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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.
Central Victoria gold rush revival continues as ECR Minerals applies for licensing at an additional four sites following Newmont’s application a few weeks ago.
- Newmont Mining and ECR Minerals join Central Victoria gold rush revival
- Fosterville mine in Victoria expected to break production record
- Untouched potential in Victoria
- ECR Minerals fully funded through to June 2020 following strategic financing round
In recents weeks it was revealed that world’s second largest gold producer Newmont Mining (NYSE:NEM) had applied for the licensing of a large area of land in Victoria, bordering ECR Minerals (AIM:ECR) Bailieston and Moormbool gold projects.
ECR have responded by announcing four new license applications that will expand two of their existing holdings in the Victoria region. These include three strategically placed sites in the Bailieston/Moormbool project area which lie south and south west of the area Newmont recently applied for. It also includes an area that will expand the highly promising Creswick project over a southern portion of the Dimocks Main Shale (DMS) – which is believed to sit between two historically significant mining areas, estimated to have produced 15 million ounces of gold.
For ECR, Newmont’s application to move in next door was without a doubt further encouragement of the huge potential of their existing sites and appears to have encouraged them to move fast and extend licensing in strategic areas in the Victoria region.
ECR CEO Craig Brown said that the application submitted by Newmont bordering Bailieston and Moormbool gold projects “is an important ratification of our strategic Australian gold positioning.”
The presence of Newmont certainly adds weight to the potential prospectivity of the area. Brown added that 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.”
Victoria Gold Rush Revival
While the licenses all remain pending, the moves support what appears to be a highly promising revival for gold mining in the Victoria region.
Early this year Melbourne Mining Club chairman Richard Morrow told the The Australian Mining Review “The success of Kirkland Lake Gold at Fosterville has really lifted the profile of Victoria as a place to find gold, especially high-grade, underground mineable gold” (Australian Mining Review). The statement came after an estimated 1.7 million ounces worth approximately $2.85 billion was discovered at the mine in 2017 (Premier).
In November, Kirkland Lake Gold revealed the Fosterville mine located just 30km away from ECR’s Bailieston project had produced “exceptionally high grades”, with the mill grade in Q4
2018 averaging over 35.0 grams per tonne. Fosterville is now expected to break its own record quarterly production in the fourth quarter of 2018, pushing full-year predictions up to 330,000 ounces (Mining.com). Beyond this, it expects to achieve over 500,000 ounces per year by 2020.
Fostervilles ongoing success and the latest applications from ECR and Newmont certainly seem to support Richard Morrow’s statement. If accepted they will continue to push Victoria back into the spotlight amongst gold miners – a position it’s not held since the famous Victoria gold rush in the early 1850s.
The 1850’s gold rush saw production skyrocket in Victoria as thousands of miners moved to the area after strong mineralisation was discovered in Ballarat in 1851. Levels were so significant that for a number of years gold output in Victoria exceeded that seen anywhere else in the world, bar the more extensive fields of California. Victoria’s greatest yield for one year was in 1856, when 3,053,744 troy ounces of gold were extracted.
However, by the early 1860s most diggers had moved North to New South Wales, then Queensland and across to Western Australia (WA), which now produces the majority of Australia’s gold. Despite this short period of extensive mining the state has still produced over 2,400 tonnes of gold or 32 percent of all the gold mined in Australia and 2 per cent of all the gold ever mined in the world. While WA has produced more, with 3,275.8 tonnes, much of this has been thanks to the booms of the last two decades where new technology has enhanced the discovery and extraction of gold.
WA has also undergone six separate development phases since the 1890s compared to Victoria’s initial rush in the 1850s as well as its current phase. However, contrasted on a yield per area basis, Victoria has an order of magnitude greater than any other Australian state producing an average of 10.8kg of gold / km2. Generating these significant levels of gold in such a period of time, without much of today’s technology would suggest the area remains full of potential – as the recent reports from Fosterville and ECR suggest.
If the old saying ‘the best place to find gold is in the shadow of the headframe of an old mine’ holds true then ECR are ideally placed to make the most of this golden opportunity. As well as Bailieston, they have licences granted in Avoca (EL5387), Timor (EL6278), Moormbool (EL6280) and Creswick (EL6184). As seen on the map above, all of these projects lie within close, if not direct proximity to historical sites known for significant levels of gold mining since the 1850s. These include; Ballarat, which ‘at its peak between 1852-1853 was recognised as probably the richest alluvial goldfield in the world, the Mt Alexander field at Castlemaine which in December 1851 was yielding 23,000 oz of gold a week, Creswick as already highlighted, as well as, Maryborough and Maldon (Earth Resources).
ECR Minerals fully funded through to June 2020
ECR has kicked off 2019 in style, signalling it’s ambitions to become a major Australia gold explorer with the announcement on January 2nd 2019 that it has applied for nine new exploration licences in an area called the Windidda gold project in Yilgarn, Western Australia. The Yilgarn Craton contains evidence of the oldest crust on Earth, and at almost 4km long, 1.5km wide and 500m deep, it’s world-famous Super Pit produces up to 800,000 ounces of gold per year alone.
