholders (as at 24th July 2007)
Rank S H A R E H O L D E R Shares % 1 Cereus Holding Ltd (Ivanhoe Nickel & Platinum) 25,640,997 19.40%
African Minerals aka Ivanhoe Nickel and Platinum aka Cereus Holding Ltd
(Director since 2002)
Mr Hayden has been a Board member since May, 2002. Mr Hayden is a geophysicist with nearly 30 years experience in the mineral exploration industry, much of which has been in Africa and the Asia-Pacific region. Before joining PPD in 2002, Mr Hayden was the founder and President of Ivanhoe Nickel and Platinum (formerly African Minerals Ltd.), a Canadian company which has assembled extensive mineral holdings in South Africa, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mr Hayden has worked in a management capacity with several mining related companies both in Australia and overseas.
Chrome Tailings Retreatment Plant
(Aquarius Platinum (SA) Corporate Services (Pty) Ltd 50%,
Ivanhoe Nickel & Platinum SA (Pty) Ltd 25%,
Sylvania South Africa (Pty) Ltd 25%)
On 10 October 2001, Plateau Resources entered into an agreement with African Minerals Limited, now Ivanhoe Nickel and Platinum Limited ('Ivanplats'), a private affiliate of Ivanhoe Capital Corporation, whereby Ivanplats had the right to earn a 50% JV interest in the Company’s 2 900 ha Rietfontein 2KS Farm. Under the terms of this agreement, Ivanplats was to incur expenditure pursuant to exploration activities undertaken on Rietfontein 2KS in each of the ensuing two years to obtain the right to form the 50/50 JV.
Drilling on the Rietfontein property from 2001-2003 outlined extensive near-surface PGM mineralization on Anooraq's Rietfontein property, adjacent to where Ivanplats is delineating a PGM deposit on its Turfspruit property. The Rietfontein mineralization which extends over 1,650 metres is an estimated 150 metres thick
STEVE FORREST ASSOCIATES
Pgms are used extensively in technologies that protect the environment, most notably as the catalyst in auto catalysis, reducing emissions from car exhausts. They are also recyclable, providing an on-going source of supply.
Equally significant for today is the use of pgms in fuel cell technology. Platinum is critical to the performance of fuel cells. Fuel cells have the potential to dramatically increase the efficiency of cars and generators, whilst reducing air pollution still further. This new technology could in time replace the conventional combustion engine and stationary power systems.
Title: Petrology and mineralisation of the southern Platreef: northern limb of the Bushveld Complex, South Africa Authors: Kinnaird, Judith A.; Hutchinson, D.; Schurmann, L.; Nex, P. A. M.; de Lange, Renee Affiliation: AA(Economic Geology Research Institute, University of the Witwatersrand), AB(Economic Geology Research Institute, University of the Witwatersrand), AC(Ivanhoe Nickel and Platinum Ltd), AD(Economic Geology Research Institute, University of the Witwatersrand), AE(Ivanhoe Nickel and Platinum Ltd)
Billionaire plans to take latest play public
ANDY HOFFMAN, MINING REPORTER, Toronto Globe and Mail,
13th March 2007
Robert Friedland cemented his status as a legend in the metals and minerals sector in 1996 when he sold the Voisey's Bay nickel deposit to Inco Ltd. for $4.3-billion, pocketing a nifty $600-million in cash and stock for himself.
Then he defied the odds again last year, winning the backing of industry giant Rio Tinto PLC, which agreed to partner with his Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. in developing the massive Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold project in Mongolia.
Now the billionaire mining entrepreneur has zeroed in on Africa for his next big play -- a pair of deposits in the long-troubled Democratic Republic of the Congo, formerly Zaire.
Currently held in a private entity called Ivanhoe Nickel and Platinum Ltd. or "Ivanplats," Mr. Friedland is planning to take the company public some time this year.
"It's only a matter of time before we take this to the market to incentivize our people and try and do in the Congo what we did in Mongolia," Mr. Friedland said recently at a mining conference in Florida.
Ivanplats, which Mr. Friedland indicated has an implied market value of $600-million (U.S.), is planning a dual listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange and in London.
Mr. Friedland doesn't expect to begin mining copper in Congo until at least 2016, and is counting on the government of China to complete a railway near the project. China's surging economy has driven the current boom in metal prices and Mr. Friedland said "the Chinese government's hand-to-wallet reflex" should be stimulated by the metal riches in the region.
