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ECR Minerals’ Craig Brown updates Andrew Scott at Proactive on talks with potential partners for key gold assets in Australia

ECR Minerals PLC’s (LON:ECR) Craig Brown tells Proactive London’s Andrew Scott they’re in active discussions with potential partners on its Bailieston and Creswick projects in Victoria, Australia. ECR’s recently sold licences comprising the Avoca, Moormbool and Timor gold exploration projects in Victoria, Australia to Fosterville South Exploration Ltd for a total potential cash consideration of up to A$2.5mln.

ECR Minerals #ECR – Unaudited Half-Yearly Results for the Six Months Ended 31 March 2020

ECR Minerals plc, the gold exploration and development company, is pleased to announce unaudited half-yearly financial results for the six months to 31 March 2020 for the Company as consolidated with its subsidiaries (the “Group”), along with a review of significant developments during the period and subsequently.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Victoria, Australia continues to enjoy a gold exploration boom and interest from third parties in ECR’s projects in Victoria is strong, with several discussions taking place in respect of potential commercial transactions over our Bailieston and Creswick projects.
  • Announced results from exploration activities in Victoria included positive findings of an alteration study on RC drill cuttings from the Creswick project (March 2020), and confirmation of very high grade gold mineralisation at Creswick by the completion of ‘full bag’ testing (November 2019).
  • In January 2020, MGA, ECR’s 100% owned Australian subsidiary, received a research and development expenditure refund of A$555,212 (approximately £295,515) from the Australian government.
  • The Company completed the sale of its Argentine subsidiary Ochre Mining SA in February 2020 and retains an NSR royalty of up to 2% to a maximum of USD 2.7 million in respect of future production from the SLM gold project.
  • Post-period end, the Company sold licences comprising the Avoca, Moormbool and Timor gold exploration projects in Victoria, Australia to Fosterville South Exploration Ltd for total potential cash consideration of up to A$2.5 million announced in April 2020.
  • Post-period end, the Company’s cash position was strengthened by a £500,000 equity financing and the receipt of A$500,000 from Fosterville South Exploration Ltd in April 2020.
  • Group comprehensive expense of £1,846,202 for the six months ended 31 March 2020 (£480,368 for the six months ended 31 March 2019) and net assets of £2,206,211 at 31 March 2020 (£3,876,921 at 31 March 2019).
  • The Group Operating Loss for the six months ended 31 March 2020 reduced to £369,102, compared with £438,145 for the six months ended 31 March 2019.
  • Despite the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy, the Directors’ believe ECR is in a robust financial position and continues to provide shareholders with exposure to an exciting range of gold projects.

FINANCIAL RESULTS
For the six months ended 31 March 2020 the unaudited financial statements of the Group record a total comprehensive expense of £1,846,202, including, a one off exceptional item of (£1,602,539) which pertains to the disposal of the Company’s Argentine subsidiary Ochre Mining SA. This amount cannot remain capitalised under applicable accounting standards, although this amount could be recovered from future royalty payments in relation to the SLM gold project in Argentina, which is owned by Ochre Mining SA, if they progress to production.

The Group’s net assets were £2,275,479 at 31 March 2020, compared with £3,876,921 at 31 March 2019. The reduction in net assets has occurred largely due to the disposal of Ochre Mining SA, as explained above.

The Group held £166,852 of cash and cash equivalents at 31 March 2020, compared with £622,457 at 31 March 2019. The current cash position of the Group today is £742,379.

In January 2020, Mercator Gold Australia Pty Ltd (“MGA”), ECR’s 100% owned Australian subsidiary, received a research and development (R&D) refund of A$555,212 (approximately £295,515) from the Australian government. This refund relates to qualifying expenditure incurred by MGA in the year ended 30 September 2019. The qualifying R&D activities pertain to research into turbidite-hosted gold deposits within MGA’s exploration licences in Victoria. Post the period end, the Group’s cash position benefited from a £500,000 equity financing completed by the Company and the receipt of AUD$500,000 from the sale of licences in April 2020.

The financial information included in the 31 March 2019 announcement have been restated due to a change in the accounting treatment of the R&D refunds received by MGA. As well as the refund noted above, a refund of A$318,971.73 (approximately £175,188) was received in May 2019. This was previously categorised as other income in the interims to 31 March 2019. The amount received has been offset against exploration assets following the restatement.

REVIEW OF PRINCIPAL DEVELOPMENTS DURING THE PERIOD AND SUBSEQUENTLY

Sale of Avoca, Moormbool and Timor gold exploration projects (the “Licences”) in Victoria, Australia to Fosterville South Exploration Ltd

In April 2020, ECR announced that Fosterville South Exploration Ltd, which listed on the TSX Venture Exchange that same month, had agreed to acquire MGA’s 100% ownership of the Licences by way of Currawong Resources Pty Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Fosterville South, for total potential cash consideration of up to A$2.5 million, as follows:

  1. A$500,000 in cash, which was paid to MGA immediately;
  2. A further payment of A$1 for every ounce of gold or gold equivalent of measured resource, indicated resource or inferred resource estimated within the area of one or more of the Licences in any combination or aggregation of the foregoing, up to a maximum of A$1,000,000 in aggregate;
  3. A further payment of A$1 for every ounce of gold or gold equivalent produced from within the area of one or more of the Licences, up to a maximum of A$1,000,000 in aggregate.

ECR considered the Avoca, Moormbool and Timor licences to be high-potential but non-core to the Company, and the Company maintains exposure to upside from the projects as a result of future resource estimation or production, through a royalty arrangement as set out above.

Alteration Study – Creswick Gold Project
In February 2020, MGA commissioned Dr Dennis Arne to carry out an alteration study of cuttings (chips) generated by the RC drilling at the Creswick project in 2019. Dr Arne is a preeminent consulting geochemist in Victoria, whose experience includes previous and on-going reviews of geochemistry at the highly successful Fosterville gold mine in Central Victoria owned by Kirkland Lake Gold.

The results of the study were announced on 27 March 2020, and showed 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.

‘Full Bag’ Sampling – Creswick Gold Project
In February 2019 MGA completed a total of 1,687 metres of reverse circulation (RC) drilling in 17 holes at Creswick, targeting multiple quartz vein orientations within the Dimocks Main Shale (“DMS”). The drilling identified more extensive quartz than anticipated, in a zone exceeding 60 metres in width (more than twice the 25 metres expected), with quartz identified in more than one third of the 1,687 metres drilled. Gold mineralisation was identified in the majority of holes, with grades in nine holes ranging from 0.6 g/t gold to 44.63 g/t gold (1.44 oz/t).

MGA’s geologists hypothesised an extreme nuggety distribution of gold based on the results of drilling and other observations, including capturing a small 0.27 g nugget in gravity tests conducted on a single sample bag. In order to assess the significance of this effect, MGA’s consultants devised a testing program using gravity and electrostatic concentration (GEC) on full bags of RC drill cuttings, which would constitute the whole sample recovered from each metre of drilling (less sub-samples obtained at the time of drilling via a splitter mounted on the drill rig). In nuggety gold systems, increasing sample size increases the chance of nuggets being captured in the sample, and thus being appreciated as part of the gold endowment of the system.

Using the GEC method on the full bags, MGA was able to subject larger, more representative sample sizes to analysis. A total of 129 ‘full-bag’ samples were analysed using the GEC process. In parallel, 74 duplicate sub-samples obtained at the time of drilling via the rig-mounted splitter were analysed by the Leachwell method at Gekko Systems. This was done to enable comparison with the assay results (obtained by the same method) for the first set of sub-samples, to assist in classifying the nugget effect as extreme, major or minor.

