ECR Minerals (LON: ECR) on Wednesday announced the approval of work programmes for three of its Australian exploration permits “in record time”.

The exploration permit (“EPM”) licences are in its Lolworth District licence territories, located in North Queensland. While the company is still awaiting approval for the licences, the next stage of the process can begin.

First, the EMPs will be advertised. After that comes a four-month consultation period. ECR’s directors expect the licences should be granted in around six months’ time and further announcements will follow then.

Chief executive Craig Brown commented that the firm had “received work programme approval back in record time to complete the EPM application process.”

Once the licences are approved, all three will be valid for a five-year initial period, with the right to apply for extension of up to fifteen years. The initial five years will allow the firm to complete its planned exploration programme.

The company noted that its licences will be held in the name of its 100%-owned Australian subsidiary, LUX Exploration.

The EPMs - EPM 27901, 27902 and 27903 – cover a 900 km2 area of “highly prospective ground” in the Lolworth Range. This area is 200km from Townsville and 30km north of Pentlands.

ECR noted that the area “contains metamorphic rocks of the Charters Towers Province”, hosting former large-scale gold producing centres like 6.6-million-ounce Charters Tower and 3.5-million-ounce Ravenswood.

However, do note that the firm has not independently validated these numbers so they are for guidance only.

Still, the area’s basement and structural geology are not well understood, suggesting the possibility of finding new deposits.

On top of which, the area also has reported rhyolitic volcanics, which host gold deposits in the region, including the more than 2.5-million-ounce Mount Leyshon and over 1-million-ounce Mount Wright.

In fact, Brown said historical data in the area found “regional deposits, including Charters Towers have produced over 24m Oz in total gold production over the years”.

Not only that but the company’s desktop study of historic exploration data, gathered in the late 1980s, discovered that the areas returned “anomalous gold stream sediment sample results”.

The area on the southern boundary of the application area contains the “rich alluvial gold deposits of the Cape River and Gorge Creek area”, draining the southern Lolworth Range.

The east boundary of EPMs 27902 and 27903 is bordered by exploration permits that explore the Lolworth dyke swarm. This is a system, trending north-west and containing not only gold but also copper and molybdenum.

Additionally, historic sample data found tin-tungsten mineralisation in EPM 27902’s western areas, with no detailed follow-up work.

Brown said ECR’s “strong cash position” has made it possible to continue with “aggressive drilling programmes”.  It already operates two diamond drill rigs at its Victoria projects Bailieston and Creswick.

Meanwhile, he added, the company’s team at Bendigo are still assessing core and drill data. Thanks to leadership from geologist Adam Jones, the firm now has “the capacity to aggressively pursue and develop this new opportunity”.

“I am confident that our ongoing drilling operations across multiple high-profile gold targets will expose ECR to potential new gold discoveries, and I look forward to updating shareholders again in the near term,” Brown concluded.

Author: Anna Farley

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