When I first met Mr. Friedland at the Carlysle Hotel in August, 1994, he was packaging his satellite radio idea, then called CD Radio. For three days we visited one institution after another with no encouragement. Our last visit was to the American diamond king Maurice Templesman. There is no question Mr. Friedland was disappointed. There was no backer for satellite radio in the U.S.
However, his fertile mind already centered around his Vancouver-based Diamond Field Resources and he invited me to Vancouver. Eventually, the Toronto-based First Marathon brought CD Radio public, and when I introduced him to the legendary Bernie Schwartz, Chairman of Loral Satellite, the idea was gaining recognition. There was a whole regimen of people larger than life who carried the idea further. Eventually there were 18 million subscribers in America for Satellite Radio, each paying $12.50 a month.Robert Friedland’s achievements in life are two-fold.
He lived in the Far East and he was certainly one of the individuals who has foreseen that the three billion new capitalists from the Far Eastern countries and the seven billion people on the whole globe, are going to gobble up commodities in a way it has never been done before. He has thought about china before most people. Actually, he told me that his biggest personal investment in the 1990s were 10 percent of a Chinese casino. He backed and set up and developed mining companies, whether nickel, copper, or gold, simply because he believed that the world is going to progress towards a peaceful living and the demand for commodities is going to increase exponentially.
The other achievement is surprisingly a different definition; it is numbers. Friedland always thought big. He conceived CD Radio and in the 1900s he raised about a billion dollars. Diamond Field Resources, of which he was co-chairman, was sold for $3 billion. Ivanhoe advertised with its partner, Rio Tinto, as a potential market capitalization of $15 billion.
But the numbers he will be remembered for, and which initiate this article, is the $11 billion, the combined value of Sirius Satellite and XM Radio. In about thirteen years, an idea which was simply logic not revolutionary development, his willpower carried to a level that it has a combined value of $11 billion. Surely there are going to be difficulties, the first being a multi-million billion-dollar debt and competition from other sources. But satellite communication is known in the automobile industry, it is known among common people, and it has entered the living rooms, such as mine in Southampton. It is the black and white television of the 21st century.
While blood is flowing freely in Iraq’s streets, A. Robert Abboud, a man who helped bail George W. Bush out of his Harken Energy fiasco, is angling for a contract that will give his firm, Ivanhoe Energy Inc., access to a major oil field in north central Iraq.
Mr. Abboud, who runs his own investment company and who has been president of Occidental Petroleum (1980-84), chairman of the First National Bank of Chicago (1975-80) and chairman and CEO of First City Bancorporation of Texas (1988-91), is co-chairman at Ivanhoe Energy and appears to be acting as the firm’s diplomatic frontman in going after the Iraqi oil.
He has experience in Iraq, working in concert with the administration of Bush senior to promote trade with Iraq under Saddam Hussein, acting in the 1980s as chairman of the United States-Iraqi Business Forum. In this role he worked with Henry Kissinger’s consulting firm and major U.S. companies that were clients of the Kissinger firm, according to a fascinating statement presented to Congress in 1991 by Cong. Henry Gonzalez D-TX, who said Mr. Abboud, because of his executive experience, “was well-wired into the U.S. business community.”
Mr. Abboud, in joining Ivanhoe Energy for an annual $250,000 salary and about $1.4 million in stock and stock options, is working with Robert Friedland, Ivanhoe’s largest stockholder, nicknamed “Toxic Bob.” Mr. Friedland is reported by SourceWatch to be worth $1.2 billion, and the website says his “colorful corporate career has included wild speculations on mining futures, spectacular pollution scandals” and willingness to work with the notoriously repressive government of Myanmar (formerly Burma) in a joint venture to develop an extremely profitable copper mine.
Ivanhoe, a relatively small oil development company with a patented process for thinning out thick oil so it can flow easily through pipelines, is facing two hurdles to tapping into Iraq oil wealth.
First, the Iraq Parliament must pass the new, pending oil law, that will open its oil fields to private firms like Ivanhoe, ExxonMobil, Shell, BP and Chevron on extremely favorable terms to the oil companies. Ivanhoe “will closely monitor” the development of the new law, Mr. Abboud said on the conference call. The United States is pushing hard for the immediate passage of this law, and its passage is one of the benchmarks that will be used to determine whether the U.S. will continue to keep troops in Iraq. The oil law is opposed by Iraqi oil union workers and many others.
