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ECR Minerals #ECR – Drill Results from BH3DD035 Show Signs of Grade Continuity at Bailieston, Victoria

ECR Minerals plc (LON: ECR), the exploration and development company focused on gold in Australia, is pleased to announce the gold results from hole BH3DD035 from drilling at the HR3 prospect at Bailieston. Early stages of geological interpretation are linking the results from BH3DD035 to adjacent drillholes BH3DD012, BH3DD019 and BH3DD034.*

ECR Minerals has 100% ownership of the Bailieston Project (EL5433) which contains the gold prospects known as HR3, Cherry Tree, Blue Moon and Black Cat. The projects are operated by ECR’s Australian wholly owned subsidiary Mercator Gold Australia Pty Ltd (“MGA”).

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Best result in BH3DD035 was 0.25m @ 16.15 g/t Au from 163.25m drilled depth.
  • Mineralised zones show continuity to adjacent previously drilled intercepts in holes BH3DD012, BH3DD019 and BH3DD034.

ECR CEO Andrew Haythorpe commented: “At last week’s investor presentation I outlined our commitment to continue the intensive drilling campaign into the second half of 2022. The assay results from hole BH3DD035 indicate signs of grade continuity in line with those already recorded at holes BH3DD012, BH3DD019 and BH3DD034, and from a technical standpoint provides our team with confidence in the Maori Anticline campaign outcome. I look forward to reporting the remaining assay results.”

“As I also indicated, along with Technical Director Adam Jones I am personally excited at the prospect of commencing our Blue Moon drilling campaign. With my geologist hat on, this asset presents an intriguing opportunity for us all.”

ECR Chairman David Tang added: “I am very excited by the opportunities that the assay results from Bailieston continue to reveal, and enthusiastic about the future of ECR under Andrew’s leadership.”

*References and links to these previous announcements can be found here:

  • BH3DD012: see RNS dated March 14th 2022 ‘Visible Gold Identified at HR3. Progress of Drilling Continues into the Maori Anticline Target’ Link here to view
  • BH3DD019: see RNS dated March 2nd 2022 ‘Drilling Continues to Extend Gold Mineralisation within the Maori Reef’. Link here to view
  • BH3DD034: see RNS dated June 8th 2022 ‘Multiple High Grade Gold Intercepts from hole BH3DD034 at HR3, Bailieston Victoria’ Link here to view

A link to an image of the holes referenced in this announcement can be found here;

Fig 1: https://www.ecrminerals.com/images/2022/fig1_BH3DD035_220708

BH3DD035

In response to the visible gold observed in BH3DD034 at 149.2m depth, BH3DD035 was drilled in the same direction as BH3DD034 but at a steeper dip with the expected vein target around 175m depth. A quartz vein with similar textures to the veining identified in BH3DD034 was drilled through at 163.25m depth in BH3DD035. Results from this vein revealed 0.25m @ 16.15 g/t Au and is the best intercept from this hole. Once mineralisation was passed the hole terminated at the final depth of 185.15m.

LINK TO ADJACENT DRILLHOLES

Observations show that mineralised zones within BH3DD035 link geologically to adjacent drillholes BH3DD012, BH3DD019 and BH3DD034. The best intercept in BH3DD035 at 163.25m correlates approximately 20m below a stibnite (antimony sulphide) vein in BH3DD019 which revealed an intercept of 0.3m @ 4.59 g/t Au (see RNS 2 March 2022 here). We anticipate that the long awaited assay results from hole BH3DD032, which targeted vein continuity another 20m below hole BH3DD035, and which are due from the assay laboratories shortly, will further add to our understanding of the size and structure of this target zone. We look forward to updating shareholders when those results are received. Quartz veining has been observed in hole BH3DD032 within the expected target zone

Table 1. Summary of drill intercepts containing reportable levels of gold greater than 0.1 g/t Au for BH3DD035 (*highlights in bold).

