Paragon Diamonds has received a one year extension to its key Lemphane kimberlite exploration licence in Lesotho.

The mining licence covers an area of 6.33km2 in Lesotho, is owed by the Group’s 85% controlled subsidiary Meso Diamonds and is valid for 12 months.

Paragon Diamonds chairman Francesco Scolaro said, "This extension will enable Paragon to continue its rapid exploration of the kimberlite with a view to completing the bulk sampling and moving towards a scoping study as quickly as possible. Along with our rapid development of the Motete Dyke system this gives us a great platform to develop into a Lesotho-focused diamond producer."

The group obtained the licence in May 2011 and immediately started a rapid exploration programme to evaluate the kimberlite. The extension licence had just over a year left at that time and minimal work had been undertaken.

The company plans to complete the bulk sampling programme that is currently underway, increase the kimberlite tonnage taken from sample locations in the kimberlite and conclude on the evaluation work .

It will start a scoping study and aims to obtain a trial mining licence thereafter.