Is “Toxic Bob” all set for a London listing? « Mining Blog

Is “Toxic Bob” all set for a London listing?

5. December 2012,

Although he’s not the world’s wealthiest mining billionaire (Mexico’s Carlos Slim owns that dubious accolade), Robert Friedland is certainly its most notorious.

Known from student days as “Toxic Bob” (probably referring to his alleged drug dealing – but the nickname has justifiably stuck) he’s launched projects that would sit high on any objective list of the world’s most damaging extractive enterprises.

In 1985-86, gold heap leach pads collapsed at his first mining venture, the Galactic Resources’ Summitville mine in Colorado.

As the Mines and Communities website graphically reported in 2001, the mine “was about as safe as ice lollies made with water drawn from a Rangoon sewer…cyanide solution – sprayed in thousands of gallons over the heaps – began leaking from the pads, which then overflowed. Worse, acidic wastes laced with heavy metals from ore and rock began forming the deadly cocktail known as acid mine drainage”. See:

Nor can Toxic Bob escape at least some responsibility for his early promotion of Golden Star Resources which, alongside Canada’s Cambior, was responsible for the massive 1995 Omai tailings dam collapse in Guyana. See:

Arguably, however, even more opprobrium should be cast on the better-known mining companies that have bedded down with him in recent times.

Standing tallest among these is Rio Tinto, which partnered with Friedland in the early years of Papau New Guinea’s Lihir gold venture, and poured money into his Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold play in Mongolia after 2007.

But it’s Rio Tinto’s financial alliance with Ivanhoe – while the latter was still profiting from the Monywa copper mine under Bumese military rule – which has raised most ire over the past five years. See:

To the London lists!

This week, Robber Friedland announced his intention to launch an Initial Public Offering of hares (IPO) on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) “during the first half of next year”. He did so at the Mines and Money conference, hosted by the Mining Journal in north London.

Following Rio Tinto’s takeover of Ivanhoe last year, Robber Friedland left the company to swiftly form Ivanplats Ltd, which holds a platinum, gold and copper deposit in South Africa and two copper projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It has additional assets, spread across South Africa, Gabon and Australia.

In October 2012, Ivanplats raised over Cdn$300 million (US$305 million) from its initial public offering on the Toronto Stock Exchange. This immediately became the largest Canadian mining IPO after Tahoe Resources Inc. raised C$348 million in 2010.

It was also the most significant global metals and mining IPO since Glencore’s on the London Stock Exchange, completed in 2011.

So now, this tarnished king of copper is about to throw his insidious shadow over the Capital of mining capital.

The good citizens of London have been duly forewarned!
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