Friedland on headless miners, dodos and ethical platinum

Euan Rocha and Rod Nickel of Reuters sat down with the normally media-shy Robert Friedland and the legendary mining financier more than lived up to his reputation as a salesman and astute commentator on the industry.

Here is Friedland on the raft of recent CEO departures from the world's largest mining firms:

"We're in a world where all of the CEOs of major miners have had their heads cut off … So these major mining companies are now being run by people who are inherently risk averse," said Friedland. "That means there is going to be less metal around in five years."

On Platreef, the crown jewel in the Ivanplats stable which went public for $2.5 billion last year, and which Friedland describes as the "largest mechanizable, ethical precious metal discovery in the world":

"Anglo is like a man with one foot in a bucket of ice and another foot in a bucket of hot coals," he said, suggesting the rival South African miner faces a dilemma in trying to sell platinum produced under such conditions. In addition to jewelry, platinum is used to make catalytic converters for cars.

"If you're the Toyota Motor Company, you can't sell a yuppie a Prius in California based on this activity," said Friedland. "You already have the concept of ethical diamonds … similarly we now have the concept of ethical platinum, so this is going the way of the dodo bird."

Continue reading at Reuters for Friedland's views on another one of his properties that he says has the potential to outshine Codelco's El Teniente

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