August 29, 2016 / 4:06 PM / in 2 years

UPDATE 1-Canada's Ivanhoe Mines gets unsolicited interest, to hire bankers

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Aug 29 (Reuters) - Canadian copper miner Ivanhoe Mines Ltd said on Monday that companies from Asia, Europe, Africa and elsewhere had expressed interest in the company and its projects in recent months.

The Vancouver-based company’s shares rose as much as 15.6 percent to C$1.93 in morning trading, the rise was the stock’s biggest intraday percentage gain in nearly a year.

Ivanhoe Mines said it would hire an investment bank to seek advice on the unsolicited interest and to advise its board on all available alternatives.

The miner, which had a market value of about C$1.30 billion (nearly $1 billion) as of Friday’s close, did not name the companies or provide any other details on the expressions of interest.

Ivanhoe Mines said it is giving investors and banking analysts tours of its projects, including of the Kakula discovery - a high-grade copper discovery in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Kakula discovery is part of Ivanhoe’s Kamoa copper project, which is thought to be the world’s largest untouched high-grade copper discovery.

Ivanhoe Mines said in October it expects production at the Kamoa project to begin by the end of 2018.

The company’s other projects include the Platreef palladium-gold-nickel-copper discovery on the Northern Limb of South Africa’s Bushveld Complex and the Kipushi project, which is a high-grade zinc-copper-lead-germanium mine in Democratic Republic of Congo.

Ivanhoe has been running a sale process for its interest in Kipushi to fund Platreef and Kamoa, RBC Capital Markets analyst Phillips Fraser said. ($1 = C$1.3019) (Reporting by Anet Josline Pinto in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza and Shounak Dasgupta)

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