SINGAPORE — Ivanhoe Mines Chairman Robert Friedland today welcomed action taken by The New York Times to correct factual inaccuracies contained in an article published by the newspaper on October 3, 2003.
The article, reporting on the current mining boom in Mongolia, and in particular on Ivanhoe Mines’ copper-gold discovery at Turquoise Hill in the South Gobi region, also contained some historical references to the Summitville Mine in Colorado.
Mr. Friedland today commended The New York Times for its willingness to correct the public record created by the publication of the erroneous Summitville references to help ensure that others do not copy the mistakes.
“The action by The New York Times is an example of responsible leadership that one naturally expects from such a prominent voice in journalism. Investors in public markets would benefit if more media followed The Times’ approach,” Mr. Friedland said.
“The task of maintaining an accurate record and tolerating no compromises on accuracy, balance and fairness in news reporting should be a top priority for every corporate chief executive in this fast-moving Internet age in which unreliable information knows no borders.
“The Bloomberg news service quote-of-the-day yesterday, from distinguished American poet Nikki Giovanni, has perfect currency: ‘Mistakes are a fact of life. It is the response to error that counts.’”
The New York Times’ correction on November 18 accurately outlined basic terms of the voluntary contribution that Mr. Friedland agreed to make as part of a December, 2000, settlement reached with the State of Colorado and the U.S. federal government on behalf of former directors and executives of Galactic Resources Ltd., which owned the Summitville Mine. (Mr. Friedland was a Galactic shareholder and a director and officer during the Summitville Mine’s earlier stages in the mid- to late-1980s, and resigned all positions with the company more than two years before the mine ceased operations in December, 1992).
The Times’ correction cited:
• a US$20.7 million payment that Mr. Friedland agreed to make, to help mitigate the historic impacts of mining;
• the US$1.25 million payment that Mr. Friedland received from the U.S. government as reimbursement for his attorneys’ fees and costs in related litigation; and
• Mr. Friedland’s recovery of approximately US$17 million from other potentially responsible parties involved with the Summitville Mine, through ongoing litigation since the settlement in 2000.
The November 18 correction also reaffirmed that contamination of the Alamosa River below the mine was caused by drainage laden with heavy metals caused by past and then current mining in the area and natural acidic runoff, and that cyanide-laced tailings did not spill from the mine and cause contamination.
This is now the third time in three years that The New York Times has corrected inaccurate reporting on the Summitville Mine and the terms of Mr. Friedland’s voluntary settlement. As part of the settlement, the federal and state governments agreed that no one person was solely responsible for the cause or the clean up of alleged environmental problems at Summitville, an historic gold district where more than 100 years of mining by various companies, large and small, had left numerous abandoned underground tunnels and old mine workings that were a source of acidic runoff and heavy metals.
Mr. Friedland said that effective environmental management now is one of the most important responsibilities facing all mining companies.
“Air and water are sacred global assets. With responsible planning, advanced technologies and careful management, communities don’t have to choose between job-creating investment in resources development and the protection of drinking water.
“In Mongolia’s dry Gobi region, Ivanhoe’s scientific search for water has located underground reserves that also can help expand agricultural production. We are committed to obtaining ISO 14001 certification for the mine that we have started planning at Turquoise Hill, based on our experience with the Monywa Copper Project in Myanmar that also complies with the same ISO 14001 international benchmark standards for environmental excellence.”
Investors: Bill Trenaman: +1.604.688.5755