BH3DD035

From To Grade (g/t Au) Interval (m)
2.9 3.2 0.14 0.3
6.5 7 0.60 0.5
8 9 0.23 1
9 10 0.60 1
16 17 0.64 1
31.5 32.2 0.20 0.7
34.5 35 1.12 0.5
35 36 0.60 1
36 37 0.16 1
40 41 0.15 1
43 44 0.19 1
44 45 0.58 1
45 46 1.01 1
46 47 0.42 1
48 49 0.16 1
50 51 0.20 1
52 52.9 0.38 0.9
52.9 54.2 0.31 1.3
54.2 55 0.87 0.8
55 55.4 1.08 0.4
55.4 55.7 0.60 0.3
55.7 56 0.89 0.3
56 57 0.89 1
57 58 0.17 1
58 59.1 0.49 1.1
59.1 59.3 2.62 0.2
59.3 60 1.35 0.7
60 60.8 0.51 0.8
60.8 61.2 0.41 0.4
61.2 61.5 0.27 0.3
61.5 62 0.24 0.5
62 63 0.15 1
65 66 0.16 1
66 67 0.55 1
67 67.4 1.86 0.4
67.4 68 0.22 0.6
68 69 0.13 1
70 71 0.36 1
71 72 0.35 1
74 74.5 0.33 0.5
74.5 74.8 0.46 0.3
74.8 75 1.60 0.2
76 77 0.21 1
77 78 0.32 1
84 84.6 0.84 0.6
84.6 84.9 4.78 0.3
84.9 86 0.30 1.1
87 88 0.16 1
88 89 0.15 1
90.2 90.4 0.34 0.2
90.4 90.9 1.06 0.5
90.9 91.3 3.72 0.4
91.3 92 0.61 0.7
92 93 0.18 1
100.7 101.1 0.53 0.4
103 103.3 0.65 0.3
103.3 103.45 5.26 0.15
108.4 108.6 0.33 0.2
110.2 111.2 0.63 1
120.5 120.7 0.20 0.2
122.7 123 0.15 0.3
123 123.2 0.51 0.2
123.2 123.4 0.42 0.2
123.4 123.7 0.36 0.3
123.7 124.1 0.29 0.4
126.4 126.8 0.14 0.4
126.8 127.1 0.30 0.3
162.25 163.25 0.62 1
163.25 163.5 16.15 0.25

LOOKING FORWARD STATEMENTS

The Company has now completed spaced drilling along the down-dip extensions of the Maori Anticline within the HR3 Goldfield. Holes have been logged and sampled and we now await the results from the laboratory. At this stage we expect a flow of assay results throughout July, August and September 2022. Our drilling campaign continues to identify narrow veining deeper into the axis of the Maori Anticline over a strike length of approximately 300m, and once the final results are in, the board will determine the next steps for this project area. In addition, as outlined by our CEO Andrew Haythorpe at his presentation at the Proactive One2One event in London on 6 July 2022, the Company plans to commence drilling at its ‘Blue Moon’ prospect in August 2022.

REVIEW OF ANNOUNCEMENT BY QUALIFIED PERSON

This announcement has been reviewed by Adam Jones, Technical Director of Exploration at ECR Minerals plc. Adam Jones is a professional geologist and is a Member of the Australian Institute of Geoscientists (MAIG). He is a qualified person as that term is defined by the AIM Note for Mining, Oil and Gas Companies.

MARKET ABUSE REGULATIONS (EU) No. 596/2014

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

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

 

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

Andrew Haythorpe, CEO

Email:

info@ecrminerals.com

Website: www.ecrminerals.com
WH Ireland Ltd Tel: +44 (0) 207 220 1666
Nominated Adviser

Katy Mitchell / Andrew de Andrade

SI Capital Ltd Tel: +44 (0) 1483 413500
Broker
Nick Emerson
Novum Securities Limited  Tel: +44 (0) 20 7399 9425
Broker

Jon Belliss

BlytheRay Tel: +44 (0) 207 138 3204
Public Relations
Tim Blythe

 

