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ECR Minerals #ECR – Unaudited half-yearly financial results for six months ending 31 March 2021 & Update
LONDON: 29 JUNE 2021 – ECR Minerals plc, the gold exploration and development company, is pleased to announce unaudited half-yearly financial results for the six months ending 31 March 2021 for the Company as consolidated with its subsidiaries (the “Group”), along with a review of significant developments during the period and subsequently.
- Victoria, Australia continues to enjoy a gold exploration boom, with continued third-party interest in ECR’s Creswick project in Victoria. Discussions are ongoing in respect to a potential commercial transaction in relation to our Creswick project.
- Late in 2020, the Company took delivery of its new Cortech CSD1300G diamond drill rig and at the same time established a new operational base at Bendigo in the Central Victoria Goldfields.
- The Company announced three new strategic licence applications, adding new exploration opportunities in North Queensland, Australia. Three applications for Exploration Permits – Minerals (“EPM”) licences have been submitted by LUX Exploration Pty Ltd, ECR’s 100% owned subsidiary.
- In January 2021, ECR’s 100% owned Australian subsidiary MGA commenced drilling operations at the Byron Prospect in the HR3 area of the Bailieston Project. The Company’s newly acquired ‘Midas’ drill rig was utilised to undertake the first of numerous planned drilling campaigns, all of which are being coordinated from ECR’s central exploration facility compound at Bendigo.
- Announced results from exploration activity in Victoria included immediate success at the first drill hole at Creswick, intersecting 1m @ 9.68 g/t and confirming high gold anomalies (up to 3.75 g/t Au) along with spatially associated antimony which is thought to be from the mineral stibnite which forms a close association with gold mineralisation. Furthermore, a total of 720 B-horizon soil samples were taken across the central and eastern part of the Bailieston Historic Reserve #3 (HR3) between February and March 2021.
- Post-period end, the Company’s cash position was strengthened by a £2,000,000 equity financing by Novum Securities in April 2021 to ramp-up drilling and exploration activities on ECR’s gold exploration projects.
- During the period, the Company issued an aggregate of 11,800,000 share options from the management and consultant option pool to certain key consultants and staff, and also issued an additional 235,420,387 shares from the exercise of warrants and options, receiving a total of £3,289,520.
- Group total comprehensive expenses of £468,112 are reported for the six months ended 31 March 2021 (£1,846,202 for the six months ended 31 March 2020) and net assets of £6,442,465 at 31 March 2021 (£2,206,211 at 31 March 2020).
- A Group Operating Loss is reported for the six months ended 31 March 2021 of £403,079, compared with £369,102 for the six months ended 31 March 2020.
- Adam Jones appointed as a Non-Executive Director.
- Despite the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy, ECR is in a robust financial position and continues to provide shareholders with exposure to an exciting range of gold projects.
For the six months ended 31 March 2021 the unaudited financial statements of the Group record a total comprehensive expense of £468,112.
The Group’s total assets were £6,522,307 at 31 March 2021, compared with £2,275,479 at 31 March 2020. The increase in total assets has occurred largely due to the increase in purchase of property, plant and equipment and exercise of warrants during the period.
The Group held £3,928,905 of cash and cash equivalents at 31 March 2021, compared with £166,852 at 31 March 2020. Post the period end, the Group’s cash position benefited from a £2,000,000 equity financing completed by the Company in April 2021. Cash at 23 June 2021 is £5,242,081.
REVIEW OF PRINCIPAL DEVELOPMENTS DURING THE PERIOD AND SUBSEQUENTLY
The six months to 31 March 2021 and the subsequent period since have been marked by a series of exciting developments for ECR, all of which are related to the Group’s primary strategic activity, of exploration and development in Australia through ECR’s wholly owned Australian subsidiary Mercator Gold Australia Pty Ltd (“MGA”).
Currently, the Company is focused on an aggressive drilling programme at Bailieston and Creswick properties in Victoria, with two diamond drill rigs working every day to deliver large quantities of drill core for technical review, processing and assay testing. The ongoing pace and sheer volume of core and data recovered, along with the EPM applications in N Queensland is expected to expose ECR to potential new gold discoveries.
Application for 300 Sub-Blocks West of Charters Towers in the Lolworth District of North Queensland, Australia.
In May 2021, ECR Minerals announced three new strategic licence applications with a view to adding new exploration opportunities in Queensland, Australia. These were submitted by LUX Exploration Pty Ltd which is a 100%-owned Australian subsidiary of ECR Minerals.
The three Exploration Permits – Minerals (EPM) in application (27901, 27902 and 27903) represent 300 sub-blocks covering a total 900 km2 of highly prospective ground located within the Lolworth Range, 200km WSW of Townsville and 30km north from Pentlands, North Queensland Australia.
