ECR Minerals plc (AIM:ECR) Half-year Report

UNAUDITED HALF-YEARLY RESULTS FOR THE SIX MONTHS ENDED 31 MARCH 2022 AND UPDATE

ECR Minerals plc, the gold exploration and development company, is pleased to announce unaudited half-yearly financial results for the six months ended 31 March 2022 for the Company as consolidated with its subsidiaries (the “Group”), along with a review of significant developments during the period and subsequently.
 

Recorded 16th June 2022
 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The gold exploration boom in Victoria, Australia has continued, with material progress made at the Company’s flagship Creswick and Bailieston assets. ECR’s acquisition of the Brewing Lane and Nagambie-Rushworth Road properties has enhanced access and exploration opportunities at both projects.
  • In December 2022, the Company was notified it had been granted licence EL006907 linking Creswick to Ballarat East-Nerrina. The board views this as a key step in building our understanding of the Dimocks Main Shale anomaly and developing ECR’s Creswick project. Also granted was licence EL007484 in East Victoria, situated 50km north of Bairnsdale in the east of the state of Victoria encompassing the alluvial fields of Swifts Creek and the Mid to Upper reaches of the Tambo River.
  • Despite severe delays in receiving assay results during the period due to the impact of COVID-19, the results we did receive from our ongoing drilling campaigns at Bailieston and HR3 delivered substantial progress in both gold grades and our understanding of the regional geology.
  • Drilling and subsequent 3D modelling of HR3 drillholes BH3DD005, BH3DD006 and BH3DD007 earlier in the year revealed a moderate south plunging fold underneath and along strike of the Maori Reef workings. In November 2022 we reported initial results from BH3DD009, the first hole completed, which returned 0.7m @ 28.06g/t Au from 52.7m depth from the Maori Reef. Holes BH3DD010 and BH3DD011 reported consistent gold grades in December 2022, while soil sampling results revealed a larger area of anomalies, supporting a dilational jog model theory developed by our head geologist Adam Jones. In March 2022 further data identified five mineralised zones, all correlated to the Maori Anticline (within the Maori Reef), plus consistent gold grades were identified in hole BH3DD012 and visible gold in hole BH3DD034 (see announcement dated 14 March 2022 for full details).
  • In February 2022, exploration licences EPM27901, EPM27902 and EPM27903 were granted to 100% owned subsidiary LUX Exploration Limited (“LUX”), in the Lolworth Region, North Queensland. The licences are located approximately 120km west of the historic Charters Towers Gold Mine in North Queensland and cover 964 km2. Historic stream sediment sampling indicates that the Lolworth Range area is prospective for gold, tungsten and tin.
  • During the period under review, Dr Trevor George Davenport was appointed as an Independent Non-Executive Director. Most recently Dr Davenport consulted for Kryso Resources Plc at the time of the takeover of control of the company by China Nonferrous International Mining Co. Ltd in 2011. In January 2022, Andrew Scott, a communications specialist and media professional was also appointed as a Non-Executive Director. The sad loss of former CEO Craig Brown presented a substantial challenge to the management team. Nonetheless, a committee was formed with Chairman David Tang, and Non-Exec Directors Dr Davenport and Adam Jones, to manage the company up to the appointment of a new CEO.
  • Post-period end, on 11 April 2022 Andrew Haythorpe was appointed as CEO (currently a non-board position). Andrew has more than 20 years of experience managing listed gold miners and explorers on the ASX and TSX as well as working as a mining analyst and actively exploring for gold as a geologist.
  • Post-period end, Ludevico Estacio, the Chairman of Philippines company Cordillera Tiger Gold Resources, Inc., (in which ECR had a 25% shareholding), agreed to sell his shares (1,499,996 in total) to ECR. The consideration of 1,499,996.00 Philippine pesos (approximately £22,000) was paid for in cash, and ECR now holds 2,333,329 Ordinary Shares in Cordillera representing 70% of its issued share capital (see announcement dated 27 April 2022 for full details).
  • Group comprehensive expenses of £324,333 are reported for the six months ended 31 March 2022 (£468,112 for the six months ended 31 March 2021) and net assets of £7,536,209 at 31 March 2022 (£6,442,465 at 31 March 2021).
  • A Group Operating Loss is reported for the six months ended 31 March 2022 of £552,202, compared with £403,079 for the six months ended 31 March 2021.
  • Despite the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy, the board believes ECR is in a robust financial position and continues to provide shareholders with exposure to an exciting range of gold projects.