Grade variability due to the nugget effect was demonstrated by the results of the exercise, which were announced in November 2019, but some consistency between results was also seen, and indicates the nugget effect may be less severe than initially thought. Overall, the programme confirmed the presence of nuggety gold mineralisation in the Dimocks Main Shale (DMS) at Creswick, some of which is very high grade.

MGA’s tenement position at Creswick covers approximately 7 kilometres of the DMS trend, and the 2019 drilling only tested approximately 300 metres of this. ECR therefore believes there is significant potential upside in the project.

Sale of SLM Gold Project
In February 2020, the Company sold its wholly owned Argentine subsidiary Ochre Mining SA, which holds the SLM gold project in La Rioja, Argentina, to Hanaq Argentina SA (“Hanaq”). The sale allows ECR to focus on its core gold exploration activities in Australia.

Hanaq is a Chinese-owned company engaged in lithium, base and precious metals exploration in Northwest Argentina including Salta, Jujuy and La Rioja, with a highly experienced management team.

ECR retains an Net Smelter Return (“NSR”) royalty of up to 2% to a maximum of USD 2.7 million in respect of future production from the SLM gold project. ECR believes that Hanaq has the operational capabilities and access to Chinese investment capital necessary to put the SLM project into production, subject to the usual prerequisites such as further exploration and feasibility studies being successfully completed (if deemed necessary by Hanaq) and to the necessary permits for production being obtained.

The founder and CEO of Hanaq Group, of which Hanaq Argentina SA is part, is Mr Xiaohuan (Juan) Tang, who has a substantive track record in Latin America, including responsibility for the successful permitting of the Pampa de Pongo iron ore project in Peru in his former capacity as General Manager of Jinzhao Mining Peru. Pampa de Pongo is one of the largest iron ore deposits in Latin America. Mr Tang has degrees from Tsinghua University in China, and Imperial College, Cambridge University and Oxford University in the UK.

Outlook, Future Prospects and COVID 19
The Directors’ of ECR Minerals plc are very positive regarding the outlook for the Company, gold and the prospectively of the Company’s projects in Victoria, Australia.

As a consequence of COVID 19, governments around the world have imposed restrictions on international travel; restrictions have also been imposed on domestic travel within Australia. These restrictions have meant that the board have been unable to visit the assets. However, the team on the ground in Australia continue the work at site without interruption. Accordingly, there has been no significant negative impact on the Group from the coronavirus.

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

Tel: +44 (0)1483 413500

Broker

Nick Emerson

FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS
This announcement may include forward looking statements. Such statements may be subject to a number of 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 as a result of new information, future events or for any other reason.

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.

Link here for financial statements

Monetary Stimulus = Currency Devaluation = Increasing Gold Demand

As the world starts to emerge from the first wave of the COVID-19 crisis, the implications for the unprecedented monetary stimulus measures employed by Governments around the globe to support citizens in lockdown are becoming ever clearer.

As stock markets roar back from the coronavirus-led rout, advisers to the world’s wealthy are urging them to hold more gold, questioning the strength of the rally and the long-term impact of global central banks’ cash splurge, Reuters writers commented.

In a note for Kitco News, Allen Sykora noted Gold had started a new week on firmer footing amid worries about the rising number of COVID-19 cases. “The price of gold jumped to its highest in more than a month this morning ($1,757), after surging coronavirus cases heightened concerns over a delay in global economic recovery,” said a research note from commodities brokerage SP Angel. Analysts cited news reports showing that while social distancing in March and April slowed the spread of the virus, reopening in a number of U.S. states and European nations has coincided with a new wave of infections.

Commerzbank believes the U.S. economic recovery is “hanging in the balance” with a likelihood of “increasing calls for the U.S. government to implement further stimulus measures, especially as [Federal Reserve Chair Jerome] Powell had already called for more fiscal stimulus during his virtual testimony before the U.S. Congress last week,” Commerzbank also believes the U.S. Fed is “likely to keep the pedal to the metal – i.e. to expand its balance sheet”… and thus the issue of currency debasement/inflation ..”will remain high in the minds of market participants.”

Geologists speculating with fees for professional services

This ‘pedal to the metal’ approach to monetary easing and the conseqential strength in gold continues to drive investor interest in junior gold explorers. Increasingly this sector is seeing mining geologists taking fees for their work in shares as well as cash, as armed with knowledge and experience, a successful drilling campaign can have a transformational effect the valuations of small cap explorers with quality projects, meaning that professional fees can potentially multiply in value. The majority of small mining companies however only have one or two key projects in their asset portfolio, so micro-cap explorers that own a broad spread of assets are particularly sought after.

AIM listed ECR Minerals (AIM: ECR) is firmly in the latter category. The company 100% owns the 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, detailed below. In addition ECR has earned a 25% interest in the Danglay epithermal gold project in the north of the Philippinesand and holds a net smelter royalty on the SLM gold project in Argentina.

Creswick

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. Referred to by ECR as ‘nuggety gold mineralisation’, 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

Bailieston

Bailieston is also at the centre of the current gold exploration boom in Victoria, located close to the highly successful Fosterville mine owned by Kirkland Lake Gold. The project potential was underlined by the arrival of mining giant Newmont Exploration with a license application for ground immediately to the north of ECR’s Black Cat prospect. The Fosterville mine is located approximately 50km west of the Bailieston project.

Flagship Projects Set to Deliver Value

The focus on Creswick and Bailieston prompted the board decision in April 2020 to sell three further Victoria licences (the Avoca, Moormbool and Timor gold exploration projects) to TSX-V listed Fosterville South Exploration Ltd for an upfront cash payment of A$500,000, plus additional potential of a further A$2 million based on resource estimates and gold production.

This, added to the two recent R&D cash refunds and the GB£500,000 placing at 0.5p mean that ECR are fully funded and ready to spend on further developing the two flagship assets.

And with external parties currently reviewing data on the Bailieston and Creswick gold projects with a view to potential commercial transactions and joint venture opportunities, the ECR board believes that both projects “hold considerable potential and inherent value for the Company.”

Currently valued at just GB£3.9m, there are great expectations for ECR in the coming months despite the restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 lockdown. Given the compelling backdrop in the Gold market and the ‘pedal to the metal’approach to monetary easing by Governments around the world, ECR shareholders could be set for a bonanza if Creswick and Bailieston come good.

References:

Reuters: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-gold-wealth-analys/worlds-ultra-wealthy-go-for-gold-amid-stimulus-bonanza-idUSKBN23P253

Kitco: https://www.kitco.com/news/2020-06-22/Gold-prices-trade-to-one-month-high-on-COVID-19-concerns-analysts.html?sitetype=fullsite

 

 

 

ECR Minerals #ECR – Sale of Exploration Licences for total potential cash consideration of up to A$2.5 million

ECR Minerals plc (LON: ECR), the gold exploration and development company focussed on Australia, is pleased to announce the sale by ECR’s wholly owned Australian subsidiary Mercator Gold Australia Pty Ltd (“MGA”) of the licences comprising the Avoca, Moormbool and Timor gold exploration projects (the “Licences”) in Victoria, Australia to Fosterville South Exploration Ltd (“Fosterville South”) for total potential cash consideration of up to A$2.5 million.

Fosterville South, which recently listed on the TSX Venture Exchange with the code FSX, has agreed to acquire MGA’s 100% ownership of the Licences by way of Currawong Resources Pty Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Fosterville South, for the following consideration:

1. A$500,000 in cash to be paid to MGA immediately;

2. A further payment of A$1 for every ounce of gold or gold equivalent of measured resource, indicated resource or inferred resource estimated within the area of one or more of the Licences in any combination or aggregation of the foregoing, up to a maximum of A$1,000,000 in aggregate;

3. A further payment of A$1 for every ounce of gold or gold equivalent produced from within the area of one or more of the Licences, up to a maximum of A$1,000,000 in aggregate.

