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The antrance of Ivanhoe Mines' Oyu Tolgoi mine site in Khanbogd village, Umnugobi province, Mongolia. Mongolia's government wants a bigger stake in the massive gold and copper mine it is developing in conjunction with mining companies Rio Tinto and Ivanhoe. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Ganbat Namjilsangarav

Ganbat Namjilsangarav/AP

Ivanhoe Energy Inc. reduced its fourth-quarter loss to $5.9-million, a 70-per-cent decline from the year-earlier period, as the heavy oil exploration and development company cut its capital spending substantially.

The loss was the equivalent of 2 cents per share, down from $19.4-million, or 6 cents per share, in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Its revenue improved to $9.1-million from $6.2-million.

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But a bigger impact on Ivanhoe Energy's bottom line was reduced capital spending, which fell to just under $3-million in the three months ended Dec. 31 from just over $17-million a year earlier.

Ivanhoe's core operations are in Canada, United States, Ecuador, China and Mongolia. It's also developing a proprietary upgrading process for heavy oil.

For the full year, Ivanhoe posted a net loss of $25.2-million, or 7 cents per share, with $37.4-million of revenue. Capital spending for 2011 was $51.1-million.

In 2010, Ivanhoe's loss was slightly higher at $26.6-million, or 8 cents per share, and revenue was substantially lower at $21.7-million. Capital spending in 2010 was also considerably higher at just under $71-million.

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