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ECR Minerals #ECR – Business Operations Update

ECR Minerals plc (LON: ECR), the gold exploration and development company focussed on Australia, is pleased to provide the following update on its activities, which are centred on the Bailieston and Creswick gold projects in Victoria, Australia. Both projects are 100% owned by ECR’s wholly owned Australian subsidiary Mercator Gold Australia Pty Ltd (“MGA”).

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Field mapping and geochemistry currently underway across numerous gold prospects in the Bailieston project area;
  • ECR has acquired a diamond drilling rig capable of drilling as deep as 1,300 metres, due for delivery next month and which will be deployed immediately on an ECR managed drill programme;
  • High priority gold prospects within the Bailieston and Creswick project areas with potential for immediate drilling have been identified.

Craig Brown, Chief Executive Officer of ECR, commented:

“There is continuing interest in ECR’s Bailieston and Creswick projects with regards to potential joint venture or earn in opportunities. However, there can be no guarantee that any transaction will occur. The Company will provide further updates as appropriate.

The engagement we are experiencing is not surprising given the interest in Victoria gold opportunities, as evidenced by the many corporate transactions that we have seen in the area.

ECR is also gearing up to launch next stage exploration campaigns across our properties and we look forward to providing updates as the work progresses

The Directors are very optimistic for the future, and the Company has a robust underlying cash position of £1.65m with which we can confidently push ahead with operational programmes.”

CURRENT EXPLORATION ACTIVITIES

With the approaching end of the Victorian winter, MGA has begun to ramp-up exploration at the Bailieston and Creswick projects. A programme of follow-up field mapping and geochemistry across numerous prospects in the Bailieston project area is currently underway. MGA has recently purchased its own portable Olympus XRF analyser in order to enhance and expedite its geochemical sampling capabilities.

A map of the eastern Bailieston project area showing some of the prospects and features referred to in this announcement can be viewed at:

https://www.ecrminerals.com/images/2020/09/09/prospectsreefs-eastern-bailieston-tenement-area.jpg

Detailed mapping and geochemistry at the Cherry Tree, Cherry Tree South and Black Cat prospects is aimed at locating the surface position of shoots and identifying mineralisation along strike of trends established by historical and recent exploration. This will assist with the consideration of these prospects for drilling.

Cherry Tree (Historic Reserve #4) and Cherry Tree South are along the Bailieston trend and south of the Fosterville-style mineralisation mined in a small open cut in the 1990s at Historic Reserve #1 (HR1).

Rock chip samples were taken by MGA from Cherry Tree and Cherry Tree South as part of a 2018 sampling programme along the Bailieston trend. A total of 58 rock chip samples were taken at Cherry Tree and Cherry Tree South, with 17 samples returning grades of >1 g/t gold and the highest assay result being 8.8 g/t gold.

Field mapping and geochemical sampling at the Kings Cross and Pontings prospects in the Bailieston project area will follow-up earlier results including soil samples of up to 1.79 g/t gold at Kings Cross and rock chip samples of up to 8.31 g/t gold at Pontings.

PURCHASE OF DIAMOND DRILLING RIG AND POTENTIAL FUTURE DRILLING

MGA has recently signed a contract for the purchase of a new Cortech CSD1300G diamond drilling rig complete with spares and all downhole equipment, which is capable of drilling as deep as 1,300 metres. The rig is expected to be delivered in October 2020 and will give MGA an in-house drilling capability, which will be preferable to relying on contractors.

MGA has access to experienced drilling personnel to operate the rig, and it is expected that future drilling can be completed at lower cost and with greater flexibility using MGA’s own rig.

High priority gold prospects within the Bailieston and Creswick project areas which have the potential for immediate further drilling are detailed below. Once the drill rig has been received in Australia, a decision will be taken as to where it should first be put to work.

Bailieston Project – Blue Moon 

Blue Moon is an exciting new gold discovery made by MGA, with intercepts from 2019 reverse circulation (RC) drilling including 15 metres at 3.81 g/t gold from 51 metres downhole (with 2 metres at 17.87 g/t gold) (see announcement dated 14 March 2019 for full details of the drill programme). The best 2019 drilling results came from the western fence line. The host sandstone thins towards the east, where the drill results diminished accordingly.

ECR plans to test whether the mineralisation continues to improve towards the west, subject to gaining surface access. There is also potential to carry out further drilling within the zones already tested, with the objective of establishing an initial JORC Mineral Resource.

