Robert Friedland, one of the world?s most prolific mining entrepreneurs and promoters, has seen one of his most high-profile ventures go bankrupt.
Ivanhoe Energy could not continue operating amid the recent drop in oil prices and said it had been unable ?to reach a viable restructuring proposal? with its creditors. The Vancouver-based company filed for bankruptcy protection in Canada in February after it missed a debt payment.
A small oil sands producer, Ivanhoe Energy has been trying to develop properties in northern Alberta and Ecuador. It was Friedland?s attempt to get in on the oil sands frenzy that took off in Canada about a decade ago and has contributed to the increased supply of oil on world markets coming from unconventional players in Canada and the U.S.
Friedland, 64, initially claimed the Ivanhoe Energy had a new technology that would cheaply upgrade heavy oil and be a game changer. In 2006, after Ivanhoe Energy announced a successful test run of the technology in California, Friedland said: ?What we saw last week was not unlike the first flight of the Kitty Hawk.?
Robert Friedland, the chairman and founder of Ivanhoe Mines ?(RODGER BOSCH/AFP/Getty Images)
As recently as 2010, Ivanhoe?s stock was changing hands for $3.79 on NASDAQ, giving Ivanhoe Energy a market valuation of more than $1.2 billion. The stock was delisted from NASDAQ in February.
Friedland is from Chicago and attended Reed College in Oregon, where he became something of a mentor to Steve Jobs. Friedland is best known for his mining ventures, some of which have been both daring and controversial. His first big strike was finding a huge nickel deposit in Canada?s Voisey?s Bay, which he sold to Canadian miner Inco. He also started what has become a massive copper project in Mongolia being developed by Turquoise Hill Resources, a company Friedland founded but which is now controlled by mining giant Rio Tinto.
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