Victoria

  • ECR Minerals – right at the heart of Australia’s second gold rush (ECR)

    The goldfields in Victoria, South Australia are grabbing the world’s attention for the second time in history.

    Upon the first discovery of the precious metal in the 1850s, we saw this desert area become a major international mining centre.

    As you can probably imagine, technology has moved on from the hand-dug pits, wooden ladders and dynamite that marked these times.

    Today, 3D-mapping, drone-based mineralogical studies, and vast national resources devoted to seismic, geochemical and geochronological surveys are unearthing a deeper, second layer to Victoria’s gold rush.

    The Geological Survey of Victoria now estimates that 75 million ounces of high-grade gold is currently sitting under the earth in Australia’s most southern state.

    Tax no dampener on gold rush

    The scale of finds being made in Victoria are so enormous that the local government is even keen to cash in.

    In January 2020, it announced that mines recovering more than 2,500 ounces of gold a year would be subject to a 2.75% tax.

    But this has done little to dampen exploration interest.

    Not least because the state government has been handing out multi-million-dollar grants to mining companies to get their projects underway.

    What the tax development does mean, however, is that the cost of mining an ounce of gold has risen to the point where only the most well-capitalised projects with licenses to boot will succeed.

    Enter ECR Minerals (LSE:ECR).

    ECR has more than a few strings to its bow in Australia.

    The firm’s main area of interest is the Victoria boom.

    In Bailieston and Creswick, ECRboasts two enormously exciting and prospective Victoria gold projects.

    Bailieston is found in the major orogenic Lachlan Fold Belt, while Creswick sits on the Dimocks Main Shale that extends to Ballarat then miles to the south.

    Bailieston’s location within Victoria

    Recreating Kirkland Lake’s success

    Kirkland Lake Gold (TSX.KL) (NYSE:KL) has become the poster child for success in the current wave of Victoria gold interest.

    In the last five years, the firm’s share price has exploded 2,263% thanks to its ownership of the Fosterville Gold Mine.

    This has made the company and its investors rich by any standard.

    Fosterville is the largest gold producer in Victoria, increasing annual gold production by 315% between 2014 and 2018 while also seeing a 540% jump in gold head grade from 4.6g/t to 24.8g/t, according to the national geological survey.

    Operating cash costs of $130 to $150 per oz are laughably small for a world-class deposit, and the spot price of gold hitting new eight-year highs of $1,759 per oz has done nothing to dampen enthusiasm for the precious metal.

    ECR’s key tenement of Bailleston sits just 18 miles east of Fosterville and on the same rich seam of gold that has made millionaires of Kirkland’s investors.

    Trading volume has started to pick up in ECR since it won licences at the start of 2020.

    But with wider equity markets consumed by Covid-19, attention has been diverted away from a potential goldmine.

    With the ECR share price trading in a range at around 0.7p, there is huge upside potential to be had.

    The Blue Moon prospect at Bailieston, Victoria

    Firms flocking to Victoria

    ABC Australia reported in May 2020 that more than 80 mineral exploration applications are now underway in Victoria.

    And it is the UK and Canada-listed companies that have got there first.

    Top names include Power Metal Resources(LSE:POW), Red Rock Resources (LSE:RRR) and Fosterville South (TSX.V:FSX).

    The latter of these has this week spun off two of its gold projects at Avoca and Timor in Victoria — bought from none other than ECR — to create a new company, Leviathan Gold, with FSX shareholders receiving shares in Leviathan on a one-to-one basis.

    Shares in FSX rose by nearly 30% to an all-time high of CAD$4.35 on the news.

    ECR’s sale of Avoca and Timor to Fosterville South means that – as well as an upfront $500,000 to fund its Bailieston and Creswick exploration – ECR will receive $1 for every ounce of gold discovered, up to a maximum of $2,000,000.

    Multinational miners are now converging on Victoria, but they have been beaten to the punch to by their nimbler rivals.

    As a relatively small AIM-listed exploration, the results here could be a kingmaker for ECR.