Bailieston Project – HR3

Three dimensional (3D) modelling of historical data for the Bailieston Historic Reserve #3 (HR3) and the results of drilling in the area by MGA in 2017 was completed in late 2019 and has assisted in the identification of the architecture of the major folds, structures and cross structures at the prospect. HR3 comprises at least four closely-spaced lines of reef, including the Byron, Dan Genders, Scoulars and Maori Reefs, plus numerous cross-structures. This provides a number of drill-ready targets.

Creswick Project 

Drilling conducted by MGA in 2019 at the Slades Reef prospect covered 300 metres of the 12.5 kilometre strike length of the Dimocks Main Shale (DMS) within ECR’s granted exploration licence (EL) and EL application areas at Creswick. This drilling encountered complex structures at Slades Reef; the cross section shown in ECR’s announcement dated 21 June 2019 showed drilling into interpreted faulted and parasitic folded DMS on an overall west-dipping limb.

Diamond drilling can be utilised to test this structural hypothesis and test the gold-bearing structures identified at Slades Reef where key faults intersect the anticline. Elsewhere at Creswick, field mapping and geochemical sampling could be used to attempt to delineate the surface expression of shoots to the south including Jackass Reef and Mills Reef ahead of potential drilling of these targets.

Review of Announcement by Qualified Person

This announcement has been reviewed 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 Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy. Dr Boucher is a Qualified Person as that term is defined by the AIM Note for Mining, Oil and Gas Companies.

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 Bailieston and Creswick gold projects in central Victoria, Australia.

Following the sale of the Avoca, Moormbool and Timor gold projects in Victoria, Australia to Fosterville South Exploration Ltd (TSX-V: FSX), ECR has the right to receive up to A$2 million in payments subject to future resource estimation or production at those projects.

ECR has earned a 25% interest in the Danglay gold project, an advanced exploration project located in a prolific gold and copper mining district in the north of the Philippines, and holds a royalty on the SLM gold project in La Rioja Province, Argentina.

Insatiable Gold Demand Set To Continue – ECR On The Cusp Of ‘Great’ Ness.

Insatiable Gold Demand Set To Continue – ECR On The Cusp Of ‘Great’ Ness. 

With the US Fed signalling a more relaxed approach to inflation in its end of month policy meeting, gold rebounded sharply after falling from August highs of  $2,075oz as markets interpreted Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s comments to mean that low interest rates are here for years to come.

Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank believes that the Fed’s shift to let inflation and employment run higher will keep interest rates low for years to come, thereby lifting the appeal of non-interest-bearing gold.“There’s still room for bullion to set new all-time highs, although that may take time,” Hansen commented. “Powell’s speech did not threaten the bullish narrative for gold and silver.”

“Low interest rates for longer, a weaker dollar, massive amounts of stimulus and the increased demand for inflation hedges are likely to continue to drive demand for both metals,” he added.

Peter Hug, division head for precious metals at Kitco News is of the view that conditions have not changed for gold and silver.

Speaking to Kitco News on following the Fed meeting, Hug said conditions are positive for gold due to the amount of fiscal support provided by banks.

“The macro picture has not changed. Every central bank in the world has got their foot on the pedal, and I don’t think they’re going to take their foot off the pedal probably until the end of 2021.”

Old Gold projects resurfacing

The ever present strength in gold is sustaining huge levels of investor interest in junior gold explorers. As mining geologists take fees for their work in shares as well as cash, droves of canny investors are now following geologists on social media to try to get the early inside line to any upcoming projects, even to the point of investing into the company owning /operating the project as soon as a new appointment is announced. A successful drilling campaign can of course have a transformational effect the valuations of small cap explorers with quality projects, meaning that professional fees can potentially multiply in value. 

The outlook for gold being what it is, many dormant mining projects are being re-examined and feasibility studies revisited. The latest tools, survey techniques and digital / desktop assets available to mining engineers have proved transformative in the search for precious metals within existing dormant assets and mines around the world.  And as many projects have some infrastruture already in place, opportunities to ‘fast track’ such developments are ever present.

Mining Giants Lined Up for Fast Tracking 

The major mining companies around the world today all started somewhere. Many will have started life as microcap exporation companies, developing assets into production, and using the proceeds to fund other projects. In some cases, the fuding will have come from existing shareholders. With others a farm-in agreement will be reached with another mining company to share or bear the developments costs, which sees the partner ‘earn-in’, usually at an increasing level of project ownership as the money is spent.

The current ‘pedal to the metal’ approach to monetary easing is providing a perfect backdrop for project developments of this nature, and has created fertile hunting ground for the world’s leading mining companies seeking lucrative farm-in opportunities.  Equally, the project potential may see active investors support the board and go it alone.