The second hurdle, once the oil law is passed, is the selection of Ivanhoe by Iraqi officials to develop the field. Mr. Abboud said on the conference call that, in a recent trip to the Persian Gulf, he spoke with Iraqi officials about the oil venture and that he thought that the relationships that Ivanhoe officials have developed with Iraqis would be fruitful. It’s important to remember, he said, that: “It’s their oil. They’re going to be in charge.”
Speaking on the conference call of the oil field in question, the Ivanhoe leaders would not reveal its exact location or size. Leon Daniel, of Ivanhoe, said the field has “huge quantities” of oil, but asked for more specifics, he would only acknowledge that most fields in Iraq are at least a billion barrels in size. It is a “challenging environment”, Mr. Daniel said, “where the prize is big.”
In answer to investor questions about security, he said the field is “far removed from Baghdad” and not in a troubled area; the challenge is “not like securing Baghdad.” He said there are “competent security forces” in the area, with clear lines of sight, and “we can make the work site secure.” He said that the thinned-out oil could be moved from the site in pipelines either south or north through Turkey, a path that would likely be more secure.
Ivanhoe drew attention to the project with an April 19 press release announcing that the Japanese oil and gas firm Inpex Corp. had invested $9 million in it for a 45% share in the proceeds; Ivanhoe will get 55%. The announcement resulted in a jump in the Ivanhoe stock price from a close of $2.32 on April 18 to $2.65 on the 19th. The stock has since settled to $2.21 as of April 25, 2007.
Wed Feb 9, 2005MANILA, PHILIPPINES - Robert Friedland, chairman and CEO of IVANHOE MINES LTD., dismissed concerns about past setbacks the industry has suffered as he paid tribute to the rebirth of the Philippine mining sector at the Philippine Mining Conference in early February.
MINING CONFERENCE - Robert Friedland praises Philippines
Publisher: Canadian Mining Journal
Author: Richard Mills, CFA
Armed with glowing statistics of the vast size of the country's mineral wealth (Philippines is said to have the world's 5th largest mineral reserves), Friedland spoke "from the heart" about the opportunity, to 400 attending delegates from more than 15 countries.
Friedland was speaking in support of the recent Supreme Court ruling that will allow the government to revive the mining sector, which once supplied close to 25% of the country's export earnings.
Delegates such as Wayne Spilsbury, Asia-Pacific general manager of exploration for TECK COMINCO LTD., and Peter Leaman, global assessment leader for BHP BILLITON, said investors felt positively bullish about the newly elected government's commitment to support themining sector. They added, however, that while high-level support seems to be present, most investors are also wary of the obstructions faced at the local government and community levels.
Philip Romualdez, head of a local mining firm and chairman of the industry association, complained about a recent law that "gives indigenous people veto rights over new mines on ancestral lands---although no one is sure who counts as an indigenous person in the Philippines, or where their lands lie." Despite the serious concerns, delegates grumbled that they deal with similar local issues in many countries and impediments can be worked on.
The world's most notorious mining promoter, Robert Friedland (or "Toxic Bob", as he is more accurately known) has finally got himself into Forbes, probably the world's most widely-read business weekly. But he's furious! For not only is Forbes reminding its wealthy readers of the "Midas Man"'s previous dubious deals, involvement in the USA's biggest environmental mine disaster and his connivance with the "thugs" ruling Burma. It's also come close to accusing the Canadian-based mogol of deliberate over-hyping of its new prospects in Mongolia. Friedland has now threatened to sue Forbes.
The 400 Richest Americans
#374 Robert M Friedland
Net Worth $1.0 billion Source Ivanhoe Mines (quote: IVN), Mining/Lumber, Self made Age 56
Marital Status Married, 3 children
Education Reed College, Bachelor of Arts / Science
Chicago-born "Toxic Bob" made first fortune after stumbling onto one of the world's largest nickel deposits in Voisey's Bay, Nfld. Pocketed first fortune brokering sale of nickel-rich property to Inco. Now touting copper and gold deposits discovered in Mongolia by publicly traded Ivanhoe Mines. Also claims to have found energy-potent coal deposits in Mongolia; claims they are "the beluga caviar of coal." This year stepped down as chief exec, says he's not retiring. Focused on fighting regulatory battle with Mongolian government, which has passed a windfall profit tax on copper and gold mining.
