Friedland: “It’s copper, copper, copper, copper, copper, copper …” – by Trish Saywell (Northern Miner – April 19, 2021)

Global mining news

I’ve covered the mining industry for more than a decade and during that time have had many opportunities to listen to presentations and speeches by Ivanhoe Mines’ founder Robert Friedland.

I also interviewed him at length for an article about his career when The Northern Miner gave him a Lifetime Achievement award in May 2017.

But I think his remarks last week at the CRU World Copper Conference were among his most enlightening. Videoed from his home in Singapore, Friedland spoke about the green energy transition and how important copper will be for the new world economy.

Whether you are a Friedland fan or not, you can’t disagree with his conclusions that, as the world transitions from hydrocarbons (oil and gas) and moves toward electrification and greener energy sources, metals like copper will be more important than ever before.

In fact he described copper in the medium term as a “national security issue” as countries around the world will have to scramble to lock-in supply. “We know that the change is coming,” he warned, “but it takes a long time to change the entire supply chain.

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