AIM listed ECR Minerals (AIM: ECR) is a company on the cusp of a series of game changing deals. The company 100% owns Bailieston and Creswick projects in Central Victoria, Australia, and also has financial interests in the Avoca, Moormbool and Timor projects following the sale of those licenses to TSX-V listed Fosterville South Exploration Ltd. In addition ECR owns a 25% interest in the Danglay epithermal gold project in the north of the Philippines and a net smelter royalty agreement from the sale of the SLM gold project in Argentina.

Creswick

Creswick is situated within the Dimocks Main Shale, a geological feature considered to be highly prospective for gold, and which extends some 15km from the mining centre of Ballarat. ECR’s exploration licenses cover approximately 7km of this region. Following drilling results in 2019,  a highest grade duplicate result of 80.97 g/t gold came from a 1 metre interval that originally assayed 44.63 g/t, confirming the original findings. A study by pre-eminent consulting geochemist Dr Dennis Arne, whose experience includes extensive consultancy at the highly successful Fosterville gold mine in Central Victoria, underlined the significant gold exploration potential at Creswick, and ‘nuggety gold mineralisation’.

Bailieston

Bailieston is also at the centre of the current gold exploration boom in Victoria, close to the world-class Fosterville mine owned by Kirkland Lake Gold. Mining giant Newmont has a license application in for ground immediately to the north of ECR’s Black Cat prospect, plus an open cut gold mine was operated at Bailieston by Perseverance Corporation in the 1990’s. Quality samples have been logged from drilling by ECR at the Blue Moon prospect in 2019, including a 17.8g/t sample from a 2 metre interval, confirming Blue Moon as a new gold discovery. The Bailieston license areas also include a raft of other prospects, namely HR3, Cherry Tree, Red Moon and Yellow Moon.

Mining Major Joint Ventures and Drilling

Having previously sold three Victoria licences (Avoca, Moormbool and Timor gold exploration projects) for upfront cash and royalties to TSX-V listed Fosterville South Exploration Ltd, along with a raft of warrant exercises, ECR is now fully funded to continue drilling at its 100% owned Creswick and Bailieston projects through to the end of 2021.

In a recent ShareTalk podcast here, ECR CEO Craig Brown provided some background on the most recent developments. He confirmed that several earlier offers to partner in the projects had been rejected, and that mining majors were interested in Creswick and the highly prospective Dimocks Main Shale gold trend that runs through Creswick from the Ballarat gold mine.  Citing some of the most recent gold asset sales in the region, Brown stated that both Creswick and Bailieston projects were superior in quality to many in the region, and that value could be realised in a Greatland Gold type asset sale and free carry deal structure. 

Progress and site visits are being hampered somewhat by the COVID lockdown – any teams flying in from other states are subject to a 14 day quarantine. But as regards the immediate future of both Creswick and Baileston, one thing is abundantly clear. ECR will commence drilling at one or both projects in the coming weeks, and given the ultra-bullish long term outlook for gold, mining majors seeking a JV will be keen to strike a deal sooner rather than later.

Currently valued at just GB£12m, many investors believe ECR is on the cusp of ‘Great’ Ness – a transformational Greatland Gold esque deal. Despite the lockdown restrictions, the insatiable demand for gold looks set to continue for the next 18 months – near perfect conditions for junior gold miners with superior quality assets. 

References:

Kitco: https://www.kitco.com/news/video/show/Kitco-NEWS/2957/2020-08-28/Every-central-bank-in-the-world-has-got-their-foot-on-the-pedal–Peter-Hug#_48_INSTANCE_puYLh9Vd66QY_=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.kitco.com%2Fnews%2Fvideo%2Flatest%3Fshow%3DKitco-NEWS

Share Talk: https://www.pscp.tv/w/choS9jF4blFyWHlrQW5rall8MWt2SnBla0xBbWt4RVXUWZxBJJOsdYs2rhJuzDRWVD0-zN2rj-l_AWcuc8bF

Junior Gold Explorers Continue to Shine Amid Global Market Volatility

The year 2020 has already delivered what HM Queen Elizabeth would refer to in her end of year speech as an Annus Horribilis. It is still only April 2020, and Covid-19 continues to wreak almost biblical levels of havoc and human tragedy across the globe. In our previous article on junior gold explorers, we stated that it seemed trite to discuss investment opportunities in the midst of the ongoing battle against CoronaVirus. But life does go on, and so does mining exploration, even with the movement restrictions currently in place.

Gold Set To Rebound Following Monetary Stimulus Measures

Although gold has retreated from the late March highs of $1700 oz, at $1646 the yellow metal still sits close to year highs, well above the 2019 highs of $1277 last August.