FINANCIAL RESULTS

For the six months ended 31 March 2022 the unaudited financial statements of the Group recorded a total comprehensive expense of £324,333.

The Group’s total assets were £7,674,007 at 31 March 2022, compared with £6,522,307 at 31 March 2021. The increase in total assets has occurred largely due to the increase in exploration assets following the capitalisation of exploration expenditure during the period as a result of the current aggressive drilling programme.

The Group held £1,204,289 of cash and cash equivalents at 31 March 2022, compared with £3,928,905 at 31 March 2021.

REVIEW OF PRINCIPAL DEVELOPMENTS DURING THE PERIOD AND SUBSEQUENTLY

The six months to 31 March 2022 and the subsequent period since have been notable as a period of great progress, sadness and change. Former CEO Craig Brown died suddenly at the end of October 2021, and while a committee including Chairman David Tang, and non-exec directors Trevor Davenport and Adam Jones continued to run the Company without interruption, the shock of his sudden loss remains with us to this day. Nonetheless he would be pleased and proud with the operational progress to date, and we believe he would be delighted with the calibre of his recently appointed successor Andrew Haythorpe.

During the period under review, Dr Trevor Davenport was appointed as an Independent Non-Executive Director. Most recently Dr Davenport consulted for Kryso Resources Plc at the time of the takeover of control of the company by China Nonferrous International Mining Co. Ltd in 2011.

In January 2022, Andrew Scott, a communications specialist and media professional was also appointed as a Non-Executive Director. Andrew is well known in the UK and across Australia as a business and markets interviewer. He has worked at Sky News UK, Reuters and Proactive as well as in presenting and media roles at ITV and Television NZ (TVNZ).

Post-period end, on 11 April 2022 Andrew Haythorpe was appointed as Chief Executive Officer (currently a non-board position). Andrew has more than 20 years of experience managing listed gold miners and explorers on the ASX and TSX as well as working as a mining analyst and actively exploring for gold as a geologist. His board experience includes the role of Managing Director at TSX and ASX-listed Crescent Gold Limited, which started with a market capitalisation of $8 million and, under his leadership, reached $250 million within four years. He was also Managing Director of ASX-listed gold producer Michelago Resources and is currently the Managing Director of GoldOz Limited, a gold company seeking to relist on the ASX. As an analyst, Andrew was considered a global leader in the Industrial Minerals sector and rated 12th best gold analyst at Hartley Poynton Ltd.

Currently, through ECR’s wholly owned Australian subsidiary Mercator Gold Australia Pty Ltd (“MGA”), the board remains focused on the fast-paced drilling programme at Bailieston and Creswick. During the period, large quantities of drill core have been amassed for technical review, processing and assay testing. Although, the impact of intermittent COVID lockdowns on the region has resulted in delays to assay results, our geologist Adam Jones and his team continue to make solid progress. In particular, the ongoing drilling campaign at Bailieston and HR3 delivered substantial progress in both gold grades and our understanding of the regional geology.

Post-period end, Ludevico Estacio, the Chairman of Philippines company Cordillera Tiger Gold Resources, Inc., (in which ECR had a 25% shareholding), agreed to sell his shares (1,499,996 in total) to ECR. The consideration of 1,499,996.00 Philippine pesos (approximately £22,000) was paid for in cash, and ECR now holds 2,333,329 Ordinary Shares in Cordillera representing 70% of its issued share capital (see announcement dated 27 April 2022 for full details of this transaction).