ABOUT ECR MINERALS PLC

ECR Minerals is a mineral exploration and development company. ECR’s wholly owned Australian subsidiary Mercator Gold Australia Pty Ltd (“MGA”) has 100% ownership of the Bailieston and Creswick gold projects in central Victoria, Australia, has eight licence applications outstanding including two licence applications lodged in eastern Victoria. (Tambo gold project). MGA is currently drilling at both the Bailieston (EL5433) and Creswick (EL6148) projects and has an experienced exploration team with significant local knowledge in the Victoria Goldfields and wider region.

Home

ECR also owns 100% of an Australian subsidiary LUX Exploration Pty Ltd (“LUX”) which has three licence applications covering 900 km2 covering a relatively unexplored area in Queensland, Australia.

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Following the sale of the Avoca, Moormbool and Timor gold projects in Victoria, Australia to Fosterville South Exploration Ltd (TSX-V: FSX) and the subsequent spin-out of the Avoca and Timor projects to Leviathan Gold Ltd (TSX-V: LVX), Mercator Gold Australia Pty Limited has the right to receive up to A$2 million in payments subject to future resource estimation or production from projects sold to Fosterville South Exploration Limited.

ECR holds a 70% 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, which has a 43-101 compliant resource. ECR also holds a royalty on the SLM gold project in La Rioja Province, Argentina and can potentially receive up to US$2.7 million in aggregate across all licences.

ECR Minerals #ECR – Investor Presentation and Strategic Update

The Company confirms that its board of directors will be attending the Proactive One2One Investor Forum this evening in London.

At the event, CEO Andrew Haythorpe will be discussing the Company’s exploration activities for its assets in Australia (as set out in the Company’s announcements). Andrew will also outline an updated strategic plan with a series of action points for the year ahead. These include:

  • The highly prospective Blue Moon prospect at the Bailieston gold project, plus the Maori Reef system at HR3.
  • Creswick gold project summary.
  • The gold potential of its 100%-owned licenses at Lolworth Range, Queensland, Australia and plans for boots on the ground in 2022.
  • A potential disposal of some of the Company’s non-core assets; and
  • The Company remains focussed on delivering the next multi-million ounce discovery.

Commenting CEO Andrew Haythorpe said; “Having undergone a significant transition during the first part of 2022, ECR Minerals is now at an exciting and pivotal stage in its evolution as a gold exploration company. Your board is confident that by actioning the disposals and strategy outlined above, we can streamline the business and ensure we have the resources in place to deliver on our objectives.”

“I look forward to updating our shareholders this evening as well as in the coming months, as we progress our drilling and exploration activities.”

Additional Disclaimer

Whilst the strategy outlined above includes a potential disposal this strategy is speculative in nature and there can be no guarantee that any disposal will occur. In addition whilst the potential disposals outlined above are considered by the Directors to be disposals of non-core assets they may, depending on any future negotiated terms, be considered a fundamental disposal of the Company pursuant to AIM Rule 15 of the AIM Rules for Companies. That being the case, any such disposal would be conditional on shareholder approval. Further updates will be provided in due course as appropriate.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

 

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

Andrew Haythorpe, CEO

Email:

info@ecrminerals.com

Website: www.ecrminerals.com
WH Ireland Ltd Tel: +44 (0) 207 220 1666
Nominated Adviser

Katy Mitchell / Andrew de Andrade

SI Capital Ltd Tel: +44 (0) 1483 413500
Broker
Nick Emerson
Novum Securities Limited  Tel: +44 (0) 20 7399 9425
Broker

Jon Belliss

BlytheRay Tel: +44 (0) 207 138 3204
Public Relations
Tim Blythe

 

ABOUT ECR MINERALS PLC

ECR Minerals is a mineral exploration and development company. ECR’s wholly owned Australian subsidiary Mercator Gold Australia Pty Ltd (“MGA”) has 100% ownership of the Bailieston and Creswick gold projects in central Victoria, Australia, has eight licence applications outstanding including two licence applications lodged in eastern Victoria. (Tambo gold project). MGA is currently drilling at both the Bailieston (EL5433) and Creswick (EL6148) projects and has an experienced exploration team with significant local knowledge in the Victoria Goldfields and wider region.