Kitco, a website dedicated to gold and metals believes a major rebound in gold is just around the corner as prices look ready to surge on massive global monetary policy stimulus and unprecedented fiscal policies. United Overseas Bank (UOB) head of markets strategy Heng Koon said their forecast is “for gold to rebound significantly in the quarters ahead to USD $1,650 in 2Q20, $1,700 in 3Q20, $1,750 in 4Q20 and $1,800 in 1Q21.”

“Once the USD funding crunch potentially dissipates across 2Q20, massive global monetary policy easing coupled with unprecedented fiscal policy stimulus will light the fuel for further gold strength.”

Heng also added that global central banks “have not only floored rates near zero but many have also entered into large Quantitative Easing programs. These significant stimuli bode well for gold and will be the fuel for gold’s rally once the USD funding crunch abates across 2Q.”

This compelling backdrop continues to drive healthy levels of investor interest in junior gold explorers. Across the globe, the focus on gold is manifesting itself in investor speculation into small cap explorers with quality projects. Most small explorers however only have one or two key project in their asset arsenal, leaving little room for any disappointment. However, there are a handful of micro-cap gold exploration plays offering a broad spread of assets, and consequentially an attractive risk profile with significant upside potential.

Once such company is AIM listed ECR Minerals (AIM: ECR), which has 100% ownership of five gold exploration projects in Central Victoria, Australia, and four exploration licences in the north-eastern Yilgarn region of Western Australia.

ECR’s Bailieston at the Centre of the Current Gold Exploration Boom

ECR’s Victoria projects include Bailieston, Avoca, Timor, Creswick and Moormbool. Indeed Bailieston, which targets epizonal / epithermal gold mineralisation of the Melbourne Zone, is at the epicentre of the current gold exploration boom in Victoria, being located close to the highly successful Fosterville mine owned by Kirkland Lake Gold. Recently, Australian mining giant Newmont arrived in the district with an application for ground immediately to the north of the Black Cat prospect.

Study Data Endorses Creswick Potential

During Q4 2019, ECR reported ‘nuggety gold mineralisation’ in the Dimocks Main Shale prospect at Creswick, some of which proved to be exceptionally high grade. Creswick has long been viewed as a potential pivot project for ECR after the highest grade duplicate result of 80.97 g/t gold came from a 1 metre interval that originally assayed 44.63 g/t, confirming the original findings announced on 8 May 2019.

On March 27th, ECR announced the results of a study carried out by Dr Dennis Arne, a pre-eminent consulting geochemist in Victoria, whose experience includes extensive consultancy at the highly successful Fosterville gold mine in Central Victoria owned by Kirkland Lake Gold.

The well-regarded Dr Arne’s involvement was seen as a solid endorsement of Creswick’s potential, and indeed the results did not disappoint, as ECR CEO Craig Brown pointed out.

“We are very pleased with the results of this study, which show good indications of hydrothermal fluid flow related to gold mineralisation in a number of drill holes at Creswick. Importantly, the variation in the results, with some areas ‘lighting up’ and others not, is potentially useful for identifying gold-bearing shoots.”

Brown added that the results “underline the significant gold exploration potential that we believe exists at Creswick, where our tenement position covers approximately seven kilometres of the Dimocks Main Shale (DMS) trend, of which our 2019 drilling tested only approximately 300 metres.”

Windidda Progress

ECR’s Windidda Gold Project, based in the Yilgarn region of Western Australia originally consisted of a package of nine exploration licence applications covering a 1,600 square kilometre area with the potential to host komatiite hosted nickel-copper-PGE (platinum group element) mineralisation, as well as orogenic gold. Five exploration licences have been granted, and in its full year results statement at the end of March 2020, ECR said the remaining four licence applications had been withdrawn, in light of objections to the expedited grant procedure from native title parties and the findings of preliminary desktop work to assess the prospectivity of the licence areas.

Consolidation, R&D Cash Refund and Focus

A micro-cap gold explorer can only operate so many projects and licenses, and indeed with the burgeoning potential of Creswick now at front and centre, the board took the decision to sell its wholly owned Argentine subsidiary Ochre Mining SA, which holds the SLM gold project in La Rioja, Argentina.  The sale to Hanaq Argentina SA still sees ECR retain a Net Smelter Royalty of up to 2% to a maximum of US$2.7m in respect of future production from the SLM gold project, while removing ongoing costs associated with acquiring and running an exploration license.

There has been further good news on the funding front too, as the group also received a significant cash refund under the Australian government’s R&D Tax Incentive scheme. A$318,972 (approximately £171,000) was received in relation to the financial year ended 30 June 2018, and received a further refund of A$555,212 (approximately £295,515) in relation to the fifteen month period ended 30 September 2019.

