Stephen Dattels' Polo Resources is busy expanding its interests in southern African uranium explorers, taking significant stakes in Impact Minerals and West Australian Metals.
Author: Lawrence Williams
Posted: Friday , 05 Jun 2009
We recently reported here the moves being made by Stephen Dattels, and some of the companies with which he is associated, stake building in exciting Namibian uranium developer, Extract Resources (see Dattels hitting Rossing South uranium play on five fronts). But Extract is not Dattels' only foray into southern African uranium projects as he, and associated company Polo Resources, are busy tying down stakes in other significant uranium prospects in the region. With other companies in the Dattels stable also capable of stakebuilding in the sector, one does get the impression that Dattels himself, who made a fortune selling UraMin to Areva at the height of the uranium price boom in 2007, does have a certain confidence in the future of the uranium market!
The latest two uranium sector investments in this pattern to emerge are in Australian headquartered companies Impact Minerals (ASX:IPT) and West Australian Metals (ASX:WME), both of which have significant uranium exploration projects in the region - the former in Botswana and the latter in Namibia - both considered good countries to work in from a mining friendly and political risk standpoint.
In an announcement this morning, Impact noted that it is placing 18,668,326 new shares at an issue price of 16.07 cents per share, raising $3 million, to Polo Resources (AIM:PRL) bringing Impact's cash reserves to $4.3 million. Polo will hold a 19.9% equity interest in Impact following the completion of the placement.
Impact goes on to throw further light on the depth of Polo's interests in the sector saying that its primary focus is investment in, or acquisition and development of, advanced stage uranium mining projects and that it currently has an investment portfolio of uranium and coal interests, and 50% of a joint venture with Peabody Energy Corporation, formed to hold all of Polo's coal and uranium assets in Mongolia.
During 2009, Polo has so far acquired an 8.93% interest in Berkeley Resources, a leading uranium explorer doing feasibility work on the Salamanca deposit in Spain; a 9.08% interest in Extract Resources, operator of the Rossing South project in Namibia; and has also entered into a Subscription Agreement to acquire up to a 19.9% interest in A-Cap Resources, currently undertaking feasibility work on the Letlhakane uranium project in Botswana.
Impact also noted that Polo's Executive Chairman, Stephen R Dattels, and MD, Neil Herbert, were both UraMin directors who negotiated the sale of UraMin to Areva in July 2007 for US$2.5 billion. The flagship deposit of the UraMin assets was the world class Trekkopje calcrete-hosted uranium deposit in Namibia.
Impact owns 100% of its Botswana Uranium Project which comprises about 25,000 sq km of Prospecting Licences that cover about 350 km of the strike extensions of rocks that host uranium deposits near the town of Serule. Here A-Cap Resources has its Letlhakane uranium project comprising three deposits hosted by near-surface calcrete and by Karoo Group sedimentary rocks. A-Cap has reported an inferred resource of 98 million lbs uranium oxide at an average grade 158 ppm at a cut-off grade of 100 ppm.
Meanwhile, yesterday, West Australian Metals announced that it has secured Polo as a ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€ Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬ ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€ Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¬ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â¦Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¬ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€ Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¹ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“cornerstone investor' in a previously announced $9.9 million share placement. Polo is to take up 49.56 million shares (and attaching options) under the placement, which will involve the issue of a total of 82.6 million shares at an issue price of $0.12 each. The balance of the placement is to be subscribed for by institutional or sophisticated investors. Upon completion of the placement Polo will own approximately 11.95% of the shares on issue.
And - among the ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€ Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬ ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€ Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¢ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¬ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â¦Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¬ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€ Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¹ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“sophisticated investors' are four of Polo's directors: Stephen Dattels, Neil Herbert and Paul Ingram subscribed for 2.25 million shares while Guy Elliott subscribed for 1 million shares.
In a statement on this transaction, Neil Herbert said "We are very pleased to announce the further expansion of our uranium interests with this significant investment in WME. We are particularly excited by the potential of the Marenica Project which we see as a considerable value driver for shareholders ... The Marenica project lies within the same uranium province as the Rossing and Langer Heinrich uranium mines and immediately north of the Trekkopje mine, which is currently being developed by Areva."
While Canada, Kazakhstan and Australia are currently seen as the world's largest uranium producers and as having the biggest reserves, southern Africa - including Namibia, Botswana and South Africa - look like in combination as likely to challenge the pre-eminence of the current top uranium miners. One gets the impression that the explorers have only scratched the surface of this region so far, but maybe too many new miners coming on stream over the next decade could lead to a glut in the market.