The Mining Executive
"Global Mining Decisions In Your Palms"

Billionaire Mineral Maestro: The Unparalleled Legacy of Robert Friedland in Shaping the Mining Frontier

  • Founder and Chairman of Toronto-listed Ivanhoe Mines, a prominent player in the mining and precious metals sector. 
  • Founder and Executive Co-Chairman, Ivanhoe  
  • Chairman and Co-Founder, I-Pulse  
  • Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, High Power Exploration  
  • Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Ivanhoe Electric  
  • Co-Chairman, Sunrise Energy Metals  
  • Co-Chairman, SK Global Entertainment; Co-Founder and Co-Chairman, Ivanhoe Pictures 
  • Based in Singapore, Friedland is lauded for his success in discovering lucrative mines in remote regions, such as Oyu Tolgoi in Mongolia. 
  • Reed College graduate, Friedland is involved in funding Ivanhoe Capital Corporation, focused on investments in emerging markets. 
  • Holds a stake in Australia-listed CleanTeQ Holdings, a supplier of cobalt and nickel to lithium-ion battery producers. 
  • Peregrine Diamonds, Friedland’s Canada-based venture, was acquired by De Beers Group in September 2018 for approximately $80 million. 

In the early months of 1982, Robert Friedland arrived in Vancouver, a shadowy figure within the mining realm. Vancouver’s mining scene was bustling with penny stocks on the rise, and amidst this sea of uncertainties, Friedland set the stage for his venture—Galactic Resources. With an initial public offering at a modest $0.50 per share on the Vancouver Stock Exchange, Galactic Resources mirrored the typical penny stock profile: scarce capital, no tangible assets, and a lack of established management. 

Born in Massachusetts, Friedland’s journey into the world of mining commenced when he chose Reed College for his studies, initially pursuing political science. He completed his undergraduate studies in political science at Reed College in Oregon, USA, graduating in 1974. 

A brief flirtation with a medical career led him to shift gears, entering the mining industry in his thirties. 

The narrative takes an intriguing turn with the Summitville Mine, unveiled in 1986. Holding a 10% stake in Galactic, Friedland faced challenges that led to his reduced involvement, eventually resigning as SCMCI President in 1987 and departing Galactic’s Board of Directors in November 1990. The mine grappled with water management issues, exacerbated by incorrect precipitation projections and stringent water-quality standards imposed by Colorado. A liner leak further complicated matter. 

Post-Galactic, Friedland delved into the unassuming world of Diamond Fields, exploring diamond prospects in Arkansas, Saskatchewan, and Namibian seabeds. Two prospectors, Chris Verbiski and Albert Chislett, stumbled upon a rust-colored outcrop near Voisey’s Bay, unveiling chalcopyrite veins that hinted at significant potential. Though securing budgets for the project proved challenging initially, the groundbreaking drill results cemented the nickel discovery’s importance. 

By mid-1995, Diamond Fields and Voisey’s Bay had captivated major players in the industry. Teck’s $108 million investment and a 10.4% stake reflected its confidence, while Inco’s bold move to acquire a 25% interest for $550 million in cash and securities underscored the project’s magnitude. 

The ensuing bidding war between nickel titans Inco and Falconbridge reached a zenith in the summer of the following year, with Inco emerging victorious in a staggering $3.1 billion acquisition of Diamond Fields. For Friedland, this marked an unprecedented windfall—his 13% stake translating into a colossal $400 million payout. 

Rather than basking in the glow of this success, Friedland pressed on in the mining realm. Notable triumphs followed, including the development of Oyu Tolgoi in Mongolia and the major copper discoveries of Kamoa and Kakula in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 

Today, Friedland stands as a pivotal figure in the mining industry, mentioned in the same breath as luminaries like Pierre Lassonde, Rob McEwen, Ross Beaty, and Andrew Forrest. His journey from an obscure arrival in Vancouver to a mining magnate exemplifies resilience, strategic vision, and an unwavering commitment to shaping the landscape of the industry. 

In January 2016, Mr. Friedland’s prowess in the mining arena achieved widespread acclaim as he was inducted into the esteemed Canadian Mining Hall of Fame. The induction recognized his adept company-building and exploration feats, lauding him as “a dynamic, transformative force in the Canadian and international mining industries” and “one of the most recognized mining personalities and achievers in the world.” During the ceremony held at the University of Toronto, Mr. Friedland humbly shared the honor with the dedicated teams whose collaborative efforts over the past three decades had played a pivotal role in a series of noteworthy discoveries and the establishment of new mines. The Canadian Mining Hall of Fame is prominently featured in the Treasures from Earth galleries at the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto. 

In May 2017, Mr. Friedland received the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at the Canadian Mining Symposium in London, England, hosted at Canada House. This career recognition by the Northern Miner, a century-old flagship of Canada’s leading mining-industry media group, underscored his enduring impact. Preceding this, the U.K.-based Mining Journal had consecutively ranked Mr. Friedland in 2016 and 2015 as one of the Top 20 Most Influential People shaping the future of the mining world, hailing him as “the undisputed king of junior development.” In 2016, Canada’s Financial Post Magazine also included him among the 25 members of its inaugural Power List, acknowledging him as one of “the biggest, buzziest, and most influential movers and shakers in Canada and beyond.” 

Fast-forwarding to December 2021, Mr. Friedland’s illustrious career reached another pinnacle as he was inducted into the American Mining Hall of Fame in a ceremony held in Tucson, Arizona. This recognition celebrated his outstanding lifetime achievements in advancing the American and global mineral resources industry. The citation hailed Mr. Friedland as “an entrepreneurial explorer, technology innovator, and company builder,” noting his success in developing a portfolio of respected public and private companies that contributed to some of the world’s most significant mineral discoveries, mine developments, applications of disruptive technologies, and substantial economic growth in established and emerging markets across the Asia Pacific Region, Southern Africa, and the Americas. 

Beyond his professional endeavors, the Friedland family channels their philanthropic initiatives and engagements through the San Francisco-based Friedland Foundation. Mr. Friedland, holding both United States and Canadian citizenships, currently resides in Singapore.  

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More