Ivanhoe Surges as Copper Find Prompts ‘Unsolicited Interest’

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  • Vancouver-based miner has a market cap of C$1.5 billion
  • Interest coming from Asia, Europe and Africa, Friedland says

Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. rose the most in a year after the Robert Friedland-founded mine developer said it would review its options following “unsolicited interest” from would-be buyers of the company and its projects.

Shares in the Vancouver-based company rose as much as 16 percent and was up 14 percent at 11:50 a.m. in Toronto, pushing up its a market value to C$1.5 billion ($1.1 billion). The stock led gains on the S&P/TSX Global Mining Index.

Ivanhoe Mines expects to hire an investment bank to explore all strategic options, as its Kakula copper discovery in the Democratic Republic of the Congo helps spur interest in the company, it said in a statement Monday.

“We have received a number of unsolicited inquiries from significant mining industry participants in Asia, Europe, Africa and elsewhere,” Executive Chairman Friedland said. “In response, our board has taken the prudent decision to seek strategic advice."

Earlier this month, the company described Kakula, in the southern portion of Ivanhoe’s Kamoa project, as potentially the most significant discovery of the metal in Africa. Ivanhoe sold a 49.5 percent stake in Kamoa to Zijin Mining Group Co.

The company, previously known as Ivanplats Ltd., has other projects in the DRC as well as the Platreef platinum-palladium-gold-nickel-copper discovery in South Africa.

Ivanhoe Mines was the name of another mining company, also founded by Friedland, that Rio Tinto Group gained control of in 2012. That company, which owns a controlling stake in the giant Oyu Tolgoi copper-and-gold mine in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert, is now known as Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd.