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ECR Minerals (ECR) – Result of AGM

LONDON: 23 April 2019 – The board of directors of ECR Minerals plc (the “Directors”) are pleased to announce that at the Company’s annual general meeting held today all resolutions were passed.

ABOUT ECR

ECR is a mineral exploration and development company. ECR’s wholly owned Australian subsidiary Mercator Gold Australia Pty Limited has 100% ownership of the Avoca, Bailieston, Creswick, Moormbool and Timor gold exploration licences in central Victoria, Australia and the Windidda Gold Project in the Yilgarn Region, Western Australia.

ECR has earned a 25% interest in the Danglay epithermal gold project, an advanced exploration project located in a prolific gold and copper mining district in the north of the Philippines. An NI43-101 technical report was completed in respect of the Danglay project in December 2015 and is available for download from ECR’s website.

ECR’s wholly owned Argentine subsidiary Ochre Mining has 100% ownership of the SLM gold project in La Rioja, Argentina. Exploration at SLM has focused on identifying small tonnage mesothermal gold deposits which may be suitable for relatively near-term production.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

ECR Minerals plc Tel: +44 (0)20 7929 1010
David Tang, Non-Executive Chairman
Craig Brown, Director & CEO

Email:

info@ecrminerals.com

Website: www.ecrminerals.com

WH Ireland Ltd Tel: +44 (0)161 832 2174
Nominated Adviser
Katy Mitchell/James Sinclair-Ford
SI Capital Ltd Tel: +44 (0)1483 413500
Broker
Nick Emerson

High Grade Gold Assays from Drilling at Blue Moon Prospect Victoria, Australia

ECR Minerals plc (LON:ECR), the precious metals exploration and development company, is pleased to announce the receipt of significant gold assays in relation to the reverse circulation (RC) drilling programme recently completed at the Blue Moon prospect, which is located within the Bailieston gold project area in the state of Victoria, Australia.

ECR’s wholly owned Australian subsidiary Mercator Gold Australia Pty Ltd (“MGA”) has 100% ownership of the Bailieston project.

Significant intersections from three of twelve RC holes drilled by MGA at Blue Moon are reported below. Assay results for the remaining nine holes are pending. A map showing the location of drill holes completed at Blue Moon by MGA may be viewed through the following link:

https://www.ecrminerals.com/images/BBM_As_2019.jpg

Readers are advised to review the Company’s announcement dated 28 January 2019 regarding the commencement of the Blue Moon drill programme, which can be viewed through the following link:

https://polaris.brighterir.com/public/ecr_minerals/news/rns/story/x2q8qzx

Readers are also advised to review the Company’s further progress update announcement dated 28 February 2019 which highlighted the presence of visible gold in drill cuttings from Blue Moon, which can be viewed through the following link:

https://polaris.brighterir.com/public/ecr_minerals/news/rns/story/w3og3dw

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Following the reporting of visible gold from hole number BBM007 (see 28 February 2019 announcement), assay results received for BBM007, BBM006 and BBM004 have shown both high grade intervals and significant widths of anomalous gold grades;
  • Significant intersections are reported in Table A below and include 2 metres @ 17.87 g/t gold from 57 metres down hole in BBM007 within a zone of 15 metres at 3.81 g/t gold from 51 metres;
  • In addition, BBM006 returned 3m @ 3.88 g/t gold from 170 metres down hole within a zone of 11 metres @ 2.42 g/t gold from 169 metres;
  • These results from Blue Moon indicate that a high grade zone exists within the target sandstone host and further results and work will be required to understand any concentration of mineralisation within shoots.

Craig Brown, Chief Executive Officer of ECR Minerals commented: “These results quantify the field geologists’ assessment of visible gold at Blue Moon during drilling of BBM007 and provide great encouragement for the Company and the Bailieston gold project.

To achieve an intersection of 17.87g/t gold over 2 metres is notable. But also of significance is that this was part of an intersection of 15 metres at 3.81g/t gold from relatively shallow depth.

The Company awaits further results from drilling across Blue Moon, Creswick and Black Cat and will provide updates to the market as appropriate.”

Further information

MGA completed three diamond drill holes (BBM001-3) at the Blue Moon prospect in 2018. The results of this drilling were announced on 6 July 2018, and the relevant announcement can be viewed here:

https://polaris.brighterir.com/public/ecr_minerals/news/rns/story/xp0773w

As previously announced, gold mineralisation at Blue Moon is associated with sandstone plus dykes intruding the sandstone and adjacent to it.

MGA’s 2018 diamond drilling did not obtain fresh sample from beneath the oxide zone. The twelve reverse circulation (RC) holes completed recently (BBM004-15) aimed to intercept the sandstone on 50 metre spacing across three sections and to gain samples from beneath the oxide zone.

BBM004 & 6 intercepted the host sandstone beneath the oxide zone. Logging recorded estimates of up to 4% pyrite and 2% arsenopyrite with minor quartz. No visible gold was seen in these samples.

The base of the oxide zone was at 64 metres in BBM007 within the host sandstone. Visible gold was seen in three samples (3 metres @ 13.4 g/t gold from 57 to 60 metres). It is possible these are elevated gold values as a result of supergene enrichment close to the base of the oxide zone.

Table A

Significant intersections from Q1 2019 RC drilling at the Blue Moon gold prospect

EL5433, Victoria, Australia

NB: intersections reported are apparent width.

Hole ID From To Interval (m) Grade g/t gold
BBM007
51 66 15 3.81
Inc 55 66 11 5.13
Inc 55 61 6 8.32
Inc 57 59 2 17.87
BBM006 169 180 11 2.42
Inc 170 173 3 3.88
Inc 176 180 4 2.21
& 199 203 4 1.19
BBM004 85 101 16 0.28
Inc 85 86 1 2.15
& 90 91 1 1.02

Table 2: Hole details

HoleID Easting Northing

Elevation

Zone

Hole Depth

Dec AziMag
BBM004 326158 5922563 166 55 120 -80 179
BBM006 326158 5922569 166 55 210 -90 179
BBM007 326158 5922565 166 55 78 -61 179

COMPETENT PERSON STATEMENT

The information in this announcement that relates to Exploration Results is based on information compiled by Dr Rodney Boucher of Linex Pty Ltd. Linex Pty Ltd provides geological services to Mercator Gold Australia Pty Ltd, including the services of Dr Boucher, who has a PhD in geology, is a Member and RPGeo of the Australian Institute of Geoscientists and is a Member of the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy. Dr Boucher has sufficient experience that is relevant to the style of mineralisation and type of deposit under consideration and to the activity being undertaken to qualify as a Competent Person as defined in the 2012 Edition of the ‘Australasian Code for Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves’. Dr Boucher consents to the inclusion in the announcement of the material based on his information in the form and context in which it appears.

MARKET ABUSE REGULATIONS (EU) No. 596/2014

The information contained within this announcement is deemed by the Company to constitute inside information as stipulated under the Market Abuse Regulations (EU) No. 596/2014 (MAR). Upon the publication of this announcement via Regulatory Information Service (RIS), this inside information is now considered to be in the public domain.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

ECR Minerals plc Tel: +44 (0)20 7929 1010
David Tang, Non-Executive Chairman
Craig Brown, Director & CEO
Email:

info@ecrminerals.com

Website: www.ecrminerals.com
WH Ireland Ltd Tel: +44 (0)161 832 2174
Nominated Adviser
Katy Mitchell/James Sinclair-Ford
SI Capital Ltd Tel: +44 (0)1483 413500
Broker
Nick Emerson

ABOUT ECR MINERALS PLC

ECR is a mineral exploration and development company. ECR’s wholly owned Australian subsidiary Mercator Gold Australia Pty Ltd has 100% ownership of the Avoca, Bailieston, Creswick, Moormbool and Timor gold exploration licences in central Victoria, Australia and the Windidda gold project in the Yilgarn region, Western Australia.

ECR has earned a 25% interest in the Danglay epithermal gold project, an advanced exploration project located in a prolific gold and copper mining district in the north of the Philippines. An NI43-101 technical report was completed in respect of the Danglay project in December 2015 and is available for download from ECR’s website.

ECR’s wholly owned Argentine subsidiary Ochre Mining has 100% ownership of the SLM gold project in La Rioja, Argentina. Exploration at SLM has focused on identifying small tonnage mesothermal gold deposits which may be suitable for relatively near-term production.

Australia among top contributors to global mining deal value – Australian Mining

The global value of financial deals in the mining industry fell by almost 15 per cent in 2018 despite an overall increase in mergers and acquisitions, according to research from GlobalData.

Just over half (50.9 per cent) of the $US114 billion ($158.5 billion) value recorded for the year was the result of mergers and acquisitions.

GlobalData stated that the primary reason for the dip was a fall in capital raising through equity and debt offerings and a lower rate of acquisitions. Capital raising activities accounted for the remaining 49.1 per cent of value.

Out of 3000 mining deals in 2018, just five accounted for 15.8 per cent of global deal value. Each of these five deals were worth over $US2 billion each, with the largest being Tianqi Lithium’s acquisition of 23.77 per cent of Sociedad Química y Minera (SQM) for $US4.1 billion.

Despite the drop in global mining deal value, mining, energy and utilities were all cited as top contributors to a national mergers and acquisitions record in Australia last year, particularly in the mid-market sector (defined as deals between $10 million and $250 million in value).