The qualifying R&D activities relate to research into turbidite-hosted gold deposits within the Company’s exploration licences in Victoria. It goes without saying that these two refunds have also provided a significant boost to ECR’s cash position.

The biggest boost however came on Monday 6 April 2020, when, in the midst of the upheaval and disruption caused by COVID-19, ECR announced that it had raised a further GB£500,000 in a placing at 0.5p. That ECR was able raise funds in some of the most challenging stock market conditions in living memory more than anything else underscores the quality of the asset portfolio.

Still trading on a miserly GB£2.5m capitalisation, the market has ascribed little more than the value of the administrative work undertaken to secure the licenses, with no premium whatsoever for the results from Creswick or any of the other work undertaken to ascertain the prospectivity and value of ECR’s projects.

Selected Junior Gold Explorers Offer Great Value

Amid unprecedented efforts to limit the spread of CoronaVirus, the fiscal and monetary stimulus measures announced by the world’s major economies over the past month are global policy events without precedent in peacetime. Gavyn Davies of the FT pointed out that the increase in fiscal spending and loans in the US this year alone “will reach more than 10 percent of GDP, larger than the rise in the federal deficit through 2008 and 2009.”

This wholly supports the UOB / Kitco view that the gold price is set for a major rebound in the months ahead. As such, this rebound is likely to be reflected in the valuations of junior gold mining explorers with strong project portfolios. Fully funded for the coming year, and with nine projects and licenses in key territories across Australia, ECR Minerals should be integral to any junior gold explorer portfolio as the world grapples with the challenges and uncertainties of the Covid-19 pandemic.

References:

Kitco – Here’s how gold prices will get to $1800 in the next three quarters – https://www.kitco.com/news/2020-04-01/Here-s-how-gold-prices-are-going-to-1-800-in-the-next-three-quarters-UOB.html

FT – Gavyn Davies: Can the world afford fiscal and monetary stimulus on this scale? –  https://www.ft.com/content/0f289d20-6e97-11ea-89df-41bea055720b

PBOC Easing Boosts Gold Price & Investment Case for Junior Gold Explorers

Investors seeking to capitalise on a bullish gold market in 2020, and in particular the next raft of discoveries, will no doubt be aware of the impact that the easing in monetary policy by the Peoples Bank of China (PBOC) has had across markets in China, still reeling from the CoronaVirus.

With the yellow metal long viewed as the definitive safe haven investment, markets have also seen a surge in interest at the more speculative end of the gold spectrum, most specifically across junior gold explorers. AIM listed ECR Minerals (AIM: ECR) is one such company currently in focus.

Creswick Potentially Transformational for ECR

Prior to the recent surge in the gold price, ECR had already seen a transformational 2019 in regard to developments across it’s six flagship projects.The final quarter saw developments across the explorer’s key Creswick project in Victoria, Australia, with ‘nuggety gold mineralisation’ confirmed in the Dimocks Main Shale (DMS) prospect at Creswick, some of which proved to be exceptionally high grade.

Creswick is viewed as a potentially transformational project for the company, particularly given that the highest grade duplicate result of 80.97 g/t gold came from a 1 metre interval that originally assayed 44.63 g/t, confirming the original findings announced on 8 May 2019.

On February 20th, ECR announced it had appointed Dr Dennis Arne to carry out a lithogeochemical study of cuttings (chips) generated by reverse circulation (RC) drilling at Creswick in 2019. Dr Arne is a preeminent consulting geochemist in Victoria, whose experience includes extensive consultancy at the highly successful Fosterville gold mine in Central Victoria owned by Kirkland Lake Gold. Bringing someone of this calibre in to review the drilling samples is a solid endorsement of Creswick’s potential, and has set tongues wagging amongst the investing cognoscenti across social media channels. In typical understated fashion, ECR said the results of the study “are anticipated to be valuable for the purposes of future exploration at the Creswick.”

Elsewhere in Central Victoria

Activity continues across ECR’s other projects in Central Victoria, with a number of potential exploration programmes for the Bailieston project, (including further drilling at the Blue Moon prospect), are under consideration, along with soil and stream sediment sampling in the Cherry Tree South and Ponting’s areas.

ECR Interests Realigned

With six key projects across Australia, a country estimated to have the largest gold reserves globally, ECR’s CEO Craig Brown and the board have taken the decision to realign the group’s many interests to focus on Victoria Gold Projects, (Creswick, Bailieston, Avoca, Timor & Moormbool) and the Western Australia Windidda Project.

In this regard, on February 5th the group announced the sale of the SLM Gold Project in Argentina to Hanaq Argentina SA, a Chinese-owned company engaged in lithium, base and precious metals exploration.

