Metals & Mining News

Ivanhoe Mines taking ‘hard look’ at U.S. projects

FILE PHOTO: Founder, Executive Co-Chairman Ivanhoe Mines, Robert Friedland speaks during the CRU’s World Copper Conference in Santiago, Chile April 9, 2019. REUTERS/Rodrigo Garrido

TORONTO (Reuters) – Canadian exploration company Ivanhoe Mines is taking a “hard look” at projects in the United States amid a rush for green metals, Executive Co-Chairman Robert Friedland said on Monday.

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has indicated support boosting domestic production of metals used to make electric vehicles, solar panels and other products crucial to his climate plan.

“We’ve been taking a hard look at projects in those states in the United States where we think we can get a social license to mine,” Friedland said in a pre-recorded address at a virtual conference hosted by the Canada-based Association of Mineral Exploration. He did not name specific projects or states.

Ivanhoe owns 39.6% of the Kamoa-Kakula project in Congo’s copper belt as well as a 64% interest in the Platreef palladium, platinum, nickel, copper, rhodium and gold project in South Africa through its subsidiary Ivanplats.

The U.S. remains under-explored because previous administrations have considered mining a “toxic” industry, Friedland said.

“But now even Joe Biden has said he will support the mining of copper in the United States because they know they need it,” he said.

Last week, U.S. President Donald Trump’s outgoing administration approved a land swap that would clear the way for a Rio Tinto Ltd copper mine in Arizona.

The Resolution copper mine would boost domestic production of the red metal but is opposed by environmentalists who fear the mine could pollute local water supplies and Native Americans who consider the land home to religious deities.

Last year, the U.S. government denied a key permit for the Pebble copper-gold mine in Alaska, a decision the proponent has said it will challenge.

Reporting by Jeff Lewis; editing by Diane Craft

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