Home

ECR also owns 100% of an Australian subsidiary LUX Exploration Pty Ltd (“LUX”) which has three licence applications covering 900 km2 covering a relatively unexplored area in Queensland, Australia.

Home

Following the sale of the Avoca, Moormbool and Timor gold projects in Victoria, Australia to Fosterville South Exploration Ltd (TSX-V: FSX) and the subsequent spin-out of the Avoca and Timor projects to Leviathan Gold Ltd (TSX-V: LVX), Mercator Gold Australia Pty Limited has the right to receive up to A$2 million in payments subject to future resource estimation or production from projects sold to Fosterville South Exploration Limited.

ECR holds a 70% 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, which has a 43-101 compliant resource. ECR also holds a royalty on the SLM gold project in La Rioja Province, Argentina and can potentially receive up to US$2.7 million in aggregate across all licences.

ECR Minerals #ECR – Visible Gold Identified at HR3. Progress of Drilling Continues into the Maori Anticline Target

ECR Minerals plc (LON: ECR), the gold exploration and development company focussed on gold exploration in Australia, is pleased to announce a current update on drilling at HR3 including results and geological interpretation completed for BH3DD012, current drilling activities and future drilling plans within EL5433.

ECR Minerals plc has 100% ownership of the Bailieston Project (EL5433) and contains the gold prospects known as HR3, Cherry Tree, Blue Moon and Black Cat. The projects are operated under ECR Minerals plc Australian wholly owned subsidiary Mercator Gold Australia Pty Ltd (“MGA”).

ECR Chairman David Tang commented: ““A significant amount of work has gone into the drilling programme at HR3, and I am delighted to note that following on from the results at hole BH3DD019, we continue to see encouraging and consistent gold grades in BH3DD012 and visible gold in BH3DD034. Importantly we continue to build on our understanding of the Maori Anticline and the regional gold trend ahead of an infill drilling programme.”

“I know Adam and his team are excited by the potential at the Blue Moon prospect, and I look forward to reporting back to you once work commences there.”

“Finally, regarding our search for a new CEO, I am pleased to report we have shortlisted three candidates and we will provide updates to the market in due course, as required.”

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Diamond drill hole BH3DD012 was drilled 100m south and parallel to the previously announced hole (BH3DD019). Five mineralised zones have been identified and correlated to the Maori Anticline.
  • The best intercepts within each of the five mineralised zones include 0.8m @ 3.81 g/t Au (Zone 1); 0.5m @ 3.87 g/t Au (Zone 2); 0.5m @ 4.26 g/t Au (Zone 3); 0.6m @ 2.25 g/t Au (Zone 4) and 1m @ 0.51 g/t Au (Zone 5).
  • Drilling and sampling of holes BH3DD032, BH3DD033, BH3DD034 and BH3DD035 are currently in progress to follow up best gold intercepts found in BH3DD019. Visible gold has been identified in BH3DD034 at 149.5m downhole.

 

This announcement is written to reference to the following three figures:

Fig 1: BH3DD012 geological section:

https://www.ecrminerals.com/images/2022/fig1_BH3DD012.png

 

Fig 2: Location and plan of recent drilling with current status, HR3:

https://www.ecrminerals.com/images/2022/fig2_Current_drillplan_HR3.png

 

Fig 3: BH3DD034 visible gold

https://www.ecrminerals.com/images/2022/fig3_BH3DD034_vg.png

 

OVERVIEW OF BH3DD012

On 30 February 2022, ECR announced that a series of four holes (BH3DD012, BH3DD014, BH3DD020 and BH3DD021) had been drilled perpendicular to the trend of reef lines within the HR3 Goldfield to aid interpretation of the main faults and folding with known mineralisation. The Company has now received gold results for hole BH3DD012.