The move sees ECR retain an NSR (Net Smelter) royalty of up to 2% to a maximum of US$2.7 million in respect of future production from the SLM gold project. Craig Brown stated that he was.. pleased to retain exposure to potential upside from the SLM gold project in the form of a royalty on future production..we believe that Hanaq has the operational capabilities and access to Chinese investment capital necessary to put the SLM project into production. And more importantly, it aligns the group’s operational activities exclusively across the six key Australian projects.

Windidda Progress

While activities across the Victoria projects are well documented, (not least because of the the Bailieston project is adjacent to a prospect territory acquired in 2018 by global mining giant Newmont), ECR has been pushing ahead its Windidda Gold Project based in the Yilgarn region of Western Australia. This consists of a package of nine exploration licence applications covering a 1,600 square kilometre area with the potential to host orogenic gold deposits. At the end of January ECR published an update on Windidda, stating that four exploration licences had been granted in the north-eastern Yilgarn, and announced a further license award on February 20th.

Aside from Gold, the region is also highly prospective for nickel-copper-PGE (platinum group element) mineralisation, so consequently ECR has commissioned a consultant to complete additional geophysical modelling and a review of historical activity reports for areas to the south of Windidda to better understand the potential prospectivity of the project.

Undervalued

The sale of the SLM Gold project has certainly saved ECR from the ongoing costs associated with acquiring and running an exploration license. There was further good news on the funding front too, as the group also received a cash refund for research and development (R&D) expenditure of AU$555,212 (approx GB£295,515), added to which for the year to 30 September 2019, the group carried forward corporate income tax losses of AU$ 66,341,587 (approximately GB£35.3 million) which are expected to be available for offset against future taxable gains.

Despite this, the current market capitalisation of GB£3.6 million reflects little more than the value of the administrative work undertaken to secure the licenses, with no premium whatsoever for the results from Creswick or any of the other work undertaken to ascertain the prospectivity and value of ECR’s projects.

Safe haven

While it seems trite to discuss investment opportunities in the midst of the shock, havoc and terrible human cost wrought on China and the world by CoronaVirus, the event has already significantly impacted on many of the larger resource and energy groups who provide raw materials to satisfy China’s enormous burgeoning economy.

As already highlighted, the impact on the China stock market (and global markets) has to some degree been mitigated by quantitative easing measures by the PBOC, but the consequential weakness in resource and energy stocks has inevitably driven investors to seek returns elsewhere, i.e. gold. So on February 20th, Beijing cut the one-year loan prime rate to 4.05% from 4.15%, prompting China’s banks to further lower the benchmark borrowing costs for new corporate and household loans.

On the subject of rate cuts and easing, Neils Christensen, a journalist at leading bullion website Kitco stated on February 17th that analysts “remain optimistic that (gold) prices can push higher as easing from the People’s Bank of China could ignite a further drop in global interest rates.”

This view is backed by other pundits too. Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank, said that economists are still trying to estimate the full impact the spreading virus will have on the global economy. He added that this uncertainty will continue to support gold prices. “We have seen monumental demand destruction this past month and that won’t be resolved anytime soon,” he said. “Central banks will be forced to ease again, but the question is just how much impact further easing will have.”

As China and the world struggles to get to grips with limiting the spread of CoronaVirus, the strength in the gold price looks likely to be sustained throughout the year. This strength is likely to be reflected in across junior gold mining explorers with strong project portfolios. With the raft of project developments and drilling updates scheduled for early 2020, ECR is likely to benefit from this continued focus.

by Alan Green

ECR Minerals #ECR – Gold Drilling Update – Creswick & Blue Moon Australia

ECR Minerals plc (LON:ECR), the precious metals exploration and development company, is pleased to announce positive progress in the Company’s extensive gold drilling programmes being undertaken at the Creswick and Bailieston Blue Moon projects in the State of Victoria, Australia.

Readers are advised to consult the Company’s previous announcement outlining the proposed drilling programmes as follows:

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

Highlights:

  • The Company has now completed 1,687 metres of reverse circulation drilling in 17 target holes at the Creswick gold project targeting multiple quartz vein orientations within the Dimocks Main Shale (“DMS”);
  • The drilling at Creswick successfully intersected multiple quartz reefs as anticipated, and the Company is now awaiting assay results to determine the extent of gold mineralised shoots in samples;
  • In addition, 774 metres of reverse circulation drilling in 6 target holes has been completed at the Blue Moon gold prospect within the Bailieston project area to follow up the significant near surface gold intercept and evidence of a near surface mineralised gold system announced in July 2018;
  • Drilling is continuing at the Blue Moon gold prospect targeting extensions of areas where sulphides have been intersected and gold mineralisation has been identified including visible gold in panned reverse circulation samples;
  • The Board of the Company is reviewing with its technical team the field findings to date, with a view to further drilling in areas of noted interest;
  • A substantial number of samples have now been submitted to the laboratory for testing and the Company is awaiting results;
  • A recent significant increase in the volume of samples being processed at the local laboratories, due to the increasing interest in State of Victoria gold exploration, has slowed the processing time from the original one week turnaround to a slower process extending between 2 and 4 weeks depending on the sample process. As many of our samples have already been in the laboratory for some time, we expect the flow of assay results in the coming weeks;
  • Further updates to the market will be provided at the earliest opportunity as results are received and findings analysed by our technical team.

Craig Brown, Chief Executive Officer commented: “I am extremely pleased to announce the progress achieved by our technical team at Creswick and Bailieston Blue Moon projects in Australia with a combined 2,461 metres of drilling completed in less than a month.

We have successfully encountered a number of host structures that were anticipated and targeted in our drill programmes, and we have panned gold within some of the drill samples.

The Company’s approach has been to define drill targets based on historical exploration, field mapping and soil gochemistry with an iterative review programme to extend drilling where target geological structures and gold mineralisation therein is encountered.

We await assay data to add to our field observations and will provide further updates to the market when assay information has been received and reviewed by the team.”

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 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.

ECR Minerals #ECR – Drilling Update – Black Cat Gold Prospect, Australia

ECR Minerals plc (LON:ECR), the precious metals exploration and development company, is pleased to announce that drilling at the Black Cat gold prospect in the state of Victoria, Australia, has commenced and the first two holes have been successfully completed.

Composite samples representing 4m downhole lengths will be compiled from the Black Cat drill cuttings and sent to be assayed for gold. After receipt of the assay results, composites which have returned anomalous gold grades will be re-sampled on a metre by metre basis and this second set of samples will be sent for assay. Assay turnaround time is estimated to be 2-6 weeks.

Further information in respect of this drill programme is available in the Company’s announcement of 4 February 2019, which can be viewed at the following link:

https://polaris.brighterir.com/public/ecr_minerals/news/rns/story/w1mok9w

Black Cat Photo Gallery

It is also the Company’s intention to provide site photographic images for the Black Cat gold prospect drill location and drilling process on the Company’s website.

The images may be viewed at the following link:

https://www.ecrminerals.com/black-cat-gallery

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 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.

ECR Minerals #ECR – Drilling Update – Creswick Gold Project Australia

ECR Minerals plc (LON:ECR), the precious metals exploration and development company, is pleased to announce that the Company’s drill programme at the Creswick gold project in the state of Victoria, Australia, has commenced and the first four holes have been successfully completed.

Further information in respect of this drill programme is available in the Company’s announcement of 29 January 2019.

In addition, ECR have produced a project specific presentation for the Creswick gold project, which may be viewed on the Company’s website through the following link:

PDF version:

https://www.ecrminerals.com/investors-media/presentations/download?path=ECR%2BCreswick%2BQ1%2B2019%2BDrilling%2B%2BProgramme%2B08-02-19.pdf

PowerPoint version:

https://www.ecrminerals.com/investors-media/presentations/download?path=ECR%2BCreswick%2BQ1%2B2019%2BDrilling%2B%2BProgramme%2B08-02-19.ppsx

It is also the Company’s intention to provide site photographic images for the Creswick gold project drill location and drilling process on the Company’s website.

The images may be viewed through the following link:

https://www.ecrminerals.com/creswick-gallery

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 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.

ECR Minerals #ECR – Gold Focused Drill Programme to Commence – Victoria Region Australia

ECR Minerals plc (LON:ECR), the precious metals exploration and development company, is pleased to announce the commencement of its gold focused drilling programme at the Company’s Victoria Region gold projects in Australia.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • A contract has been signed for 4,000 to 6,000m of reverse circulation (RC) drilling in Victoria, Australia by ECR’s wholly owned Australian subsidiary Mercator Gold Australia Pty Ltd (“MGA”).

Creswick Gold Project

  • Drilling at the Creswick gold project is expected to commence this week targeting multiple quartz vein orientations identified within the Dimocks Main Shale (“DMS”), which extends over a 15km trend, approximately 7km of which is covered by MGA’s granted exploration licence and exploration licence applications;
  • As announced on 25 September 2018 at Creswick the Company’s exploration mapping has identified a large gold system within the DMS;
  • The DMS is the hard-rock source of much alluvial and deep lead gold, with historical alluvial and deep lead production estimated at up to 2.5 Moz in the Creswick/Berry lead system, and up to 11 Moz in the entire Ballarat area, of which the DMS is a significant contributor.