In the course of a lengthy story that purports to expose promotional hyperbole, FORBES indulged in some of its own in " Gold Rush" (June 19).
A reputable magazine has serious problems when it sacrifices its concerns for accuracy in its quest for entertainment value. The references to Robert Friedland are nothing more than lies, half-truths and cheap shots that are unworthy of a serious business publication. You say that Mr. Friedland "is flogging yet another incredible idea." FORBES chose not to seriously or fairly represent the viability of Ivanhoe Energy (nasdaq: IVAN - news - people )'s heavy-oil technology, yet felt free to deprecate it.
You then referred to Ivanhoe Energy's heavy-oil conversion technology and falsely asserted: "That technology, Mr. Friedland claimed, could potentially help Ivanhoe achieve a market value on a par with Google (nasdaq: GOOG - news - people )." FORBES ridiculed the statement it falsely attributed to Mr. Friedland, "With divine intervention, perhaps." Mr. Friedland has never said that he expected Ivanhoe Energy's capitalization to equal Google's. The transcript of the conference call reveals that Mr. Friedland referred en passant and by analogy to Google only in the context of his extemporaneous discussion about raising venture capital for new technologies and his comment that "technology knows no theoretical limit to its valuation, especially upon proof and validation." You also stated that Mr. Friedland "left a mess at a gold mine in Summitville." That is the same argument made by the EPA in a court proceeding that was dismissed. The Justice of the Ontario High Court, who carefully reviewed the evidence, found as a fact that the allegation was false and misleading: "It is clear that Friedland had nothing to do with the bankruptcy, had nothing to do with the abandonment of the (Summitville Mine) site and was in no way involved in the guilt plea entered by SCMCI in 1996." That is why, as you noted but did not explain, the "feds paid Mr. Friedland $1.3 million for his Canadian legal fees."
Counsel to Robert Friedland
The World's Billionaires
Edited by Luisa Kroll and Allison Fass 03.08.07,
Fortune: self made
Net Worth: 1.2
Country Of Citizenship: United States
Residence: Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Asia & Australia
Marital Status: married, no children
Reed College, Bachelor of Arts / Science
Dodged a bullet when Mongolian government decided not to grab a stake in the copper and gold deposit his NYSE-listed Ivanhoe Mines discovered in Mongolia. This Chicago-born mining promoter has been touting the discovery. He made his first fortune in 1994 after stumbling onto one of the world's biggest nickel deposits while searching for diamonds in Voisey's Bay, Nfld. Sold Diamond Fields Resources in 1996 for $3.1 billion.
Robert Friedland (born 1951) is Deputy Chairman/Director of Ivanhoe Energy and Ivanhoe Mines, Inc. He has had mining interests in the Venezuelan Amazon, Siberia, the Rocky Mountains, Zambia and the Atlantic coast of Southern Africa. He holds dual-nationality with Canada and the United States. His personal fortune is estimated at $1 billion. Ivanhoe Mines is developing giant copper-gold and coal reserves in East Asia, especially Mongolia.
Friedland was chairman of Galactic Resources which operated Summitville mine, the site of the United State's worst cyanide release and mine bankruptcy and Superfund site. This mine closed in 1990 but is still having a strong impact on the region. It is estimated that at least $120 million will be required to clean up the bankrupt Galactic Resources mining site, which has damaged 17 miles of river. The former environmental manager of the facility has been indicted for intentionally dumping lead and cyanide directly into streams. Friedland currently resides in Singapore.
His deals with the Government of Mongolia over the copper mine in the fragile Gobi environment is opposed by several civil society organisations of Mongolia.
He earned his nickname 'Toxic Bob' after a spectacular cyanide spill from his gold mine in Summitville, Colorado in 1993, which has been called the biggest cyanide disaster in U.S. History, named the 'Exxon-Valdez' of the mining industry. He was CEO of the Omai gold in Guyana in 1995 when a tailings pond collapsed killing all life in two rivers.