There appears to be an overwhelming tide of evidence, both current and historical supporting further exploration and development at Central Victoria. While the Newmonts and Fostervilles will continue exploration and production at their own rate, based on the recent reports of high yields and strong yield per area results, it is ECR Minerals with 5 licensed sites and a host of additional plots pending that could be the investment opportunity of the century, and in pole position to capitalise on the untouched potential of Central Victoria. Clearly investors and shareholders think so too: ECR announced a strategic financing round, which together with warrants and shares totalling GBP1.77m will see the company fully funded to pursue operations through to June 2020. Directors Craig Brown and David Tang
both participated in the financing round. Either way, ECR investors could be sitting on a gold mine in the not so distant future.
By Harry Dacres-Dixon
Australian Mining Review – http://australianminingreview.com.au/mining-in-victoria-good-as-gold/
Brand Communications – http://www.branduk.net/ecr-minerals-ecr-new-licence-applications-australian-gold-portfolio/
Earth Resources – http://earthresources.vic.gov.au/earth-resources/geology-of-victoria/exhibitions-and-Imagery/ history-mining-victoria
Mining.com – http://www.mining.com/kirkland-lake-golds-aussie-operation-breaks-production-record/ Premier – https://www.premier.vic.gov.au/bendigos-billion-dollar-gold-rush/
Value the markets – http://www.valuethemarkets.com/index.php/2018/11/15/exclusive-newmont-mining-secures-li cense-area-next-ecr-minerals-baileston-gold-project/
Geology for Investors – https://www.geologyforinvestors.com/gold-archean-greenstone-belts/
Kirkland Lake Gold – https://www.klgold.com/news-and-media/news-releases/default.aspx
Other companies http://kzr.com.au/wp-content/uploads/austocks/kzr/2018_06_20_KZR_1529488920.pdf
ECR Minerals plc (LON:ECR), the precious metals exploration and development company, is pleased to announce that the Company has submitted nine new exploration licence applications covering a package of ground prospective for gold mineralisation in the Yilgarn region of Western Australia.
The application package is to be called the Windidda gold project and will, when granted, complement ECR’s existing extensive gold exploration portfolio in the state of Victoria, Australia.
- Nine new exploration licence applications have been lodged in Western Australia by ECR’s 100% owned Australian operating vehicle Mercator Gold Australia Pty Ltd, covering 523 graticular blocks representing approximately 1,600 square kilometres of the Yilgarn Craton east of the town of Wiluna;
- The application areas have been identified as a potential greenstone hosted orogenic gold exploration opportunity with significant potential to contain Archaean greenstones buried beneath what it is believed may be shallow cover. Archaean greenstones host many of Western Australia and the world’s most prolific gold deposits;
- Previous exploration within the project area has targeted base metal and manganese deposits within the cover sequences. Gravity and magnetic anomalies interpreted to be hosted in greenstone units beneath the cover have not been targeted;
- Target areas are expected to be amenable to aircore drilling across gravity-magnetic anomaly targets to enable rapid assessment of potential for gold mineralisation;
- Licence applications cover a significant proportion of an identified gravity-magnetic trend with known gold prospects along trend in outcropping greenstone to the south (not ECR ground);
- The under-cover greenstone gold exploration model has been successfully tested by Greatland Gold (LON:GGP) at their Ernest Giles project located approximately 125 kilometres east of ECR’s Windidda Project;
- Further information to follow in respect of the application area and the exploration potential of the Windidda Gold Project;
- In addition to the Windidda applications, ECR has an extensive pipeline of potential new opportunities, some of which are under due diligence review. Further updates will be provided to the market as and when material developments occur.
Craig Brown, Chief Executive Officer of ECR Minerals plc, commented: “I am particularly pleased to announce this strategic move into Western Australia, which, like Victoria, has exceptional gold exploration potential in a first world operating environment.
Greenstone-hosted gold trends in the Western Australian Yilgarn province are very tightly held and access to free ground, when it becomes available, is highly competitive. So it is very encouraging that ECR has managed to compile a large land position of contiguous tenements covering untested gravity-magnetic anomalies representative of potential greenstone-hosted gold trends.
The funds secured by ECR in the strategic financings of July and December 2018 have enabled us to continue engaging aggressively with potential new initiatives, the Windidda project being one.
We are acquiring new ground in Australia at a time when many explorers and developers are financially weakened by market conditions. This, although unfortunate for the wider resource sector, is presenting ECR with multiple highly attractive options, and we intend to take full advantage.
Our work continues at pace and I look forward to updating our shareholders further with additional new developments in the near term.”
COMPETENT PERSON STATEMENT
Information disclosed in this announcement has been reviewed by Samuel Garrett, a Competent Person within the meaning of Australasian Code for Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves (the JORC Code) and for the purposes of the AIM Rules.
Mr Garrett holds a BSc (Hons) in Geology and an MSc in Economic Geology from the University of Tasmania. He is a member of the Australian Institute of Geoscientists and a member of the Society of Economic Geologists (USA).
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|
|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.