Craig Brown, Chief Executive Officer of ECR, commented: “We are delighted to sell these non-core but high-potential licences to Fosterville South, while maintaining exposure to upside from the Licences as a result of future resource estimation or production.

We believe Fosterville South is well placed to advance the Licences with its strong local exploration team and backing from North American high-net worth and institutional investors, while ECR will continue to concentrate its resources on our core projects in Victoria, Bailieston and Creswick.

The initial cash to be received from this disposal, in addition to the recently announced placing for £500,000, puts ECR in a robust working capital position which we can apply toward development of our core projects.

It is worth noting that other external parties are currently reviewing data on our Bailieston and Creswick gold projects with a view to potential commercial transactions, including joint venture opportunities, although there can be no guarantee that any transaction will occur. In addition, whilst ECR remains open to transactions on these licence areas, the ECR board believe both to hold considerable potential and inherent value for the Company.”

Further Information

The Licences comprise exploration licences EL5387 (Avoca project), EL006280 and EL006913 (Moormbool project), and EL006278 (Timor project) in Victoria, Australia.

The book value of the Licences as derived from ECR’s unaudited management accounts for the period ended 30 March 2020 was approximately A$282,000, which is the equivalent of approximately £144,000, based on £1 = A$1.9626*. No turnover, profits or losses are attributable to the Licences.

The maximum potential cash consideration receivable by MGA in respect of the sale of the Licences is A$2.5 million, which is the equivalent of approximately £1.275 million, based on £1 = A$1.9626*

The Company intends that the consideration to be received immediately, and any future consideration received, will be applied by ECR to augment its ongoing working capital position as well as towards its exploration and development activities.

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.

*Exchange rate derived from closing price on Bloomberg at 17 April 2020.

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 and the Windidda 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.

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 – Unaudited Half-Yearly Results for the Six Months Ended 31 March 2019

ECR Minerals plc, the precious metals exploration and development company, is pleased to announce unaudited half-yearly financial results for the six months to 31 March 2019 for the Company as consolidated with its subsidiaries (the “Group”), along with a review of significant developments during the period and subsequently.

HIGHLIGHTS:

Victorian Goldfields Gold Project Portfolio

  • Significant expansion in operational activity in the period culminating in the January 2019 commencement of a gold focus drill programme across two projects at Bailieston (Black Cat prospect and Blue Moon prospect) and Creswick;
  • Post period end in April 2019 successful reconnaissance drilling confirmed at Black Cat prospect announced, in licence ground adjacent to a large licence application package lodged by Newmont Mining
  • In May 2019 new gold discovery announced at the Blue Moon prospect, confirmed by reverse circulation (RC) drilling results
  • In June 2019, extreme nuggetty gold geology confirmed at Creswick leading to the launch of a gold nugget test programme at the project
  • ‘Whole-of-bag’ testing underway on RC drill samples from the Creswick, which the Company believes may host a very substantial gold deposit subject to further drilling and evaluation

Western Australian Portfolio

  • In January 2019 the Company announced the formation of the Windidda project, including nine licence applications covering 1,600 square kilometres covering a buried Archean Greenstones
  • Archean greenstones host many of Western Australian and the world’s most prolific gold deposits

Financial Results

  • Group comprehensive expense of £305,180 for the six months ended 31 March 2019 (£321,433 for the six months ended 31 March 2018)
  • Net assets of £4,052,109 at 31 March 2019 (£3,413,792 at 31 March 2018)
  • Financing undertaken in December 2018 to raise £700,000 and providing sufficient cash resources for planned business activities until at least Q2 2020
  • In May 2019 the Company announced a tax update confirming an Australian research & development cash refund of A$318,972 (approximately £175,188) and an anticipated further claim to be made of approximately A$370,000 (approximately £198,000);
  • The Company also confirmed in May 2019 that its 100% owned operating subsidiary Mercator Gold Australia Pty Ltd had carried forward corporate income tax losses of A$66,203,862 (approximately £35.5million) in respect of historical losses which are available for carry forward

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER’S REPORT

The six months to 31 March 2019 and the period since have been marked by a series of exciting developments for ECR, all of them related to the Group’s primary strategic activity, which is exploration for multi-million ounce gold deposits in Australia through ECR’s wholly owned Australian subsidiary Mercator Gold Australia Pty Ltd (“MGA”).

The focus of on-the-ground activities was and continues to be MGA’s projects in the state of Victoria, but also important are the applications lodged in December 2018 for the exploration licences which will comprise the Windidda gold project in Western Australia. Windidda represents a strategic move by ECR into the Yilgarn Craton which, like Victoria, is one of the world’s major gold provinces.

EXPLORATION ACTIVITIES IN THE VICTORIAN GOLDFIELDS

The first half of calendar year 2019 saw significant drilling activity at MGA’s Creswick gold project in Victoria, and at the Black Cat and Blue Moon gold prospects within the Bailieston project area. A great deal of preparation for the drilling, consisting of planning and preliminary exploration including rock chip and soil sampling and geological mapping, took place in the second half of calendar year 2018.

This preparatory work also informed the application by MGA for a number of additional exploration licences to expand its ground position in the Creswick, Bailieston and Moormbool areas. We were also encouraged by the fact that in late 2018, a subsidiary of Newmont Mining applied for an exploration licence abutting MGA’s Bailieston licence to the north.

New Gold Discovery at Blue Moon Prospect

Turning to the drilling itself, the results of reverse circulation (RC) drilling at Blue Moon have confirmed the prospect as a new gold discovery.

Highlights included intersections of 2 metres at 17.87 g/t gold within a zone of 15 metres at 3.81 g/t gold from 51 metres in BBM007, and 3 metres at 3.88 g/t gold within a zone of 11 metres at 2.42 g/t gold from 169 metres in BBM006. Twelve holes were drilled for a total of 1,718 metres.

The drilling results indicate that the host sandstone is thicker and the gold grades significantly higher on the westerly section, and further exploration will therefore seek to follow the system to the west, subject to agreeing access with landowners.

Successful Reconnaissance Drilling at Black Cat Prospect

Rotary air blast (RAB) drilling at the Black Cat prospect, which is located immediately south of the ground applied for by Newmont, constituted a successful reconnaissance programme at a prospect which had never been drilled before.

The programme targeted numerous quartz reefs with 18 shallow holes for 485 metres of drilling in total. Significant intersections included 7 metres at 1.76 g/t gold from 35 metres in BCD11 and 3 metres at 4.26 g/t gold from 16 metres in BCD18.

As well as the encouraging grades, the drilling provided important geological information which may help vector further exploration at Black Cat and in the wider Bailieston gold project area.

Nuggety Gold Confirmed at Creswick and Whole-of-Bag Tests Underway

At Creswick, MGA completed a total of 1,687 metres of reverse circulation (RC) drilling in 17 holes, targeting multiple quartz vein orientations within the Dimocks Main Shale (“DMS”).

Drilling identified more extensive quartz than anticipated, in a zone exceeding 60 metres in width (more than twice the 25 metres expected), with quartz identified in more than one third of the 1,687 metres drilled. Gold mineralisation was identified in the majority of holes, with grades in nine holes ranging from 0.6 g/t gold to 44.63 g/t gold (1.44 oz/t).

MGA’s geologists have hypothesised an extreme nuggety distribution of gold based on observations and results, including capturing a small 0.27 g nugget in gravity tests conducted on a single sample bag. This means that gold is not evenly distributed in bags of RC drilling samples.

The Company previously assayed 2 kg sub-samples from a 30 kg bag, which is industry practice but too small a sample for an extreme nuggety distribution. There was a significant likelihood that coarse gold could be excluded from the sample.

This meant that assays of the 2 kg sub-samples could be understated for gold, and this was demonstrated in one whole-of-bag test where the assay from a 2 kg sub-sample reported gold of 1.88 g/t whereas the 30 kg whole-of-bag sample test showed the bag actually contained a substantially higher 11.8 g/t. Alternatively, a single assayed nugget will overstate the average from a 2 kg sub-sample.

