By Brett Foley
June 3 (Bloomberg) -- Ivanhoe Mines Ltd., the developer of the Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine in Mongolia, is still talking with the government to secure an investment agreement, the company's founder said.
``The prime minister has vowed to conclude our agreement as soon as possible,'' Chairman Robert Friedland said in a presentation at the World Mining Investment Congress today in London. The first shaft at Oyu Tolgoi has been sunk and the second is under construction, Friedland said.
Oyu Tolgoi is owned by Canada's Ivanhoe. Rio Tinto Group, the world's third-largest mining company, agreed in 2006 to buy 10 percent of the company and may raise its stake by converting a credit line provided to develop the mine. The project is about 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of Mongolia's border with China.
The deposit's current estimated metal content is ``a tiny fraction of what is actually there,'' Friedland said. In March, Ivanhoe raised the estimated resource to 78.9 billion pounds of measured, indicated and inferred copper and 45.2 million ounces of gold.
Ivanhoe dropped 9 cents, or 1 percent, to C$9.30 at 4:27 p.m. in Toronto Stock Exchange trading, bringing this year's decline to 14 percent.