Thanks bro: one Friedland helps another

Robert Friedland was back in the spotlight this week when shares of Ivanplats, his gold-copper-zinc-platinum group metals exploration company, began trading on the TSX. It’s a company to watch, given the mining legend’s track record finding and developing world-class assets such as Voisey’s Bay (nickel, Vale) and Oyu Tolgoi (gold-copper, Rio Tinto-Turquoise Hill).

But another of Robert Friedland’s moves this week — a bit of help for younger brother Eric’s diamond enterprise — flew largely under the radar. TOF (the other Friedland) is chairman and CEO of Peregrine Diamonds, a junior exploration company that is developing diamond projects in the Northwest Territories and on Baffin Island in Nunavut.

As boys, the Friedlands used to go exploring for minerals on their uncle’s property in Oregon. The same property later became the All One Commune, which was run by the charismatic Robert before he made his billions in mining. The commune, which had an apple farm on-site, was where Robert’s pal Steve Jobs spent some of his formative yearsand was the inspiration for the name of his computer company.

His brother is the rock star of the family, but TOF is no slouch. Last year Eric sold Peregrine Metals and its copper-gold project in Argentina to Stillwater Mining for $487 million. He’s now developing Peregrine Diamonds, and has been busy buying shares as they have sunk over the past year along with the venture market.

In a deal announced Thursday, Robert Friedland’s Newstar Securities SRL – along with Ned Goodman’s Dundee – agreed to fund Peregrine Diamonds to the tune of $10 million. The deal, which includes a share issue at a price of 50 cents, will give Newstar 13.2% of the company and Dundee ownership or control of 18% of Peregrine shares.

Before Thursday’s announcement, Peregrine Diamonds shares had been trading near a 52-week low of 33 cents. The stock has since surged about 30% but is still far below levels it traded at for most of 2010 and 2011.

Peregrine has an option agreement with De Beers on the Chidliak project in Nunavut and has an indicated mineral resource of 18.2 million carats in the DO-27 kimberlite in the Northwest Territories.

Disclosure: I do not own shares in any of the companies mentioned. This is not investment advice, and all investors should complete their own due diligence. Please read my disclaimer.

Story by James Kwantes, who runs the excellent blog World of Mining. Image from Flickr Creative Commons by FancyDiamonds.net

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