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Robert Friedland is back. The legendary mining promoter has launched a long-awaited initial public offering for Ivanplats Ltd., which controls massive mineral deposits in South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The IPO is expected to raise hundreds of millions of dollars, sources said, and could be the largest on the Toronto Stock Exchange this year.
The single largest Canadian IPO of the year is Sunshine Oilsands Ltd. (at $575-million), but that offering was in Hong Kong. The largest TSX IPO was Argent Energy Trust, which raised $244-million. Ivanplats will likely be bigger.
Previous media reports suggested Mr. Friedland wanted to raise as much as $1-billion with this deal. However, sources said expectations are much lower than that, given turbulent market conditions and high risk aversion among investors right now.
The offering marks a return to the TSX for Mr. Friedland, who disappeared five months ago when he resigned from Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. (later re-named Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd.). He left Ivanhoe after Rio Tinto Ltd. took majority control of the company and its flagship project, the Oyu Tolgoi mine in Mongolia.
Ivanplats has existed as a private entity since 1994, and sources said it has many high-profile investors. The company has three key assets: the Platreef platinum deposit in South Africa, and the Kamoa and Kipushi projects in the DRC.
Platreef has received a major investment from the Japanese conglomerate Itochu Corp., which paid US$290-million for a 10% stake.
Ivanplats sees Kamoa as the flagship project. It has 9.2 million tonnes of copper in measured and indicated resources, and another 12.5 million tonnes of inferred resources, according to the preliminary prospectus for the IPO.
On paper, the US$2-billion project is one of the most attractive copper assets in the world. However, it is in the DRC, an extremely high-risk jurisdiction, and it remains to be seen if investors will pay up for exposure to that part of the world.
For the rest of this article, please go to the National Post website: http://business.financialpost.com/2012/09/11/robert-friedland-returns-with-ivanplats-ipo/