    Author: Daniel Flynn

    The Author does not hold any position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

    MiningMaven Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, does not own a position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

    MiningMaven Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, has been paid for the production of this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

    MiningMaven.com and MiningMaven Ltd are not responsible for the article's content or accuracy and do not share the views of the author. News and research are not recommendations to deal, and investments may fall in value so that you could lose some or all of your investment. Past performance is not an indicator of future performance

  • ECR Minerals advances as assays indicate high-grade gold zone at Blue Moon (ECR)

    ECR Minerals (LSE:ECR) rose 9pc on Thursday to 0.9p after announcing that it has received significant gold assays from its Blue Moon prospect in Victoria, Australia.  

    The firm has recently 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.

    ECR chose to investigate the sandstone in January because, despite being heavily weathered at surface, it believes it could host higher grade gold mineralisation, including disseminated sulphides, at deeper levels. This followed its discovery of a significant near surface gold intercept and evidence of a near-surface mineralised gold system in July last year.

    Craig Brown, chief executive at ECR Minerals, said on Thursday: ‘These results quantify the field geologists’ assessment of visible gold at Blue Moon during drilling of BBM007 and provide great encouragement for the Company and the Bailieston gold project. To achieve an intersection of 17.87g/t gold over 2 metres is notable. But also of significance is that this was part of an intersection of 15 metres at 3.81g/t gold from relatively shallow depth.’

     

    A map showing the location of drill holes at Blue Moon

    Thursday’s update came during a particularly busy time for ECR. Alongside Blue Moon, the organisation is drilling at its Creswick gold project in Victoria.  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. Last month, the firm said drilling to date had intersected quartz reefs as anticipated.

    Elsewhere, the business launched an additional 450m drilling campaign at its Black Cat prospect in Bailieston last month. 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.

    Earlier this month, the company said it had intersected wide zones of alteration in seven holes, with quartz veining in another two after completing 250m of drilling. Meanwhile, 77 samples have been delivered for laboratory assay testing, with results awaited.

    Victoria resurgence

    The acceleration of ECR’s drilling activity comes amid a resurgence of interest in Victoria. This follows the success of Kirkland Lake Gold at Fosterville, which is now one of Australia’s premier gold mines. After drilling to greater depths at the historic mine, Kirkland discovered multiple high-grade zones. The work increased Fosterville’s mineral reserves by 60% to 2.7MMoza grading 31g/t gold and Kirkland expects to produce 550,000-610,000oz of gold from the mine this year.

    Against this prospective backdrop, operating costs at Victoria remain very low by industry standards. This ideal dynamic has attracted global attention, with worldwide major Newmont Mining setting up shop in the region alongside ASX-listed firms like Chalice Gold Mines, Petratherm, and Nagambie Resource.

    According to Earth Resources Regulation, gold production in the area hit a six-year high over 2017-18 at 364,225oz. Meanwhile, the Australian Bureau of Statistics claims that exploration activity has also soared, with expenditure enjoying an 81pc year-on-year increase to $73.3m in 2017-18.

    Finally, alongside its various drilling updates, January 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

    The Author does not hold any position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

    The Author has been paid to produce this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

    Catalyst Information Services Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, owns a position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

    Catalyst Information Services Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, has been paid for the production of this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

    MiningMaven.com and Catalyst Information Services Ltd are not responsible for its content or accuracy. News and research are not recommendations to deal, and investments may fall in value so that you could lose some or all of your investment. Past performance is not an indicator of future performance.

  • ECR Minerals examining commercial options in Victoria as exploration continues apace (ECR)

    ECR Minerals (LSE:ECR) is reviewing commercial options for its gold projects across Victoria, Australia, after receiving third party interest. In a wider update on its exploration progress across the assets, ECR’s chief executive Craig Brown said the firm was “considering potential transactions which may create value for the company and its shareholders”.

    Although there can be no guarantee that any transaction will be progressed, the board are encouraged by the number of opportunities that are available. Further updates will be provided as appropriate,”  he added.

    Through its subsidiary Mercator Gold Australia, ECR owns five exploration projects called Avoca, Bailieston, Creswick, Moormbool, and Timor across Central Victoria.

