ECR Minerals has given notice to terminate its earn-in option in respect of the Danglay Gold Project in the north of the Philippines. To date, ECR has earned a 25% interest in the project, irrespective of the termination of the earn-in option.
In 2013, the UK-listed company entered into an earn-in and joint venture agreement with Tiger International Resources and Cordillera Tiger Gold Resources. The original terms were announced by ECR on April 29, 2013, with a further announcement on October 20, 2015 in respect of certain subsequent amendments to the agreement.
As operator of the project under the agreement, ECR implemented significant exploration programs at Danglay in 2014 and 2015, leading to the announcement in 2015 of an initial inferred mineral resource and a promising target for further exploration, both of which were reported in accordance with Canadian NI43-101 and supported by an NI43-101 technical report.
A new government took office in the Philippines on June 30, 2016 but since then, the new administration has not adopted a supportive stance towards the mining industry and in view of this, the ECR directors believe the termination of the earn-in option is appropriate.
However, in accordance with the agreement, ECR has earned a 25% interest in the Danglay project, and it is anticipated this interest will be in the form of a 25% shareholding in Cordillera Tiger.
Cordillera Tiger continues to await issuance of the final renewed Exploration Permit (EP) comprising the Danglay project. Within 15 days of receiving the renewed EP, Cordillera Tiger will be required to submit various documents to the Mines & Geosciences Bureau (MGB) in the Philippines and provide proof of its financial capability in respect of the exploration and environmental work plans submitted to the MGB in connection with the EP renewal. The budget for implementation of these plans amounts to the equivalent of £270,000 over the two-year term of the EP.
As a result of the termination of the earn-in option, ECR is no longer the operator of the project and has no further financial obligations in respect of the project. Discussions with Tiger International regarding the future of the project, including funding for any further exploration activities by Tiger International or parties other than ECR, have been initiated.
Stephen Clayson has been a director of Cordillera Tiger since 2007 and expects to remain a director of Cordillera Tiger for the foreseeable future.
Consequently, he has abstained from the ECR Board decision to terminate the option. Stephen Clayson will cease to be a director and CEO of ECR with effect from August 31, 2016.