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Investor to sink funds into mine

Mpeshe Selebalo

MASERU — Kopane Diamond Developments Plc says it has signed an agreement with an investor who will provide capital and technical services at its Liqhobong Mine in Mokhotlong.

The London-based company which owns 75 percent of Liqhobong Mine announced last week that it had signed a deal for its Main Pipe project at the mine. The government of Lesotho owns 25 percent of Liqhobong Mine. Kopane Diamond did not name the investor but said it had signed a 60-day exclusivity agreement on the deal. “Following discussions regarding potential investment in the Main Pipe project, an exclusivity agreement, valid for a period of 60 days, has been signed with an established mining company to allow them to review the project in more detail,” said a statement issued by the company last Monday.

“They are able to offer the technical, operational and financial capability to take the Liqhobong Main Pipe to full scale production. “It is our view that this strategy provides an expeditious route to realising full value for the company without incurring significant shareholder dilution.” The estimated resource value of Liqhobong mine is at about US$2.6 billion with an estimated US$29.7 million gross diamond reserves in the main pipe.

The company announced that the main pipe at the mine contains a total resource of 90.09 million tonnes. “The company is entering an exciting phase as the underlying value of our world class asset is recognised in the diamond mining community. I am excited with the

progress we are making at Kopane, and extremely encouraged by the improvements in the diamond market leading to the return to   production of many other companies in the industry,” said Kopane`s chairman Frank Scolaro.

“I am confident that there is further significant value attributable to Liqhobong, both through the forthcoming grade analysis and the recovery of bonanza stones which are known to occur in the Lesotho pipes. I intend to have Kopane shareholders reap the rewards of this upside.” “I wish to thank my directors and shareholders for their continued support.” The Liqhobong Mining Development Company has a 390 hector mining lease containing five kimberlites under Liqhobong Mine found in the Mokhotlong district about 120 kilometres  north east of Maseru. Three kimberlites are yet to be extensively explored.

Current operations include the satellite pipe with a surface area of 1.0 hectors. The Liqhobong Plant is currently producing at a rate of 60

000 carats per year and the main pipe on a surface area of 8.6 hectors. Liqhobong mine began small scale operations in 1978 up until 1996. The operations were done by Liqhobong Co-Operative. In 1996 MineGem, a Canadian company acquired the company and operated on both the satellite and main pipes.

In 2001 feasibility studies were carried out for the Satellite pipe. In 2003 Kopane bought MineGem and began operations at the mine.

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