Argentina Exploration Update

ECR Minerals plc is pleased to provide the following update on exploration at its El Abra gold prospect in La Rioja Province, Argentina.

  • Total of 900m of outcropping gold-bearing quartz veins identified at El Abra prospect to date
  • High gold grades including 80.78 g/t Au, 44.98 g/t Au and 39.74 g/t Au returned by surface geochemical sampling at El Abra
  • High grades broadly distributed across identified veins
  • Drilling and geophysics proposed to evaluate continuity of mineralisation at depth

ECR acquired 100% ownership of the El Abra prospect in January 2011. The prospect forms part of the Company’s Sierra de las Minas project area in La Rioja Province, Argentina.

An initial geochemical sampling programme completed at El Abra during the first quarter of 2011 has returned numerous high grade results. A total of 89 channel samples were collected from 19 sites. Initial samples at each site were taken from outcropping quartz vein material, with subsequent samples extending outwards into the mineralised selvage (vein margins). All sites were located within an area approximately 800m by 450m.

All samples were prepared for fire assay and ICP elemental analysis by Alex Stewart Geochemical in Mendoza, Argentina; all samples were analysed by Alex Stewart Laboratories and then re-analysed by ACME Analytical Laboratories in Mendoza, Argentina for verification purposes.

Best assay results from the programme are given in the table below.

(g/t Au)
(g/t Au)
EA001 1.27 1.19 Channel 1m Quartz vein
EA004 6.91 6.77 Channel 1m Selvage
EA008 5.24 4.64 Channel 1m Quartz vein
EA014 3.2 2.99 Channel 1m Selvage
EA015 1.29 1.16 Channel 1m Quartz vein
EA021 1.97 1.64 Channel 1m Quartz vein
EA023 6.51 3.18 Channel 1m Selvage
EA024 10.4 9.85 Channel 1m Quartz vein
EA029 1.04 0.84 Channel 1m Quartz vein
EA030 3.18 2.89 Channel 1m Selvage
EA033 39.74 38.09 Channel 1m Quartz vein
EA037 7.34 5.12 Channel 1m Quartz vein
EA040 20.70 20.08 Channel 1m Selvage
EA042 80.78 80.14 Channel 1m Quartz vein
EA045 7.0 6.55 Channel 1m Quartz vein
EA048 12.6 11.80 Channel 1m Quartz vein
EA070 37.11 34.92 Channel 1m Quartz vein
EA075 8.5 7.16 Channel 1m Quartz vein
EA077 1.04 0.97 Channel 1m Selvage
EA079 7.37 6.42 Channel 1m Quartz vein
EA083 7.44 5.58 Channel 1m Quartz vein
EA086 44.98 42.58 Channel 1m Quartz vein
EA087 3.02 2.43 Channel 1m Selvage
EA088 32.01 30.55 Channel 0.5m Quartz vein
EA089 9.59 8.2 Channel 0.5m Selvage


Of the total sample set, 7 samples graded between 1 and 5 g/t Au (8% of total), 7 samples graded between 5 and 10 g/t Au (8% of total), 6 samples graded between 10 and 50 g/t Au (7% of total), and 1 sample graded in excess of 50 g/t Au (1% of total). The majority of samples grading less than 1 g/t Au were low grade selvage samples included for the purposes of lode definition. The statements in this paragraph are based on the average assays for each sample.

The results of the sampling programme confirm the presence of high grade gold mineralisation at the El Abra prospect, hosted within and in association with approximately 900m of outcropping gold-bearing quartz veins identified to date. The vein margins are also significantly gold-bearing. Individual veins are exposed over lengths of up to approximately 100m and exposed widths vary from <1m to 4m. High grades (greater than 5 g/t Au) are distributed broadly across the known veins.

Anomalous levels of copper and silver were detected by ICP analysis of the samples, as was expected based on the results of historic exploration. Values for both copper and silver were judged to be insignificant relative to the gold values obtained.

As well as further mapping and geochemical sampling at El Abra and within the wider Sierra de las Minas project area, ECR proposes to undertake a 1-2,000m drilling programme at El Abra with the objective of enabling the completion of an initial gold resource estimate. Prior to the detailed planning of this programme, ECR may seek to complete a ground based geophysical survey over the prospect.

In addition, the Company intends to rehabilitate certain historic mine workings at El Abra to achieve a degree of safe access sufficient to allow sampling to take place up to 20m below surface level.

ECR’s primary exploration objective for the Sierra de las Minas project area is to identify one or more high grade, small tonnage gold deposits that may be suitable for development to production within a relatively short timescale.

The Company is also evaluating the prospectivity of the Sierra de las Minas project area for the discovery of copper porphyry mineralisation, and an additional objective of the proposed drill programme at El Abra would be to test for porphyry potential. The possible importance of the anomalous copper values found at surface in relation to the Company’s porphyry exploration model will be investigated during the next phase of exploration.

Further exploration will be planned with the aid of detailed satellite imagery (ASTER and IKONOS) that has been acquired for the entire Sierra de las Minas project area and which has greatly aided the identification of relevant structural, lithological and hydrothermal features.

Patrick Harford, Managing Director of ECR Minerals plc, comments:

"I am pleased to report that the El Abra gold prospect has delivered the high grade geochemical sampling results we expected from this initial phase of exploration. The next task is to ascertain through drilling and geophysical evaluation the extent to which the high grade gold mineralisation encountered on surface is continuous at depth.

ECR was able to acquire 100% ownership of El Abra for consideration of only US$60,000 (plus a 2% NSR royalty) after the opportunity to do so was identified by the Company’s local geological team. The prospect has required minimal expenditure to date, but now merits an increased level of focus.”

About ECR Minerals

ECR is a mineral development company with interests in the USA, Argentina, Indonesia, Thailand and Australia.


For further information please contact:

ECR Minerals plc
Michael Silver, Chairman Tel: +44 (0) 20 7929 1010
Patrick Harford, Managing Director
Stephen Clayson, Chief Financial Officer
Email:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Daniel Stewart & Company plc
Oliver Rigby/Tessa Smith Tel: +44 (0) 20 7776 6550
Old Park Lane Capital plc
Forbes Cutler Tel: +44 (0) 20 7518 2603
Director of Corporate Broking
Blythe Weigh Communications
Ana Ribeiro Tel: +44 (0)20 7138 3204
Barry Kaplan Associates
Larry Kaplan Tel: +1 732 747 0702

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