The Summitville situation poses human rights issues in two senses: first, that the governments overseeing the area have an obligation to protect neighboring citizens from hazardous pollutants and secondly, in the question of the right of Canadian citizens to have access to information about a Canadian corporate entity's actions or alleged actions in another nation. In fall of 1993, a Canadian judge issued an order barring Canadian journalists from broadcasting or publishing stories about Robert Friedland and his alleged ties to the Summitville problems. The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. had been preparing an investigative report. But when U.S. and Canadian citizens asked for reprints of an article about Summitville from The Denver Post, the newspaper faxed or mailed out hundreds of copies of the piece.
Outsourcing Polluters -- a Strange Tale of Success
Posted by jbholston May 13, 2004
Some of those with longer Colorado memories than mine will remember the story of the Summitville Gold Mine
End of Friedman's career? Hardly.... He now runs a $1.45 billion mining conglomerate distributing Galactic's tactics around the developing world... (continued...)
Putting a Price on Pollution
Jim Kuipers, 3/18/2003 (pdf)
Financial Assurance for Mine Reclamation and Closure
Case Study #1: Colorado’s Summitville Mine
The Vancouver Stock Exchange (VSE) has long enjoyed a reputation as the "Wild West" of mining funds. Despite attempts to refurbish its tarnished image, a January 1994 report by James Matkin of the Vancouver Stock Exchange & Securities Regulation Commission found the VSE a hotbed of "shams, swindles and market manipulations." Scores of junior companies and entrepreneurs regarded as too high-risk, or flatly unacceptable in New York and London have flocked to the VSE. Of these, none has been more welcomed in the Canadian markets than gold mine financier Robert M. Friedland, a Canadian whose Venezuelan Goldfields (Vengold) in 1993 made the biggest float in VSE history -- $31 million.
However, no one's track record casts more doubt on the integrity of Canadian money markets than that of Friedland, a man who admits he was attracted to the VSE because "it is one of the freest and most underregulated venture capital markets in the world."
The Ugly Canadian (see "The Ugly Canadian," Multinational Monitor, November 1994) - or "Toxic Bob" as he's also sometimes called - has, in the space of four short years, transformed himself from the pariah of North American mining into the "Man with the Midas touch".
KNOWING WHO TO KNOW
It is on the Asia-Pacific region that the astute alchemist is now focused. As calls for his indictment over Summitville grew louder in 1994, Friedland shifted his main investment vehicle, Ivanhoe Capital Resources, from Vancouver to Singapore. Vengold, a company Friedland initially used to penetrate the gold-rich eastern flank of Venezuela, became mining giant RTZ's junior partner in the vast Lihir gold project in Papua New Guinea. At the same time, efforts in Burma began paying off. In 1990, Friedland had been the first foreign mine promoter to ignore calls for a boycott of SLORC, the Burmese military regime. His Indochina Goldfields has a copper exploitation deal with the state-owned Number One Mining enterprise and has spent over $30 million exploring and drilling the indigenous territory of Burma's central valley. Friedland "seems to thrive in countries that have dodgy governments, that are reputed to be corrupt," says John Woods of Canada Stock Watch.
Friedland himself has said: "To do business in Asia you not only have to know how, you have to know who." And in Burma he certainly knows who. One of Indochina Goldfields directors is Reggie Tun Maung, a Burmese national who has intimate connections to the SLORC. John Woods suggests that Friedland's Burmese partners in Indochina Goldfields may be the Burmese generals themselves.
Largely to restructure his diamond interests in DFR after the Inco takeover, Friedland created DiamondWorks in 1996, changing the name and reorganizing a company previously called Carson Gold. DiamondWorks has mining claims in Canada, and some gold projects inCh ina. But its major concern has been to maintain control over the lucrative Koidu diamond property in Sierra Leone which it acquired in 1994, before anti-government forces overran the diamond fields. Executive Outcomes/Branch Energy fielded the mercenary force that recaptured Koidu in early 1996. This was apparently the point at which DiamondWorks met Branch Energy and the two agreed to merge.