In order to address these issues, a comprehensive process of whole-of-bag testing has commenced to determine the full extent of the gold within the RC drill samples. This is a sizeable exercise. Of the 1,687 metres drilled, 640 bags of close to 30 kg each contain quartz and these bags plus the surrounding bags will be tested in a process which is fully discussed in the Company’s announcement dated 11 June 2019.

Internal modelling suggests the DMS has significant prospective tonnage to potentially host an important gold deposit at Creswick, and therefore a better indication as to the true grade of the mineralisation which will be provided by the results of the whole-of-bag testing will be of great significance for the Company.

WINDIDDA GOLD PROJECT, WESTERN AUSTRALIA

The Windidda project comprises nine exploration licence applications for a 1,600 square kilometre land package which has been identified as a buried Archean greenstone trend with the potential to host orogenic gold deposits.

The granting of the licences is awaited, and consultants instructed by MGA have already begun geophysical data processing and modelling to determine structural trends within, and the depth to, the interpreted buried Archean greenstones.

The opportunity to apply for the Windidda project was introduced to ECR by Sam Garrett, who joined the Company as a non-executive director in February 2019. Sam is an Australian geologist with 30 years of exploration management, project assessment and operational experience working for large multi-national and junior mining and exploration companies in ten countries including Australia, Argentina and the Philippines.

ARGENTINA AND PHILIPPINES PROJECTS

ECR continues to have 100% ownership of the SLM gold project in La Rioja, Argentina, and is entitled to a 25% interest in the Danglay gold project in the northern Philippines. The status of both projects remains as disclosed in the Company’s latest annual report and accounts published in March 2019.

FINANCIAL RESULTS

For the six months ended 31 March 2019 the unaudited financial statements of the Company as consolidated with its subsidiaries (the “Group”) record a total comprehensive expense of £305,180, the largest component of which is other administrative expenses of £432,387, which relate primarily to the development of the Group’s projects, but which cannot be capitalised under applicable accounting standards. The Group reported a total comprehensive expense of £321,433 for the six months ended 31 March 2018.

The Group’s net assets were £4,052,109 at 31 March 2019 compared with £3,413,792 at 31 March 2018, including £622,457 of cash and cash equivalents at 31 March 2019. The Group’s cash position benefited from a £700,000 equity financing completed by the Company in December 2018.

Post the period end, MGA, ECR’s 100% owned Australian subsidiary, received a research and development refund of A$318,971.73 (approximately £175,188) from the Australian government. This refund relates to qualifying expenditure incurred by MGA in the year ended 30 June 2018, and in due course MGA intends to submit a further claim for the year ended 30 June 2019.

Craig Brown
Chief Executive Officer

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

Tel: +44 (0)1483 413500

Broker

Nick Emerson

FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS

This announcement may include forward looking statements. Such statements may be subject to a number of 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 as a result of new information, future events or for any other reason.

Consolidated Income Statement

For the six months ended 31 March 2019

Six months ended

31 March 2019

Six months ended

31 March 2018

Year ended

30 September 2018

Continuing operations

£

£

£

Other income

175,188

Other administrative expenses

(432,387)

(240,719)

(544,521)

Currency exchange differences

(5,758)

(2,507)

(6,912)

Total administrative expenses

(438,145)

(243,226)

(551,433)

Operating loss

(262,957)

(243,226)

(551,433)

Fair value movements – available for sale financial asset

4,260

(5,429)

(971)

Aborted transaction option fee

(25,000)

(283,697)

(248,655)

(552,404)

Finance income

1,135

710

1,386

Finance costs

1,000

Finance income and costs

1,135

710

2,386

Loss for the period before taxation

(282,562)

(247,945)

(550,018)

Income tax

Loss for the period

(282,562)

(247,945)

(500,018)

Loss attributable to:

Owners of the parent

(282,562)

(247,945)

(500,018)

Loss per share – basic and diluted

(0.07)p

(0.10)p

(0.21)p

Consolidated Statement of Comprehensive Income

For the six months ended 31 March 2019

Six months ended

31 March 2019

Six months ended

31 March 2018

Year ended

30 September 2018

£

£

£

Loss for the period

(282,562)

(247,945)

(500,018)

Items that may be reclassified subsequently to profit or loss

Gain/(losses) on exchange translation

(22,618)

(73,488)

(171,442)

Other comprehensive income/(expense) for the period

(22,618)

(73,488)

(171,442)

Total comprehensive expense for the period

(305,180)

(321,433)

(721,460)

Attributable to:

Owners of the parent

(305,180)

(321,433)

(721,460)

Consolidated Statement of Financial Position

At 31 March 2019

As at

31 March 2019

As at

31 March 2018

As at

30 September 2018

Assets

£

£

£

Non–current assets

Property, plant and equipment

2,001

5,751

3,033

Exploration assets

3,305,640

2,675,346

2,859,474

Total non-current assets

3,307,641

2,681,097

2,862,507

Current assets

Trade and other receivables

245,494

46,138

79,413

Available for sale financial assets

25,558

16,841

21,299

Taxation

20,283

Cash and cash equivalents

622,457

701,499

781,142

893,510

784,761

881,854

Total assets

4,201,150

3,465,858

3,744,361

Current liabilities

Trade and other payables

149,041

52,067

92,816

Total liabilities

149,041

52,067

92,816

Net assets

4,052,109

3,413,792

3,651,545

Equity attributable to owners of the parent

Share capital

11,284,794

11,282,812

11,283,756

Share premium

45,164,876

43,823,335

44,460,171

Exchange reserve

(412,119)

(291,547)

(389,501)

Other reserves

1,381,998

1,381,998

1,381,998

Retained losses

(53,367,441)

(52,782,806)

(53,084,879)

Total equity

4,052,109

3,413,792

3,651,545

Consolidated statement of changes in equity

For the six months ended 31March 2019

Share capital

Share premium

Exchange

reserves

Other

reserves

Retained

reserves

Total

Equity

£

£

£

£

£

£

At 1 October 2017

11,282,812

43,823,335

(218,059)

1,381,998

(52,534,860)

3,735,226

Loss for the period

(247,945)

(247,945)

Loss on exchange translation

(73,488)

(73,488)

Attributable share of changes in equity of associated company

Total comprehensive income /(expense)

(73,488)

(247,945)

(321,433)

Share based payments

Shares issued in payment of creditors

At 31 March 2018

11,282,812

43,823,335

(291,547)

1,381,998

(52,782,805)

3,413,793

Loss for the period

(302,073)

(302,073)

Loss on exchange translation

(97,954)

(97,954)

Total comprehensive income /(expense)

(97,954)

(302,073)

(400,027)

Shares issued

929

649,071

650,000

Shares issue costs

(27,220)

(27,220)

Shares issued in payment of creditors

15

14,985

15,000

At 30 September 2018

11,283,756

44,460,171

(389,501)

1,381,998

(53,084,878)

3,651,545

Loss for the period

(282,562)

(282,562)

Loss on exchange translation

(22,618)

(22,618)

Total comprehensive income /(expense)

(22,618)

(282,562)

(305,180)

Shares issued

1,039

742,745

743,784

Share issue costs

(38,040)

(38,040)

Total transactions with owners, recognised directly in equity

1,039

704,705

(22,618)

(282,562)

400,564

At 31 March 2019

11,284,795

45,164,876

(412,119)

1,381,998

(53,367,440)

4,052,109

Consolidated Cash Flow Statement

For the six months ended 31 March 2019

Six months ended 31 March 2019

Six months ended

31 March 2018

Year ended

30 September 2018

£

£

£

Net cash flow used in operations

(571,969)

(301,408)

(563,850)

Investing activities

Increase in exploration assets

(446,165)

(6,600)

(302,794)

Interest received

1,135

1,386

Other income

175,188

Net cash used in investing activities

(269,842)

(6,600)

(301,408)

Financing activities

Proceeds from issue of shares

705,744

622,780

Net cash from financing activities

705,744

622,780

Net change in cash and cash equivalents

(136,067)

(308,008)

(242,478)

Cash and cash equivalents at beginning of the period

781,142

1,082,994

1,082,994

Effect of change in exchange rates

(22,618)

(73,487)

(59,374)

Cash and cash equivalents at end of the period

622,457

701,499

781,142

Notes to the Condensed Half-Yearly Financial Statements

For the six months ended 31 March 2019

1. Basis of preparation

The condensed consolidated half-yearly financial statements incorporate the financial statements of the Company and its subsidiaries (the “Group”) made up to 31 March 2019. The results of the subsidiaries are consolidated from the date of acquisition, being the date on which the Company obtains control, and continues to be consolidated until the date such control ceases.

