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Friedland Cuts Turquoise Hill Stake, Loses Board Nominees

Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. said two board members backed by founder Robert Friedland won’t stand for re-election after his holdings in the developer of Mongolia’s biggest copper mine fell below 10 percent.

Livia Mahler and Peter Meredith won’t seek re-election at the annual meeting on May 10, Vancouver-based Turquoise Hill said in a statement yesterday. Friedland said his stake in the company, formerly known as Ivanhoe Mines Ltd., is now 8.4 percent.

“This was not a normal share sale, it was related to the settlement of a loan pursuant to a derivatives contract,” Friedland said in a phone interview from Singapore today. “I’m a very enthusiastic long-term supporter of the company.”

Turquoise Hill owns a controlling stake in the $6 billion Oyu Tolgoi copper-and-gold mine in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert. Friedland, who held a 10.1 percent stake according to a March 22 regulatory filing, had the ability to appoint members to the company’s board under an agreement with London-based Rio Tinto Group, which took majority control last year.

Dan Larsen, a Rio nominee, also won’t seek re-election next month, Turquoise Hill said.

Friedland said he sold 16.9 million Turquoise Hill shares at $16.78 each in a series of transactions completed on April 19. He said he used the proceeds to repay money he borrowed to fully participate in a rights offering in 2011 that granted stockholders the right to buy shares at $13.88 each.

Turquoise Hill rose 2 percent to C$7.19 at the close in Toronto. The shares have dropped 5.4 percent this year.

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