Headline examples of mining merger and acquisition deals include OZ Minerals’ acquisition of Avanco ($418 million), South32’s acquisition of Arizona Mining ($1.8 billion) and Ausdrill’s acquisition of Barminco ($271.5 million).

The five largest countries in terms of deal value were China, Canada, Australia, the United States and Indonesia, which collectively accounted for 65.2 per cent ($US74.5 billion) of global mining deal value for the year.

ECR Minerals (ECR) – Strategic Financing and Business Update

ECR Minerals plc (LON:ECR) the precious metals exploration and development company is pleased to announce details of a strategic financing and business update for shareholders.

Highlights:

  • ECR Minerals has secured a strategic financing raising £680,000 through the issue of 97,142,857 new ordinary shares at 0.70p per share (“Financing Shares”);
  • Allowing for the existing cash at bank and the funds raised today, ECR has sufficient working capital against enhanced operational plans, until at least Q2 2020;
  • Each strategic financing share has a warrant attaching to subscribe for a further new ordinary share in ECR Minerals plc at a price of 1.125p within two years of the admission date of the above financing shares resulting in the issue of 97,142,857 1.125p warrants;
  • Should all warrants be converted this financing would generate in excess of £1.77m before expenses for the Company;
  • In addition, the directors of the Company (David Tang and Craig Brown) would like to subscribe a combined total of £20,000 in addition to the above on the same terms as the Placing, subject to the outcome of regulatory approval. A further announcement will be made if they proceed;
  • Should the 5 day volume weighted average share price (“VWAP”) of ECR exceed 5.0p (five pence) the Company will have the right to accelerate conversion of any outstanding warrants;
  • The additional funds raised will be primarily applied to expansion of Australian operations including:
    • Additional extensive exploration programmes at the Company’s gold projects in Victoria Region;
    • This will include 4,000 metres of reverse circulation drilling at Blue Moon, Creswick and Black Cat prospects and 1,400 metres of scout drilling at Avoca prospect;
    • Review and due diligence of new corporate acquisition or business development opportunities in strategic and precious metals in Victoria and elsewhere in Australia.
  • Further updates to the market will be provided in the near term regarding the above Australian operational activities. In addition, following a further positive board visit to Argentina just completed, the Company expects to provide an update on Argentinian activities and opportunities, early in the new year.

Craig Brown, Chief Executive Officer of ECR Minerals plc, commented: “I am pleased to announce this additional financing which adds to the money raised in July and considerably bolsters our balance sheet working capital at a key time for the ECR business.

Market conditions in the resource sector have been challenging in the latter half of 2018, for companies of our size and we believe the ability to source additional financing at this time is a validation of our business model and plans.

ECR is in a financially robust position and can now push ahead with exploration and development across the business. In this regard ECR has a portfolio of projects in Australia which have yielded highly positive exploration results during our 2018 work programmes and deserve a proactive exploration approach.

We believe our gold interests in Victoria region in Australia have been validated by the large licence application submitted by Newmont Mining Pty Limited adjacent to our Bailieston and Moormbool projects. Moreover work at our Creswick project has revealed, through exploration mapping, a large gold system with exciting potential.

We have added additional ground with complementary licence applications recently announced, and we have more opportunities for new licences and new corporate activity to further bolster our business. The extent of our new opportunity pipeline is such that we are taking time to carefully select the primary opportunities.

Notwithstanding challenging conditions of late and what we perceive to be a general retrenchment in activity across the resource sector due to funding limitations, shareholders in ECR can be assured that the Company is well financed and operationally active, and we look forward to updating shareholders in due course on our activities.”

FURTHER INFORMATION

STRATEGIC FINANCING

ECR has secured a strategic financing raising £680,000 through the issue of 97,142,857 new ordinary shares at a price of 0.70p per share to support proactive development of its existing interests and to enable the Company to engage with new opportunities, principally in respect of Australian gold and strategic metal exploration.

Each strategic financing share has a warrant attaching to subscribe for a further new ordinary share in ECR Minerals plc at a price of 1.125p within two years of the admission date of the above financing shares. Should the 5 day VWAP of ECR exceed 5p, the Company will have the right but not the obligation to accelerate the remaining warrants by issuing a 7 day notice of accelerated exercise to warrant holders. Any warrants not exercised after the 7 day notice period would lapse.

In addition, the directors of the Company (David Tang and Craig Brown) have indicated they would like to subscribe a combined total of £20,000 in the Placing, subject to regulatory confirmation. A further announcement will be made if they proceed.

ADMISSION OF STRATEGIC FINANCING SHARES AND TOTAL VOTING RIGHTS

Admission is expected to occur on or around 21 December 2018. Following Admission of the Financing Shares, ECR’s issued ordinary share capital will comprise 442,983,640 ordinary shares of 0.001 pence. This number will represent the total voting rights in the Company, and, following admission of both the placing and subscription shares, may be used by shareholders as the denominator for the calculation by which they can determine if they are required to notify their interest in, or a change to their interest in, the Company under the Financial Conduct Authority’s Disclosure and Transparency Rules. The new shares will rank pari passu in all respects with the ordinary shares of the Company currently traded on AIM.