These condensed half-yearly consolidated financial statements do not include all of the information required for full annual financial statements, and should be read in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements of the Group for the year ended 30 September 2018. They have been prepared in accordance with the accounting policies adopted in the last annual financial statements for the year to 30 September 2018. The report of the auditors on those accounts was unqualified and did not contain a statement under section 498(2) or (3) of the Companies Act 2006, but did include a reference to matters which the auditors drew attention to by way of emphasis without qualifying their report.

The accounting policies have been applied consistently throughout the Group for the purpose of preparation of these consolidated half-yearly financial statements. New standards, amendments and interpretations effective for accounting periods commencing after 1 January 2018 have been adopted but do not have a material impact on the condensed consolidated financial statements. The Group has not early adopted any other standard, interpretation or amendment that has been issued but is not yet effective.

The financial information in this statement does not constitute full statutory accounts within the meaning of Section 434 of the Companies Act 2006. The financial information for the six months ended 31 March 2019 and 31 March 2018 is unaudited. The comparative figures for the period ended 30 September 2018 were derived from the Group’s audited financial statements for that period as filed with the Registrar of Companies. They do not constitute the financial statements for that period.

2. Going concern

The Directors are satisfied that the Group has sufficient resources to continue its operations and to meet its commitments for the immediate future. The Group therefore continues to adopt the going concern basis in preparing its condensed half-yearly financial statements.

3. Cash and cash equivalents

Cash includes petty cash and cash held in bank current accounts. Cash equivalents include short-term investments that are readily convertible to known amounts of cash and which are subject to insignificant risk of changes in value.

4. Earnings per share

Six months ended

31 March 2019

Six months ended

31 March 2018

Year ended

30 September

2018

Weighted number of shares in issue during the period

400,451,205

247,605,240

263,542,617

£

£

£

Loss from continuing operations attributable to owners of the parent

(282,562)

(247,946)

(550,018)

The disclosure of the diluted loss per share is the same as the basic loss per share as the conversion of share options decreases the basic loss per share thus being anti-dilutive.

Notes to the Condensed Half-Yearly Financial Statements

For the six months ended 31 March 2019

5. Income tax

No charge to tax arises on the results and no deferred tax provision arises or deferred tax asset is identified.

6. Shares and options transactions during the period

The share capital of the Company consists of three classes of shares: ordinary shares of 0.001p each which have equal rights to receive dividends or capital repayments and each of which represents one vote at shareholder meetings; and two classes of deferred shares, one of 9.9p each and the other of 0.099p each, which have limited rights as laid out in the Company’s articles: in particular deferred shares carry no right to dividends or to attend or vote at shareholder meetings and deferred share capital is only repayable after the nominal value of the ordinary share capital has been repaid.

a) Changes in issued share capital and share premium:

Number of

Ordinary

Deferred

Deferred ‘B’

Deferred

Total

Share

Shares

shares

9.9p shares

0.099p shares

0.199p shares

shares

premium

Total

£

£

£

£

£

£

£

At 1 October 2018

341,962,383

3,420

7,194,816

3,828,359

257,161

11,283,756

44,460,171

55,743,927

Issue of shares less costs

100,000,000

1,000

1,000

665,960

666,960

Shares issued in payment of creditors

3,878,400

39

39

38,745

38,784

Balance at 31 March 2019

445,840,783

4,458

7,194,816

3,828,359

257,161

11,284,794

45,164,876

56,449,670

All the shares issued are fully paid up and none of the Company’s shares are held by any of its subsidiaries.

7. Consolidated Cash Flow Statement

Six months ended

31 March

2019

Six months ended

31 March

2018

Year ended

30 September

2018

£

£

£

Operating activities

Loss for the period, before tax

(282,561)

(247,946)

(550,019)

Adjustments:

Depreciation expense, property, plant and equipment

1,032

2,943

5,661

(Gain)/Loss on available for sale financial assets

970

Interest income

(1,135)

(1,386)

Other income

(175,188)

(Gain)/Loss on revaluation of investments

(4,259)

5,428

Shares issued in lieu of expense payments

15,000

(Increase) /decrease in accounts receivable

(166,081)

(1,097)

(24,525)

Increase/(Decrease) in accounts payable

56,225

(50,300)

(9,551)

(Increase)/decrease in taxation

(10,436)

Net cash flow used in operations

(571,969)

(301,408)

(563,850)

Notes to the Condensed Half-Yearly Financial Statements

For the six months ended 31 March 2019

8. Post period end events

On 15 April 2019 the Company announced that the Company has commenced processing and interpretation of airborne and ground geophysics in respect of the Company’s 100% owned Windidda gold project (the “Project”) in Western Australia.

On 26 April 2019 the Company announced the findings of the reconnaissance rotary air blast (RAB) drilling programme recently completed at the Black Cat gold prospect, which is located within the Bailieston gold project area (EL5433) in the state of Victoria, Australia. Significant intersections at 7 metres at 1.76 g/t gold from 35 metres in BCD11, 3 metres at 4.26 g/t gold from 16 metres in BCD18, and 1 metre at 6.3 g/t gold from 18 metres in BCD03.

On 1 May 2019 the Company announced further results from the reverse circulation (RC) drilling programme completed in February and March 2019 at the Blue Moon gold prospect in the state of Victoria, Australia. Across the full RC drilling programme, significant intersections included: 2 metres at 17.87 g/t gold within a zone of 15 metres at 3.81 g/t gold from 51 metres in BBM007; 3 metres at 3.88 g/t gold within a zone of 11 metres at 2.42 g/t gold from 169 metres in BBM006; 1 metre at 2.15 g/t gold at the top of a zone of 16 metres at 0.28 g/t gold from 85 metres in BBM004; 2 metres at 1.40 g/t gold within a zone of 14 metres at 0.54 g/t gold in BBM005 from 132 metres; 1 metre at 1.94 g/t gold from 138 metres and 5 metres at 0.46 g/t gold from 152 metres in BBM010; and 5 metres at 1.09 g/t gold from 97 metres in BBM013.

On 8 May 2019 the Company announced an update in respect of the Company’s exploration programme at the Creswick gold project (the “Project”) in Victoria, Australia. Of the 17 holes drilled the Company identified gold mineralisation in all holes, with grades in 9 holes ranging from 0.6 g/t gold to 44.63 g/t gold (1.44 oz per tonne).

On 14 May 2019 the Company announced that Mercator Gold Australia Pty Limited (“MGA”) ECR’s 100% owned Australian subsidiary has received a cash Research and Development refund of A$318,971.73 which relates to qualifying expenditure incurred by MGA in the year ended 30 June 2018. The refund was received under the R&D Tax Incentive from the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science of the Australian Government.

