HONG KONG, March 23 (Reuters) - Copper and iron ore prices should remain high in the near future because of additional demand for reconstruction in Japan after a devastating earthquake and tsunami, Ivanhoe Mines Ltd Chief Executive Robert Friedland said.
The earthquake in northeastern Japan destroyed thousands of homes, levelled buildings and bridges and caused damage estimated at up to $308 billion, according to the Nikkei newspaper. As the country looks to rebuild in coming months and years, prices for iron ore and copper should remain under pressure, he added.
"What happened in Japan is insanely bullish for copper," Friedland said at the Mines and Money conference in Hong Kong on Wednesday.
Friedland, a billionaire mining magnate, said he also saw "profound implications" for copper prices from long-term demand in China as the country builds a massive high-speed rail network and increases the use of electric cars.
"I'm a copper bull, not really a gold bull," he added.