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File photo of the Oyu Tolgoi mine in the South Gobi desert in Mongolia.


Ivanhoe Mines says it has appointed former senior executives from majority shareholder and mining giant Rio Tinto as chief executive officer and chief financial officer.

The Vancouver-based miner said late Tuesday that Kay Priestly will take over the CEO role and Chris Bateman will become CFO.

The management changes were part of an agreement signed with Rio Tinto , which holds a 51-per-cent stake in Ivanhoe, last month that also included a $3.3-billion (U.S.) financing package.

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The financing is meant to cover Ivanhoe's total funding to complete the development of the Oyu Tolgoi project. But the deal also meant Ivanhoe chief executive officer Robert Friedland would step away from the company he founded.

In addition to Mr. Friedland, Ivanhoe's chief financial officer and several other senior executives also stepped down.

"On behalf of the Board, I would like to congratulate Kay and Chris on their appointments as CEO and CFO, respectively. This is an important point in Ivanhoe's history as Oyu Tolgoi prepares for its planned start-up later this year, transitioning from an exploration project to a world-class, tier one, copper-gold mine and one of Mongolia's largest mining operations," said interim chairman Michael Gordon.

The company, which owns two-thirds of the Oyu Tolgoi project, said the mine was nearly 78 per cent complete at the end of March. The project is expected to produce 1.2 billion pounds of copper and 650,000 ounces of gold per year in the first decade of operation.

Mr. Priestly was CFO at Rio Tinto's global copper product group and has served as a director of Ivanhoe Mines since February, 2011.

Mr. Bateman served as chief financial and business development officer of Rio Tinto's diamonds and minerals group since 2010.

Under the financing agreement, Rio Tinto will provide $1.5-billion in bridge financing to Ivanhoe and a standby commitment for a $1.8-billion rights offering by Ivanhoe.

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The funding is in addition to $1.8-billion in interim funding that was agreed in December 2010.

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