Canada has a new stock-market crush. Ivanhoe Mines Ltd., the Vancouver-based company founded by Robert Friedland, is the best-performing stock on the S&P/TSX Composite Index in the past six months as expectations build over its African copper project.
While Teck Resources Ltd. still rules the index over a year with a 514 percent gain versus Ivanhoe’s 497 percent, Ivanhoe’s stock has been on a tear since summer. That’s when the company began describing the Kakula deposit, which is in the southern portion of the company’s Kamoa project in the Democratic Republic of Congo, as “Africa’s most significant copper discovery.”
Drill results, including those released Jan. 23 that expand the length of the deposit by 40 percent, “leave me speechless,” Friedland, one of the world’s best-known mine developers and Ivanhoe’s largest shareholder, said in a statement. Ivanhoe fell 2.4 percent to C$4.07 at 9:58 a.m. on Monday, giving the company a market value of C$3.21 billion ($2.44 billion).
The deposit is in the southern portion of the company’s Kamoa project and, combined with Kakula, was estimated in October to hold 58.9 billion pounds of copper. New estimates for Kakula’s 14.6 billion pound share of that are being fast-tracked in light of the new drill results, the company said in this week’s statement.
Ivanhoe Mines is the second company to bear that name founded by Friedland; the first was built around the massive Oyu Tolgoi copper-and-gold mine discovered in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert in 2001.
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