MAC: Mines and Communities

Ivanhoe To Lay Down Its Copper Sword?

Published by MAC on 2006-05-25

Ivanhoe to lay down its copper sword?

25th May 2006

Has one of the most notorious mining companies been forced onto its back feet? Ivanhoe Mines, whose founder, Robert "Toxic Bob" Friedland, was recently elevated to executive chairman, is the largest mining company in both Burma and Mongolia.

Over the past eight years Ivanhoe has come under relentless attack from human rights campaigners for investing in Burma and now appears to be taking steps to pull out altogether - while selling to a trio of South Korean outfits. The move follows the withdrawal of the company's political risk insurance by an unnamed insurer, and backing by Amnesty Canada of a shareholder's resolution, prior to the company's annual general meeting.

In Mongolia, after a mass demonstration in the capital, Ulaanbatar, which included unsubtantiated claims of slavery and disease at Ivanhoe's Burmese operations, Friedland's previous cosy relationship with the government is also starting to weaken. Here, legislators are seeking to reverse the damaging impacts of a World Bank-sponsored "reform" of mining investment laws.

In the first of our postings noted mining commentato, Eric Snider speculates on Ivanhoe's future prospects in Burma.

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