The application area contains metamorphic rocks of the Charters Towers Province, that host historical large gold producing centres such as Charters Tower (6.6M Oz Au) and Ravenswood (>1M Oz Au). The structural and basement geology is poorly understood in the area, suggesting numerous opportunities to find new deposits. The area also contains reported rhyolitic volcanism, which play host to intrusion-related breccia gold deposits in the region such as Mount Leyshon (>2.5M oz) and Mount Wright (>1M oz).
The application area is encompassed on the southern boundary by rich alluvial gold deposits of the Cape River and Gorge Creek area, which drain the southern Lolworth Range.
The east boundary of EPM27902 and EPM27903 is bordered by current exploration permits across the Lolworth dyke swarm; a north-west trending system of rhyolitic dykes and small breccia pipes containing gold, copper and molybdenum.
Historic samples also highlighted tin-tungsten mineralisation in the western areas of EPM27902. Reports show no detailed follow-up work has been undertaken.
ECR considers EPM27901, 27902 and 27903 offer significant potential for precious and base metal discoveries in an area of Australia where multiple large-scale discoveries have already been made.
Soil Sampling – HR3 Bailieston Project
In May 2021, MGA carried out soil sampling generated within the Historic Reserve #3, (HR3) Bailieston in Victoria, Australia. The results of the study were announced on 15 June 2021, and revealed high gold anomalies (up to 3.75 g/t Au) along with spatially associated antimony, which is thought to be from the mineral stibnite, which forms a close association with gold mineralisation. A total of 720 B-horizon soil samples were taken across the central and eastern part of the Bailieston Historic Reserve # 3 (HR3) between February and March 2021.
These findings mean we have now submitted a request for consent to undertake additional exploration drilling at the location, which is over and above initial planned drill holes in the area. The collected samples were tested by portable X-ray fluorescence (“pXRF”) for anomalous pathfinder elements for gold and a selected sub-set of 229 samples have been sent for trace element analysis (TL) for Au, Ag, As, Sb, Zn, Cu and Pb. Results of this work show a strong spatial relationship between Au (gold), Sb (antimony) and to a lesser extent As (arsenic). Plotting of spatial Au-Sb elemental maps reveals trends that may correspond to the weathering of high-grade gold shoots under shallow cover.
Field mapping shows sub-cropping quartz with little to no historical workings associated with these anomalies. Plans have been submitted for approval to drill along strike to test these quartz reefs at depth.
Soils grids were designed over known and possible strike extensions of gold-bearing quartz reefs. A 10m x 10m spaced grid was chosen as it is known that narrow high-grade gold reefs will erode over a small spatial area into the adjacent soil. Soils have been taken from the B-horizon, often at the gravel-clay interface at a depth around 10cm. This is where the gravels have not transported too far from their source rocks. Soils located within gullies and adjacent mullock dumps were removed due to contamination. All soils were sieved on site to < 2mm and bagged, producing a sample around 300g in weight. A total of 720 samples have been taken to date (June 2021).
All soils were systematically analysed in-house using ECR’s owned Olympus pXRF. Analysis is undertaken using three sequential beams with a 15 second count attributing to each beam. Results are evaluated for traditional pathfinder elements such as As, Ag, Pb, Zn, Cu and Sb.
Soil with moderate arsenic content (generally > 40 ppm) and soils spatially close to extensions to known reef lines were selected for further trace elemental analysis for Au, Ag, As, Pb, Zn, Cu and Sb. A total of 229 sub-samples have been selected and sent to ALS laboratories, Adelaide, South Australia. Method Au-TL44/ME-ICP44 was chosen for analysis.
A detection limit in ppm is sufficient given the proximity to possible gold sources. Any Au-TL44 results greater than 1 ppm was analysed by Au-AROR44, which is used for ‘ore grade’ analysis. A 50g charge from a 95% passing 75µm pulverise was chosen due to the likely presence of coarse gold.
Thirteen samples returned gold values above 0.1 g/t Au. Silver, Copper, Lead and Zinc results are low within the soils.
Arsenic is traditionally used as a pathfinder element for gold mineralisation and occurs at moderate levels within soils at HR3 and is fairly distributed, masking blind gold deposits.
Antimony (Sb) results are variable with high results correlating spatially with high gold assays.
Rock chips taken during 2018 along strike of the main soil anomaly showed a visible speck of coarse gold. Assays for these rock chips were analysed using a small charge fire assay resulting in variable results (up to 0.32 g/t Au) reflecting how coarse gold can be missed using traditional assay methods. Furthermore, non-executive director (Adam Jones) in February 2019 has found coarse gold by using a metal detector within the shallow soils in the vicinity of the reported soil anomalies.
