Robert Champion de Crespigny is the former chairman and CEO of Normandy Mining Limited. It was Australia's largest gold producer until 2002, when it was taken over by Newmont Mining Corporation. Crespigny and Newmont became bitter rivals in the long-running dispute over the ownership of Yanacocha Mine.
The powerful mining magnate was involved in the dispute over Yanacocha's ownership from its inception. In 1994, Crespigny's company, Normandy, made a successful bid to partner with French government-owned Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières (BRGM), which was restructuring its worldwide mining assets, including the mine at Yanacocha.
In 1996, Crespigny recruited well-connected French businessman Patrick Maugein to help stop Newmont and its Peruvian partner from taking possession of the French share of the Yanacocha mine. Crespigny told FRONTLINE/World, "We met in Paris through a mutual friend." Crespigny said he and Maugein became friends, and Maugein helped set up a meeting between Crespigny and President Jacques Chirac. "He obviously had and has extensive connections in France," said Crespigny.