The Association for Mineral Exploration opened up its Remote Roundup – its first virtual conference in the event’s 38-year history – with special guest speakers that included a keynote talk from Robert Friedland, founder and executive co-chairman of Ivanhoe Mines.
Speaking from Singapore, where the mining entrepreneur (and previously frequent traveller) noted he has been “stuck” for the past 10 months, Friedland’s address touched on a number of hot topics, including ESG, increasing demand for battery minerals for the green economy, and the importance of junior mining companies.
Starting with the current state of affairs for miners, Friedland noted that investors have largely abandoned mining and flocked to the tech space, notably investments in broadband internet, the cloud, and other disruptive technologies over the the past 20 years.
“The mining industry has been down for such a long time that most participants forgot what ‘up’ looks like,” he quipped.
But Friedland said miners would soon have their “revenge,” noting that many disruptive technologies heavily rely on metals. He added that now that the world has gone through the “profound shock” of Covid-19, people are realizing that there will be huge demand for certain metals in a post-Covid world. “This begins the era of the revenge of the miner.”