BH3DD012 was collared in 100m to the south and drilled parallel to adjacent hole BH3DD019. Geological interpretation is now revealing the main rock-type groupings and the style of mineralised veins that are associated with the Maori Anticline. MGA’s geology team has correlated the veins identified in BH3DD012 to hole BH3DD019, giving further understanding to the structural architecture of the HR3 Goldfield.

Five zones of mineralisation have been identified from hole BH3DD012. (Fig 1)

Zone 1 features a quartz stockwork zone hosted within a massive brittle sandstone rock unit that has a drilled thicknes of 2.7 metres. Best intercepts were 0.8m @ 3.81 g/t Au (from 57.3m) and 0.7m @ 3.32 g/t Au (from 59.3m)

Zone 2 can be linked to the Scoulers Reef structure represented by orthogonal veining within a sheared zone. Mineralisation is broad at a drilled width of 9.3 metres. Two of the highest intercepts included 1m @ 3.75 g/t Au (from 72m) and 0.5m @ 3.87 g/t Au (from 73.8m)

Zone 3 is represented by narrow bedding-laminated sulphidic veins at a drilled depth of 175.5m which returned 0.5m @ 4.26 g/t Au. The veins are hosted with a planar-laminated siltstone which correlates well to the same lithology in hole BH3DD019. Given this good correlation, it is highly probable Zone 3 veins match to the best intercept of 0.5m @ 9.5 g/t Au in BH3DD019 at 99.9m.

Zone 4 consists of a fault with linking stockwork quartz veining. Best result was 0.6m @ 2.25 g/t Au (from 191m drilled depth).

Zone 5 is a minor occurrence of bedded laminated carbonate veining at 255.6m drilled depth. Traces of stibnite (antimony sulphide) were identified in adjacent veining. This zone has only elevated gold, the best result being 1m @ 0.51 g/t Au (from 255.6m).

BH3DD012 was drilled to a depth of 302.1m. The dip angle of bedding, sedimentary depositional indicators (called younging) have located the hinge zone of the Maori Anticline at an approximate depth of 220m down the drill hole. The geology team is currently interpreting the projection of this hinge to the earlier drilling (BH3DD009) near surface.

Table 1. Summary of drill intercepts containing reportable levels of gold greater than 0.1 g/t Au for BH3DD012 (*highlights in bold). Mineralised ‘Zones’ shown in Fig 1.