Friedland, Robert (Profile) Maclean's June 3, 1996
Two years ago, at this very same conference, Friedland was pitching a company called Diamond Fields Resources Inc. and its fabulous prospects for vacuuming diamonds off the shoals of Namibia. The following year, he was telling a very different story, of how Diamond Fields had struck the mother lode, not in Namibia but in Voisey's Bay, Labrador, and not on diamonds but on a most prosaic commodity - nickel. Hold on to your shares, delegates were told in '95. Diamond Fields was destined for takeover, and a high-priced one at that. This year, Friedland does not have to push Diamond Fields at all, because the junior company really did strike it rich on nickel, and not just run-of-the-mill rich, but the richest. And it did become a takeover target, with nickel giant Inco Ltd. of Toronto claiming the prize for $4.3 billion. Sometimes Friedland likes to say Voisey's Bay is the mine find of the half-century. Sometimes the whole century. It does not really matter. Big is big.
Today, Friedland runs nothing less than an empire: offices in Vancouver, Beijing, Singapore, Jakarta. His exploration interests are spread from Zambia to South Korea to Fiji. All of it is thematically pinned to pending explosive consumer growth in developing countries, into which he will lever Canadian expertise in mining and oil and gas.
At the top of Friedland's corporate pyramid sits Ivanhoe Capital Corp. One of the myriad interests under Ivanhoe is Shanghai Land Corp. Through Shanghai Land, Friedland is partnered with Toronto entrepreneur Vic De Zen and De Zen's Royal Plastics Group Ltd. Royal Plastics builds houses from panels of moulded polyvinyl chloride, which are slipped together and filled with concrete. They're cheap and easy to erect. "We don't cut no trees. We don't kill no life," says De Zen. "You tell me one thing wrong."
Canada, and its freewheeling financial markets that ease the raising of equity capital, was the place to make the circle whole. Natural resource companies became Friedland's mètier. Both the Alberta and Vancouver stock exchanges are chock-a-block with so-called shells, moribund corporations with an exchange listing. Promoters take over the shell and plow in fresh assets. Private investors, who help finance the company before it goes public, are rewarded with so-called cheap stock. Like a golden messiah, Robert Friedland came unto Vancouver, a New Age promoter the likes of which had not been seen before.
In the 1983 prospectus for Galactic Resources Inc., Robert Friedland is described as president of that company, a self-employed tree farmer in Gaston, Ore., and a purchaser and developer of mining properties. Galactic was Friedland's first big stock score, and his most infamous. Through Galactic he oversaw the development of the Summitville gold mine, in the San Juan mountains of Colorado.
In 1986, Summitville Consolidated Mining Co., a subsidiary of Galactic, started production at the site. Summitville was a heap-leach project, with cyanide used as the leaching agent to lure the gold from rock piled in huge heaps atop plastic liners. The heap-leach idea in the early 1980s held enormous investor allure, reviving dormant ore bodies too expensive to mine by conventional means. Friedland projected that Summitville, which had been mined on and off since the late 1800s, was capable of producing 110,000 ounces of gold annually. The heap-leach facility was designed as a zero-discharge system; there was to be no runoff into the adjacent Alamosa River-Rio Grande watershed.
Summitville was plagued by problems from the start. According to documents filed with the department of health in Denver, pollutants from the leaching process were detected in water in the drain system in the summer of 1986. Between June and October of 1987 there were nine cyanide spills at Summitville. By the end of that year, the Water Quality Control Division of the department of health was issuing notices of violation. In September, 1990, the Environmental Protection Agency inspected the site after receiving anonymous calls about illegal discharges. The EPA warned the Water Quality Control Division to take enforcement action, which it did the following February. By November, 1992, the company was facing $40 million in costs for environmental stabilization. The following month, Summitville Consolidated declared bankruptcy. Galactic followed suit in January, 1993.
Much has since been made of the Galactic mess. A report on the site by Knight Piesold and Co., Denver-based consulting engineers, documents a complex history, including degraded water conditions, that long predated the arrival of Friedland. But it also clearly states that the activities of Summitville Consolidated caused further problems: acid contamination of the groundwater and metal contamination from the exposure of reactive sulphide rock.ABC Radio National - Background Briefing: 6 April 1997 -
Robert Friedland: The King of the Canadian Juniors
Bre-Ex is one of the Canadian Juniors. But Background Briefing has been following another Junior - one not connected at all with Bre-Ex, but he is the 'King of the Canadian Juniors', Robert Friedland. He's an Australian resident, and he's known to some people in the industry as 'Toxic Bob'. We've found that an associated company of Robert Friedland, Diamondworks, owns 'Branch Energy' which is the mining company most closely associated with Executive Outcomes, Sandline and Colonel Tim Spicer.
