Ivanhoe Electric refutes Ma’aden share sale claims

Crew working at the Al Amar belt, Saudi Arabia. (Image courtesy of Ivanhoe Electric and Ma’aden.)

Ivanhoe Electric (NYSE America, TSX: IE) addressed on Thursday what it said are misleading media headlines claiming that its joint venture partner, Saudi Arabian miner Ma’aden, planned to sell its shares in the company.

Billionaire Robert Friedland’s firm said that Ma’aden, its 50/50 partner in the search for energy transition metals in the Middle East since 2023, has no present intention to sell any shares of Ivanhoe Electric common stock.

Speculation was triggered by a “registration statement” filed by the US-based company on June 7. This document, providing qualitative and quantitative information to investors must be sent to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in order to issue new shares or to publicly offer securities.

Ivanhoe noted the document was filed in compliance with an obligation outlined in the Investor Rights Agreements (IRA) between the company and Ma’aden. This was done when the Gulf’s largest miner first invested in Ivanhoe Electric, gaining a 9.9% stake in the firm.

The companies embarked in 2023 on the largest exploration program ever conducted in Saudi Arabia, using Ivanhoe Electric’s Typhoon geophysical surveying system. 

The technology uses electrical pulse-powered geophysical surveying transmitters, which can detect metals buried as deep as 1.5 kilometres underground. This makes it an ideal tool for surveying many parts of Saudi Arabia, where the bedrock is hidden by a sand and gravel cover that can exceed 1 km in depth, according to Ivanhoe Electric.

Friedland made his fortune from the Voisey’s Bay nickel project in Canada in the 1990s. Since then, he has been involved in some of the biggest mineral discoveries in the world, including the giant Oyu Tolgoi copper mine in Mongolia and the Kamoa-Kakula copper mine in Democratic Republic of Congo.

Forbes estimates Friedland’s holdings are worth $3.2 billion as of June 2024.