COMPETENT PERSON STATEMENT

The information in this announcement that relates to Exploration Results is based on information compiled by Dr Rodney Boucher of Linex Pty Ltd. Linex Pty Ltd provides geological services to Mercator Gold Australia Pty Ltd, including the services of Dr Boucher, who has a PhD in geology, is a Member and RPGeo of the Australian Institute of Geoscientists and is a Member of the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy. Dr Boucher has sufficient experience that is relevant to the style of mineralisation and type of deposit under consideration and to the activity being undertaken to qualify as a Competent Person as defined in the 2012 Edition of the ‘Australasian Code for Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves’. Dr Boucher consents to the inclusion in the announcement of the material based on his information in the form and context in which it appears.

ABOUT ECR MINERALS PLC

ECR is a mineral exploration and development company. ECR’s wholly owned Australian subsidiary Mercator Gold Australia has 100% ownership of the Avoca, Bailieston, Creswick, Moormbool and Timor gold exploration licences in central Victoria, Australia.

ECR has earned a 25% interest in the Danglay epithermal gold project, an advanced exploration project located in a prolific gold and copper mining district in the north of the Philippines. An NI43-101 technical report was completed in respect of the Danglay project in December 2015 and is available for download from ECR’s website.

ECR’s wholly owned Argentine subsidiary Ochre Mining has 100% ownership of the SLM gold project in La Rioja, Argentina. Exploration at SLM has focused on identifying small tonnage mesothermal gold deposits which may be suitable for relatively near-term production.

MARKET ABUSE REGULATIONS (EU) No. 596/2014

The information contained within this announcement is deemed by the Company to constitute inside information as stipulated under the Market Abuse Regulations (EU) No. 596/2014 (MAR). Upon the publication of this announcement via Regulatory Information Service (RIS), this inside information is now considered to be in the public domain.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

ECR Minerals plc Tel: +44 (0)20 7929 1010
David Tang, Non-Executive Chairman
Craig Brown, Director & CEO

Email:

info@ecrminerals.com

Website: www.ecrminerals.com
WH Ireland Ltd Tel: +44 (0)161 832 2174
Nominated Adviser
Katy Mitchell/James Sinclair-Ford
SI Capital Ltd Tel: +44 (0)1483 413500
Broker
Nick Emerson

FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS

This announcement may include forward looking statements. Such statements may be subject to numerous known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results or events to differ materially from current expectations. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate and therefore actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward looking statements. Any forward-looking statements contained herein speak only as of the date hereof (unless stated otherwise) and, except as may be required by applicable laws or regulations (including the AIM Rules for Companies), the Company disclaims any obligation to update or modify such forward-looking statements because of new information, future events or for any other reason.

Gold Could Experience Mother-Of-All Short Covering – via Forbes

Article by Forbes

Gold is back under the spotlight because of the renewed appetite amidst traders. This is primarily because of the rising geopolitical tensions and worries over the slowing global economic growth. The gold price traded near a two-and-a-half-month peak last week and is at $1,227 at the time of writing. Year to date, the price is down nearly 5.18%.

At the start of the year, gold was trading near $1,350 and hit the highest point of $1,366 on January 25th, 2018. Not many in the street were expecting the Fed to be aggressive with their monetary policy. However, the strength in the economic data and the robust growth in the U.S. economy made the Fed to fine-tune their monetary policy. The hawkish stance towards their monetary policy pushed the dollar index higher and this triggered the sell-off in gold.

In other words, since January the price of gold has been out of luck and we have seen a clear downward trend. On August 16th, 2018, the yellow metal made a low of $1,160 but since then we have seen some serious changes in the price action because of the change in the underlying fundamentals. Anxieties around the trade war started to impact the sentiment and this triggered a profit warning by Wall Street analysts. On top of this, we also had the International Monetary Fund (IMF) coming out with a downward revision of the global economic growth. The bearish sentiment since then has picked up strength and many more hedge fund analysts have started to believe that there are more chances for a serious correction than a bull run.

On top of this, there are heightened geopolitical tensions between Saudi Arabia and the West due to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. This has put traders off from loading up major risk on bets in their portfolio. The situation is serious, and this has brought the special relation between Donald Trump and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman under the spotlight. These geopolitical tensions are further anchored when we look at the mess created by Theresa May over Brexit. These geopolitical tensions are further anchored when we look at the mess created by Theresa May over Brexit. Italian budget woes just add the cherry on top . Simply put, the geopolitical tensions have started to make investors seriously worried about their portfolios and if we factor in the growth concerns over in China, it becomes clear why speculators have started to scale back from their short positions.

