20 December 2011

Robert Friedland's view of the world

I have been an observer of Robert Friedland for a number of years, and was pleased to be invited to attend the recent lunch function conducted by the Melbourne Mining Club at which he spoke to a receptive audience of 500 or so.   Never backward in his views, his view on the current debt problem in Europe was - "The situation is hopeless but it's not serious".
His view is that Europe will be of diminishing significance in the global economy, and so the place to invest is in the emerging markets.    He stated that, "Europe is not important anyway; it's just Disneyland.  It's basically a place the Chinese will go to sample foie gras".
This is fine for him to say, given that much of his great wealth derives from his stake in Ivanhoe Mines, which is developing the massive Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold deposit in Mongolia (albeit with considerable input from Rio Tinto which owns in the vicinity of 49% of Ivanhoe Mines).
He regards the media (which he describes as the "merchants of chaos") as being obsessed with Europe.   Perhaps he does indeed have a point, but for many of us the issue is that our superannuation is tied up in investments that are affected by the gloom coming from Europe.  Unfortunately, we didn't turn everything into cash a few years back and retreat to Mars, thus giving us the opportunity to return to Earth in the present and to start investing all over again.
For what it's worth, Friedland is not so worried about the USA.  He reckons that, if necessary, the US will just "print money" to solve any problems that it may encounter.
Here are some images from the immense Oyu Tolgoi construction site (unfortunately, not taken by me).

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