The company made the arrangement with investment banks evaluate "strategic alternatives"
Canadian company Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. are likely to sell almost half of its stake of $1 billion, in one of the biggest undeveloped copper and gold finds in the world.
The company made the arrangement with investment banks CIBC World Markets and Citigroup Global Markets to evaluate "strategic alternatives" for the Oyu Tolgoi project located in Mongolia's south Gobi desert, Ivanhoe chairman Robert Friedland said.
He said several international miners expressed their interest in Ivanhoe about its 100 percent-owned asset, also known as Turquoise Hill. Ivanhoe stock closed up 8 percent, or 68 Canadian cents, at C$9.28 after the long-awaited announcement.
The size of the Oyu Tolgoi find and Friedland's reputation have stoked debate about the development of the field into a mine.
"We believe a full bid for Ivanhoe is less likely given the potential size of the transaction, and Robert Friedland's track record in asset sale negotiations," UBS analyst Tony Lesiak said in a well-timed note to clients last week.
Lesiak forecast that the most likely deal would be the sale of 50 percent of Oyu Tolgoi for between $900 million and $1.3 billion. The transaction would include an entry for the buyer into Ivanhoe's large exploration portfolio in Mongolia.