The recent CFTC data showed that hedge funds have decided that it is about time for them to start scaling back from their short position. This sends a strong bullish signal for the metal. This capitulation factor could intensify even further, should the Fed have a change of heart about their hawkish monetary policy. After all, Donald Trump has criticised the Fed several times about hiking the interest rate so many times this year. It is important to emphasise that back in 2015, when speculators had net long positions, it triggered a 30% move in the gold price. A similar move would help the price move to $1,500.

ECR Minerals #ECR Argentina Progress Update

ARGENTINA PROGRESS UPDATE

ECR Minerals plc (LON:ECR) the precious metals exploration and development company is pleased to provide an update to shareholders following the visit by the Company to Argentina to discuss the status and plans in respect of the Company’s existing interests and also to consider potential new opportunities in Argentina that may complement existing interests.

The Company previously outlined the latest position in respect of Argentinian operations in its full year report released 29 March 2018. Then, despite having established a next stage exploration programme for the Sierra de las Minas (“SLM”) gold prospective licences, reflecting the need to conserve cash resources and to consider various corporate developments in the area of the Company’s operations, the Company decided to watch developments and conserve resources for a period.

During the visit to Argentina a full review of the SLM project licences was undertaken, including relevant liaison with the Ministry of Mining in La Rioja province. We are pleased with the outcome of this review and the opportunities we have identified for exploration of potentially high-grade gold mineralisation. With the Company’s enhanced financial strength we have now restarted our work and further information will follow with regard to the specific work programme we intend to implement.

Of particular interest during the Company’s visit we have identified additional licence areas that could complement the existing gold prospective ground and we will provide further updates in due course if there are any developments in this area.

Furthermore during a review of additional, non-gold focused projects, the Company has identified a number of completely new opportunities including a lithium and poly-metallic high impact exploration opportunity. Again, if these progress then we will provide further updates.

Craig Brown, Chief Executive Officer of ECR Minerals plc, commented: “Following the Company’s recent fundraise the business, as previously highlighted, is in a robust financial position. With our significant cash at bank and with core costs covered into late 2019 we have been able to look with fresh eyes at all the Company’s interests in order to advance existing projects and also seek new additional complementary opportunities.

Our main driving force of late has been Australian exploration and that will continue with the Board currently in Perth to review progress in our existing Victoria interests, to undertake due diligence in respect of the recently announced Iceberg gold project and to review a number of new and potential opportunities.

ECR has a long history of working in South America and particularly Argentina. We visited Argentina last week and held various meetings and discussions. Our engagement with the Department of Mining was particularly productive and we were highly encouraged by their professionalism and support for our investment in La Rioja province. In addition during our visit we were extremely pleased with the opportunities presented to expand our existing interests in gold and also lithium.

The Board have decided to become more proactive in Argentina and are now pursuing a number of initiatives upon which we will report to market if they were to progress. We look forward to updating shareholders on our progress in due course”.

COMPETENT PERSON STATEMENT

The information in this announcement that relates to Exploration Results is based on information compiled by Dr Rodney Boucher of Linex Pty Ltd. Linex Pty Ltd provides geological services to Mercator Gold Australia Pty Ltd, including the services of Dr Boucher, who has a PhD in geology, is a Member and RPGeo of the Australian Institute of Geoscientists and is a Member of the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy. Dr Boucher has sufficient experience that is relevant to the style of mineralisation and type of deposit under consideration and to the activity being undertaken to qualify as a Competent Person as defined in the 2012 Edition of the ‘Australasian Code for Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves’. Dr Boucher consents to the inclusion in the announcement of the material based on his information in the form and context in which it appears.

ABOUT ECR MINERALS PLC

ECR is a mineral exploration and development company. ECR’s wholly owned Australian subsidiary Mercator Gold Australia has 100% ownership of the Avoca, Bailieston, Creswick, Moormbool and Timor gold exploration licences in central Victoria, Australia.

ECR has earned a 25% interest in the Danglay epithermal gold project, an advanced exploration project located in a prolific gold and copper mining district in the north of the Philippines. An NI43-101 technical report was completed in respect of the Danglay project in December 2015 and is available for download from ECR’s website.

ECR’s wholly owned Argentine subsidiary Ochre Mining has 100% ownership of the SLM gold project in La Rioja, Argentina. Exploration at SLM has focused on identifying small tonnage mesothermal gold deposits which may be suitable for relatively near-term production.