On 17 May 2019 the Company announced the launch of the new corporate website which can be viewed at: www.ecrminerals.com.

On 11 June 2019 the Company announced an update in respect of the Company’s gold nugget test programme at the Company’s Creswick Project in Victoria, Australia.

On 24 June 2019 the Company announced the appointment of Keith Whitehouse, of Australian Exploration Field Services Pty Limited, as a consultant resource geologist to the Company.

On 26 June 2019 the Company announced the commencement of gold exploration activities at the Timor Gold Project (the “Project”) in Victoria, Australia.

ECR Minerals #ECR – Progress Update – Gold Nugget Test Programme Creswick Gold Project – Australia

ECR Minerals plc (LON:ECR), the precious metals exploration and development company, is pleased to provide an update in respect of the Company’s follow on gold nugget test programme at the Company’s Creswick Project in Victoria, Australia. The test programme has been designed by ECR, in conjunction with its advisers.

Readers are also advised to review the Company’s previous announcement dated 8 May 2019 which outlined the presence of a nuggetty gold system at Creswick, and this may be viewed through the following link:

https://polaris.brighterir.com/public/ecr_minerals_plc/news/rns/story/wk5e8vw

Highlights:

  • ECR’s technical team, in conjunction with advice from tendering laboratories, have devised a structured approach to systematically test zones in and around the 640 sample bags (each close to 30 kg) containing quartz collected from the recent reverse circulation drilling campaign at the Creswick Gold Project;
  • An initial trial selection process will utilise a metal detector to prioritise bags with a metallic signal. This is anticipated to expedite the sample selection from the large number of bags to send for full testing;
  • Metal detecting is now underway and a number of bags have tested positive for metal content and have been removed from site for “whole-of-bag” testing. A testing process is being finalised with a preferred laboratory;
  • Full laboratory analysis will require multiple steps including sieving, detecting, gold particle analysis, gravity concentration and assaying to determine the size distribution and grade of the coarse and fine gold within the sample;
  • ECR will communicate the results of the testing process within an initial update expected in the near term and further interim updates as the whole of bag testing process continues.

Craig Brown, Chief Executive Officer commented: “I am extremely pleased with the professionalism of the Company’s technical team in devising the structured approach to bag testing that has been developed. Creswick is a unique project and the assessment of in-situ gold mineralisation requires bespoke project management and technical application.

I am delighted that our first metal detecting of bags has already highlighted metal content, which we expect is reflective of nugget gold mineralisation as samples from depth are unlikely to contain other detectable metals.

Our internal modelling suggests the Dimocks Main Shale is large enough to potentially host a multi-million ounce gold deposit at Creswick and therefore ECR are allocating resources to this project in a prioritised manner whilst continuing to develop our other Australian gold projects in parallel.”

Background:

Within its previous exploration work and as announced by the Company on 8 May 2019 ECR hypothesised an extreme nuggetty distribution of gold based on observations and results, including capturing a small 0.27 g nugget in gravity tests conducted on a single sample bag. This means that gold is not evenly distributed in bags of drilling samples.

The Company previously assayed 2 kg samples from a 30 kg bag which is industry practice but too small a sample for extreme nuggetty distribution. There was a significant likelihood that coarse gold could be excluded from the sample.

This meant that assays samples could be understated for gold and this was demonstrated in one bag test where the assay from a 2 kg sample reported gold of 1.88g/t whereas the 30kg whole of bag sample test showed the bag actually contained a substantially higher 11.8g/t. Alternatively, a single assayed nugget will overstate the average from a 2 kg sample.

Based on the size of the previously recovered 0.27 g nugget, an ideal sample size could be approximately 5,000 kg. A 30 kg bag is 0.6% of this size and not large enough to be considered a representative sample, but a fifteen-fold improvement on 2 kg samples. There remains a high chance the full bag tests will not capture the nuggets. However, the greater number of full bag tests will increase the likelihood of including nuggets.

“Whole-of-bag” testing methodology

Following discussions with its technical team ECR concluded it should move into a process of “whole-of-bag” testing to determine the full extent of the gold within the reverse circulation samples. This is a sizeable exercise. Of the 1687 m drilled, 640 bags of close to 30 kg each contain quartz and these bags plus the surrounding bags will be tested.

In order to achieve the above objectives the Company’s technical team, in association with external consultants including laboratories capable of undertaking the whole of bag sample work, have considered numerous approaches to the testing process. This involved visits by ECR to the laboratories and consideration of various testing pathways and associated record keeping and process validation.

Analysis will test the primary hypothesis that gold is coarse but a program is being designed to additionally check for fine gold within the bags to assess the size distribution of the particles.

After due consideration of all factors and a range of practical tests, the Company is finalising a testing procedure at a suitable laboratory which is likely to follow the steps below:

1. Initial metal detector scanning of bags to prioritise bags to send to the lab for full testing. The Company considers that nuggets large enough to significantly impact the nugget effect will be able to be located with a metal detector. This will save the company the cost of testing all bags. A series of bags with no signal will be collected for analysis of the finer gold fraction, especially if the main set of bags show a significant fine gold component;

2. Secure transfer of bags testing positive for metal content to the laboratory for whole of bag testing;

3. Under laboratory conditions sensitive metal detector scanning of the coarse sieved (>0.85 mm) fraction of the bags is undertaken and the source of the signal removed, examined, logged, photographed and weighed. The entire coarse sample will then be assayed to calculate the total coarse gold from the bag;

4. The fine sieved fraction (<0.85 mm) will be gravity concentrated and this concentrate plus all of tails assayed for gravity recoverable and total gold. Following this step, all of the contents of the original bag would have been assayed;

5. The total gold content for each size fraction of each whole tested bag is calculated.

Initial findings from first batch of bags tested

After establishing the above testing protocol, the Company’s technical team have commenced initial metal detection of the bags as outlined by step one above

During the first phase of metal detection work a number of bags have generated a positive signal from the metal detector. These bags have been secured for transport to the laboratory for whole of bag testing under laboratory conditions.

Further metal detection tests are continuing and additional bags testing positive for metal will be securely transferred to the laboratory for whole of bag examination.

Whilst it is not certain that the tested bags contain gold, or as to what grade of mineralisation exists, and whether this is elevated grade against previous bag assay samples, the Company’s technical team consider the number of bags responding to date is very positive and the Company looks forward to receiving the “whole-of-bag” gold data from the early bags selected for laboratory analysis.

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 Australasian 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.

No let up in progress for ECR Minerals, as Q2 2019 delivers relentless growth

No let up in progress for ECR Minerals, as Q2 2019 delivers relentless growth

By Harry Dacres-Dixon

  • Drilling to success in Victoria.
  • Gravity concentration tests the way forward?
  • Australian gold mining – Production Cliff?
  • Australian gold – the future.

It’s been a busy two months for precious metals exploration and development company ECR Minerals (AIM:ECR).

The London AIM listed junior mining and exploration company is primarily focused on key projects in the Central Victorian Goldfields and the Yilgarn Craton in Western Australia. Both areas have a rich history of gold production, with Yilgarn in particular host to some 30% of the world’s known gold reserves.

The past month has seen a string of drilling announcements on the back of developments across a number of the group’s highly prospective Central Victoria projects.

Victoria drilling shows promise

At the end of April 2019, ECR reported significant findings from their reconnaissance low-cost rotary air blast (RAB) drilling programme at their Bailieston Black Cat gold prospect.

Located immediately to the south of the territory where Aussie mining giant Newmont Mining has also applied for a license, ECR completed 485 meters of drilling across 18 shallow holes at Black Cat.

Although the site had no previous history of drilling, the results showed promising intersections and grades. These included 7 metres at 1.76 g/t gold from 35 metres in BCD11, 3 metres at 4.26 g/t gold from 16 metres in BCD18, and 1 metre at 6.3 g/t gold from 18 metres in BCD03.

