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Kinshasa — In the two decades since billionaire mining investor Robert Friedland founded Ivanhoe Mines, his small team has made some of the biggest mineral discoveries in the world. In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), it has done so while trading and contracting with companies controlled by one of President Joseph Kabila’s brothers, searches of thousands of pages of Congolese corporate records obtained by Bloomberg show. Ivanhoe’s unearthing of Africa’s largest copper deposit in the DRC last year after more than a decade of exploration work helped quintuple the company’s stock price. The discovery adds to other successes by Friedland, which include building the Oyu Tolgoi copper-and-gold mine in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert, and discovering the Voisey’s Bay nickel deposit in Canada, which he sold in 1996 for more than $3bn. Over the past seven years, the Vancouver-based company has done business at least five times with two companies that are majority owned, via parent companies, b...

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