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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.

Untouched potential in Victoria area

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

References:

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

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