Project overview

ECR holds a net smelter return (NSR) royalty of up to 2% to a maximum of USD 2.7 million in respect of future production from the SLM gold project in La Rioja Province, Argentina.

The project area is located approximately 800km northwest of Buenos Aires and 450km northeast of Santiago, Chile. It contains numerous mesothermal quartz vein hosted gold prospects, some of which have historically been mined on a small scale.

The SLM project is owned by ECR's former Argentine subsidiary Ochre Mining SA ("Ochre"), which has been acquired by Hanaq Argentina SA, a Chinese-owned company engaged in lithium, base and precious metals exploration in Northwest Argentina including Salta, Jujuy and La Rioja, with a highly experienced management team. More information regarding the Hanaq Group can be found here.

SLM Gold Project, Argentina

Three principal gold prospects have been identified in the SLM gold project area:

El Abra, JV14 and Maestro Agüero (see below and map above)

The El Abra vein is one of numerous auriferous mesothermal quartz veins located within the SLM project area and identified by previous explorers. The El Abra vein is known to occur for a strike length of 500m, with widths to 3m but generally in the order of 0.5-1.5m.

During March and April 2012 Ochre completed a 1,112m diamond drilling programme at El Abra. Of 13 holes drilled, three holes intersected very high grade gold mineralisation and four more intersected mineralisation grading in excess of 1g/t gold. The best overall intersection of the programme was 3.9m downhole at 11.6g/t gold in hole 9, including 0.2m at 109.1g/t gold. 

Metallurgical testwork carried out in 2012 indicated that near surface gold bearing material from El Abra and other prospects at Sierra de las Minas can be processed by conventional methods to achieve high rates of recovery. 

Further information regarding the results of exploration at SLM during 2011 and 2012 is contained in ECR’s announcements of 16 May 2011 and 7 February, 27 April, 21 May and 25 October 2012.

In early 2017, a JORC Code-compliant Exploration Target was determined for JV-14.  Further details are contained in ECR's announcement dated 27 January 2017.
The JV-14 zone, where sampling in and around historical exploration trenches was carried out by Ochre in 2014, comprises part of a larger prospect area, the JV prospect, containing several other zones in which sampling, both historical and by Ochre, has returned high grades. The JV prospect is located approximately six kilometres south of the Maestro Agüero prospect.

3D modelling of historical drilling data indicates that the JV-14 zone may have attractive resource potential in the context of seeking to bring high grade, low tonnage gold deposits at SLM into production relatively quickly and at a relatively modest capital cost. Further details of this work are contained in ECR's announcement dated 24 June 2014.

In early 2017, a JORC Code-compliant Exploration Target was determined for JV-14. Further details are contained in ECR's announcement dated 27 January 2017.
Exploration at Maestro Agüero has demonstrated the presence of moderate to high gold grades in narrow mesothermal quartz veins over a strike length of up to approximately 300m. 

In order to obtain a more representative indication of grade, a bulk sample was taken at Maestro Agüero in March 2015. Collection of the bulk sample also provided additional information on the morphology of the veins.  Further details regarding this work are contained in ECR's announcement dated 20 July 2015.