ECR Minerals (LSE:ECR) enjoyed an 8.3pc jump to 0.9p in midday trading on Thursday after announcing strong progress in its drilling campaign at Victoria, Australia.

The business said it has now completed 1,687m of reverse circulation drilling in 17 target holes at its Creswick gold project. Here, it is targeting multiple quartz vein orientations within the Dimocks Main Shale (DMS), a 15km-long hard rock geological feature and the source of much alluvial and deep lead gold. Exploration mapping by the company has identified a large gold system within the DMS.

On Thursday, ECR said its drilling so far has intersected quartz reefs as anticipated. It is now awaiting assay results to determine the extent of gold mineralised shoots in samples.

The firm noted that increasing interest in gold exploration across Victoria has led to a significant increase in the number of samples being processed at local laboratories recently. As a result, it now expects samples to be turned around in two to four weeks rather than one week, as originally predicted.

ECR added that it will provide further updates to the market ‘at the earliest opportunity’. However, the firm added that it expects a flow of assay results over coming weeks because its samples have been sat in laboratories ‘for some time’.

Elsewhere, ECR said it has now completed 774m of RC drilling in six target holes at its Blue Moon gold prospects. Work at Blue Moon, located within ECR’s Bailieston project area, follows up on the evidence of a near-surface mineralised gold system announced last July.

Drilling at the site is ongoing and is targeting extensions of areas where sulphides have been intersected, and gold mineralisation has been identified. The firm is now reviewing its field finding here with a view to drilling further in areas of noted interest.

ECR chief executive Craig Brown said the organisation has now completed 2,461m of drilling in less than a month. All-in-all, it intends to carry out between 4,000-6,000m of RC drilling in Victoria as part of the campaign, which was announced at the end of January.

‘We have successfully encountered a number of host structures that were anticipated and targeted in our drill programmes, and we have panned gold within some of the drill samples,’ added Brown. ‘The company’s approach has been to define drill targets based on historical exploration, field mapping and soil geochemistry with an iterative review programme to extend drilling where target geological structures and gold mineralisation therein is encountered. We await assay data to add to our field observations and will provide further updates to the market when assay information has been received and reviewed by the team.’

Thursday’s update comes at a particularly busy time for ECR. Alongside its work at Creswick and Blue Moon, the firm began an additional drilling campaign at its Black Cat prospect in Bailieston earlier in February. Black Cat is among the high priority targets identified by Terra Resources in 2017 and has not previously been drilled. The candidate is located immediately south of ground recently applied for by resources giant Newmont Exploration.

Alongside its various drilling updates, last month also saw ECR announce that it had submitted applications for the nine exploration licences that make up the Windidda gold project in the Yilgarn region of Australia.  The area has been identified as a gold exploration opportunity because it has the potential to contain Archaean greenstones beneath shallow cover. Archaean greenstones host many of Western Australia and the world’s most prolific gold deposits.

The under-cover greenstone gold exploration model has already been tested successfully by Greatland Gold at its nearby Ernest Giles project.  Furthermore, ECR’s licence applications also cover a large proportion of an identified gravity-magnetic trend with known gold prospects along trend to the south.

Previous exploration at Windidda has only targeted base metal and manganese deposit within cover sequences. ECR expects its target areas to be amenable to aircore drilling. It hopes this will enable it to make a rapid assessment of their potential for gold mineralisation.

Author: Daniel Flynn

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