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#ECR Minerals’s Craig Brown says new Yilgarn gold properties look “highly prospective” – Proactive Investors
Shares in ECR Minerals PLC (LON:ECR) moved up by almost 10% to 0.8p at the end of the first week of the year, following the application for licences over 1,600 square kilometres of new ground in the Yilgarn in Western Australia.
The ground has been identified as having significant potential for hosting Archean greenstone belts of the kind that host many of Western Australia’s and the world’s richest gold deposits.
“It looks like very prospective territory,” says Craig Brown, ECR’s chief executive.
“Everybody regards Western Australia as a very promising area to work in.”
The opportunity on the new ground is enhanced because it comes with pre-existing data.
“There was some work completed in the 1980s and 1990s,” says Brown.
“But they were looking for nickel at the time, and they also found molybdenum. So one of the first things we’re going to do is go over that old information. Because nobody’s ever looked for gold here.”
One reason for that is that the rocks that may be mineralised lie under cover, so opportunities for geochemistry are limited.
But ECR is hopeful that the cover may be fairly shallow, and that exploration work will be relatively straightforward.
“The best way to test it is to do aircore drilling,” says Brown.
“It’s very cheap at around A$40 or A$50 per metre, including assaying costs, so our plan is to do an aircore programme once we’ve reviewed the existing data.”
ECR is unlikely to move on that until the licences have actually been granted, although Brown doesn’t see any real issue with that.
After all, the deal that’s wrapped around them is pretty attractive: for 19 licences the company must pay A$1,400 each, plus an annual rent, that takes the total cost up to only A$88,000.
“Hopefully they’ll be granted in the next quarter,” says Brown, “and we’ll move pretty quickly after that.”
In the meantime, work is continuing on ECR’s other Australian gold projects, in particular, Bailieston and Creswick.
“At Bailieston we want to go back and have a look at Blue Moon, Black Cat and Byron targets,” says Brown.
“We’re planning on conducting a small programme of drilling at Blue Moon in the current quarter of this year. We’re just budgeting the whole thing out. We drilled at Blue Moon in May 2018 and we came across a zone of mineralisation where all the rocks were weathered and you could see that the mineralisation had already been leached out of the rock.”
What was really interesting though, was that the mineralisation in question showed considerable similarity to Mandalay’s Costerfield mine, 25 kilometres away.
“They mine between 150 and 200 metres below the surface,” explains Brown.
“We believe we can hit fresh rock and sulphides beneath the leached material that we’ve already intersected.”
So that’s one intriguing aspect of the project. Another is that Newmont picked up ground adjacent to Bailieston in December. So we’re not just talking about small companies operating on the edge of geological speculation here. The big players are coming in too.
Then there’s the Avoca licence, which is likely to be the subject of a 1,500-metre rotary air blast (RAB) programme shortly, and Creswick over in Victoria which will also be investigated.
Creswick, in particular, holds significant potential, according to Brown.
“We’re quite optimistic there’s something down there,” he says.
So lots to look forward to over the coming months, especially since ECR Minerals already has the money in the bank to pay for all this work.
There’s £1.2mln currently in the treasury, according to Brown, following two fundraising exercises undertaken last year: a £650,000 raise in July, and a £700,000 raise in December.
And that means that shareholders will be able to enjoy the full benefits of any positive newsflow without having to look over their shoulders to worry about dilution any time soon.
ECR has, in any case, a very supportive cornerstone investor in Shenyang Xinliaoan Machinery, a connection Brown brought with him when he joined ECR, acquired during his days operating in Central Asia.
All told, ECR looks to be on a secure footing going into 2019, with plenty of exciting newsflow to come, and the nice backdrop of a rising gold price to put it all into context.
ECR Minerals plc (LON:ECR) the precious metals exploration and development company is pleased to announce the Company has submitted new licence applications to augment its existing gold exploration interests in the Victoria region of Australia.
- Four new licence applications in Australia’s Victoria region have now been submitted by ECR’s 100% owned Australian operating vehicle Mercator Gold Australia Pty Limited;
- Three applications have been submitted in the Bailieston/Moormbool gold project area to augment existing licences and secure available ground south and south and south west of an application submitted by Newmont Exploration Pty Limited in recent weeks;
- One application has been submitted to augment ground in the Creswick project area and covers a southern portion of the Dimocks Main Shale (“DMS”);
- As outlined in the Company’s market announcement of 25 September 2018 “The DMS sits between two large gold producing areas where it is estimated historically, 15 million ounces of gold has been produced in Victoria, Australia. It is the proposition of the Company’s technical team that they have identified the hard rock source for a significant portion of the aforementioned 15 million ounces of gold production. Although further work is required to validate this proposition”;
- Further work is being undertaken to add additional licence application ground in Australia where the Company has identified strategic exploration opportunities.
Craig Brown, Chief Executive Officer of ECR Minerals plc commented: “I am delighted to announce today that the Company has successfully submitted four new applications which materially bolster our strategic ground holding and provide significant additional exploration opportunities for our Australian operations.
