Canada's Ivanhoe Mines to hire strategic adviser after unsolicited interest

Shares in Ivanhoe Mines (TSX: IVN) were soaring Monday morning after the Canadian miner revealed it would seek “strategic advice” after receiving “unsolicited interest” in the company and its projects.

Mining veteran Robert Friedland, the Vancouver-based miner chief executive, said the firm would likely hire an investment bank to advise the board on all strategic options for Ivanhoe.

The company stock was trading more than 10% higher from Friday close at Cdn$1.84 at 10:07 am ET. So far this year, the miner’s shares have jumped 197%.

Ivanhoe’s Kamoa project in the DRC is believed to be the world's largest undeveloped high-grade copper deposit.

The announcement comes only days after the company released fresh drilling results from the Kakula area of its giant Kamoa copper project in Congo, which Ivanhoe said at the time it could prove the discovery is Africa's most significant deposit of the red metal ever found.

“The mining industry has taken notice of our company,” Friedland said in the news release. “Our remarkable Kakula Discovery on the Central African Copperbelt certainly is helping to generate attention,” he noted.

The Kakula discovery represents a major extension of the Kamoa copper deposit, which Ivanhoe Mines found in 2008.

According to Friedland, the firm has received several “unsolicited inquiries” from “significant mining industry participants” in Asia, Europe, Africa and elsewhere. However, he didn't provide names or further details on the matter.

“In response, our board has taken the prudent decision to seek strategic advice,” said Friedland, who is well-known in the industry as he was responsible for the discovery and development of the massive Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine in Mongolia before Rio Tinto’s (ASX, LON:RIO) acquisition.

Ivanhoe Mines, which has a market value of $1 billion (Cdn$1.42 billion) in Toronto as of Monday morning, owns three major projects in sub-Saharan Africa: the Platreef platinum-palladium-gold-nickel-copper discovery in South Africa; upgrading and exploration at the Kipushi zinc-copper-lead-germanium mine in Congo; and the touted mine development and exploration Kamoa copper project, also in the DRC.