As well as samples, the results also provided important additional geological information. ECR CEO Craig Brown said he was “delighted with the positive outcomes from the programme”…adding that the drilling results “may help vector further exploration in the project area”

The pace of developments continued into May. On the 1st of the month, ECR provided shareholders with an update from its Bailieston gold project. A complete set of results was provided for the Blue Moon (EL5433) prospect following reverse circulation drilling at the site in February.

The news followed their previously released high-grade assay results from the same site, where ECR notably achieved an intersection of 17.87 g/t gold over two meters.

Data from the latest report significantly expanded the potential at the Blue Moon prospect. These included:

  • 2 metres at 1.40 g/t gold within a zone of 14 metres at 0.54 g/t gold in BBM005 from 132 metres;
  • 1 metre at 1.94 g/t gold from 138 metres and 5 metres at 0.46 g/t gold from 152 metres in BBM010.

Of the Blue Moon results, Brown made the following statement: “With the knowledge gained from the RC programme we believe that the gold mineralisation intensifies further west and now have a clear action plan to follow the system. We are excited by the findings and will continue our work at Blue Moon and other prospects in the Bailieston project area, with our strategic objective remaining a multi-million ounce gold discovery.”

Just seven days later, ECR announced to the markets that it’s multiple-prospect drilling programme had identified quartz in over one-third of the 1,687 metres drilled across 17 holes at their Creswick project.

This announcement had a marked effect on the stock, propelling ECR’s share price up from year lows of 0.65p on May 7th to a year high of 0.97p by the end of the following day.

Gravity Concentration tests show initial Creswick results understated gold content.

Across the nine assessed holes at Creswick, the mineralisation revealed ranged from 0.6 g/t gold to 44.63 g/t gold (1.44 oz per tonne). These results however were effectively knocked out of the park by a follow-up sample gravity concentration bag test, which showed that the initial assay test had understated the gold content by 84.2%. ECR said that the ‘nuggetty nature’ of the gold mineralisation increases the chance of it being missed in the drilled metre and when samples from the drill holes are sent for assay. As a result, all drilling samples are now undergoing the gravity concentration bag test.

Craig Brown was delighted with the news:“The work we are undertaking at Creswick is highly exciting given the transformational potential this large footprint gold system offers.

He added…”directors believe that the outcome has the potential to be Company transformational and is therefore deserving of our close attention.”

“ECR are now eagerly awaiting the findings from the whole of bag gravity concentration work and will report back to the market as significant developments occur.

R&D Refund helps to keep prices growing

To round off a highly successful run of results, May 14th saw a further shot in the arm for the investment case as ECR received a Research and Development refund of A$318,971 (approx £171,000) for it’s wholly owned Australian subsidiary Mercator Gold. Added to this, ECR are expecting an additional refund around August 2019 for an anticipated A$370,000.

To round off May, the company launched a new website to fully articulate projects, data and results to the global investing community. With the company now firmly in the investor spotlight, ECR stock broke out of a long standing trading range to close at a 3 year high of 1.3p on 3rd June 2019.

Australia Gold Market Production Cliff?

For the global mining investment community, Australia is ranked second in the world thanks to its pro-mining attitude and world-class infrastructure.

Producing 107.3m ounces, it’s annual output for last year came second only to China, and was valued at a staggering $19.2 billion at Australia’s current gold price of $1,820 an ounce.

However, despite expectations of a new record high of 109.6 million ounces this year, concerns have been raised over a possible ‘production cliff’ in the coming years.

Canadian research analyst Chris Galbraith, of S&P Global Market Intelligence, has predicted that Australia’s gold production will be in decline by 2022 as mines grow older.

These claims have been dismissed by Richard Hayes, CEO of Perth Mint, the company responsible for refining the majority of Australian gold.

“Every year I go to conferences where I see people putting up graphs which show a production cliff, where all of a sudden in the next year or two or three, there’s a massive drop off,”

“In the quarter of a century since I’ve been here I certainly haven’t seen any evidence of any of those predictions ever coming true” Mr Hayes said.

“I would be very, very surprised if there’s this production cliff we’re all going to fall off in five years’ time.”

Australian Gold – the future?

Whilst we can’t be sure what the long-term future holds for Australia’s gold mining industry, one thing that looks increasingly likely. Small, ambitious gold exploration companies such as ECR Minerals will play a big part.

New exploration and analysis techniques mean that hitherto unexplored or previously abandoned territories can be explored and revisited. ECR’s recent drilling activities and data analysis has confirmed once and for all to the global investing community that this small cap miner not only has a portfolio capable of delivering big results, but that it is very keen to get the ball rolling too.

With strong management, a clear focus and highly prospective sites in two world-class regions of Australia, if ECR can keep delivering good news and solid results – who knows, maybe… just maybe it’ll be their multi-million-ounce gold discovery that will propel Australia’s gold mining industry to new highs. And for the legions of gold investors around the globe, watching the impact of such a development on their portfolio will be the next best thing to being there on the ground with a pickaxe and panning kit!

 

References:

ABC News (2019):Australia’s $19b gold industry on edge of ‘production cliff’ as mines run out of gold, analyst warns

Ferret (2019):Australia welcomes top March quarter of gold production in over two decades predicts a positive future for Australian Gold Market amid concerns productions could decline from 2022.

Gold prices dropped slightly this week as the dollar reclaims it’s haven appeal, hitting two year high.

  • A new record high of 109.6 million ouncesis expected to be reached this year
  • Australian dollar gold price trading near historic highs of about $1,820 an ounce
  • Australia’s biggest new gold mine prepares to pour its first gold bar in June – The $621 million Gruyere project in WA’s Great Victoria Desert

Canadian research analyst Chris Galbraith, of S&P Global Market Intelligence,

  • Australia second largest producer after China, with 10.7m ounces worth $19.2 billion
  • Production set to fall by 40% to 6.3 million ounces over next five years
  • He predicts global gold production will be in decline from 2022

Perth Mint CEO Richard Hayes

  • “”Australia is the second largest producer of gold and has the world’s largest known gold reserves, so I would be very, very surprised if there’s this production cliff we’re all going to fall off in five years’ time.”

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

ECR Minerals plc (LSE:ECR), the precious metals exploration and development company, is pleased to provide an update in respect of the Company’s exploration programme at the Creswick gold project (the “Project”) in Victoria, Australia.

Highlights:

  • The Company has completed 1,687 metres of reverse circulation drilling in 17 holes at the Creswick gold project targeting multiple quartz vein orientations within the Dimocks Main Shale (“DMS”);
  • Drilling identified more extensive quartz than anticipated, in a zone exceeding 60m in width (more than twice the 25m width expected) with quartz identified in over one third of the 1,687 metres drilled;
  • The majority of drill results have now been received and are being reviewed by the Company’s technical team. Of the 17 holes drilled the Company has identified gold mineralisation in all holes so far with grades in 9 holes ranging from 0.6 g/t gold to 44.63 g/t gold (1.44 oz per tonne);
  • Technical review of the drill programme and assay results has confirmed elements of the complex geology at Creswick and confirmed that the gold mineralisation is ‘nuggetty’ in nature;
  • Nuggetty gold distribution can lead to understated assays, as the larger the nuggets the less the chance they will be captured in the drilled metre. Compounding the problem is only a small portion of each reverse circulation sample bag is actually tested. Conversely results can be overstated if the nugget happens to be captured in the small sample;
  • ECR has therefore commenced a process of gravity concentration tests from whole of bag samples from the reverse circulation drilling and will release results as the more representative whole of sample bag analyses are conducted;
  • From a trial sample bag tested from hole CSR011 a nugget has been found in the previously untested portion of the sample and overall the sample has demonstrated gold of 11.8 g/t from whole-of-bag gravity concentration, some 528% greater than the 1.88 g/t assay result;
  • Until further extensive whole-of-bag tests have been completed the results of the assays from the drilling program may be unreliable as indicators of true grade at this stage;
  • The work undertaken indicates that we believe there is potential for a very substantial gold deposit within the DMS as highlighted previously by the Company’s technical team and ECR is now accelerating the highly important gravity concentration tests as outlined;
  • A fuller explanation of the nugget effect and its implications is provided below and further updates will be announced to market as soon as practicable.

