By Julius T. Jaesen II
High Power Exploration (HPX) is a privately-owned, U.S.-domiciled mineral exploration and development company with an operating office in Vancouver, Canada. HPX is focused on the development of the ultra-high-grade Nimba iron ore project at the Samandou mine in Guinea.
Mineral exploration and development firm High Power Exploration (HPX), based in the United States, also has a Canadian branch in Vancouver. It is believed that the Nimba deposit in Forestière, south-eastern Guinea, contains roughly a billion tonnes of high-grade iron ore with extremely low impurities, according to a United States Geological Survey evaluation conducted in 2015.
To reduce energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and the generation of slag, iron ore of this grade is needed which HPX is attempting to exploit with no good intentions for the peoples of Guinea and Liberia.
Robert Friedland, a billionaire, CEO, and owner of HPX is well-known for his involvement in several dubious business dealings in several African countries and the world at large.
Truth be told, Robert Friedland is not interested in mining in Guinea. The Samandou mine is very close to Nimba, Yekapa. Guinea as a country cannot mine the ore from the Samandou mine. The mine is rich in ore but Guinea cannot mine the ore due to its inability to construct a railway from the Samandou mine to Conakry. The topography of the south-eastern region where the ore deposit is to Conakry cannot easily allow the passing of rail from Samandou to Conakry.
To build railway infrastructure passing through the Samandou mine to Conakry will cost HPX or the government of Guinea approximately 50 billion dollars. To construct a railway means the government or HPX will have to pass the railway over valleys and mountains which is impossible and too costly for both the government of Guinea and HPX.
So, cleverly, the conman and notorious fraudster, Robert Friedland, knows the best way to exploit and mine that rich iron ore deposit is to pass the ore through Liberia because our country already has the Yekepa to Buchanan railway. So, it means the rail will be connected from Yekepa to Samandou, and then HPX can now engage from that route to pass the ore to Nimba, Bong, and to Buchanan to export.
ArcelorMittal-Liberia has invested about US$500 million in developing the rail from Buchanan to go to Yekapa. The only way for HPX to rail their ore is to have access to the rail which is the cause of all the fights against AML’s agreement.
Interestingly, ArcelorMittal who has spent half a billion in developing the rail has welcomed HPX and asked them if they do have lots of money as they claim, they should give the government of Liberia some money to do the rail expansion since rails are not owned by companies but rather owned by governments.
But truth be told, Robert Friedland is not interested actually in investing in our country’s rail other than trying to get rights over our rail to mine his ore from Samandou and later sell his rights to a third party company – make lots of money and later leave our country and Guinea poor as it was done with Western Cluster during the tenure of Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.
Friedland of HPX knows fully well that to invest in rails either in Guinea or Liberia will cost him too much money. So, he thinks he may be running at losses if he spends all the money on the Legislature to ratify the agreement and invest in rail expansion. So his core focus is to get rights to the usage of the rail and later sell it to another party.
These are how Robert Friedland gets his money by causing controversies in lots of countries. Hence, it is clear that Friedland of HPX is the one causing all these problems and spending money on a few handfuls of government officials to forestall the passage of AML’s agreement.
True Story About Robert Friedland – Owner of HPX
Robert Friedland, a conman and scammer, was charged in a report in 2001 with gang-raping the environment and using forced labor in Burma. With the help of the military regime in Burma, Friedland’s Ivanhoe, a subsidiary of HPX, managed the Monywa copper mine, Burma’s biggest mining project, in a 50/50 joint venture.
Friedland’s business interests include the mine as well as assets in the United States, Indonesia, South Korea, Thailand, China, Australia, Fiji, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Angola, Sierra Leone, and Namibia.
The report which indicted Robert Friedland for wrong deeds in Burma was authored by mining expert Roger Moody and distributed by MiningWatch Canada and Canadian Friends of Burma under the title, “Grave Diggers: A Report on Myanmar’s Mining Industry (CFOB).”
According to a MiningWatch news release, “serious environmental damage” was done to the Monywa mining region, and roads leading to the mine were constructed using forced labor. Nearby drinking water in Burma where Friedland was mining was so filthy that locals had to the boil the water to purify it and re-selling the copper back to the government.
Those who used the water polluted by Robert Friedland also reported experiencing skin discomfort in Burma. There was no environmental legislation in Burma. As a result of copper mining, the mining sector operated by Friedland created the most hazardous waste. Villagers were “running all over…even during blasting” at the mining site, according to the report published in 2001 where eyewitnesses testified.
The extension of the mine beneath Ivanhoe forced residents from their homes, according to Moody. Hundreds of villages in the mine’s path were forcefully evicted and their property seized without compensation, according to locals.
The alliance between Friedland and the Burmese government was one of great potential impact. One of the world’s biggest heroin exporters and a notorious slave labor camp, Burma has been transformed by Canadian mining investors tied to environmental catastrophes and mercenaries. In 1988, they slaughtered 10,000 students in an uprising.
Friedland was formerly a member of the junta’s drug-trafficking syndicate. At the time of his arrest in Portland, Maine, in 1969, Bob “Toxic” Bob was known as “Toxic Bob” for trying to sell the police 8,000 “hits” of LSD. Friedland and his two accomplices were found to have an additional 16,000 hits, making this the state’s largest-ever narcotics raid.
Throughout his time in Burma, Friedland maintained strong ties to the regime. Vancouver businessman Reggie Tun Maung (a Burmese citizen and senior vice-president of Ivanhoe Myanmar Holdings) represents him in the country. Reggie’s son is married to Vice-Admiral Maung Maung Khin’s daughter.
According to Moody, Burma’s drug money was been shifted via mining. Agreements with drug lords and their private troops, such as the Wa and Kokang gangs, were inked in 1989.
In the Sagaing division, a 140,000-hectare block was jointly owned by First Dynasty Mines and the Myanmar Ministry of Mines. In Burma, General Friedland claimed that the generals are not corrupt, but rather are “pursue[ing] forward-looking forestry policies.” He believes that the best approach to win their support is to acknowledge that “they are patriotic.”
Assassination and deception was been the specialties of the renowned South African mercenary outfit Executive Outcomes (EO), which is made up of apartheid-era military personnel, in Friedland’s firm DiamondWorks, which controlled two diamond mines in the West African country of Sierra Leone.
Rebels had seized control of DiamondWorks’ premises in Sierra Leone in 1996, and EO retook them. In addition to being on the board of DiamondWorks, EO chief Tony Buckingham, a former SAS officer, owns stock in the firm and serves as a stakeholder. To reclaim the diamond fields, EO used airburst bombs, which vaporize anything in their path.
Watch out for part two on Robert Friedland – the notorious fraudster!