Proactive mining highlights: ECR Minerals, Asiamet Resources, Rainbow Rare Earths Limited…

A look at the week’s highlighted news for the junior miners

Your weekly round up from the Proactive world of mining

ECR Minerals PLC (LON:ECR) informed investors this week that its subsidiary, Mercator Gold Australia, renewed exploration licence EL5433 in Central Victoria for five years.

The licence is host to the Bailieston gold exploration project and had been due to expire on March 27.

Asiamet Resources Ltd (LON:ARS) was also in the news as it said it continues to intersect high-grade polymetallic and copper mineralisation in drill core from the BKZ project in Kalimantan, Indonesia.

Highlights of recent results include up to 2.7% copper over a 1 metre intercept, as well as high-grade polymetallic mineralisation, with up to 25.5% zinc, 10% lead, 188 gram per tonne silver and 2.8 grams gold.

These results go to confirm further high-grade massive sulphide or vein style polymetallic mineralisation and copper-silver mineralisation, with both systems remaining open in several directions.

Meanwhile, Rainbow Rare Earths Limited (LON:RBW) sai dit expects to commission a new processing plant at the Gakara mine in Burundi later this month, after which the scale of mining should pick up sharply.

The plant is now running as designed, said Rainbow, and final adjustments have been completed.

Up until the end of December, 270 tonnes of material had been manually mined but with new plant Rainbow has a target of shipping 400 tonnes per month by the end of this year and 500 tonnes per month in 2019.

Macarthur Minerals Limited (TSE:MMS), in which Cadence Minerals PLC (LON:KDNC) has a 15.2% equity interest, announced that it has increased its iron ore assets in Western Australia.

Through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Esperance Iron Ore Export Company, Macarthur added the potential high-grade haematite Mt Manning iron ore project to its portfolio.

The project is right next door to Macarthur’s Ularring haematite iron ore project and both are close to USA-based Cleveland Cliffs Inc’s (NYSE:CLF) iron ore operations at Southern Cross in Western Australia.

Thor Mining PLC (LON:THR) (ASX:THR) unveiled plans to accelerate development at its Nevada-based Pilot Mountain tungsten resource against a positive backdrop for the metal, and it also said it would consider any suitable proposals that could advance projects.

In a statement, the AIM-listed firm noted that the US Department of the Interior recently advised that tungsten remains on the Federal Register of commodities classified as critical by the US government.

Lionsgold Ltd (LON:LION) completed its due diligence and will proceed with its planned investment into global banking and compliance platform provider, Railsbank Technology Limited.

The AIM-listed company, which is not only focused on the exploration, production and retail application of physical gold, but also the development of the Goldbloc digital currency, will invest £1.27mln from existing funds to acquire a 12.5% stake in Railsbank.

All the programme of work applications for drilling at the Ernest Giles project have been approved by the authorities, Greatland Gold plc (LON:GGP) revealed this week.

The exploration programme at Ernest Giles will focus on three high priority targets at the Meadows, Wishbone and Empress areas.Greatland Gold expects mobile metal ion surveys and drill site preparation to commence mid-March and drilling to commence at Ernest Giles in the second quarter of this year.

African Battery Metals PLC (LON:ABM) started its first exploration work at the Kisinka cobalt project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Sampling, mapping and augur drilling are underway following satellite targetting.

African Battery was formally known as Sula but changed its emphasis to cobalt from gold in January, with the target the emerging electric vehicle market.

Following the appointment of Dr Rodney Boucher to lead on-ground exploration activities in Victoria, Australia, ECR Minerals PLC (LON:ECR) is to drill multiple gold targets.

Dr Boucher has extensive exploration experience in the region, and has now visited most of the known prospects and carried out geological mapping in key zones. A programme of geochemical sampling at the higher priority prospects is already underway, and this will help define drill targets.

Elsewhere, the resignation last week of Ethiopia’s prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, is not expected to have any impact on KEFI Minerals PLC's (LON:KEFI) activities.

The gold and copper exploration company, which has the Tulu Kapi project in Ethiopia, said its activities have been unaffected in terms of its daily interaction with the various government agencies and the community at Tulu Kapi.

The company believes its finance plans remain unaffected because it has targeted certain regional financiers, including some who already have a long-term presence in Ethiopia.

Xtract Resources PLC (LON:XTR) agreed a new collaboration with Omnia Mining Ltd for the exploitation of hard rock gold deposits at the Manica mining concession in Mozambique.

Omnia will use its processing plant to target all hard rock occurrences at Manica, apart from the Fair Bride project, which remains under the sole control and management of Xtract.

Studies recently conducted by Macquarie University for Shefa Yamim (LON:SEFA), the Israeli gemstone company provided a clearer understanding of the geology of Mount Carmel, the area in which Shefa Yamim has been able to find a suite of gemstones, including natural moissanite and sapphire.

"The existence of large quantities of moissanite, coupled with the titanium-rich corundum - Carmel Sapphire™, makes this one of the most scientifically exciting projects I have worked on,” said Professor William Griffin, Professor of Geochemistry at Macquarie University.

Orosur Mining Inc (LON:OMI) (CVE:OMI) said it continues to intersect good gold mineralisation in drilling at the APTA deposit, one of five identified target areas in the Anzá project in Colombia.

Notable results to date from 17 intercepts in seven drill holes include 17.76 grams per tonne gold over 5.32 metres, 4.89 grams over 13.9 metres, 5 grams over 23 metres and 4.86 grams over 25 metres.

“I am delighted to report a strong set of step-out drilling results from our high grade APTA project,” said Orosur chief executive Ignacio Salazar.

Mineral sands producer Base Resources Ltd (LON:BSE) (ASX:BSE) posted a 466% increase in net profit in the latest half-year as it increased mining volumes and grades at its key Kwale operation in Kenya.

The group produces rutile, ilmenite and zircon, and apart from rutile, where output remained steady, the other two saw increases, with ilmentite output continuing to be above design capacity.

Sales revenue from Kwale was up 28% in the period to A$115.9mln compared to A$90.6mln in the same period in 2016, with the main drivers being the higher ilmenite and zircon prices.

Shares in Goldplat plc (LON:GDP) surged after Rand Refinery agreed to pay an undisclosed sum to settle a dispute with Goldplat Recovery.

The two parties agreed in December on an arbitration process to settle the dispute which related to a contract to process silver, and last month they announced agreement on a final settlement.

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