MARKET ABUSE REGULATIONS (EU) No. 596/2014

The information contained within this announcement is deemed by the Company to constitute inside information as stipulated under the Market Abuse Regulations (EU) No. 596/2014 (MAR). Upon the publication of this announcement via Regulatory Information Service (RIS), this inside information is now considered to be in the public domain.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

ECR Minerals plc Tel: +44 (0)20 7929 1010
David Tang, Non-Executive Chairman
Craig Brown, Director & CEO

Email:

info@ecrminerals.com

Website: www.ecrminerals.com
WH Ireland Ltd Tel: +44 (0)161 832 2174
Nominated Adviser
Katy Mitchell/James Sinclair-Ford
Optiva Securities Ltd Tel: +44 (0)203 137 1902
Broker
Graeme Dickson
SI Capital Ltd Tel: +44 (0)1483 413500
Broker
Nick Emerson

FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS

This announcement may include forward looking statements. Such statements may be subject to numerous known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results or events to differ materially from current expectations. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate and therefore actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward looking statements. Any forward-looking statements contained herein speak only as of the date hereof (unless stated otherwise) and, except as may be required by applicable laws or regulations (including the AIM Rules for Companies), the Company disclaims any obligation to update or modify such forward-looking statements because of new information, future events or for any other reason.

Australian Financial Review: Gold executives see M&A as inevitable as Diggers and Dealers kicks off – ECR Minerals #ECR

The Australian gold industry is primed for a surge in mergers and acquisitions as cashed-up miners look to buttress their reserves of the precious metal as this week’s Diggers and Dealers conference in Kalgoorlie brings together some of the industry’s biggest deal makers.

Increased gold production has swelled the cash flows of Australian gold miners even as the US-dollar gold price has tumbled towards $US1200 an ounce, providing many with the financial firepower needed to pursue acquisitions at a time when some industry leaders are concerned about “peak gold” given the pressure on reserves and a dearth of significant new discoveries.

“Everyone can see Aussie producers generating more and more cash and I haven’t seen evidence of them paying higher dividends to shareholders,” said Gold Road managing director Ian Murray amid a resurgence in the broader mining industry that has added a sense of anticipation to the three-day Diggers and Dealers event, which will host the largest number of delegates since 2012.

Mr Murray said Australian producers considered local assets expensive, fuelling speculation they are eying overseas assets.

Evolution boss Jake Klein has said his cashed-up company is looking to North America for potential acquisitions.

Gold Fields executive vice-president Australia Stuart Mathews said the South African-based company had its hands full investing in the future of existing assets in Australia and pursing a significant exploration program.

Referring to the exploration program, he said: “We will look at M&A when there is something logical which is a bolt on. The actual producing space is difficult.”

The Gold Road-Gold Fields’ Gruyere joint venture is set to pour first gold in the June quarter after a $621 million investment in developing the mine, which sits in the Yamarma belt about 200 kilometres north-east of Laverton.

Potential peak gold

Gruyere, with a 6 million ounce ore body, and the Tropicana joint venture between AngloGold Ashanti and the Independence Group, about 150 kilometres to the south, are considered the two most significant greenfields gold projects in Australia in almost two decades.

Gruyere is forecast to produce 270,000 ounces of gold a year from open cut operations with a 13-year mine life.

Mr Murray added his voice to those declaring that global gold production has peaked, noting a dramatic fall in South African production and a dearth of new discoveries.

“Gold production comes from new discoveries. What big discoveries have been made? The big gold discoveries have dried up,” he said.

Northern Star Resources boss Bill Beament is among those convinced global gold production has peaked, pointing to the declining production profiles and reserves of the world’s biggest gold miners.

“This year, maybe even last year, probably saw the peak of gold production,” he said.

“That has to be the case because if you look at the top end of town, their production forecasts are only going one way and you can’t see it coming back because their reserves are also declining.”

World Gold Council (WGC) chairman Randall Oliphant, Goldcorp chairman Ian Telfer and other industry leaders have made the same call over the past 12 months after decades of steady increase. Industry giants Goldcorp, Barrick and Newmont have all seen their production decline.

Exploration encouragement

However, WGC analysis shows mine production grew 3 per cent in the second quarter of 2018 to 836 tonnes as projects in Russia, Indonesia and Canada continued to ramp up.

Mr Beament is encouraged by the level of greenfields exploration by smaller companies but believes the future for gold in Australia, where Northern Star and others have grown production and reserves around existing mines, is all underground as open pit production winds down.

“Australia’s got a lot more gold to yield but if you fast forward a decade, the only large scale open pit still running is probably going to be Boddington,” he said.

“If you go back 40 years, it was all underground mining until the advent of CIL and CIP processing technology. We’re going to go back the other way.

“This transition from open pit to underground in the next decade will be the biggest transition for any sector.”

Mr Beament said the Australian gold sector was on a strong footing going into Diggers and Dealers despite a recent softening in price. The annual conference starts today and has attracted 2300 delegates for the first time since 2012 amid in wide-ranging resurgence in mining.

