ECR Minerals’ Craig Brown: “Windidda is the perfect complement to our gold portfolio in Victoria” (ECR)

Back in January, ECR Minerals (LSE:ECR) announced that it had applied for 1,600km2 of ground across nine licences prospective for gold mineralisation in Western Australia’s Yilgarn Craton. Since then, the firm has kicked off work in the area, which it has named the Windidda project, to establish whether it contains Archaean greenstones – formations that host many of the world’s most prolific gold deposits. Alongside chief executive Craig Brown, we look here at the potential that could be on offer at Windidda once ECR’s licences are granted.

Leading gold jurisdiction

As well as supporting its efforts to deliver a multi-million-ounce gold resource, establishing a Western Australian presence complements ECR’s existing and extensive gold exploration portfolio in Victoria. Like Victoria, Western Australia (WA) is a world-leading mining operating jurisdiction that boasts significant iron ore assets, such as BHP’s South Flank project and Fortescue Metals Group’s Eliwana development.

After the slowdown at the start of this decade, a rapid increase in gold exploration, coupled with the development of international gold projects at the Boddington mine and the Kalgoorlie Superpit, has helped to reinvigorate WA’s economy in recent years. Indeed, the mining industry accounted for 30pc of the region’s gross state product in 2017/2018 as well as 92pc of its state income from merchandise exports in 2015/2016.

Digging deeper, WA’s Yilgarn Craton, on which Windidda sits, is host to around 30pc of the world’s known gold reserves and has been explored for over a century. Thanks to its position as Australia’s premier mineral province, the area attracts more than half of the country’s mineral exploration expenditure and produces around two-thirds of all of its mined gold. Beyond gold, the area also contains some 20pc of the world’s nickel reserves, 80pc of its tantalum assets, and vast amounts of copper and zinc.

Much of the Yilgarn Craton, and Western Australian for that matter, is made up of what are known as Archaean greenstone belts- formed during the early stage of earth’s development. Importantly, these formations – which can also be found in Eastern Canada and South Africa - often contain vast supplies of gold as well as other metals such as silver, copper, zinc, and lead.

As well as both Boddington and the Kalgoorlie Superpit, Archean greenstone belts host significant gold deposits such as Kambalda, Mount Magnet, Laverton, and Wiluna. To put the sheer scale that these belts can offer into context, the Kalgoorlie Superpit is almost 4km long, 1.5km wide and 500-metre-deep, and can produce up to 800,000oz of gold per year.

Greenstone potential? ECR taking a different approach

Previous work at the Windidda project area has only targeted base metal and manganese deposits, but ECR plans to take a different approach. The firm will focus instead on the as-yet-untargeted gravity and magnetic anomalies that have already been interpreted to be hosted in greenstone units.

Specifically, ECR plans to use aircore drilling across these areas to assess their potential for gold mineralisation as quickly as possible. Key to this approach is the fact that the firm expects the targets’ depth of cover to be shallow, meaning they should be amenable to low-cost aircore drilling.

Given that all the greenstone gold deposits in Western Australia are associated with gravity anomalies, there is a lot of existing precedent for ECR’s approach. Notably, the under-cover greenstone gold exploration model has already been tested successfully by the company’s peer Greatland Gold (LSE:GGP) at its Ernest Giles project, which is also located in the Yilgarn Craton. Greatland believes that Ernest Giles could contain a gold discovery of more than 5MMoz.

Given the Yilgarn Craton’s existing and historical prospectivity, Brown tells us he is highly excited by the opportunity offered by his organisation’s licence area:

‘We were fortunate to get the licences at the Yilgarn Craton, given the area’s excellent reputation. The permissions we have applied for currently have a layer of other rocks over the top of them, but, most importantly, underneath they have significant exposure to that same critical greenstone belt that our peers are utilising successfully. The idea is that we want to drill down through the upper layers into the greenstone, which is highly respected for mineralisation. There has been some geophysics completed in the past that boast very positive indications for our work.’

Complementary work streams

ECR’s work at Windidda began in April when the business commenced the processing and interpretation of airborne and ground geophysics. The company plans to determine structural trends within, and to the depth to, an already-interpreted, and buried Archaean greenstone belt at the project. This work should then be able to identify high profile drill targets that can be assessed quickly and cheaply through aircore drilling.

Against the backdrop of this work, Brown tells us that securing a definitive licence to ensure Windidda’s future development will be the firm’s next big step at the asset. He adds that progress here is already advanced:

‘We applied to the licence on a first-come-first-serve basis. We are very excited by its prospectivity and have many plans in place to take it forward. The first, and most critical, stage is to ensure that we have the licencing for the area in place. Work here is advanced; we are negotiating and working with the locals and the government, and updates will be released in due course. I am truly excited by the potential of Windidda, and I believe that it will complement the work we are already completing rapidly at Victoria and support us on our way to discovering Australia’s next multi-million-ounce gold resource.’

 

 

Author: Daniel Flynn

The Author does not hold any position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

Catalyst Information Services Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, owns a position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

Catalyst Information Services Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, has been paid for the production of this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

MiningMaven.com and Catalyst Information Services Ltd are not responsible for its content or accuracy and do not share the views of the author.  News and research are not recommendations to deal, and investments may fall in value so that you could lose some or all of your investment. Past performance is not an indicator of future performance.

