ECR MINERALS plc
(“ECR Minerals”, “ECR” or the “Company”)
US OTC: MTGDY
ECR SECURES CONDITIONAL RIGHT TO ACQUIRE OPTION OVER
PHANG NGA LITHIUM-TANTALUM-TIN PROJECT IN THAILAND
LONDON: 18 DECEMBER 2014 - ECR Minerals plc is pleased to announce that the Company has secured the conditional right to acquire an option (the “Option”) over 98% ownership of Mae Fah Mining Co., Ltd (“Mae Fah”), a company incorporated in Thailand which has been granted two Special Prospecting Licences (the “SPLs”) relating to contiguous areas in Phang Nga Province, southern Thailand. The terms of the Option and the conditions on which it may be acquired are summarised below.
Historical exploration data indicates that the SPLs encompass a number of pegmatite deposits bearing lithium, tantalum and tin at grades which may indicate economic potential, subject to further evaluation. Lepidolite, a mineral in the mica family, is the lithium mineral of interest.
The general area within which the SPLs are located was mapped during the late 1960s by geologists from the Institute of Geological Sciences in London in a joint programme with the Thai government.
According to the results of the mapping, a number of unzoned lepidolite pegmatites, including those at the tin mines of Reung Kiet and Beng I Tum (no longer in production), occur within the SPLs. The pegmatite at the Reung Kiet mine was reportedly traced over a distance of 1,200m and to a maximum width of around 20m.
A beneficiation test on a pegmatite sample from the Reung Kiet mine was carried out at the Institute of Geological Sciences as part of the same programme. It was found that a concentrate containing in excess of 95% lepidolite could be prepared by froth flotation at a recovery of more than 80%, with the product assaying in excess of 3.5% lithium hydroxide. It was noted that the pegmatite sample contained approximately 50% lepidolite.
The results of nine pegmatite grab samples from within the SPLs have been obtained from the grantors of the Option. The samples were taken in 2011 and assayed at an internationally accredited laboratory in Bangkok with the following results for lithium, tantalum and tin.
|Sample ID||Lithium (ppm)||Tantalum (ppm)||Tin (ppm)|
* The upper detection limit of the chosen method of analysis was 2,000 ppm lithium.
Assays in the table above pertain to samples which were not taken by or on behalf of ECR, and should not be relied upon.
Stephen Clayson, Chief Executive Officer of ECR, commented:
“Recent years have seen heightened interest in new lithium supply, based on developments in battery technology and applications, particularly in electric and hybrid vehicles. A large proportion of today’s lithium production is sourced from the mining of pegmatite deposits, most notably at the Greenbushes mine in Western Australia operated by Talison Lithium, which has been under Chinese ownership since 2012.
ECR has the opportunity to enter a brownfields district in Phang Nga, and in addition to lithium, the tantalum, tin and rare earth metals potential of the SPLs will be evaluated. The SPLs include several former producing tin mines, and Thailand has a long history as a tin producer. More recently, Thailand has become a major manufacturing centre for the global automotive industry, particularly the Japanese manufacturers, and it is conceivable that a major lithium project situated in Thailand might one day prove to be of significance in the context of the automotive supply chain.
This opportunity is the result of an intense project generation effort by the Company that has been ongoing during 2013 and 2014, and which continues. We are hopeful these efforts will bear further fruit in 2015. While it is important to maintain focus on a manageable number of interests in order to efficiently create value for shareholders, our project generation activities are intended to make sure that ECR’s resources are being directed towards the most promising opportunities available.
ECR’s first step in respect of the Option will be to complete due diligence, which will include some work on the ground in Phang Nga, and if the transaction proceeds beyond the due diligence stage, exploration will be undertaken using normal methods: mapping and sampling, geophysics if appropriate, and drilling of any sufficiently promising exploration targets. The results of exploration would help determine whether the Company is to exercise the Option.”
Summary terms of the Option
a) ECR may give notice to exercise the Option at any time during the period of twelve months from closing (the “Option Period”). Closing shall occur upon the satisfaction of the following two conditions: ECR having given notice to the Sellers that the Company has completed due diligence to its satisfaction; and the SPLs having been issued to Mae Fah. The SPLs were granted on 29 September 2014 but have yet to be issued. Issuance of the SPLs is expected to occur when, inter alia, Mae Fah pays the requisite fees and lodges the requisite guarantee bonds at the relevant provincial office of the Thai Department of Primary Industries & Mines. ECR shall complete its due diligence within sixty days of 18 December 2014.
b) Upon closing, ECR shall pay the sum of US$100,000 to the grantors of the Option, minus any funds advanced to Mae Fah by ECR in order to obtain the issuance of the SPLs in accordance with part a) above (such funds are anticipated to be less than US$100,000).
c) Consideration for the exercise of the Option shall be US$400,000, plus such part of any funds advanced to Mae Fah by ECR in order to secure issuance of the SPLs which is or may be recoverable by ECR or Mae Fah in future.
d) ECR may elect to pay up to 50% of the amounts specified in parts b) and c) above in ordinary shares of ECR at the average daily volume weighted average price (VWAP) of the shares on AIM for the 30 trading days preceding the date on which the payment is due.
e) During the Option Period ECR shall have exclusive permission to explore within the SPLs.
f) The Option is freely assignable by ECR.
ECR is a mineral exploration and development company with, among other interests, the right to earn a 50% interest in the Itogon gold project in the Philippines. Itogon is an advanced exploration project located in a gold and copper mining district in the north of the Philippines.
ECR has a 100% interest in the SLM gold project in La Rioja Province, Argentina, the exploration strategy for which is to delineate multiple medium to high grade, low tonnage deposits suitable for advancement to production on a relatively low capital, near term basis.
ECR continues to review potential new investments on a highly selective basis, with a concentration on precious, base and strategic metals projects in Asia and South America.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:
|ECR Minerals plc||Tel: +44 (0)20 7929 1010|
|Paul Johnson, Non-Executive Chairman|
|Stephen Clayson, Director & CEO|
|Richard (Dick) Watts, Technical Director|
|Cairn Financial Advisers LLP||Tel: +44 (0)207 148 7900|
|Jo Turner/Liam Murray|
|Daniel Stewart & Company plc||Tel: +44 (0)20 7776 6550|
FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS
This announcement may include forward looking statements. Such statements may be subject to a number of known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results or events to differ materially from current expectations. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate and therefore actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward looking statements. Any forward looking statements contained herein speak only as of the date hereof (unless stated otherwise) and, except as may be required by applicable laws or regulations (including the AIM Rules for Companies), the Company disclaims any obligation to update or modify such forward looking statements as a result of new information, future events or for any other reason.