The Lemphane pipe situated in the kimberlite cluster of Lesotho has produced better than expected results for Paragon Diamonds Limited which could have positive implications for the project economics and life of mine.
Paragon is advancing the mine towards Stage 1 production by H1, 2015 and sees the project developing into a large stone/ high value diamond mine, where the majority of revenues are generated by a small number of large exceptionally high value stones.
This will involve the extraction of 1 million tonnes of kimberlite over a two year period which, according to an independent report, is expected to lead to the recovery of over 100 diamonds larger than 9 carats, including stones over 100 carats in size.
The year ahead is set to be a highly exciting period for Paragon, as the company looks to unlock the substantial in-situ value at Lemphane, which it currently estimates at US$1.8bn.
Drilling results positive
Between August and October 2014, Paragon’s 80% owned subsidiary, Meso Diamonds, carried out the latest drilling programme at Lemphane which consisted of nine holes totalling 1 248m.
There are two outcomes from this latest drilling programme; an improvement in the overall Kimberlite tonnage to a given depth, and a reduction in the overall waste: ore (stripping) ratio to a given depth is anticipated, compared to the 2012 Scoping Study.
Drilling was undertaken by Rodio Geotechnical Services, which has previously undertaken drilling for the Company at Lemphane, and is the main drilling contractor at the nearby Letšeng Diamond Mine. It is intended to drill a final series of eight holes for approximately 1 600m to confirm the dimensions of the kimberlite at between 200-300m depth below surface, as well as undertaking geotechnical drilling for the purposes of tailings storage facility and open pit construction at Lemphane.
“The drilling results are entirely positive and better than previously anticipated by the company. I am particularly pleased that they show the kimberlite at Lemphane is larger at depth than previously assumed which has positive implications for the overall tonnage and a reduced waste…..and, indeed, the economics of Lemphane as a high value/ large stone diamond project,” says Paragon’s Stephen Grimmer
Potential outside Lesotho
While the company is advancing its flagship large stone/ high value Lemphane kimberlite project in Lesotho towards near-term production, its diamond projects in Lesotho (Motete), Zambia (Kaplamp) and Botswana (Tsabong) provide a highly prospective pipeline to advance up the development curve to add future value.