Bailieston Gold Project

  • Following completion at Creswick, the drill rig will move to the Blue Moon gold prospect in the Bailieston project area to follow-up the significant near surface gold intercept and evidence of a near surface mineralised gold system as announced by ECR on 6 July 2018;
  • The drill target at Blue Moon is a sandstone which has been heavily weathered near surface, but may host higher grade gold mineralisation, including disseminated sulphides, at deeper levels.

Craig Brown, Chief Executive Officer of ECR Minerals plc, commented: “I am delighted to announce the commencement of this dual drill programme at Creswick and Bailieston which is seeking to test multiple gold targets across both projects.

This is an extensive drilling campaign by the Company, and one of the largest we have undertaken in recent times. ECR’s objective is to discover a multi-million ounce gold deposit in Australia and based on the significant technical work undertaken to date, we believe the Creswick and Bailieston licences hold the potential for such a discovery.

All the planned drilling is being undertaken from existing cash resources. The Company will be entitled to claim back a proportion of drilling costs under government grants subsidising drilling. As a result, and assuming on budget operations and cost recovery through grants, the entire programme is estimated to amount to under 20% of existing cash resources.

I would like to thank our technical team and advisers for their hard work in recent weeks to bring this programme together.

We will ensure material developments are released to the market as appropriate during the coming weeks and months.”

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 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.

EXCLUSIVE: Newmont Mining secures license area next to ECR Minerals’ Baileston gold project – Value The Markets

EXCLUSIVE: Newmont mining secures license area next to ECR Minerals’ Baileston gold project

 

There has been a very interesting development next to ECR Minerals’ (LSE:ECR) Bailieston license (EL5433) in Victoria, Australia. Newmont Mining Corp, one of the world’s largest gold producers has just applied for the license for a large block of land right next door. Although the license has yet to be awarded, if it is then this could prove to be a highly significant event for ECR

Excitement was already building for ECR’s 100% Bailieston gold project, given its relatively close proximity to a number of profitable, high-grade operations. The Fosterville gold mine is around 30km to the west and is currently the largest producing gold mine in Victoria. To the southwest, roughly the same distance, sits the Costerfield gold mine, which is another prolific produce.

As promising as the region Bailieston sits in already is, the recent move by Newmont could mark the start of something big for ECR. A company like Newmont typically dedicates a great deal of resources to due diligence prior to securing new licenses. A search of the Victoria State’s ‘GeoVic’ online database confirms it has indeed just applied for license EL006893, which borders Bailieston.

It seems that EL006893 has only become available within recent weeks, which suggests Newmont may have been keeping a close eye on it for some time. This might not be surprising given the resurgence of gold exploration in the region.

Traditionally Central Victoria has been an intensive gold producing area since the precious metal was first discovered there in 1850. In fact, it is only in recent years that Victoria’s gold output has been surpassed by Western Australia’s. Part of the recent revival has been driven by Kirkland Lake Gold, the owner of Fosterville, discovering more than 1.1m ounces of gold last year.

As well as the main EL5433 block shown on the map, ECR’s license also includes a smaller block (Black Cat) directly adjacent to the south of the area Newmont are showing interest in. The block used to be connected to the main section of EL5433, but due to local licensing rules explorers must drop 40% of the license after three years, and a further 40% after five years.

ECR also owns the Moormbool license (EL00628), which it secured in July 2017. The block is largely unexplored and covers approximately 59 square kilometres. This block sits south of Black Cat and the potential new license acquisition by Newmont, with the Costerfield Mine to the south-west currently producing 50,000 ounces of gold per annum. Costerfield is a below surface mine on block EL3310 consisting of narrow high-grade veins.

Then there is the Fosterville gold mine, which enjoys a very high 94% recovery rate, with a reserve grade of 23.1 g/t Au. It is estimated that approximate production costs at Fosterville are around AUD$880 per oz, compared with a current gold price of around AUD$1665 as of today. The mine is expected to produce 300,000 ounces in 2018 and is also rich in by-products such as silver.

Although GeoVic suggests Newmont’s status description for EL006893 is an “application”,  the implications of a major player swooping in to secure a large chunk of the area are clear. Regardless of whether Newmont is successful in its application, it clearly sees enough that it like to regard this specific area as worthy of future exploration work. For ECR Minerals this looks good news and the company seems to be very well placed to take advantage of a gold rush revival in the Central Victoria region.

Authors: Stuart Langelaan & Ben Turney

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