Erris Resources plc, the European focused mineral exploration company with a portfolio of zinc and base metals projects in Ireland and gold projects in Sweden and Finland, is pleased to provide an update on its activities for the first half of 2019. This update will also be provided at the Company’s Annual General Meeting which will take place this morning.
- Commenced fieldwork in Finland as part of strategic alliance with Centerra Gold
- Centerra Gold funded mapping and prospecting carried out on new targets in North Sweden
- Soil sampling at Skreen in Ireland, resulting in high priority targets, confirms the importance of the Ox Mountains Fault on controlling mineralisation
- Submitted renewal reports for the 100% owned Abbeytown Zn-Pb-Ag project
- Data review and first pass soil sampling completed at the 100% owned Irish Galway zinc-lead-silver project
- Maintaining tight control on expenditure with cash of approximately €2 million at the end of May
- Evaluated several new project opportunities and remain focused on identifying and securing a new core asset to build shareholder value
Erris Resources CEO, Anton du Plessis, said, “Erris has been active over the first half of the year and as part of its alliance with Centerra Gold, new targets have been identified in both Finland and Sweden with field work now underway. The market for junior explorers has been challenging so far this year, resulting in the Company maintaining disciplined expenditure on its own projects whilst also considering options to advance the Abbeytown Project in Ireland, and actively seeking to identify further assets, with an aim to enhance shareholder value. Erris is fortunate to have in place a valued partner in Centerra Gold, which gives us increased exposure to discovery at no cost whilst also earning a management fee and maintaining an active team and exploration portfolio.”
Centerra Alliance – Finland and Sweden
The Company’s geologists mobilised to the Sakiatieva and Pirunkoukka reservation permits in Finland to carry out prospecting and ground truthing of targets during June 2019. Mapping and prospecting was also carried out on new target areas North Sweden. The work is fully funded as part of the Company’s strategic alliance with Centerra Gold. Erris aims to identify drill targets on one or more of the projects, which may lead to Centerra Gold electing a Designated Project Area for earn-in as per the agreement signed between the two parties in December 2015.
Renewal reports and supporting documentation have been submitted to the Exploration and Mining Division in Ireland for five of the six prospecting licences (“PLs”) held over the Abbeytown Project in County Sligo. Five PLs covering Abbeytown and Skreen will be renewed following significant expenditure over the past two years including soil sampling and drilling, both from the surface and underground. The Company has decided to surrender one PL north of Abbeytown, which covers Ballysadare Bay and part of the Strandhill peninsula, as the ground is deemed to have little potential for shallow, economic mineralisation.
The 100% owned Abbeytown Project, including the historic Abbeytown mine, is a key asset for the Company. Work to date has proven the potential for a high-grade Zn-Pb-Ag deposit and underground access allows direct access to the mineralisation with several high priority targets to test. Due to the current challenging market conditions, the Company will be looking for joint venture partners to advance this project.
The Company has received results from a soil sampling programme carried out on PL 757 at Skreen. The survey was carried out to meet expenditure commitments on PL 757 while also testing structures that may have been exploited by mineralising hydrothermal fluids. A total of 470 samples including QAQC samples were taken along seven lines with a sample spacing of 10m. Some low order anomalies were detected, and a strong Pb-Zn-Ag anomaly was also detected on the Ox Mountains Fault with a maximum of 500 ppm Pb, 1,145 ppm Zn and 0.72 g/t Ag in one sample. Adjacent samples were highly anomalous.
These results confirm the importance of the Ox Mountains Fault as a first order control on mineralisation in the district, which is also evident south of Abbeytown itself. They also reinforce Erris’ confidence in the potential of the Abbeytown Project and indicate that it may be beneficial to carry out further tests when possible.
On the Galway Project, a desktop review of all historic exploration in the region was carried out in order to rank targets for further exploration. This led to the identification of several historic soil anomalies from work dating back to the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, some of which have never been tested by drilling. Anomalies associated with major structures inferred from the new aeromagnetic and EM data are of particular interest. Two target areas with coincident Pb-Zn-Cu soil anomalies and extensional faults adjacent to inferred basin margins near Craughwell and Athenry were selected for modern soil sample testing.
A soil sample line with a northwest-southeast orientation, 1,135m long and with sample spacing of 10m for 102 samples located 2.7km northeast of Athenry confirmed low order anomalism in base metals coincident with an inferred structural zone. Values of 35 ppm Pb and 84 ppm Zn were returned over the structure and, although these are reasonably low values, they are considerably higher than those further from the fault. The Athenry Fault is known to have been active during deposition of the limestones with significant extension inferred from previous academic work and drilling by the geological survey. The Athenry Fault is interpreted as the northwest edge of the Tynagh basin; the Tynagh deposit which lies 27 km to the southeast and is now mined out contained approximately 9.2Mt @ 5.0% Zn, 6.0% Pb, 0.5% Cu and >1 oz/ton Ag.
A sample line with a west-northwest orientation, 790m long and with sample spacing of 10m for 78 samples located 4.4km northeast of Craughwell confirmed zinc anomalism directly over the inferred structure with a high of 252 ppm Zn. The adjacent samples were elevated in lead and zinc compared to samples taken further from the structure.
A number of rock samples were collected at the site of small, historic underground workings on the coast at Oranmore in the west of the licence block. One sample from weathered massive pyrite returned 76 g/t Ag, 1.85% Pb and 3.58% Zn. The mineralisation is interpreted to be in the footwall of a large normal fault located up to 200m to the north-northeast. The presence of mineralisation here confirms that extensional faults in the region were conduits for hydrothermal fluids. The Oranmore mine site itself is not a target for economic mineralisation due to the sensitivity of the location, however, the structure extends several kilometres inland towards the Craughwell target to the east and warrants further work in that area. These results suggest that more extensive soil sampling across the prospective structures should allow the Company to identify new exploration targets. Erris will continue to advance the Galway Project with low cost work and will consider JV opportunities that may arise.
At the end of May, the Company held approximately €2 million in cash and maintained a disciplined approach to expenditure on its 100% owned projects. Given the challenging state that the resource sector is currently in, the Company will maintain this approach whilst actively seeking partners for its zinc-lead projects in Ireland. At the same time, the Board and Management continue to review projects in low risk jurisdictions internationally that fit its investment criteria.
The technical information in this announcement has been compiled on behalf of Erris by Aiden Lavelle. Aiden Lavelle (BSc (Hons), MSc, MIGI, P.Geo) is Erris’ chief operating officer. Mr Lavelle has sufficient experience relevant to the style of mineralisation and type of deposit under consideration, and to the activity which he is undertaking to qualify as a Competent Person in accordance with the guidance note for Mining, Oil & Gas Companies issued by the London Stock Exchange in respect of AIM Companies, which outlines standards of disclosure for mineral projects. Mr Lavelle consents to the inclusion in this announcement of the matters based on his information in the form and context in which it appears.