Early Successful RC Diamond Drilling at Creswick Project
MGA has made great progress to date with the completion of the four diamond holes at Creswick and 909.2m of diamond drilling has been undertaken efficiently at the Creswick Project. So far, the Company has received assay results from hole CSD001, with gold intersected in the first drill hole.
The first hole, CSD001 has been completed to 295m. This hole is an orientation hole to establish the position of the Dimocks Main Shale (DMS) and associated structures. As previously reported (21 June 2019) data from the RC drilling conducted in 2019 showed a lack of geological continuity indicating faulting and folding of the DMS. CSD001 intersected quartz zones within the DMS in addition to multiple reefs above and below it. Drilling of CSD001 has demonstrated that much of the 2019 RC drilling was done into the minor reefs above the DMS.
CSD001 revealed three parallel reef systems above the DMS that have been folded by small and large parasitic folds. The DMS was reached at 72m down the hole and continued to 93m and intersected two 2m quartz zones at the upper contact and at 86m with minor veining throughout the shale. The hole continued to 295m to test the folding and faulting beneath the DMS and encountered an additional 8 reef zones that mostly related to east-dipping faults and minor shales. 76 of the 108 samples sent for laboratory testing from CSD001 have been reported from the lab with the best result 1 m @ 9.68 g/t from an east-dipping fault beneath the DMS. Results from the final 32 samples are awaiting laboratory analysis.
CSD002 was collared 10 m to the west of CSD001 and drilled steeper to target where projected parasitic folding and the mineralised east-dipping fault intersect the DMS. The previously reported result from 2019 from CSR005 of 1m @ 81.0 g/t came from quartz in the parasitic folds. Drilling of CSD001 intersected an 8m quartz zone where the DMS and these structures intersect plus minor veining throughout the shale. The core from CSD002 has been logged, sampled and sent to the laboratory for analysis.
Work to better understand the nugget effect at Creswick is ongoing. As described in the release dated 5 November 2019 grade variability due to the nugget effect was demonstrated at Creswick with some of the initial samples under-reported and others over-reported.
Outlook, Future Prospects and COVID 19
The Board of ECR Minerals plc is very positive in regard to the outlook for the Company and for sustained demand for Gold over the longer term. We remain enthused over the potential and prospectively of the Company’s projects in Victoria, Australia.
As a consequence of COVID 19, governments around the world have imposed restrictions on
international travel, and in particular extensive restrictions have been imposed on domestic travel within Australia. These restrictions have meant that until May 2021, the board have been unable to visit the assets. However, the team on the ground in Victoria have continued the work at site without interruption, and as a result there has been no significant negative impact on the Company from the coronavirus.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
ECR Minerals plc
Tel: +44 (0)20 7929 1010
|David Tang, Non-Executive Chairman|
|Craig Brown, Director & CEO|
|WH Ireland Ltd||Tel: +44 (0)161 832 2174|
|Katy Mitchell/James Sinclair-Ford|
|Novum Securities||Tel: +44 (0)20 7399 9425|
|SI Capital||Tel: +44 (0)1483 413500|
|Brand Communications||Tel: +44 (0)7976 431608|
|PR & IR|
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 and Creswick 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 Queesnland, 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), MGA has the right to receive up to A$2 million in payments subject to future resource estimation or production at any of 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.
FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS
This announcement may include forward-looking statements. Such statements may be subject to a number of known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results or events to differ materially from current expectations. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate and therefore actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward looking statements. Any forward looking statements contained herein speak only as of the date hereof (unless stated otherwise) and, except as may be required by applicable laws or regulations (including the AIM Rules for Companies), the Company disclaims any obligation to update or modify such forward looking statements as a result of new information, future events or for any other reason.
Please find the full financial statements here.
by Hannah Howes
Gold investment demand fell early this year, largely attributed to outflows in gold-backed ETFs as growing expectations of higher interest rates influenced investor attitude, according to the most recent World Gold Council (WGC) report (Gold outlook for 2021 positive, despite uncertainty – World Gold Council (miningweekly.com). When analysing this trend more closely, it has been noted that investment demand actually saw positive growth in the retail market with ETF outflows negatively impacting the overall picture. The WGC market intelligence manager Krishan Gopaul notes that the “The overall picture of investment falling in the quarter really hides two different stories – we see the ETF outflows but there is still the more positive growth story on the bar and coin side”.There has also been an increase in consumer demand which has been further enhanced by low gold prices, one of the major buyers of such commodities being China and other emerging markets. The catalysed global economic recovery, bolstered by swift vaccination efforts, has also boosted consumer confidence in the technology sector raising demand by 11% year on year.
