The Metal That Minted the World’s First Billionaire

Photo: The Metal That Minted the World’s First Billionaire

Who was the richest man of the last 500 years?

Names like Gates, Bezos, Buffett and Rockefeller probably come to mind.

Or, if you’re a history buff, you might have thought of Carnegie, Vanderbilt or Astor.

But the richest man of the last half millennium had more wealth than Bezos, Gates, Buffett and Zuckerberg… combined.

And he didn’t make his more than $400 billion (in today’s dollars) in wealth from tech, railroads, oil or one-day shipping.

He made it from copper.

His name was Jakob Fugger (sounds like “cougar”). In the late 1400s, he was just a small-time German merchant.

He lived in Hungary—and a Turkish invasion seemed inevitable.

Where others saw high risk, he saw an incredible opportunity. He bought up every copper mine in sight… and made a fortune. He was only 36.

From there, he consolidated and held a near-monopoly over the European copper market.

In his heyday, he single-handedly controlled 2.2% of Europe’s GDP.

With Great Copper Supply Comes Great Money… and Great Power

Jakob Fugger’s wealth from copper and mining allowed him to shape the political landscape of Europe.

He individually backed entire countries’ wars.

He helped appoint Charles V of Spain as the Holy Roman Emperor.

He helped the Catholic Church dominate Europe and South America.

He lent money to the Vatican to build St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel.

He funded the rise of the Hapsburg Dynasty.

The massive dynasty Jakob Fugger forged from copper changed the course of history.

The Fugger Empire was far from the last empire formed by copper.

Some of the most famous family names that have been etched into history books and onto buildings are based on massive wins in copper.

When you hear the name Guggenheim you might think of the museums in Spain and New York. But their legacy was smelted in the fiery furnace of copper.

Meyer Guggenheim came to America penniless, and within 25 years he and his sons consolidated company after company to build his family’s global empire. Eventually, the vast Guggenheim copper empire controlled over 80% of the world’s copper production by the end of World War I.

By outwitting both Rothschild and Rockefeller interests, the Guggenheims took control of Asarco, which was the world’s largest smelting company in the world.

Kennecott Copper, the owner of the world largest copper producer, Bingham Canyon in Utah, was also a Guggenheim company.

The Guggenheims, backed by Bernard Baruch and J.P Morgan, created Chile Copper Company, which owned, built and operated El Teniente (the world’s first mine to apply the flotation process to concentrate low-grade copper), Chuquicamata (one of largest open pit mines in the world and first to use sulphuric acid and electrolytic precipitation to treat its ore).

At their peak, the Guggenheims controlled over 87% of the world’s copper production.

Today’s Copper Mines Put Fugger to Shame

In the 1980s, the monster Anaconda mine was outsized by the discovery of the Escondida mine in Chile.

This Titanic-sized deposit made every other mine look like a dinky rowboat.

Since its discovery, the Escondida copper mine has produced more than 60 billion pounds of copper.

Its remaining copper resource is more than 220 billion pounds.

To put that into context, a ‘world-class’ deposit is 20 billion pounds of copper.

If Escondida was a country, it would be the world’s fifth-largest copper producer. Forty years later, this mine still reigns supreme among the ‘super mines’.

Together, the ten copper super mines account for nearly 30% of global copper production.

The epic Escondida discovery was made by American, David Lowell, who was both a mining engineer and geologist. His porphyry model paved the way for countless future mining discoveries.

The Escondida mine was so big that it transformed the economic landscape of Chile, accounting for about 2.6% of its total GDP and 11% of exports.

Time and time again, copper has fueled the economies of the world –and it has been used to create immense, unparalleled empires.

Big Copper Discoveries Mean Billions of Dollars in Profit

But then… copper fell out of style. Back in the early 2000s, no one was touching copper.

Well, not quite no one.

The ones with foresight, like Ross Beaty and Robert Friedland, acquired all the copper deposits they could.

Ross Beaty, who’s spoken at many VRIC Conferences, acquired ten different copper assets during a short period (sound familiar?) — when copper was trading for just USD$0.60 per pound. Ross is a modern-day Jakob Fugger.

All ten copper assets were in a company called Lumina Copper.

Then copper found itself in vogue again.

Ross ended up selling all ten assets and shareholders locked in 4,000% returns.

Billionaires were created. Countless multi-millionaires were minted along the way.

But, as impressive as the Lumina gains are, the BIGGEST gains are made when a major copper deposit is first discovered.

Robert Friedland’s Ivanhoe Mines is another case in point. They began exploration of the Oyu Tolgoi prospect in Mongolia in the early 2000s.

Drilling revealed a long chain of copper-gold-silver deposits that still rank among the world’s most significant mineral discoveries.

Rio Tinto acquired majority control of Oyu Tolgoi in 2012 and began open-pit production in 2013.

By the time of the takeout, early investors had already pocketed 6,000%+ gains.

Friedland’s next deal, a new “Ivanhoe”, discovered the Kamoa copper deposit in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It was the DRC’s largest in a century.

It’s become the world’s highest grade super-sized undeveloped copper deposit. The mine is now being built.

So although the Kamoa deposit is still in development, savvy investors have already walked away with returns of more than 800%+ gains.

Copper Is the “Secret Champion” of the Resource Market

Most people are surprised to hear that it’s copper, not gold, that’s made the wealthiest people in our sector.

That even in a modern context, billions of dollars are still quietly being made from copper.

And if you partner with the right players, you stand to make a fortune.

Modern-day titans in mining—like Robert Friedland and Ross Beaty—have created billions in shareholder value through copper.

And another big copper consolidation is about to occur.

Some of the smartest people in the business, including the investors who backed Ross Beaty and Robert Friedland in their copper successes, have been quietly funding the next big copper story.

And tomorrow, we’ll reveal the name of this one particular company. A company that’s focusing on world-class, Escondida-sized copper deposits.

It’s run by a top-tier management team that has invested millions of their own money into the company at higher prices than what it currently trades at in the open market.

This management team, led by one of the smartest in the resource sector, has already sold companies for hundreds of millions of dollars…

He’s right where Fugger was at his age.

And this is in an industry where very few company builders can get even a single score in their lifetime.

He’s now quietly building his third, and he’s assembled a shareholder base with the ‘who’s who’ of the mining world.

Tomorrow, we’ll go in-depth on the next copper magnate to watch.

Copper prices are low and demand is about to be very high.

Who will copper turn into the next billionaire?

Read the next article in the series with the name reveal

Be sure you’re ready to accumulate before the copper market erupts much, much higher.

Jay Martin