ECR Minerals (LSE:ECR) rose 2.04pc on Monday following the release of a positive drilling update for its Timor gold project in Australia. The £4.5m firm, which was trading at 0.93p a share on Tuesday, said it has now begun a rock chip sampling programme at the Victoria-based asset.

More than 90 samples have already been collected and submitted to the laboratory for assay testing as part of the programme, which will include the sampling of rock dumps from old gold workings. ECR will then undertake additional sampling along Timor’s two fault zones, to determine the style of gold mineralisation present.

Historical records demonstrate that operators have produced more than 640,000oz of gold at Timor from hard-rock and alluvial sources. Of this, they have mined 220,000oz from hard-rock operations at an average grade of 14g/t gold. Two fault zones called the Shaw-McFarlane Fault Zone (SMFZ) and the Leviathan-Mariners Fault Zone (LMFZ) are responsible for the majority of this output.

According to ECR, opportunities exist within the SMFV to identify and process gold mineralisation at ‘potentially very high grades’ by using modern techniques. Meanwhile, the organisation says that the scale of the LMFZ means that it offers the potential for modern open cut and underground mining techniques.

If merited, ECR plans to follow its sampling programme with a grid-based GDP pXRF survey for antimony and arsenic as pathfinders to gold mineralisation where outcrop or shallow cover exists. It will then look at completing a scout Rotary Air Blast drill on the best-developed targes

In Monday’s update, Craig Brown, chief executive of ECR Minerals, said: ‘I am pleased to confirm that the rock dump sampling from old workings is now underway at the Timor Gold Project and look forward to the findings from this work. We are aware of many prospectors searching for gold in and around the Company’s licence areas, and that includes the Timor gold project. This is interesting and demonstrates the potential of our ground.

‘However, it is worth noting that should ECR make a discovery within its licence areas, it would be seeking to implement a significant commercial gold production operation which has a different scale to that seen in local prospecting and for which extensive preparatory planning and execution would be needed. I look forward to providing further market updates in respect of Timor and our other Victoria gold fields interests, including Creswick where significant work is underway at present testing whole of reverse circulation sample bags for gold.’

Brown’s comments here refer to a recent gold prospecting documentary filmed in Australia’s Victorian Goldfields, in which some shots took place close to some of ECR’s licencing areas. During one part of the film, a team working around 5km from the boundary of Timor at a location called Dunolly discovered a 2.2kg gold nugget with an estimated value of c.$200,000.

On Monday, ECR said it was ‘very encouraged’ by the discovery, adding that it validates its ongoing belief in the area’s untapped potential. This is because the nugget would have to have had a local, primary source.

‘While gold nuggets are not the ECR objective in discovering a new economic primary gold deposit at Timor, they do form an added occasional bonus to the overall economics, especially when they form part of a rich high grade ore shoot,’ added the business.

Author: Daniel Flynn

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