 

 

ECR launches exploration work at Henry’s Hill in Victoria (ECR)

ECR Minerals (LSE:ECR) continued to ramp up its Australian gold exploration activity on Wednesday with the launch of work at its Henry’s Hill prospect in central Victoria. The £4m business, which was trading at 0.88p as at writing, has secured land access permission for the area, which is based within its Avoca gold project and will start soil geochemistry and field mapping ‘imminently’.

To date, ECR’s geologists have taken seven rock chip samples from the roadside reserve at Henry’s Hill at intervals of approximately 5m in shallow pits. Three of these samples returned 5.1g/t, 1.4g/t, and 1.3g/t gold.

The company hopes that its latest round of work can locate and better define the controls on mineralised shoots at the asset – known locally as Wolfram Hill due to the presence of tungsten-bearing ore. It added that it will also explore the potential for mineralisation to extend undercover to the east and the potential continuation of mineralisation to the west.

Henry’s Hill was mapped in 1950 by a government geologist who identified a series of north-dipping faults dissecting NW-trending sentiments. ECR added that the presence of tungsten is a good indicator of magmatic fluids, something that is prospective for mineralisation.

The work comes at a particularly busy time for ECR, which is now carrying out active exploration or project development activity at four projects across its Avoca Bailiestone, Creswick and Timor licences in Victoria.

Last week, the business rose after unveiling strong gold assays from a rock chip sampling programme at Timor. In total, it collected 84 rock samples from 19 prospects of which more than half were mineralised or anomalous at more than 0.1g/t gold.  

These anomalous samples came from 14 separate opportunities and averaged 1.8g/t gold, which ECR believes to suggest ‘high-level background gold content of the host rocks associated with many of the prospects’. The maximum gold grade encountered was 6.49g/t gold from a host rock slate without any quartz content – something ECR described as ‘remarkable’.

Speaking to MiningMaven on Wednesday, ECR’s chief executive Craig Brown said the organisation’s busy work schedule coincides with a healthy macro backdrop for gold prices:

‘With gold prices hitting record highs in the face of risk-off sentiment over recent weeks, the time is perfect for ECR to be embarking on an exploration campaign across many of its less explored assets,’ he said. ‘Against this backdrop, we are excited to continue updating investors on our progress over the coming weeks and months.’

To read our recent report on ECR’s drilling progress in Australia, please click here.

Author: Daniel Flynn

The Author does not hold any position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

Catalyst Information Services Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, owns a position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

Catalyst Information Services Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, has been paid for the production of this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

MiningMaven.com and Catalyst Information Services Ltd are not responsible for its content or accuracy and do not share the views of the author. News and research are not recommendations to deal, and investments may fall in value so that you could lose some or all of your investment. Past performance is not an indicator of future performance.

ECR Minerals shines on 'remarkable' Timor gold assays

ECR Minerals (LSE:ECR) rose by 7.2pc to 0.99p on Tuesday after unveiling ‘remarkable’ gold assays at its Timor project in Victoria, Australia.

The business recently completed a rock chip sampling programme at the asset’s Shaw’s Reef and Anglo-Saxon Reef prospects, where quartz vein material assayed 22.6g/t gold and 26.3g/t respectively. These samples were taken randomly from waste dumps created by underground operations that were completed at Timor at the turn of the 19th century and produced many thousands of ounces of gold.

In total, ECR collected 84 rock samples from 19 prospects of which more than half were mineralised or anomalous at more than 0.1g/t gold. These anomalous samples came from 14 separate opportunities and averaged 1.8g/t gold, which ECR believes to suggest ‘high-level background gold content of the host rocks associated with many of the prospects’. The maximum gold grade encountered was 6.49g/t gold from a host rock slate without any quartz content – something the company described as ‘remarkable’.

Meanwhile, the work also discovered a new reef called Brilliant/Northumbria. ECR chief executive Craig Brown said the area extends over around 500m and is prospective for ‘widespread, low-grade gold mineralisation’.

Finally, the business said that many of the prospects boasted consistently anomalous gold grades, indicating that the ore is not nuggety and reliable grades can be expected. ECR is now reviewing the data it has collected to determine its next step at Timor, adding that it will update the market on each phase of its exploration programme as it is implemented and results are interpreted.

Timor is one of five projects owned by ECR in the Victoria Goldfields region of Australia. Historical records show that the Maryborough goldfield within the licence area has produced over 640,000oz of gold from hard-rock and alluvial sources.  Meanwhile, 220,000oz mined has also been extracted from hard-rock operations at an average grade of 14g/t gold.

ECR has identified two major fault zones at Timor called the Shaw-McFarlane Fault Zone and the Leviathan-Mariners Fault Zone. These are responsible for the majority of the project’s hard-rock gold production. ECR believes that both of the zones have the potential for modern open cut and underground mining techniques because of the scale of the deposits they present.

Alongside its work at Timor, ECR is currently completing exploration and project development operational activity at its Creswick and Bailieston licences in Victoria.

Author: Daniel Flynn

The Author does not hold any position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

Catalyst Information Services Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, owns a position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

Catalyst Information Services Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, has been paid for the production of this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

MiningMaven.com and Catalyst Information Services Ltd are not responsible for its content or accuracy and do not share the views of the author. News and research are not recommendations to deal, and investments may fall in value so that you could lose some or all of your investment. Past performance is not an indicator of future performance.