BH3DD012

From To Grade (g/t Au) Interval (m) Zone
38 39 0.18 1
41 41.5 0.11 0.5
41.5 42.5 0.41 1
44.5 45.5 0.18 1
48.5 49.5 0.14 1
49.5 50 0.62 0.5
50 50.5 1.54 0.5
50.5 51 0.8 0.5
51 52 0.74 1
52 53 0.33 1
53.7 54.2 1.16 0.5
54.2 54.5 1.38 0.3
54.5 55.5 0.15 1
55.5 56.5 0.28 1
56.5 57.3 0.53 0.8
57.3 58.1 3.81 0.8 ZONE 1
58.1 58.9 1.25 0.8 ZONE 1
58.9 59.3 0.32 0.4 ZONE 1
59.3 60 3.32 0.7 ZONE 1
65 66 0.16 1
66 67 0.82 1
67 68 1.22 1 ZONE 2 (Scoulers Reef)
68 69 1.77 1 ZONE 2 (Scoulers Reef)
69 70 2.28 1 ZONE 2 (Scoulers Reef)
70 71 1.32 1 ZONE 2 (Scoulers Reef)
71 72 1.39 1 ZONE 2 (Scoulers Reef)
72 73 3.75 1 ZONE 2 (Scoulers Reef)
73 73.8 1.24 0.8 ZONE 2 (Scoulers Reef)
73.8 74.3 3.87 0.5 ZONE 2 (Scoulers Reef)
74.3 74.8 1.14 0.5 ZONE 2 (Scoulers Reef)
74.8 75.3 0.73 0.5 ZONE 2 (Scoulers Reef)
75.3 76.3 0.45 1 ZONE 2 (Scoulers Reef)
76.3 76.9 0.15 0.6
76.9 77.4 0.31 0.5
77.4 78 1.02 0.6
78 79 0.98 1
79.5 80 0.28 0.5
80 81 0.24 1
81 81.7 0.74 0.7
81.7 82.3 1.06 0.6
82.3 83 0.77 0.7
126.8 127.3 0.26 0.5
128 129 0.13 1
133.25 134 0.14 0.75
134 135 0.24 1
136 137 0.29 1
138 139 0.19 1
139 140 0.24 1
144 145 0.13 1
145 146 0.17 1
151.1 151.9 0.15 0.8
151.9 152.3 0.13 0.4
175 175.5 0.13 0.5
175.5 176 4.26 0.5 ZONE 3
176 177 0.21 1
183.3 183.8 0.18 0.5
187.3 188.3 0.13 1
189.2 190 0.11 0.8
190 190.3 0.11 0.3
190.3 191 0.16 0.7
191 191.6 2.25 0.6 ZONE 4
191.6 192.2 0.82 0.6
192.2 193 0.7 0.8
193 194 0.38 1
213.5 214 0.17 0.5
215 216 0.18 1
219 220 0.69 1
241.3 242 0.2 0.7
242 242.7 0.27 0.7
248 248.5 0.13 0.5
248.5 249.1 0.14 0.6
249.1 249.8 0.28 0.7
250.5 251 0.14 0.5
251.7 252 0.14 0.3
252 252.8 0.24 0.8
252.8 253.8 0.11 1
253.8 254.6 0.22 0.8
254.6 255.6 0.23 1
255.6 256.6 0.51 1 ZONE 5
256.6 257.6 0.33 1

 

BH3DD034-VISIBLE GOLD IDENTIFIED

Drilling of BH3DD019 showed narrow arsenic-stibnite veining emanating from the Maori Anticline. ECR is currently following up these targets by drilling four additional supporting holes (BH3DD032, BH3DD033, BH3DD034 and BH3DD035). Hole BH3DD033 and BH3DD034 has been completed, now awaiting sampling. BH3DD034 has drilled through a narrow-laminated vein 50mm wide showing a visible speck of coarse gold around 1mm in diameter (Fig 3). This is a typical example of a narrow ‘nuggetty’ vein and shows the low probability of drilling such mineralisation. The vein is supported by a broad halo of hydrothermal sulphide. This hole is in the process of being geologically logged in detail and sampled and further updates will be provided in due course.

FUTURE PLANS

ECR is now starting to see the benefits of utilising its own diamond drill rig operated by an ‘in house’ drill team. The team have been drilling an average of c.35m of good quality core per day, reducing the drill meterage rate compared to contracting out the work.

Since the beginning of 2022, the Company has drilled holes into the northern limits of the Maori Reef and drilled two initial holes under the southernmost soil anomaly underneath the Hard-Up Reef. The geological team is also eagerly awaiting outstanding assay results for drilling completed into the Maori and Hard-Up Reef intersection, which will tie in with the results of this announcement.

Upon completion of the complimentary holes to BH3DD019, we plan to move the drill rig up on the low ridgeline to begin initial drilling into the Scoulers Reef and under the other soil anomalies identified along this ridge. Locations of the planned drilling along with recent drilling is shown in Fig 3. Ultimately, we expect that the outcome of the diamond drilling will provide a detailed understanding of the relationship of veining to structures and the possible control on gold deposition within the veins. This is all preparation work for infill RC drilling at a later date.

Additionally, planning is well under way to follow up the RC drilling completed in 2019 over the nearby “Blue Moon” prospect, also on EL5433.

