Precious metals firm ECR Minerals (LSE:ECR) sat at 0.77p on Friday after revealing progress at its Black Cat gold prospect in Victoria, Australia. The company said reconnaissance RAB drilling has encountered significant intersections including 7m at 1.76g/t gold from 35m and 3m at 4.26g/t gold from 16m. It added that the potential for supergene enriched mineralisation at the water table interface and for deeper primary mineralisation could be investigated by drilling deeper holes. 

Black Cat is among the high priority targets identified by geophysical interpretation and targeting studies completed by Terra Resources at Victoria in late 2017. The prospect is located immediately south of ground recently applied for by resources giant Newmont Exploration.

The site contains 220m of historical workings along three known lines of quartz reef. This holds strong gold-in-soil anomalism that indicates unworked reefs could remain at depth. Meanwhile, rock chip sampling of quartz-poor material suggests the potential for disseminated gold, with grades of up to 11.3g/t of the precious metal. In Friday’s update, ECR said that drilling has so far generated important geological insights at Black Cat that will guide further exploration.

Chief executive Craig Brown added: ‘This was a valuable reconnaissance programme at a gold prospect which had never been drilled before, located immediately south of ground recently applied for by a subsidiary of Newmont Mining. The drilling targeted numerous quartz reefs with 18 holes drilled in total. Most of the locations had some historical gold mining activity, and all of them had positive previous rock chip sampling results. I am delighted with the positive outcomes from this programme. As well as some encouraging grades, the drilling has provided important geological information which may help vector further exploration in the project area towards achievement of ECR’s prime strategic objective, which is the discovery of a multi-million ounce gold deposit.’

Friday’s news comes days after ECR announced that it had started the processing and interpretation of airborne and ground geophysics at its Windidda gold project. The project is 100pc owned by ECR and contains nine exploration licenses across the Yilgarn region in Western Australia.

Windidda is thought to contain Archaean greenstones buried beneath cover, the likes of which host many of Western Australia and the world’s most prolific gold deposits. This particular gold exploration model has already been tested successfully by Greatland Gold (LSE:GGP) at the Ernest Giles project located 125km east of Windidda. The nine licence applications submitted by ECR also cover a large proportion of an identified gravity-magnetic trend with known gold prospects along trend to the south.

The analysis of airborne and ground geophysics is a key stage in determining the locations of potential high-profile drill targets. ECR expects these to be amenable to cost-effective air core drilling which will give the explorer greater clarity on the potential gold mineralization on offer.

The Yilgarn Craton is Australia's premier mineral province, attracting more than half of Australia's minerals exploration expenditure, and responsible for two-thirds of all gold and most of the nickel mined in Australia. In fact, Yilgarn contains around 30pc of the world's known gold reserves. Additionally, It is also rich in nickel - holding 20pc of global reserves, - and 80% of the world's tantalum reserves can be found there. Copper, Iron ore, zinc and minor lead reserves have all been identified at Yilgarn Craton.

Meanwhile, ECR rose 9pc in mid-March after announcing that it had received significant gold assays from its Blue Moon prospect in Victoria, Australia. The business has completed a reverse circulation drilling programme at the site, which is based within its 100pc-owned Bailieston project area. Assays for three holes have now returned showing both high-grade intervals and significant widths of anomalous gold grades.

Highlights include 2m at 17.87g/t gold from 57m in a hole called BBM007 within a zone of 15m at 3.81g/t from 51m. Meanwhile, hole BBM006 returned 3m at 3.88g/t gold from 170m downhole within a zone of 11m at 2.42g/t gold from 169m.

According to ECR, these results indicate that a high-grade zone exists at Blue Moon with the firm’s target sandstone host. The business said further results and work will be required to understand any concentration of mineralisation within shoots.

Author: Daniel Flynn

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