Drilling Commences at El Abra Gold Prospect in Argentina



(“ECR Minerals”, “ECR” or the “Company”)



Drilling Commences at El Abra Gold Prospect in Argentina

ECR Minerals plc is pleased to announce that drilling has commenced at the El Abra prospect within the Company’s Sierra de las Minas gold project area in La Rioja Province, Argentina. Alta Drilling International, a drilling contractor based in Nevada, USA with 3 rigs working in Argentina, is operating a brand new Sandvik LF710 rig at El Abra on behalf of the Company.

An initial programme of 12 holes totalling approximately 1,000m is planned. By 8pm local time on Sunday 25 March 2012, 2 holes had been completed and a total of 208m had been drilled. Both holes drilled so far have intercepted the target vein at the target depths, confirming the vertical vein orientation.

Core from the programme will be split and selected zones will be sent to the internationally accredited AcmeLabs laboratory in Mendoza, Argentina for assay. Initial assay results are expected within four weeks.

The drilling is intended to confirm the extent to which high grade gold mineralisation identified by surface geochemical sampling continues to depth and will test targets generated by the recently completed ground based geophysical survey.

If following a detailed geological appraisal the results of the programme indicate the presence of a sufficient tonnage of high grade, near surface mineralisation, the objective of the Company will be to commence small scale production from El Abra during the second half of 2012.

The Company has the option to retain the rig presently on site for a further 1,000m of drilling, and will make a decision as to whether this is appropriate during the current drilling.


El Abra Sampling Results

A total of 20 surface geochemical samples were taken by the Company at the El Abra gold prospect during January and February 2012. Of these, 9 were of less than 5kg and 11 were larger samples of between 13.55kg and 34.45kg. All samples comprised vein material and selvage (vein margins) and were sent for analysis at the AcmeLabs facility in Mendoza.


Table 1

Best results from surface geochemical sampling at the El Abra gold prospect during January and February 2012

Sample ID Size (kg) Gold (g/t)
Vibora 28-01-12 A (i) 3.45 4.3
Vibora 28-01-12 A (ii) 18.25 1.6
IV 28-01-12 A 24.45 5.0
IV 28-01-12 B (i) 1.70 9.0
IV 28-01-12 B (ii) 22.10 4.8
Camp 22-01-12 A 23.00 18.7
Camp 22-01-12 A 26.10 7.6
Riel 20-01-12 B 34.45 1.0


The objective of this sampling was to improve the Company’s understanding of the distribution of high gold grades along the 900m of quartz veins mapped at El Abra to date. The results reported in the table above are considered encouraging and provide further confirmation that extensive areas of the El Abra vein set host surficial high grade material in both vein and selvage. Vein sections in which both vein and selvage are gold bearing present potentially mineable widths from surface.

Efforts to obtain geochemical samples from historical underground workings at El Abra have been frustrated by difficulties in establishing safe access. This has so far not been possible and the Company is now seeking specialist advice.


Michael Silver, Executive Chairman of ECR Minerals plc, comments:

“ECR has high hopes for the current drilling programme, and we are pleased to report that it is now underway. The time and expenditure that went into completing the geophysical survey and the surface sampling at El Aba to date were intended to give this drilling programme as strong a chance of success as possible, and if the programme is successful the Company will have added substantial value to the El Abra prospect and the wider project area.”


About the Sierra de las Minas Project Area

ECR holds 100% of the exploration rights to the Sierra de las Minas project area and 100% of the exploitation rights to a number of prospects within it, including the El Abra prospect. Exploration rights for other prospects may be converted to exploitation rights by application to the government of La Rioja Province. The El Abra and Jazmin prospects are subject to a 2% net smelter return royalty from production. Commencement of mining activities is subject to receipt of the necessary environmental permissions from the provincial government.

The project area is located approximately 800km north west of Buenos Aires, the capital city of Argentina, and is the site of significant historical small scale gold mining. Access to the project area is possible via paved highways from the cities of Mendoza, San Juan and Cordoba. Local access is by paved and unpaved provincial routes.


About ECR Minerals plc

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


For further information please contact:

ECR Minerals plc
Michael Silver, Chairman Tel: +44 (0) 20 7929 1010
Stephen Clayson, Director
Luca Tenuta, Non-Executive Director
Email:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Daniel Stewart & Company plc
Paul Shackleton/Tessa Smith/David Hart Tel: +44 (0) 20 7776 6550
Old Park Lane Capital plc
Michael Parnes Tel: +44 (0) 20 7493 8188
Blythe Weigh Communications
Matthew Neal/Tim Blythe/Paul Weigh Tel: +44 (0)20 7138 3204
Barry Kaplan Associates
Larry Kaplan Tel: +1 732 747 0702


The contents of this announcement have been reviewed by Trevor Neale B.App.Sc. (Geol.), MAIG, a geological adviser to the Company with more than 35 years of experience in the mining and exploration industry.



g/t: grams per metric tonne
kg: kilogrammes
m: metre