REVIEW OF ANNOUNCEMENT BY QUALIFIED PERSON

This announcement has been reviewed by Adam Jones, a director of ECR Minerals plc. Adam Jones is a professional geologist and is a Member of the Australian Institute of Geoscientists (MAIG). He is a qualified person as that term is defined by the AIM Note for Mining, Oil and Gas Companies.

MARKET ABUSE REGULATIONS (EU) No. 596/2014

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

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

 

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

info@ecrminerals.com

Website: www.ecrminerals.com
WH Ireland Ltd Tel: +44 (0) 207 220 1666
Nominated Adviser

Katy Mitchell / Andrew de Andrade

SI Capital Ltd Tel: +44 (0) 1483 413500
Broker
Nick Emerson
Novum Securities Limited  Tel: +44 (0) 20 7399 9425
Broker

Jon Belliss

Blytheweigh Tel: +44 (0) 207 138 3204
Public Relations
Tim Blythe

 

 

ABOUT ECR MINERALS PLC

ECR Minerals is a mineral exploration and development company. ECR’s wholly owned Australian subsidiary Mercator Gold Australia Pty Ltd (“MGA”) has 100% ownership of the Bailieston and Creswick gold projects in central Victoria, Australia, has eight licence applications outstanding including two licence applications lodged in eastern Victoria. (Tambo gold project). MGA is currently drilling at both the Bailieston (EL5433) and Creswick (EL6148) projects and has an experienced exploration team with significant local knowledge in the Victoria Goldfields and wider region.

 

https://mercatorgold.com.au/

 

ECR also owns 100% of an Australian subsidiary LUX Exploration Pty Ltd (“LUX”) which has three licence applications covering 900 km2 covering a relatively unexplored area in Queensland, Australia.

 

https://luxexploration.com/

 

Following the sale of the Avoca, Moormbool and Timor gold projects in Victoria, Australia to Fosterville South Exploration Ltd (TSX-V: FSX) and the subsequent spin-out of the Avoca and Timor projects to Leviathan Gold Ltd (TSX-V: LVX), Mercator Gold Australia Pty Limited has the right to receive up to A$2 million in payments subject to future resource estimation or production from projects sold to Fosterville South Exploration Limited.

 

ECR holds 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, which has a 43-101 compliant resource. ECR also holds a royalty on the SLM gold project in La Rioja Province, Argentina and can potentially receive up to US$2.7 million in aggregate across all licences

ECR Minerals #ECR CEO Interview – Alan Green talks to Craig Brown

Brand Comms CEO Alan Green talks to ECR Minerals #ECR CEO Craig Brown about the company’s flagship gold exploration projects in the heart of Australia’s Victoria Goldfields.

Craig talks about the recent placing to raise a further £2m with Novum Securities at 2.2p, and elaborates on the rationale behind it, before discussing the initial drilling results at the Bailieston Historic Reserve 3 prospect, that led to a fall in the share price despite identifying gold and gold mineralisation.

We look at slides from the current company presentation, and examine the scale of the operations and historic gold grades from the other Bailieston prospects including Blue Moon, Black Cat, HR4 (Cherry Tree, Cherry Tree South) and Yellow & Red Moon.

We move to Creswick and discuss the Dimocks Main Shale geological feature, the historical (2019) grades, license applications and JV implications and the upcoming drilling campaign. Craig then updates on the Tambo Project, and the connection with ECR’s Head Geologist Dr Rodney Boucher before we discuss the Bendigo HQ operation.

Alan and Craig then summarise by looking at the current company valuation vs. assets and work underway.

ECR Minerals #ECR – CEO Craig Brown talks to Alan Green

Brand Comms CEO Alan Green talks to ECR Minerals #ECR CEO Craig Brown about the company’s flagship gold exploration projects in the heart of Australia’s Victoria Goldfields. Taking slides from the latest company presentation, Craig talks about ECR’s wholly owned drill rig, HQ at Bendigo and the £4m funding and extra cash resources owned by the company. We look at the Creswick Gold project located close to the Ballarat Gold Mine before discussing this year’s production numbers at the Fosterville goldmine and how they might compare to assay results and ore grades currently being drilled at the Bailieston HR3 target. Craig looks at Black Cat, Cherry Tree and other targets at Bailieston, before we move onto the blue sky potential at the Tambo Project, and the connection with ECR’s Head Geologist Dr Rodney Boucher. We end with some takeaway points for investors.