Mr Beament said the successful industry-led campaign to block a WA government gold royalty hike last year been vindicated by huge expenditure on exploration and despite Treasurer Ben Wyatt continuing to use social media to niggle at some of the companies involved.

A host of companies with mines or mining tenements in WA have increased their exploration budgets for 2018-19, including Northern Star committing a company record $60 million to its ground in the Goldfields.

“I’m spending record money because I’m not paying that extra tax, so I’m generating a hell of a lot more jobs, finding a lot more gold and the state’s going to get a lot more royalties from that in the future,” Mr Beament said.

“We’ve got the money to do that because WA didn’t bring in that stupid tax increase last year.”

Rising demand factors

Mr Wyatt said no one was happier than him to see the gold industry doing well, but refused to let the royalty issue die.

“All we’ve ever asked the gold sector to do is pay a return to the WA community that is commensurate with that paid by other commodities like nickel, copper and iron ore,” he said.

Deloitte research shows the combined value of WA-based listed companies increased by almost 27 per cent to $193.5 billion in 2017-18.

It is the first time the Deloitte WA Index has been above $190 billion since 2011 and comes off the back of two years of growth.

Deloitte WA assurance and advisory partner Dave Andrews said the revival was spearheaded by strong prices for LNG, crude oil and thermal coal.

“Additionally, battery metals, particularly nickel, cobalt and copper, and rare earths showed strong momentum on the excitement surrounding battery storage demand, the expanding electric vehicle market, renewables, and our hunger for more and more consumer technology,” he said.

Mr Andrews said numerous companies on Deloitte’s WA Index with exposure to those commodities and industries delivered exceptional returns for shareholders in 2017-18.

“If you look at the composition of the higher end of our index today compared to 2011 when it was last over $190 billion, the likes of Pilbara Minerals, Galaxy and Lynas Corporation didn’t feature,” he said.

“And the likes of gold plays Northern Star, Regis and Saracen are now significant contributors to the index.”

Mr Mathews said the gold industry faced labour cost pressures given rise in mining across a range of commodities.

“Gold has been going pretty well but now almost every commodity is going up,” he said. “People are going to be competing for the same talent.”

August’s Gold Market Looks ‘Ready For The Up Cycle’ – Sprott Money via Kitco News

By Anna Golubova  summer_gold_price_bottom(Kitco News) – Sunday July 29, 2018 

Gold might have finally found its price bottom after seeing three weeks of consecutive losses, said Sprott during Sprott Money’s Weekly Wrap-Up on Friday.

“We had our ‘wash, rinse and repeat’ and now we are ready for the up cycle,” stated Sprott.

August Comex gold hit a low of $1,217 on Friday and then continued to trade near its 12-month lows following the advance reading of second-quarter GDP that showed the U.S. economy growing 4.1%, which was slightly less than the 4.2% projected by market consensus.

“I think we might have hit a bottom sometime when gold got down to around $1,210 inter-day on Friday,” said Sprott.

Aside from this, demand for the yellow metal is also looking solid, which might help gold out in what is historically known as a very dull month.

“When you look at what’s going on with the Commitments of Traders and August gold contract coming up for expiry with that huge open interest,” Sprott said. “When you see exports of gold from Hong Kong into Chia go up 46% in the month of June, when you see the Russians continue to buy gold, selling treasuries hopefully to buy more gold, I sort of wonder if one of the things that China wouldn’t do is sell treasuries to buy gold if they get particularly upset with the new tariff regime.”

“I always thought we lived in a rather enchanted world, where interest rates were zero and we kept printing money all the time. And it looks like theoretically that world has ended,” Sprott said. “We have … signs of things cracking. The 20% decline in Facebook, Netflix running into a few problems, some of the companies that are affected by exports, particularly autos … So we have some segments of the market … that are in a bear market.”

Sprott pointed out that this is not surprising considering that the Federal Reserve is continuing to raise interest rates and shrink the money supply.

“The combination of the Fed shrinking the money supply and raising rates is not going to be constructive for the markets,” he said.

As August doldrums are rolling in, the gold market might surprise investors on the upside, according to Eric Sprott, billionaire precious metals investor and founder of Sprott Inc.

ECR Minerals #ECR – The History of Gold Mining In Victoria

By Victoria State Government 

History of mining in Victoria

Earth Resources, under a number of different guises, has been involved in facilitating and regulating mining in Victoria since 1853. We have retained a large amount of historical information on mining, accessible via the Earth Resources Search Assistant.

The history of gold mining in Victoria

It is only in recent years that Victoria’s total gold production has been surpassed by Western Australia’s.

This is something of a surprise for most people, yet it emphasises the richness of the gold resource of Victoria, particularly if comparisons are made between the intensity of exploration in each area. The WA goldfields have been the subject of six separate development phases in the 100 years since the 1890s. Victoria has had only one since 1850, with the second now under way.

