JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Two weeks after having named Kay Priestly as acting CEO, Ivanhoe Mines, building the $6.2-billion Oyu Tolgoi copper/gold project in Mongolia, late on Tuesday cemented the former Rio Tinto executive’s role as a permanent one.
Toronto- and New York-listed Ivanhoe also appointed Chris Bateman, previously finance head of the diversified major’s diamond and minerals business, as CFO.
In mid-April, CEO and founder of the company Robert Friedland stepped down, following Rio Tinto’s January move to lift is ownership of the company to a majority 51%, and a financing deal that will see the giant Oyu Tolgoi project through to completion of its first phase development.
That included support for a project-finance package of $3-billion to $4-billion being negotiated with multinational financial institutions and banks, as well as immediate bridging finance of up to $1.5-billion to ensure construction, 79% complete by end-March, continues.
On the same day, Ivanhoe and Rio Tinto agreed to a $1.8-billion rights offering, with the mining giant committing to take up any rights other shareholders do not.
The announcement was accompanied by news that Friedland, together with six other directors and four members of senior management, had resigned, to be replaced with a 13-member reduced board.
Ivanhoe head of finance Catherine Barone, who Bateman now replaces, had been acting CFO.
Rio Tinto took control of Ivanhoe after a bitter dispute with Friedland, which ended up in an arbitration process that the Anglo-Australian miner won.