Craig Brown, Chief Executive Officer commented: “The work we are undertaking at Creswick is highly exciting given the transformational potential this large footprint gold system offers.

The question we have to answer is how much gold does the DMS hold that would be amenable to a bulk tonnage gold mining operation. We are closing in on the answer and the directors believe that the outcome has the potential to be Company transformational and is therefore deserving of our close attention.

We eagerly await the findings from the whole of bag gravity concentration work and will report back to the market as significant developments occur.”

Background:

Within the Company’s announcement dated 25 September 2018 it was confirmed that exploration mapping undertaken by the Company at the Project had identified a large gold system in the Dimocks Main Shale (“DMS”) gold targets. The announcement can be viewed through the following link:

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

The DMS sits between two large gold producing areas in Victoria, Australia where it is estimated that, historically, 15 million ounces of gold has been produced. It was the proposition of the Company’s technical team that they had identified the hard rock source for a significant portion of the aforementioned 15 million ounces of gold,. although further work was required to validate this proposition.

A visual representation of the DMS and the Company’s mapping, which demonstrates the potential link from the alluvial source with the DMS, is provided through following links to the ECR Minerals website:

https://www.ecrminerals.com/images/Creswick_Map1.jpg

https://www.ecrminerals.com/images/Creswick_Map2.jpg

Reverse Circulation Programme:

On 28 January 2019 the Company announced the commencement of a reverse circulation drilling programme targeting multiple quartz vein orientations identified within the DMS.

The majority of drill results have now been received and are being reviewed by the Company’s technical team. Of the 17 holes drilled the Company has identified gold mineralisation in 9 holes so far with grades ranging from 0.6 g/t to 44.63 g/t (1.44 ounces per tonne).

Further information in respect of the drill programme and the complete assay results will be provided in due course when all results have been received and analysed by the Company’s technical team; and alongside other important exploration and investigative work as outlined below.

Gold Nugget Effect – Creswick Project

The gold mineralisation at the Project is reef gold, with alluvial free gold which has eroded from the reef into the surrounding gullies. This means that in our earlier work we identified that a proportion of the in-situ gold has a nuggetty distribution across the DMS.

The drill testing programme was designed to examine this proposition, and the indications thus far demonstrate that the proposition of an extreme nuggetty distribution rather than major, minor or none. This is not unusual in these gold systems and Bendigo and Wattle Gully (Castlemaine) have an extreme nugget effect, whereas other deposits in Victoria and elsewhere are less (Dominy et al. 2004).

The State of Victoria in Australia is renowned for large gold nuggets and in the list of nuggets published by the Geological Survey of Victoria (Dunn, 1912) it is reported there was a 112 oz nugget found in a mine understood to be adjacent to one of the Company’s drill locations at the Project (hole CSR014). In addition, it is reported several nuggets over 100 oz were found in the vicinity of the Company’s drill targets and nuggets up to 625 oz further south in alluvial gullies downstream from the DMS.

The reverse circulation drilling programme has identified gold mineralisation, and the higher grade identified by the whole-of-bag test, indicates the potential for significant grades. With nuggetty gold however, the traditional assay testing can materially understate or overstate the gold in the samples.

The reason for this potential understatement is that nuggetty gold may be missed when samples from the reverse circulation drill holes are sent for assay. This arises from having the gold concentrated in a few large particles reducing the chances of a gold particle being captured in a small sample.

In respect of the Creswick programme typically 1 metre of reverse circulation drilling collected a 30kg sample. From each 30kg sample bag typically 2kg was sent to the assay laboratory, pulverised and subjected to the Leachwell method of analysis.

This means that from each 1 metre sample bag 93% of the contents were not initially tested and any nuggets within that untested portion of the sample would not be represented in the assay data.

The Company could have tested whole-of-bag samples from the beginning of the process, but that would have been a costly exercise prior to drilling completion, analysis of samples and initial assay testing.

With the benefit of the initial field work and sample analysis, together with guidance from the incoming assay results, the Company’s technical team has concluded that testing of the whole contents of each sample bag is required to fully assess the gold content.

After consideration of various methods the Company determined that the entire 30 kg sample in each bag should be subject to a gravity concentration test.

A trial bag has been tested and a 6.4mm 0.27g nugget was found in material from a 22.9kg sample bag. This which equates to 11.8 g/t from hole CSR011. The actual assay result for the 2kg sample from CSR011 was only 1.88 g/t. This reliably demonstrates that for the first bag fully tested by gravity concentration the initial assay test had understated the gold content by 84.2%.

As a result, the Company is now processing further whole-of-bag samples through the gravity concentration testing process.

Whilst there can be no certainty that additional bags tested will contain higher quantities of gold, it is unlikely that the testing will not find a degree of repetition of this type of result recognising what is now known about the DMS geology.

Should however the Company find in the testing process that considerable gold is identified, in nugget form, this may indicate a substantial in-situ gold deposit which may be amenable to a bulk tonnage mining operation.

Further testing is ongoing at present and the Company will be releasing regular updates with regard to this very important work.

REFERENCES

Dominy, S. C., Cuffley, B. W., McCarthy, P. L., Thomas, O. K. & Hill, R. L., 2004. The challenges of evaluating and exploiting gold-quartz reefs in the Central Victorian Goldfield, Australia. The AusIMM New Leaders’ Conference, Ballarat. pp121-141

Dunn, E. J. 1912. List of nuggets found in Victoria. Geological Survey of Victoria. Memoir 12.

Table 1. Tabulated intersections (> 0.5 g/t gold).

HoleID Interval (m) From (m) To (m) Grade (g/t gold)
CSR006 1 15 16 44.63
CSR012 1 52 53 2.49
CSR011 1 12 13 1.88
CSR002 1 12 13 1.43
CSR009 1 4 5 1.27
CSR010 1 10 11 1.21
CSR002 1 36 37 1.09
CSR015 1 38 39 1.03
CSR005 1 12 13 0.95
CSR003 1 26 27 0.90
CSR002 1 69 70 0.76
CSR002 1 9 10 0.64
CSR011 1 6 7 0.63
CSR012 1 17 18 0.61

Table 2. Hole details.

Hole ID Easting (m) Northing (m) Elevation (m) Zone Hole depth (m) Delination Azimuth
CSR001 759325 5854691 533 54 78 -50 278.5
CSR002 759328 5854697 533 54 84 -70 278.5
CSR003 759355 5854688 534 54 97 -85 278.5
CSR004 759329 5854691 533 54 114 -60 280.0
CSR005 759305 5854648 535 54 120 -50 278.5
CSR006 759316 5854651 535 54 133 -60 278.5
CSR007 759341 5854651 535 54 73 -60 278.5
CSR008 759338 5854651 535 54 91 -85 278.5
CSR009 759301 5854580 539 54 60 -50 278.5
CSR010 759301 5854581 539 54 90 -80 278.5
CSR011 759326 5854710 531 54 60 -50 278.5
CSR012 759328 5854710 531 54 91 -85 278.5
CSR013 759327 5854710 535 54 204 -60 281.0
CSR014 759420 5854696 539 54 176 -60 98.5
CSR015 759354 5854824 538 54 78 -50 278.5
CSR016 759356 5854823 538 54 60 -80 278.5
CSR017 759326 5854868 540 54 78 -60 98.5

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 Australasian 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.

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