Billionaire miner Robert Friedland sounds off – by Tommy Humphreys ( – September 15, 2013)

I was able to catch up with billionaire Ivanhoe Mines (TSX:IVN) Executive Chairman Robert Friedland in Toronto yesterday. The Singapore-based mining legend was in Toronto this week to announce the launch of Ivanhoe Pictures, a new film and TV finance and production company, and to host the first investor presentations for his Ivanhoe Mines after a summer spent relaxing and reflecting on the Italian coast, where Mr. Friedland acquired a hotel property earlier this year.

Friedland says that the Chinese are determined to fight air pollution. “I have a home in Beijing but I’ve been avoiding it in recent years because the air pollution has become absolutely diabolical,” Friedland commented. This alone would be enough to drive the conventional Platinum market crazy, he added, noting that catalytic converters which reduce toxic emissions in automobiles use substantial amounts of platinum and palladium.

There is a revolution coming to the automobile industry via the Japanese, according to Friedland. Senior officials in Japan tell him that the Toyota Motor Company will announce hydrogen fuel cell automobiles later this year with a commercial roll out coming in 2015. “These cars will use ounces, not tenths of ounces of platinum,” Friedland said. This is why the Japanese government bought 10% of Ivanhoe’s Platreef project for $300 million, Friedland believes.

The Japanese will also spend as much as $100 billion upgrading their high speed trains, requiring massive amounts of metals, said the always enthusiastic Ivanhoe chairman.

“You will need a telescope to see how high the price of Platinum will go.”

On the subject of quantitative easing in the US, Mr. Friedland commented, “Now we have this new word written by idiots called tapering which is basically the breast of your mother is being taken out of your mouth but just for a few minutes and slowly, and while you’re getting deprived of your mother’s milk, they’re going to give you baby formula instead, and assure you at the same time that money’s going to be free forever. All of the world’s central banks are printing capital. We are not going into a deflationary meltdown. It’s not going to happen. Europe is starting to recover.. The US is clearly in a recovery… Growth in the developing world continues at pace.”

Friedland thinks the sacking of CEOs at major mining companies was a mistake by the boards and chairman at these companies. “Mr. Munk dispensed of Aaron Regent, which was a ridiculous decision, in my considered opinion… The new personage in the CEO positions are risk averse. They’re cutting costs and selling assets, sticking their heads in the sand… What do you think is going to happen in the mining industry where at the top all of the major mining companies are downsizing or shrinking?”


Friedland says that a growing global economy, coupled with a downsizing mining industry, and constricted exploration finance markets are contributing to a very bullish setup in commodities, in particular copper.

Electrical energy consumption per person on planet earth has never done anything but go up, said the mining legend, and power takes copper. “Copper is the king of metals.”

“These old [copper] mines are dying, and their grades are declining, and we’re going to have to have a much higher copper price.”

For the rest of this interview, click here: