From 1976 to 1982 Mr. Dattels was in house counsel and a senior executive at Venturetek International Limited, a Toronto based Venture Capital Company. Venturetek invested in a diverse number of businesses including technology and consumer products.
In late 1982 he joined Barrick Gold Corporation and was one of the key executives during its formative years, where he was involved in the Company’s growth from a capital base of $10 million to a market capitalisation of over $2 billion when he left in early 1987. During his time at Barrick, he was a Director and Executive Vice President of Corporate Finance. His responsibilities included the completion of acquisitions as well as debt and equity funding for such acquisitions. In addition, he managed Investor Relations for Barrick.
In 1987 Mr. Dattels formed International Pursuit Corporation, a mining development/exploration company. He resigned as a director in 2002 when the company amalgamated with Apollo Gold Corporation. International Pursuit was an active investor in mining projects in SE Asia and Canadian oil & gas.
In 1993 Mr. Dattels financed and was Chairman of International Gold Resources Corporation, which he developed from an exploration & development stage company to its eventual sale in 1996 to Ashanti Goldfields Company Limited for approximately C$130 million. It’s principal asset was the Bibiani Mine in Ghana. The Bibiani Mine went on to become an important gold producer for Ashanti. During this time he also financed a number of junior exploration companies actively involved in exploration in Indonesia and Mongolia.
From late 1999 when he moved to the UK, he has completed several financings, either directly or through Regent Mercantile Bancorp Inc., for:
- Apollo Gold Corporation
- Royal Standard Minerals Inc.
- Guyana Goldfields Inc.
- European Minerals Corporation
- Defiance Mining Corporation (merged with Rio Narcea Gold Mines Ltd., which in turn was merged with Lundin Mining Corp.)
- Weda Bay Minerals Inc. (sold to Eramet SA)
- Apac Minerals Inc. (which became Golden China Resources Corporation which in turn merged with Sino Gold Mining Limited)
- African Gold Corporation (now Mwana Africa PLC)
- Red Dragon Resources (now Brazilian Gold Corporation)
In 2000 he founded and became the Chairman of Finelot PLC, listed on AIM, which was readmitted as Caledon Resources PLC a Chinese gold explorer. Subsequent to the sale of its Chinese assets Caledon acquired the Cook Mine and became an Australian coal producer. Caledon was sold to Guandong Rising (Australia) Pty Ltd in 2011 for an all cash consideration of £313mm.
Later he co-founded two further AIM quoted companies with the successful Russian mining entrepreneur Dr. Sergey Kurzin, Oriel Resources PLC, a developer of nickel and chrome assets in Kazakhstan which was subsequently sold to the Mechel Steel Group for approximately $1.5 Billion and Everfor Diamonds PLC, a Kola Peninsula diamond explorer.
In 2005 he founded UraMin Inc., which acquired and developed uranium assets in Africa. UraMin owned exploration and development uranium properties in Namibia, the Central African Republic and South Africa. The Company was sold in August 2007 to Areva, the French Government-owned, fully integrated uranium producer, marketer and processor of uranium and nuclear reactor supplier, for cash consideration of approximately $2.5 billion.
In 2007, Mr. Dattels founded an AIM listed investment company called Polo Resources Limited. He sold control of Polo in the spring of 2013 to Mettiz Capital, a Malaysian resource investor and resigned from the Board in the summer of 2013. Polo is a natural resource investment company focused on investing in undervalued resource companies and projects with strong fundamentals and attractive growth prospects.
One of such projects was the acquisition of an approximate 10% interest in the shares of Extract Resources Ltd and as a result of Polo’s ownership Mr. Dattels joined the Board of Extract retiring once Polo decided to sell its shares in Extract. The sale of Polo’s stake was completed in July 2010 with the sale of 25.55 million shares to Itochu Corporation for cash consideration of A$157.9mm, a substantial profit to Polo. At the time, Extract owned one of the world’s largest uranium deposits, Rossing South in Namibia which was subsequently sold to China Nuclear Power Holding Corp. and the China-African Development Fund for $2.2B.
Polo also has a successful record of investing other companies in the uranium sector including
- Berkeley Resources Limited
- Impact Minerals Limited
- A-Cap Resources Limited
- Marenica Energy Limited
In aggregate the uranium investments sold generated over 70% cash on cash returns for Polo.
Polo made an investment in Caledon Resources PLC in 2008 and became its largest shareholder owning approximately 29%. Caledon was at the time a coking coal producer and explorer in the Bowen Basin of Queensland, Australia. It acquired the mothballed Cook Mine in late 2006 and re-commissioned the operation and introduced an innovative new underground mining methodology. The Company also purchased the nearby Minyango exploration concessions in 2006 and conducted a number of drilling programs in preparation for a feasibility study.
Polo’s controlling interest in Caledon Resources PLC was sold at a profit to China’s Guandong (Australia) Pty Ltd generating gross proceeds of approximately £100mm.
As a result of these successful investments Polo has made substantial dividend distributions to its shareholders of approximately $185mm in 2010 and 2011 providing high rates of return to its shareholders.
In 2007 Mr. Dattels also co-founded AIM listed Emerging Metals Limited, of which he was Chief Executive and Executive Co-Chairman. Emerging Metals Limited was a significant investor in Kalahari Minerals Limited which stake was sold to Itochu Corporation in March 2010 for £33 million and following the sale a dividend of £ 25.3 million was paid out to its shareholders.
In the fall of 2011 Emerging Metals acquired iron ore interests in Sierra Leone and Cameroon and in January 2012 changed its name to West African Minerals Corporation. West African Minerals Corporation is currently an AIM listed iron ore explorer with exploration and development assets in Cameroon, where it has an exploration license on 6,000 square kilometers of exploration ground.
In 2015, he founded and became co-chairman of AIM listed Fast Forward Innovations Limited, a company which invests in visionary entrepreneurs developing innovative technologies focussed on early stage investments.