(Refiles to fix spelling of well-known in fourth paragraph)
* Retains Citi, Hatch to evaluate strategic options
* No specific transaction is being considered at this time
* Shares rise 4.7 percent in early trade (Adds background, chairman's comment)
TORONTO, Jan 6 - Ivanhoe Mines (IVN.TO) may sell shares or debt, sell off a subsidiary or look at other options as it continues to develop its huge gold and copper mine in Mongolia, the company said on Wednesday.
Ivanhoe, which owns the Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold project in southern Mongolia, said it had hired Citi investment bank and mining-sector specialist Hatch Corporate Finance to investigate options, although it said no specific transaction was being considered at this time.
With the excellent progress that now is being made on moving the Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold project toward production, and with the strong performance of our SouthGobi Energy coal subsidiary in Mongolia ... This is the right time to explore options, said Executive Chairman Robert Friedland in a statement.
Friedland rose to fame with a huge nickel discovery in Canada's Labrador that he later sold off to Canada's Inco for C$4.3 billion, and he is one of the mining industry's most well-known names.
In 2006 he persuaded mining giant Rio Tinto (RIO.AX) (RIO.L) to take a minority stake in Ivanhoe and help fund the Oyu Tolgoi project. The initial open-pit phase of the project is expected to cost $3.5 billion. [ID:nN07155420]
Ivanhoe also owns a 80 percent stake in coal miner SouthGobi Energy (SGQ.TO), which plans to raise about $400 million from a Hong Kong initial public offering this month. [ID:nTOE60305R] [ID:nN07164071]
Ivanhoe, Rio and Mongolia wrapped up a long-awaited investment agreement on Oyu Tolgoi in October, giving the Mongolian government a 34-percent stake in the project.
Oyu Tolgoi is seen as one of the world's largest untapped copper and gold deposits. It and lies in the Gobi Desert, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the border with copper-hungry China.
Shares of Ivanhoe rose 4.7 percent to C$17.50 in morning trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Euan Rocha; editing by Janet Guttsman)