Interestingly, a letter from Tim Spicer to the PNG Government last August offered mercenaries in exchange for a stake in the Bougainville mine. Details of the proposal came from Tony Buckingham, and this is the connection we're following up today.
Tony Buckingham is a key figure in Executive Outcomes; he's the Chairman of Branch Energy and also of a company called Heritage Oil. Heritage Oil is described at the Inquiry as the owner of Sandline. And Tony Buckingham is also the major shareholder in Diamondworks.
Robert Friedland's PR firm has told Background Briefing that Robert Friedland only has a small share holding of less than 3% in Diamondworks, and that it's his brother Eric who's President of the company.
However, in a brochure produced last year by Robert Friedland's private company Ivanhoe Capital, Diamondworks is listed as one of the many companies that "have benefited through association" with Friedland. Robert Friedland has a $9 million house in Sydney, and he's very well connected. The best people work for him, he's active in the hottest spots - Burma, Indonesia, Tasmania, to name just a few.
The Canadian Juniors - and there are a few Australians doing the same thing - are the masters of hype; they're not afraid of political risk, and they have fabulous reputations for big business daring.
Many cashed-up Canadian mining companies have been moving around the globe looking for any kind of rich mineral deposit. And they've been supported in the dream by brokers, mining analysts and journalists. Last year, there were concerns in the Canadian media that these brokers, investment houses and mining companies were becoming so cosy and interlinked you sometimes can't tell them apart. And they're often gambling with institutional finance - pension funds and mutual funds, eager for quick returns on a booming Stock Exchange.
Candid audio-tapes of humanitarian stock promoter Robert Friedland (the
man behind such public ventures as mega-disaster Galactic Resources Ltd.
and mega-success Diamond Fields Resources Inc.) in conversation with
business associates have surfaced. The Vancouver Sun, the first media
outlet to air portions of the lengthy tapes (in an article, "Fugitive
stood to gain from DiamondWorks", its December 31 1996 edition) says the
tape recordings "provide a rare insight into the rough and tumble world
of junior capital financing which Friedland inhabits."
As well as exposing a darker, at times abusive, side of a personality so
regularly in the Canadian business news, the tapes reveal that several
recent Chinese ventures associated with Friedland -- ranging from a
casino deal to plastic house construction -- have been beset by
foul-ups and/or failure.
As one example, not long ago, Canadian journals were recounting
Friedland’s boosterish spiel about his Shanghai Land Holdings building
plastic houses in China in partnership with Toronto Stock
Exchange-listed Royal Plastics Group Ltd. But, now, in Friedland’s own
words, an Asian business associate, Bill Zheng (a fugitive from
Taiwanese justice for many years), "has left me with… smoking embers.
That’s all I’ve got. There was a partnership with a Chinese fund for
handicapped that was supposed to deliver all kinds of wonderful shit,
and all they did was screw us. So today I’m here talking with my
partner, Royal Plastics, and we’re trying to explain where the $10
million went and why everything is a total disaster…"
The tapes are apparently so full of foul language that the Sun, being aIn addition to TSE-listed Royal Plastics and Lateral Vector Resources
family newspaper, rather than going the Richard M. Nixon route and
printing (expletives deleted) frequently, in quoting Friedland has
dropped much of the objectionable language in favour of ellipses.
(Seeing as how the internet is not a family paper, full text versions
can be expected to appear on-line. Readers are forewarned that if the
Friedland et al tapes were a rap record they would definitely come
emblazoned with a parental advisory sticker.)
(an oil and gas joint venturer with Friedland’s Sunwing Energy), the
controversial promoter refers to other deals, including Vancouver-listed
Carson Gold Corp. -- recently renamed DiamondWorks Inc. DiamondWorks’ announced acquisition of China’s largest operating diamond mine collapsed recently and the VSE junior now says it will generate tremendous revenues from diamond prospects in Sierra Leone and Angola where it has associated itself with a controversial South African mercenary outfit, Executive Outcomes.
All the latest news about Robert Friedland collected from Australia's leading news agencies and blogs.
The Big Score: Robert Friedland, Inco, and the Voisey's Bay Hustle (Paperback)
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