The recent application submitted by Newmont Exploration Pty Limited over a large area bordering our Bailieston and Moormbool gold projects is an important ratification of our strategic Australian gold positioning. The presence of Newmont adds weight to the potential prospectivity of the area.
ECR’s exploration work at Bailieston has recently demonstrated gold prospectivity as highlighted by the results of our Bailieston sampling programme announced on 28 September 2018 with gold grades up to 67.4g/t.
At Creswick and as announced on 25 September 2018 our exploration mapping revealed a large gold system, and reflecting our wider exploration work to date, we have taken the opportunity to secure more strategic ground south of our existing Creswick project area.
ECR continues to examine new opportunities and will move to secure additional ground where appropriate.”
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
|ECR Minerals plc||Tel: +44 (0)20 7929 1010|
|David Tang, Non-Executive Chairman|
|Craig Brown, Director & CEO|
|WH Ireland Ltd||Tel: +44 (0)161 832 2174|
|Katy Mitchell/James Sinclair-Ford|
|SI Capital Ltd||Tel: +44 (0)1483 413500|
ABOUT ECR MINERALS PLC
ECR is a mineral exploration and development company. ECR’s wholly owned Australian subsidiary Mercator Gold Australia has 100% ownership of the Avoca, Bailieston, Creswick, Moormbool and Timor gold exploration licences in central Victoria, Australia.
ECR has earned a 25% interest in the Danglay epithermal gold project, an advanced exploration project located in a prolific gold and copper mining district in the north of the Philippines. An NI43-101 technical report was completed in respect of the Danglay project in December 2015 and is available for download from ECR’s website.
ECR’s wholly owned Argentine subsidiary Ochre Mining has 100% ownership of the SLM gold project in La Rioja, Argentina. Exploration at SLM has focused on identifying small tonnage mesothermal gold deposits which may be suitable for relatively near-term production.
EXCLUSIVE: Newmont Mining secures license area next to ECR Minerals’ Baileston gold project – Value The Markets
EXCLUSIVE: Newmont mining secures license area next to ECR Minerals’ Baileston gold project
There has been a very interesting development next to ECR Minerals’ (LSE:ECR) Bailieston license (EL5433) in Victoria, Australia. Newmont Mining Corp, one of the world’s largest gold producers has just applied for the license for a large block of land right next door. Although the license has yet to be awarded, if it is then this could prove to be a highly significant event for ECR
Excitement was already building for ECR’s 100% Bailieston gold project, given its relatively close proximity to a number of profitable, high-grade operations. The Fosterville gold mine is around 30km to the west and is currently the largest producing gold mine in Victoria. To the southwest, roughly the same distance, sits the Costerfield gold mine, which is another prolific produce.
As promising as the region Bailieston sits in already is, the recent move by Newmont could mark the start of something big for ECR. A company like Newmont typically dedicates a great deal of resources to due diligence prior to securing new licenses. A search of the Victoria State’s ‘GeoVic’ online database confirms it has indeed just applied for license EL006893, which borders Bailieston.
It seems that EL006893 has only become available within recent weeks, which suggests Newmont may have been keeping a close eye on it for some time. This might not be surprising given the resurgence of gold exploration in the region.
Traditionally Central Victoria has been an intensive gold producing area since the precious metal was first discovered there in 1850. In fact, it is only in recent years that Victoria’s gold output has been surpassed by Western Australia’s. Part of the recent revival has been driven by Kirkland Lake Gold, the owner of Fosterville, discovering more than 1.1m ounces of gold last year.
As well as the main EL5433 block shown on the map, ECR’s license also includes a smaller block (Black Cat) directly adjacent to the south of the area Newmont are showing interest in. The block used to be connected to the main section of EL5433, but due to local licensing rules explorers must drop 40% of the license after three years, and a further 40% after five years.
ECR also owns the Moormbool license (EL00628), which it secured in July 2017. The block is largely unexplored and covers approximately 59 square kilometres. This block sits south of Black Cat and the potential new license acquisition by Newmont, with the Costerfield Mine to the south-west currently producing 50,000 ounces of gold per annum. Costerfield is a below surface mine on block EL3310 consisting of narrow high-grade veins.
Then there is the Fosterville gold mine, which enjoys a very high 94% recovery rate, with a reserve grade of 23.1 g/t Au. It is estimated that approximate production costs at Fosterville are around AUD$880 per oz, compared with a current gold price of around AUD$1665 as of today. The mine is expected to produce 300,000 ounces in 2018 and is also rich in by-products such as silver.
Although GeoVic suggests Newmont’s status description for EL006893 is an “application”, the implications of a major player swooping in to secure a large chunk of the area are clear. Regardless of whether Newmont is successful in its application, it clearly sees enough that it like to regard this specific area as worthy of future exploration work. For ECR Minerals this looks good news and the company seems to be very well placed to take advantage of a gold rush revival in the Central Victoria region.
Authors: Stuart Langelaan & Ben Turney