    In Thursday’s announcement, the company revealed that it has commissioned Dr Dennis Arne to carry out a lithogeochemical study of chips generated by drilling at Creswick. Arne, who has consulted extensively at the world-renowned Fosterville gold mine in Central Victoria, will work to determine whether quartz veining at Creswick is associated with the presence of ferroan carbonate.

    Ferroan carbonate, which is associated with many nearby gold deposits in Victoria, increases as mineralised structures are approached. As such, its presence will be integral to future exploration at Creswick.

    Meanwhile, ECR- which was trading close to a one-month high at 0.85p at writing – said it was considering several potential exploration programmes for Bailieston. Among its options is follow-on drilling at the Blue Moon prospect, where drilling last year returned an intercept of 2 metres at 17.87 grams per tonne gold.

    Finally, ECR also provided an update on its Windidda gold project in the Yilgarn region of Western Australia, where it is also preparing to explore for gold. The organisation said it has been granted an additional exploration licence at the site but has also withdrawn three applications for permits over areas now considered to be less prospective for gold. One further application remains in process.

    With gold recently breaking through the crucial $1,600 an ounce psychological barrier and showing no signs of stopping, it is encouraging to see ECR lay out a clear, transparent plan. After all, junior gold exploration firms are among the most prominent beneficiaries when the safe-haven asset soars in times of uncertainty.

    Following the release of Thursday’s update, ECR is sitting above its five, ten, and 100-day exponential moving averages but significantly below the highs of 1.22p at which it sat in June last year. With this in mind, the delivery of strong exploration results or some kind of commercial deal for one of its Victorian projects could provide plenty of upside to its current £3.9 million market cap.

    Author: Daniel Flynn

    The Author does not hold any position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

    MiningMaven Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, does not a position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

    MiningMaven Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, has been paid for the production of this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

    MiningMaven.com and MiningMaven Ltd are not responsible for the article’s content or accuracy and do not share the views of the author. News and research are not recommendations to deal, and investments may fall in value so that you could lose some or all of your investment. Past performance is not an indicator of future performance

  • ECR Minerals rewarded with near-£300k refund for Australian R&D work (ECR)

    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

    The Author does not hold any position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

    MiningMaven Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, does not a position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

    MiningMaven Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, has been paid for the production of this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

    MiningMaven.com and MiningMaven Ltd are not responsible for the article’s content or accuracy and do not share the views of the author. News and research are not recommendations to deal, and investments may fall in value so that you could lose some or all of your investment. Past performance is not an indicator of future performance

  • ECR Minerals zones in on highly-prospective core gold projects in Victoria following asset sale (ECR)

    ECR Minerals(LSE:ECR) will press forward at its Creswick and Bailieston gold projects in Victoria from a significantly strengthened cash position following the disposal of several non-core assets, says its chief executive Craig Brown.

    Monday saw the £3.5 million mineral exploration and development firm sell off its Avoca, Moormbool, and Timor exploration licences in the Australian state to Canadian miner Fosterville South(TSX.V:FSX). It received A$500,000 in cash immediately from the sale and can earn up to a total of A$2.5 million from the assets provided that certain resource and production milestones are crossed in the future.

    However, Brown tells us that the most significant element of the sale is that it frees ECR up to focus entirely on its remaining interests in Victoria – the Bailieston and Creswick projects:

    “These are two highly prospective licence packages in a state that is enjoying a renewed rush of interest thanks to the enormous success of Kirkland Lake’sFosterville mine. Following strong results from our initial work at both projects, we can now focus more than ever on advancing these core opportunities.”

    The Creswick project contains around 7 kilometres of a 15-kilometre trend called the Dimocks Main Shale (“DMS”) that runs through the world-renowned mining centre of Ballarat.

    The DMS has been the source of vast swathes of both alluvial and deep lead gold over the years. It is believed to have been a significant contributor to around 11 million ounces of gold production in the Ballarat area as a whole. As such, ECR has been examining the trend’s potential for hosting gold on its own licence area – where multiple veins indicate the potential for bulk mining targets.