Creswick

At Creswick, in December MGA was notified that license EL006907 linking Creswick to Ballarat East-Nerrina had been granted. The board views this as a key step in building our understanding of the Dimocks Main Shale anomaly and developing ECR’s Creswick asset. The Company has also applied to renew Creswick licence EL006184 for another five years and is awaiting final approval. As the current incumbent, we have first rights over the licence, and our geologist Adam Jones plans to develop the project with soil sampling programmes in the vicinity of the quartz mineralisation identified in the 2021 diamond drilling campaign and to test for sub-cropping gold shoots. The Brewing Lane property at Springmount contains numerous abandoned historical gold workings with some underground exposures that offer opportunities for mapping and sampling, followed up by drilling. The team will also commence evaluation of prospects in the recently approved EL006907 area using exploration techniques that proved successful on EL006184.

Bailieston

Notwithstanding the delays in receiving assay results, MGA is continuing to progress with drilling at the Bailieston tenements (EL5433), focussing on the Maori Reef and parallel reef systems within the HR3 goldfield. The geology team is also making progress with near-term plans to re-enter and continue exploration on the Blue Moon prospect located on the southern extent of EL5433. Drilling and subsequent 3D modelling of HR3 drillholes BH3DD005, BH3DD006 and BH3DD007 earlier in the year revealed a moderate south plunging fold underneath and along strike of the Maori Reef workings (see announcement dated 1 July 2022). In November 2022 we reported initial results from the first hole completed, (BH3DD009), which returned 0.7m @ 28.06g/t Au from 52.7m depth from the Maori Reef. Holes BH3DD010 and BH3DD011 reported consistent gold grades in December, while soil sampling results revealed a larger area of anomalies, supporting a dilational jog model theory developed by Adam Jones. In March 2022 further data received identified five mineralised zones, all correlated to the Maori Anticline (within the Maori Reef), plus consistent gold grades in hole BH3DD012 and visible gold in hole BH3DD034.

Post-period end, we reported the highest grade gold intercept yet at hole BH3DD027, HR3 with 0.2m @ 52.5 g/t Au from 126.3m depth. This was followed by HR3 drill hole BH3DD022, which returned a result of 0.5m @ 12.74 g/t Au (see announcements dated 22 April 2022 and 4 May 2022).

Lolworth District of North Queensland, Australia.

In February 2022, exploration licences EPM27901, EPM27902 and EPM27903 were granted to ECR’s 100% owned subsidiary LUX Exploration Limited, in the Lolworth Region, North Queensland. The area contains metamorphic rocks of the Charters Towers Province, that host large historical gold producing centres such as Charters Tower (6.6M Oz Au) and Ravenswood (>1M Oz Au). The structural and basement geology is poorly understood in the area, suggesting numerous opportunities to find new deposits. The area also contains reported rhyolitic volcanism, which plays host to intrusion-related breccia gold deposits in the region such as Mount Leyshon (>2.5M oz) and Mount Wright (>1M oz). Historic samples also highlighted tin-tungsten mineralisation in the western areas of EPM27902. Reports show no detailed follow-up work has been undertaken.

Exploration licence EL007484 in East Victoria was also granted in February 2022. This licence area is situated 50km north of Bairnsdale in the east of the state of Victoria encompassing the alluvial fields of Swifts Creek and the Mid to Upper reaches of the Tambo River.

The Directors believe exploration licence EPM27901, 27902 and 27903 offer significant potential for precious and base metal discoveries in an area of Australia where multiple large-scale discoveries have already been made.

Outlook

After a challenging transition period, the directors of ECR Minerals plc are excited about the Company’s near-term and future prospects under the leadership of Chief Executive Officer Andrew Haythorpe. As eagerly anticipated assay results begin to arrive, our board, geologists, drilling team and wider staff at the Bendigo headquarters are enthused by the possibility of developing a resource at both the Bailieston and Creswick projects. We are equally encouraged about the prospectivity demonstrated by our new licences at Lolworth Range, North Queensland and our East Victoria exploration licence at Tambo.

These factors, together with the potential to realise shareholder value from our Danglay asset in the Philippines, could result in an exciting year ahead as ECR’s operations and opportunities evolve.

Read More

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

ECR Minerals plc

Tel: +44 (0)20 7929 1010

David Tang, Non-Executive Chairman

Andrew Haythorpe, CEO

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.ecrminerals.com


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