For more than 20 years, international financier Robert Friedland has been a recognized figure among the leaders of the global financial sector and mineral resource industries. He is credited with key leadership roles in several world-scale mineral discoveries and mine development projects, and with having guided strategic exploration and investment decisions that have successfully contributed to significant economic growth in established and emerging markets in Asia, the Asia Pacific Region, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Americas.
Mr. Friedland also founded and chairs Ivanhoe Pictures, based in Hollywood, California, and he also co-chairs its parent entity SK Global. Launched in September 2013, Ivanhoe Pictures is financing and producing film and television projects that have broad appeal to international audiences. The company is bridging production opportunities in America and Asia, focusing on China, India, Korea and Japan. Ivanhoe Pictures, along with Warner Bros. and Color Force, are producing the upcoming Crazy Rich Asians, an adaptation of Kevin Kwan’s best-selling novel directed by Jon M. Chu (Now You See Me 2), with a fully Asian cast — a first for a Hollywood studio.
Mr. Friedland’s career achievements in the exploration and company-building fields gained a new level of recognition in January 2016 when he was inducted into the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame.
In 1987, Mr. Friedland founded Ivanhoe Capital Corporation, his family’s private company, and now leads its operations from bases in Singapore, Beijing, London and Vancouver. Ivanhoe Capital specializes in the provision of venture capital and project financing for international business enterprises, predominantly in the fields of minerals, energy and advanced technology. With his leadership, Ivanhoe executives and more than 15 benefiting, public and private companies that have been affiliated with Ivanhoe Capital have raised a total of more than US$10 billion on world capital markets since 1993. This capital has been invested in more than 30 nations, directed primarily at the discovery and production of mineral and energy resources and the development and application of innovative exploration, processing and communications technologies.
By the early 1990s, Mr. Friedland had become well known in the mining industry as an entrepreneur and company builder. Among the companies he founded was Ivanhoe Mines, which from its start-up in 1994 he developed as his flagship international mining and mineral exploration enterprise. He served variously as the company’s Executive Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer over the ensuing 18 years, to 2012, as Ivanhoe Mines established itself as a significant miner and explorer in Asia and Asia Pacific and built a large, shareholder base through listings on the Toronto, New York and NASDAQ stock exchanges.
In 2000, Ivanhoe Mines began exploration in Mongolia that led to a decade of discoveries, progressively revealing a 12.4-kilometre-long (7.7-mile) chain of mineral deposits. Ivanhoe Mines began construction of the Oyu Tolgoi mining complex, which launched production in January 2013 and is projected to become one of the world’s top three copper-gold-silver producers. Between 1996 and 2012, the company and its subsidiaries also conducted or participated in mining operations in Australia, China, elsewhere in Mongolia, Myanmar, South Korea and Fiji. International mining giant Rio Tinto acquired control of Ivanhoe Mines in 2012 and, as required under a standing agreement with Mr. Friedland, subsequently relinquished the Ivanhoe name and renamed the company Turquoise Hill Resources.
Mr. Friedland also founded Ivanplats in 1998 to advance mineral prospects in Sub-Saharan Africa. As Executive Chairman, he subsequently led Ivanplats’ successful initial public offering in October 2012 that raised CDN$306 million (US$308 million) from international investors in what was the largest Canadian IPO since 2010. Ivanplats assumed the Ivanhoe Mines name in a strategic corporate alignment in August 2013 as the company was planning to develop three major mining projects. Mr. Friedland retained the title of Executive Chairman of the new, and renewed, Ivanhoe Mines. Construction has begun of the Platreef state-of-the-art, underground platinum-palladium-gold-nickel-copper mine on the company’s world-scale discovery in South Africa’s renowned Bushveld Complex, where established mines already produce more than three-quarters of the world’s annual platinum output. Ivanhoe’s two other key projects are in the Democratic Republic of Congo: One is the development of the company’s world-scale Kamoa copper discovery in a previously unknown extension of the legendary Central African Copperbelt; the other is exploration and upgrading of the historic Kipushi Mine, long recognized as one of the world’s richest former zinc-copper producers.
In addition to his natural resources interests, Mr. Friedland owns and has supported a diverse portfolio of global technology and media enterprises, as well as international investments in the hospitality real estate sector.
During the 1990s, Mr. Friedland was an initial, key investor in Sina.com, now the largest Chinese-language online infotainment web portal. Ivanhoe Capital provided the founding venture capital for U.S.-based Sirius Satellite Radio, which went on to build SiriusXM into the world’s most successful digital satellite radio service.
In 2007, Mr. Friedland and Laurent Frescaline formed I-Pulse Inc., a private company focused on developing and commercializing tools and applications for proprietary technology that compresses and then releases accumulated energy in controlled pulses in just fractions of a second. The technology is being successfully deployed in international oil and gas applications, advanced manufacturing processes and mineral exploration. I-Pulse, backed by blue-chip investors and strategic partners, has customer and partner bases that include leading auto manufacturers, luxury-goods houses and mining majors.
Mr. Friedland also founded and chairs Ivanhoe Pictures, based in Hollywood, California, with offices in Beijing and New York. Launched in September 2013, Ivanhoe Pictures is financing and producing film and television projects that have broad appeal to international audiences. The company is bridging production opportunities in America and Asia, focusing on China, India, Korea and Japan.
International philanthropic initiatives and engagements by the Friedland family are implemented through the San Francisco-based Friedland Foundation.
Mr. Friedland holds U.S. and Canadian citizenships and resides in Singapore. He graduated from Reed College, in Oregon, USA, in 1974 with an undergraduate degree in political science.