ECR Minerals (LSE:ECR) was trading at 0.7p a share on Thursday after revealing that its cash balance has been boosted by a large research and development refund. The Australia-focused mining company has received AUD 555,212 (approximately £295,515) for its research into turbidite-hosted gold deposits in Victoria.

ECR is the 100% owner of five exploration projects in the state called Avoca, Bailieston, Creswick, Moormbool, and Timor. Over the past year, it has completed a large amount of drilling across these areas, recent confirming the presence of nuggety gold mineralisation at Creswick.

Elsewhere, ECR said that – as at 30 September last year – it had carried forward corporate income tax losses of AUD 66,341,687 (approximately £35.3 million). The organisation expects this figure to be available for offset against taxable gains in the future.

Craig Brown, ECR’s chief executive officer, said the refund provides a “significant boost” to the firm’s cash position at a strong time for gold prices. Gold prices continue to remain high after surging 18% throughout 2019, driven forward by trade tensions between the US and China, buying from central banks, and an increase in investment demand.

The gold price remains strong and we believe there is considerable and growing interest in respect of Australian gold exploration, and we have also observed strong interest in the Victorian goldfields where we have an active exploration portfolio,” added Brown. “Overall, the board believes the additional cash creates exciting opportunities for an entrepreneurial gold-focused company like ECR.”

Thursday’s news signalled the end of a quiet period for ECR, whose last release came in November. The company revealed that final “full bag” analysis had confirmed that “very high grade” nuggety gold mineralisation is present in a formation called the Dimocks Main Shale at Creswick, Brown said he believes there to be “significant upside” at the project in light of the results, adding that the company is now considering “how best to build on the results obtained”.

Elsewhere, ECR is the owner of the Windidda gold project in the Yilgarn region of western Australia. Here, the firm is searching for Archaean greenstones buried beneath cover, which it believes to present an excellent gold exploration opportunity. In October, a study by Western Geophysics indicated “feasible drill targets” at the project.

Author: Daniel Flynn

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