UPDATE 1-Ivanhoe taps banks to review Democratic Republic of Congo projects

Mon Aug 18, 2014 8:50am EDT

(Adds background on Ivanhoe, DRC projects.)

TORONTO Aug 18 (Reuters) - Ivanhoe Mines has retained BMO Capital Markets Ltd and Morgan Stanley & Co as financial advisers to conduct a strategic review of its Kamoa and Kipushi copper projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Vancouver, British Columbia-based Ivanhoe, headed by mining financier Robert Friedland, said on Monday that the strategic review would initially focus on the potential introduction of third-party strategic investors or joint-venture parties for the Kamoa and Kipushi projects.

Ivanhoe said it would continue to examine other options like a corporate reorganization and a project spin-off.

"The announcement is not unexpected and formalizes a process that has been ongoing for some time," said RBC Capital Markets analyst Fraser Phillips in a note to clients.

Kamoa, in the southern province of Katanga, is a proposed underground mine, with an estimated 43.5 billion pounds of indicated copper resources.

Kipushi, in the same region, is an underground copper, zinc and lead mine that was idled in 1993. Ivanhoe acquired the flooded mine in 2011 and has been removing water from the facility and exploring underground.

Friedland made his name in 1996 by selling Voisey's Bay, then an undeveloped nickel-copper project in Canada, for C$4.3 billion ($4.0 billion). His last company, also called Ivanhoe, sold the majority of the massive Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine in Mongolia to global miner Rio Tinto .

The new Ivanhoe is also developing a platinum project in South Africa called Platreef. A preliminary economic assessment released in March estimated that it would take about $1.7 billion in capital to bring the large, mechanized mine into production.

($1 = $1.09 Canadian) (Reporting by Euan Rocha and Allison Martell; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Alden Bentley)