Robert Martin Friedland
August 18, 1950
|Education||B.A. Reed College|
|Known for||Founder of Ivanhoe Mines|
founder of Ivanhoe Capital Corporation
|Net worth||US$1.8 billion (March 2014)|
|Spouse(s)||Darlene M. Friedland|
|Parent(s)||Ilona Muller Friedland|
Robert Martin Friedland (August 18, 1950) is an American-Canadian 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.
Early life and education
Robert Friedland was born in Chicago, Illinois, the eldest of three children born to immigrant parents Ilona (née Muller) and Albert Friedland. Friedland's father survived three years in Auschwitz while his mother worked as a forced laborer during the Holocaust. 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 served two years 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 with whom he shared an interest in Eastern spirituality. At the time, Friedland served as the caretaker of an apple farm south of Portland that was owned by his millionaire uncle Marcel Muller and Jobs would come on the weekends and help with the apple orchard, which served as the inspiration for the name of his company, Apple Inc. Friedland turned the orchard into a commune called All One Farm.
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 has discovered copper deposits in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). 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
By 2005, Friedland had staked a claim larger than Greece in Mongolia's Gobi Desert, an area containing copper and gold at the Oyu Tolgoy, or Turquoise Hill, site that he claimed could be worth more than $100 billion. In October 2012 Sarah Armstrong, chief legal counsel of Southgobi Resources, was temporarily detained in Mongolia and prevented from leaving the country for several months due to allegations that company management had bribed Mongolian state officials. The allegations resulted in the shutdown and search of SouthGobi headquarters in Mongolia by a Mongolian anti-corruption agency. Robert Friedland had been trying to sell his major (57.6%) stake in Southgobi Resources, which owned a major coal mining license in Mongolia, to Chalco, a Chinese state-owned corporation. Mongolian popular opposition to majority ownership by foreign state-owned enterprises of companies in their mining industry spurred action against the Southgobi deal and caused the suspension of the company's 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.
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. His son, Govind Friedland, is a geologist.
- Forbes: "The World's Billionaires - Robert Friedland" March 2014
- Bloomberg News: "Ivanhoe CEO Loses in Rio ‘Chess Game’ Over Mongolia Mine" By Christopher Donville and Liezel Hill April 19, 2012
- Mines Magazine: "The Rough and Tough of Diamond Mining" By Lisa Marshall January, 2011
- Cubeta, Charles (March 2, 2012). "Bowdoin's 'toxic' son". The Bowdoin Orient. Retrieved March 23, 2012.
- Reed Magazine: "Prodigal Son" December 2011
- "Steve Jobs, Benjamin Franklin, Einstein by Walter Isaacson" By Walter Isaacson October 24, 2011
- "Friedland Factor Pulls in $310.5 million". Financial Post, Toronto, Canada. 14 June 1996.
- "Building Oyu Tolgoi: The Movie".
- "AMEC Minproc Technical Report, Oyu Tolgoi Project" (PDF). June 2010.
- Holmes, Frank. "We Could See $100 Oil Again Soon, But Not for the Reason You Think". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-10-29.
- "Ivanhoe Mines increases stake in Altynalmas Gold to 50%".
- "Summitville Mine". Region 8 - Superfund. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Archived from the original on 2006-10-10. Retrieved 2007-01-04.
- "Canada asked to probe driver's disappearance. - Home Page". Democratic Voice of Burma. Retrieved 2010-07-20.
- "Potash One appoints Robert M. Friedland as Chairman, to assist in securing financing for new Canadian potash production project". Archived from the original on 2012-04-25.
- "Diamond Fields Resources: Diamond Fields Resources accepts Inco acquisition proposal". 3 April 1996.
- "Summitville Fact File".
- "Financier's saga of risk promises Gobi riches". October 2005.
- "SouthGobi Sands and Sarah Armstrong: Still No Official Statement from IAAC". October 2012.
- "Mongolia suspends SouthGobi licences". April 2012.
- "SouthGobi Resources case is being transferred to prosecution". June 2013.
- "SouthGobi Resources widens Q4 loss on back of closed mine". March 2013.
- "Mongolia: A Lucky but Difficult Pie to Slice". October 2012.
- "Fears for Aussie lawyer trapped in Mongolia". October 2012.
- "Robert Friedland’s Ivanhoe Mines Announces Updated Economic Assessment for Copper Project in Congo", Jewish Business News, November 24, 2013
- Mining Weekly: "Govind Friedland following in father's footsteps" By Matthew Hill February 18, 2011
- Francis, Diane (2008). Who Owns Canada Now. Old Money, New Money and the Future of Canadian Business. HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-00-200705-4.
- Newman, Peter C (1998). The Canadian Establishment, Volume 3: The Titans – How the New Canadian Establishment Seized Power. Penguin. ISBN 0-14-028700-0.
- McNish, Jacquie (1998). The Big Score: Robert Friedland, Inco and the Voisey's Bay Hustle. Canada. Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-25758-9.
- Isaacson, Walter (2011). Steve Jobs. New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 630. ISBN 978-1-4516-4853-9.