The first “officially” recognised claim to have found gold in Victoria was in 1850 near Clunes by James Esmond – a “veteran” of the California goldrushes.

It was the discovery of gold at Ballarat in 1851 that resulted in Victoria’s gold boom. Ballarat was recognised as probably the richest alluvial goldfield in the world at its peak between 1852 and 1853. The rush spilled over to the Mt Alexander field at Castlemaine and by December 1851 the field had attracted 20,000 diggers and was yielding 23,000 oz of gold a week!

The search moved further north to the fabulous finds at Bendigo and in April 1852, two adjacent claims at Peg Leg Gully yielded a total of 324 pounds of gold. The riches of nearby Eagle Hawk Gully were like a magnet, with up to 6,000 diggers joining the rush each week. By June 1852 Bendigo had a population of 40,000.

Through 1853 there were discoveries at Daylesford, Creswick, Maryborough and Maldon. In the second half of the 1850s there were rushes to the west – St Arnaud, Ararat and Stawell as well as Rutherglen and Chiltern – and the mountains of the east, with discoveries at Beechworth, Jamieson and Walhalla.

But by the early 1860s the Victorian gold rushes had virtually ended as the diggers moved north to New South Wales, then Queensland and across to WA.

Victoria’s first quartz crushing battery was set up in 1853 after reef mining began at Specimen Hill. Reef mining had moved in to Ballarat, Bendigo, Clunes and Walhalla as the diggers moved out, and long term underground mining operations provided the basis for major regional populations.

There was a brief rush to Tarnagulla in central Victoria in 1906 following the discovery of the Poseidon Nuggets – the largest being 953 oz. But the Ballarat and Bendigo mines fell silent by the 1920s and despite a brief flurry during the Great Depression, the gold mining industry lay dormant until the 1980s.

Higher gold prices at that time saw a surge in prospecting and fossicking – largely using electronic detectors – as well as the return of full scale mining operations to Stawell and Woods Point.

In the 1990’s, the level of activity in Victoria has escalated sharply, with new mines opened and a significant increase in the level of expenditure on exploration. Information available through the Victorian Initiative for Minerals and Petroleum (VIMP) has acted as a catalyst for a rise in the number of applications for exploration licences in surveyed areas.

Most attention is on gold and this has been concentrated on areas of historical production, such as Ballarat, Bendigo, Stawell, Fosterville, Maldon, Heathcote, Castlemaine, Tarnagulla, etc.

In 1998/99 Victoria had 12 major gold mining operations, which produced 4.95 t gold. The various mining projects are outlined in the Victorian Mineral Projects Register.

Historical Gold Production

Victoria has produced over 2,400 tonnes of gold – which is 32 per cent of all the gold mined in Australia and 2 per cent of all the gold ever mined in the world (Only WA, with 3,275.8 tonnes has produced more gold – and much of that has come from the booms of the last two decades where new technology has played a crucial role both in the discovery and the extraction of gold).

On a yield per area basis, Victoria has produced an average of 10.8kg of gold / km2 – an order of magnitude greater than any other Australian state.

At least 163 individual quartz mines produced more than 1 tonne (t) of gold each. The three largest were:

  • The Long Tunnel Mine at Walhalla – 1,033,792 t ore for 32.3 t gold.
  • The Morning Star Mine at Woods Point – 694,786 t ore for 19.6 t gold
  • The Port Phillip Co at Clunes – 1,224,187 t ore for 16.0 t gold.

The deep leads were also prolific producers, with 66 separate companies producing more than 1 tonne of gold:

  • The Band of Hope and Albion Consols at Ballarat produced 16.3 t gold.
  • The Madam Berry Mine at Creswick produced more than 12 t gold from a lease just half a kilometre long. The average grade was 40 gm/m3.
  • The Chiltern Valley Gold Mine at Chiltern produced 9.5 t gold.

If the small individual mines situated on a common reef or structure were to be amalgamated into what would approximate to a modern mine, the outcome would be 53 deposits in 36 separate goldfields. The most important would be:

  • Garden Gully line at Bendigo, which produced 5.076 m t ore for 85.7 t gold.
  • The New Chum line, Bendigo, produced 3.061 m t ore for 64.9 t gold.
  • Stawell, where five companies produced 3.45 m t ore for 61.1 t gold.

The leads combine into 29 Main Branch leads located in 14 goldfields, with the best:

  • Golden Point Lead at Ballarat – 28.5 t gold.
  • The Berry Lead at Creswick – 24.2 t gold.
  • The Great Northern Lead at Chiltern – 19.8 t gold.

These figures stand comparison with any of the present day mines operating anywhere in Australia.

Gold production for the years 1999-2008 has averaged over 4.6 t per year, with the biggest producers being Stawell, Fosterville, Tarnagulla, Bendigo and Costerfield.

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