Paragon Diamonds’ 85% owned Lesotho subsidiary Meso Diamonds has now finalised the terms and conditions of the mining lease agreement with the Government of Lesotho for the mining of the Lemphane Kimberlite Pipe in Lesotho. This will allow the the AIM quoted diamond development and production company to initiate preparations for, and commence, Stage 1 production at Lemphane.

The mining lease has been granted for initial ten years, renewable for three consecutive ten year periods subject to the terms of the Mines and Minerals Act of 2005. Stage 1 of a two-stage production programme at Lemphane is being advanced, targeting the mining of 500 000 tpa to recover an anticipated circa 10 000 carats per year at a minimum average value of US$750/ct. Stage 1 production is intended to produce a maiden inferred resource at Lemphane and definitive feasibility study for Stage 2 mining.

“We are delighted that the terms of the Mining Lease for Lemphane have now been finalised. Having previously recovered stones of up to 8.9 carats with values in excess of US$2 400/ct, we have already demonstrated Lemphane’s potential to yield large high-value diamonds,” says Martin Doyle, chairman of Paragon Diamonds.

“We are now advancing our planning for Stage 1 production. As well as generating significant revenues, Stage 1 production is expected to increase the average value per carat (a consequence of the higher amount of tonnage mined), build on the robust economics already identified and also provide a bankable Mineral Resource. I look forward to providing further updates as we look to establish Lemphane as another world class diamond mine in Lesotho.”