In the latest move to try and gain an advantage in how the very exciting Rossing South uranium deposit in Namibia will proceed, AIM listed Polo Resources, which holds 9.1% of Extract Resources - the controlling company for the Rossing South deposit - has asked for an Extraordinary General Meeting to elect its Executive Chairman, London-based Canadian lawyer, Stephen Dattels, to the Extract board of directors.
There are three major players in the battle for control of Extract. First and foremost, Kalahari Minerals owns 39.6% of Extract, but in turn Rio Tinto, which has the huge Rossing Uranium mine, one of the world's largest, located just to the north of Extract's land holdings, owns 15.8% percent of Kalahari Minerals and a further 15.3% of Extract directly. The second major player is, of course Polo with the aforementioned 9.1%, while Dattels himself owns 0.9%.
The recent Polo and Dattels purchases of Extract stock are of particular interest as Dattels has an impressive track record in Namibian uranium development. He was founder and executive deputy chairman of UraMin which was picked up by French nuclear giant Areva for a cool $2.5 billion primarily for its Trekkopje uranium project. Dattels is reputed to have made $100 million personally from the transaction.
Extract's Rossing South deposits are part of its huge Husab land position, which also has other significant uranium discoveries on it. In January this year, Extract annaounced an initial resource estimate, following JORC Code and Canadian NI 43-101 guidelines of 108 million pounds U3O8 at a grade of 430ppm. This estimate is only in Zone 1 of what Extract calls the Rossing South deposit. A second zone a short distance away is also estimated to contain over 100 million pounds U3O8 and the next resource announcement due later this year is expected to be considerably larger as drilling continues to define the resource.
Rossing South is thus turning out to be one of Namibia's biggest uranium deposits to date - and there are a number of other highly promising ones in the African nation as well see: Namibia: uranium's new haven. Hot sector, hot stories. But of particular interest to investors is the way the battle for control will pan out. Dattels says, in a statement published today Polo is committed to seeing the development of the Rossing South Deposit owned by Extract as a stand-alone operation. Work undertaken by Polo's technical advisor on a conceptual plan for the Rossing South Deposit, based on publicly available information, indicates that production is feasible as early as Q4 2011. This may be achievable as a 100% heap leaching operation, depending on the scheduling and results of feasibility work being undertaken by Extract.Given the project's relative accessibility, it is possible that matters could move ahead this fast, but it is perhaps doubtful it will. Rio Tinto is also obviously keen to get its hands on the project and integrate operations with its existing Rossing operation, but it has other financing problems at present and may wish to delay any definitive moves on Rossing South until it is in a better financial position.In this respect Dattels' current play is an opportune one - and may force Rio's hand - and leave Dattels himself with yet another big Namibian uranium payout.