ECR MINERALS plc
(“ECR Minerals”, “ECR” or the “Company”)
US OTC: MTGDY
London: 25 May 2012 -ECR Minerals plc is pleased to provide the following strategic update and to announce that Richard Andrew Watts, an experienced mining engineer, has been appointed a non-executive director of the Company with effect from 22 May 2012.
Having completed the reconstitution of its board of directors, ECR wishes to clarify its current corporate strategy, which has three key elements:
Realisation of value from ECR’s core investment positions in THEMAC Resources Group Ltd (TSX-V: MAC), West Wits Mining Ltd (ASX: WWI) and Paniai Gold Ltd (unquoted) to the best advantage of the Company’s shareholders. This entails detailed and constant evaluation of ECR’s risk profile, of the potential for the value of these positions to rise or fall over time and of opportunities for the Company to deploy capital elsewhere.
Continued exploration and development of ECR’s Sierra de las Minas gold project in La Rioja Province, Argentina, with emphasis on the El Abra gold prospect. The success of ECR’s exploration to date has added significant value to the El Abra prospect and the wider project area and it is expected that further value will be added by the planned structural study and geochemical sampling at El Abra.
Based on the results of the recently completed first drilling programme at El Abra and subject to positive results from further exploration, the Company’s strategy for Sierra de las Minas of bringing a high grade, smaller tonnage deposit into production by late 2012/early 2013 remains valid. However, consideration of alternative means of funding continued exploration and development, such as a joint venture or outright sale, may become appropriate as the project proceeds.
Divestment of non-core assets, principally ECR’s 70% interest in the ACS Asia metal products business. Preparations for the disposal of this interest are being made, however the completion of any disposal is likely to take several months.
ECR believes that the optimum outcome for shareholders will be derived from the combination of these three strategic elements. In addition, the Company has recently taken and will continue to take actions to materially reduce the level of its corporate overheads, including in relation to its newly reconstituted board of directors, the overall costs of which are substantially below previous levels.
Appointment of Non-Executive Director
Richard Andrew (Dick) Watts (age 67) is currently a Principal Mining Consultant for Turgis Consulting and was formerly also a Principal Mining Consultant for SRK UK. In addition, Mr Watts has held a variety of senior operational roles on gold, copper and coal mines in Africa (South Africa and Zambia), Russia and Central Asia (Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan).
Specifically these roles have included Chief Operating Officer of Trans-Siberian Gold with responsibility for the development of a remote underground gold project in far eastern Russia; General Director of the Amantaytau Goldfields project in Uzbekistan for Oxus Gold during the feasibility, construction, commissioning and initial production stages; and General Manager of several South African coal mines for Anglo American.
Mr Watts is a fellow of the South African Institute of Mining & Metallurgy and holds a B.Eng (Mining) from the University of Sheffield along with a Mine Manager’s Certificate (South Africa) and a First Class Certificate of Competency (UK mine manager’s qualification).
Save for above and below and pursuant to Rule 17, Schedule Two (g) of the AIM Rules, the following information is disclosed in respect of Mr Watts.
R & R Watts Ltd
There is no other information regarding Mr Watts required to be disclosed under the AIM Rules.
Patrick Harford, Managing Director of ECR Minerals plc, comments:
“ECR’s corporate strategy offers shareholders exposure to a range of mineral projects with an operational focus on gold. In this context the appointment of Dick Watts to our board brings to the Company a new level of hands-on experience in mining and mine development, which will be of great advantage in the development of our Argentine gold project and in the ongoing monitoring and evaluation of our investment positions.”
About ECR Minerals plc
ECR is a mineral development company with 100% ownership of the Sierra de las Minas gold project in La Rioja Province, Argentina; a 21% fully diluted stake in THEMAC Resources Group Ltd (TSX-V: MAC), which is focused on the development of the Copper Flat copper porphyry deposit in New Mexico, USA to production; and stakes in West Wits Mining Ltd (ASX: WWI) and Paniai Gold Ltd (unquoted), both of which have interests in the Derewo River alluvial gold mining and exploration project in Papua, Indonesia.
For further information please contact:
|ECR Minerals plc|
|Patrick Harford, Managing Director|
|Stephen Clayson, Director & Chief Financial Officer|
|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|