ECR Minerals #ECR – Business Operations Update

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

HIGHLIGHTS

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

Craig Brown, Chief Executive Officer of ECR, commented:

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

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

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

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

CURRENT EXPLORATION ACTIVITIES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PURCHASE OF DIAMOND DRILLING RIG AND POTENTIAL FUTURE DRILLING

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

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

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

Bailieston Project – Blue Moon 

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

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

Bailieston Project – HR3

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

Creswick Project 

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

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

Review of Announcement by Qualified Person

This announcement has been reviewed by Dr Rodney Boucher of Linex Pty Ltd. Linex Pty Ltd provides geological services to Mercator Gold Australia Pty Ltd, including the services of Dr Boucher, who has a PhD in geology, is a Member and RPGeo of the Australian Institute of Geoscientists and is a Member of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy. Dr Boucher is a Qualified Person as that term is defined by the AIM Note for Mining, Oil and Gas Companies.

MARKET ABUSE REGULATIONS (EU) No. 596/2014 

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

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT: 

ECR Minerals plc Tel: +44 (0)20 7929 1010 
David Tang, Non-Executive Chairman   
Craig Brown, Director & CEO   
Email:info@ecrminerals.com   
Website: www.ecrminerals.com   
    
WH Ireland Ltd Tel: +44 (0)161 832 2174 
Nominated Adviser   
Katy Mitchell/James Sinclair-Ford   
    
SI Capital Ltd Tel: +44 (0)1483 413500 
Broker   
Nick Emerson   

ABOUT ECR MINERALS PLC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Old Gold projects resurfacing

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

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

Mining Giants Lined Up for Fast Tracking 

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

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

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

Creswick

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

Bailieston

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

Mining Major Joint Ventures and Drilling

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

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

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

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

References:

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

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

HotStockRockets – ECR Minerals #ECR – a speculative buy?

Shares in gold-focused ECR Minerals (ECR) have recently risen strongly to a current 1.7p offer price but that follows not having previously joined in with the gold surge – they having commenced this year at 0.725p and the market cap is still comfortably below £10 million…

Recently-announced results for the company’s half-year ended 31st March 2020 showed administrative expenses of £0.37 million on nil revenue, with both cash and current assets over total liabilities of £0.17 million. However, “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”. The latter also includes; “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; 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.” In February the company also completed the sale of interests in Argentina – retaining a NSR royalty of up to 2% to a maximum of $2.7 million in respect of future production from the SLM gold project – to focus on gold exploration activities in Australia.

The above is with results from exploration activities in Victoria, Australia having recently included positive findings of an alteration study on RC drill cuttings from the Creswick project (in March), and confirmation of very high grade gold mineralisation at Creswick by the completion of ‘full bag’ testing (November 2019). It emphasises its “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”. There is also particularly Bailieston, where “ECR is considering a number of potential exploration programmes… including further drilling at the Blue Moon prospect, where 2019 reverse circulation drilling… returned an intercept 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 soil and stream sediment sampling in the Cherry Tree South and Ponting’s areas”.

This is still early-stage stuff but is in one of the ‘hottest’ geographic areas of interest currently – and the results statement noted “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”. There are COVID 19-related international travel restrictions but the team on the ground continues work and we expect the restrictions to relatively soon be eased, potentially facilitating the “potential commercial transactions”.

Therefore, at 1.7p and up to 1.8p, targeting 2.7p+ (a £15 million market cap) on continuing Victoria, Australia gold and deal excitement, Buy.

Link here to the full HotStockRockets article on ShareProphets

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

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