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Robert Martin Friedland is an international financier and major player in the junior mining industry. Since the early 1980s, he has specialized in securing funding for the exploration and development of mineral and energy resources and advanced technology ventures. He is the founder and Chairman of his private, family-owned firm, Ivanhoe Capital Corporation, which is active in global capital markets and has an established focus on emerging markets. Friedland is the founder of Ivanhoe Mines — a Canadian public company listed on the New York, NASDAQ and Toronto exchanges. As of September 2012, Friedland's net worth is estimated at $1.3 billion by Forbes Magazine.
Early life and education
Born in Chicago, Illinois, USA, on August 18, 1950, to immigrant parents Ilona and Albert Friedland, Robert is the eldest of three children. He was expelled from Bowdoin College in 1970 after being arrested by federal authorities for the possession of an estimated $100,000 worth of LSD, a crime for which he eventually served nine years and three and a half months in federal prison. He graduated in 1974 from Reed College, Oregon, USA, with a political science degree. His senior year at Reed, Friedland was student body president. During his time at Reed he met Steve Jobs the founder of Apple, with whom he shared an interest in Eastern spirituality. Friedland was looking after an apple farm south of Portland that was owned by his uncle Marcel Muller and he turned it into a commune called All One Farm. Steve Jobs would come on the weekends and help with the apple orchard. According to Walter Isaacson's biography, Jobs was strongly influenced by Friedland and later travelled to India on his advice <Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson 2011 Chapter Three>. Robert Friedland holds dual US and Canadian citizenships and is also a resident of Singapore. He and his wife Darlene are parents to three children.
Friedland operates Ivanhoe Capital from its corporate headquarters in Singapore – a location that has facilitated his predominant business focus on the Asia Pacific region during the past 20 years.
Friedland was Chief Executive Officer of Canada-based Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. (IVN: TSX, NYSE & NASDAQ), which he founded in 1994 and led to a successful initial public offering on the Toronto Stock Exchange in 1996. He served as Chairman, and later as Executive Chairman, until 2011. Exploration by Ivanhoe Mines since 2000 has discovered a chain of copper, gold and silver deposits at Oyu Tolgoi (Turquoise Hill) in Mongolia’s South Gobi region. The first phase of what is independently projected to be one of the world’s largest porphyry copper and gold mines is under construction at Oyu Tolgoi and is expected to begin commercial production in 2013. Ivanhoe Mines also has substantial interests in SouthGobi Resources, Ivanhoe Australia and Altynalmas Gold.
Friedland was chairman of Galactic Resources which operated Summitville mine, the site of the United States' worst cyanide release and mine bankruptcy and Superfund site. This mine closed in 1990 but continues to affect 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.
Copper mines operated by Ivanhoe in Myanmar have recently come under scrutiny as environmental degradation, illicit company practices, as well as inside dealings with the ruling military junta have created ethical concerns.
Friedland's other corporate leadership positions have included:
- Co-Founder, Executive Co-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Ivanhoe Energy Inc. (IE: TSX & IVAN: NASDAQ).
- Chairman of Sunwing Holding Corporation.
- Executive Chairman of Ivanplats Limited.
- Chairman and Non-Executive Director of Ivanhoe Australia Ltd. (IVA: ASX & TSX).
- Chairman, Potash One Inc.
- Co-Chairman of Diamond Fields Resources Ltd.
- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Galactic Resources Ltd.
Southgobi Resources controversy
In October 2012 Sarah Armstrong chief legal counsel of Southgobi Resources was temporarily detained in Mongolia and banned for leaving the country for several months for allegations of company management bribing the Mongolian state officials.  At the time SouthGobi headquarter in Mongolia was shutdown and searched by Mongolian Anti Corruption agency for bribing allegations. Robert Friedland was trying to sell his major 57.6% stake at Southgobi resources which was owning major coal mining license in Mongolia to Chinese state owned corporation Chalco. But Mongolian public awarenness against foreign state company majority ownership in their mining industry spurred action against Southgobi deal at the time and suspended their mining license for several months in 2012.  By May 2013 another chief financial officer at Southgobi Resources, Justin Capla who was previously questioned by Mongolian Anti Corruption Agency for bribing and money laundering actions case is being transferred to prosecution stage after 1 year of processing.  The Southgobi Resources ltd. is owned by Rio Tinto corporation.   
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- Newman, Peter C (1998). The Canadian Establishment, Volume 3: The Titans – How the New Canadian Establishment Seized Power. Penguin. ISBN 0-14-028700-0.
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- Isaacson, Walter (2011). Steve Jobs. New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 630. ISBN 978-1-4516-4853-9.