The cyclical elements of gold demand have been heightened by the 10% decrease in gold price in the first quarter, in combination with the global economic recovery in response to positive Covid-19 outlooks. Senior Market Analyst Louise Street at WGC has observed that “having seen investors take shelter in gold from the initial impacts of Covid-19, the first quarter saw a sell-off in the gold price as confidence in economic recovery grew and US interest rates rose sharply,”adding that, notwithstanding this, gold holds a strong position in the most well-balanced portfolios. This is particularly so given the repeatedly reported fears of inflation. In previous years where records show inflation rates of over 3%, the price of gold increased 15% on average (https://www.gold.org/goldhub/research/outlook-2021). When looking ahead to the next few less-tumultuous years, Louise sees “reasons to be optimistic about the gold market”due to the resilience of the markets main drivers, low interest rates and increasing yields.
History ready to repeat itself?
The only certain thing to come from the past year is uncertainty in abundance. That said, when it comes to gold mining, we can remain confident in the fact that the Victoria goldfields, southern Australia, continues to stand as a reputable and reliable source of precious metals. This follows decades of mining in the region, in the wake of a glimmering spotlight launched by the 19thcentury gold rush. Testament to this fact is the nugget of gold rested assertively on my mantel, panned by myself during a trip to the Sovereign Hill attraction at the Ballarat Gold Mine.
AIM listed ECR Minerals (AIM: ECR) is a company on the brink of a gold fest from current drilling in the territory, focused on delivering the next multi-million ounce gold resource. ECR outright owns the Bailieston and Creswick projects located in Central Victoria, Australia, and with an operational HQ at Bendigo, is able to process and fast track core samples and assay results.
As well as holding financial interests in the Avoca, Moormbool and Timor projects, following the sale of those licenses to TSX-V listed Fosterville South Exploration Ltd for up to £1.3 million. Further retaining a 25% interest in the Danglay epithermal gold project located in Northern Philippines and a net smelter royalty agreement from the sale of the SLM gold project in Argentina.
The Dimocks Main Shale, a geological feature believed to be have great gold potential, is home to Creswick and extends some 15km from the aforementioned mining centre of Ballarat.
Drill sites for the current programme are 2.2km south from those used in the previous drill programme in 2019, individual samples of which returned assays as high as 80.97 g/t gold over one metre. A study by pre-eminent consulting geochemist Dr Dennis Arne, whose experience includes extensive consultancy at the exceedingly successful Fosterville gold mine in Central Victoria, emphasized the significant gold exploration potential at Creswick, and ‘nuggety gold mineralisation’.
Also located in the sought-after central Victoria region, Bailieston is not far from the renowned Fosterville mine owned by Kirkland Lake Gold. Bailieston is base to ongoing drilling in the HR3 area, undertaken using ECR’s own diamond drill rig, with prospects also including Cherry Tree, Red Moon and Yellow Moon. Assay results have been announced for four holes in the HR3 area, with a further four holes awaiting final geological interpretation. What has been reported is that BH3DD005 holes 6 and 7 indicate the hypothesized central anticline does exist and represents a favourable target for gold mineralisation. Quality samples have been recorded from drilling by ECR at the Blue Moon prospect in 2019, including a 17.8g/t sample from a 2 metre interval. Making Blue Moon a noteworthy new discovery.
Through previously selling three Victoria licences (Avoca, Moormbool and Timor gold exploration projects) for cash and royalties to TSX-V listed Fosterville South Exploration Ltd, and a number of warrant exercises, the company is fully funded to continue drilling at its 100% owned Creswick and Bailieston projects through to into 2022. This strong cash position has given the company desirable footing moving forward, enabling them to push for the launch of further drilling programmes across existing property and acquire new opportunities.
In the recent Proactive Investors interview, ECR Minerals CEO Craig Brown spoke to Andrew Scott, highlighting the recent news of application for three new licenses in north-east Queensland, Australia. These permits are to cover a total of 900sq km of highly prospective ground within the Lolworth Range. Historical mining in the region totals 24.4mil ounces, equivalent to $48 billion worth of gold. Despite this, the area is relatively unexplored, offering “huge potential” according to Craig. As well as emphasising that he expects the gold price to only gain strength, with the precious metal being the hedge against inflation concerns.
Despite the recent retreat in share price, dropping from 4.25p in January, to 1.89p in May 2021, ECR’s strong cash position attributed to the aforementioned license sales and warrant exercises puts the company in an enviable industry spot. This, in combination with the fact the company owns a diamond drilling rig, currently operational at Bailieston while a contractor’s rig is active at Creswick, means ECR Minerals is set for a prosperous 2021/22 as demand for gold remains bullish. Making the current share price a bargain investment.