Ivanhoe mulls coal spin-off

IVANHOE Mines is reportedly considering a separate listing for its Mongolian coal assets to unlock value it says is currently not being realised.
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The Nariin Sukhait coal mine in Mongolia borders Ivanhoe Mines proposed project

Greg Tubby

The Canadian listed miner’s major focus is on its Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold project in Mongolia, which it expects to cost $US1.15 billion to develop and begin production in 2008.

The massive development is overshadowing the coal division, but Ivanhoe chairman Robert Friedland told Reuters in Beijing On Thursday that taking the assets public might “get a value that is more apparent to our shareholders”

Ivanhoe’s board was consulting its financial advisers about the possibility of a separate listing for the coal division and any move could happen within a year, the wire service reported.

Singapore-based Ivanhoe has previously said it hopes to kick-off a pre-feasibility study at its Nariin Sukhhait coal deposit in southern Mongolia, after last month announcing a 39% increase in the project’s measured and indicated resources.

United States consulting company Norwest Corporation estimates the South, East and West coal fields at the project contain 116 milion tonnes of measured and inferred resources, plus an additional inferred resource of around 42Mt.

If negotiations with the Mongolian Government are successful and the issue of a mining licence is timely, initial production from the Ivanhoe properties, located about 40km from the Chinese border, could start as early as the second half of 2006.

A shipping terminus for a newly constructed, 450-kilometre Chinese rail line is expected to be operational into the border area by the end of this year.

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