- Firestone Diamonds [LON:FDI] was one of the sector's biggest risers after confirming that development of the Liqhobong diamond mine is on budget and on target to achieve first production during the fourth quarter of this year.

Firestone Diamonds - which posted a loss of USD4.6 million for the six months to the end of December compared with USD4.4 million a year ago - said the Liqhobong diamond mine project was 61% complete at the end of December and 68% complete at the end of February.

Highlights for the period:

- Revised capital budget of ZAR2.1 billion, remains within the original project budget of US$185.4 million

- Total Project staff compliment of 952 employees and contractors, of which 82% are Lesotho citizens

- Grid power project completed within budget and ahead of schedule in October 2015. Liqhobong now connected to grid power

- Zero lost time injury record maintained, with over 1.8 million man hours worked as at the end of December 2015

- Completed updated life of mine plan ("Mine Plan") and Diamond Resource and Reserve

* Diamond Resource and Reserve updated based on new geological model, increased bottom cut-off ("BCO") and exclusion of boart carats

* New Mine Plan confirmed enhanced Project economics

Chief executive Stuart Brown said: "I am pleased to report on an extremely successful period for Firestone. The six months to 31 December 2015 saw substantial development at Liqhobong and importantly, we have continued this into 2016. Accordingly, the Project remains on budget and on target to achieve first production during Q4 2016.

"In October 2015 we were pleased to announce the completion of a new Mine Plan and Project economics, the culmination of over a year's work, which further de-risked the Project and enhanced its economics. In addition, during October we also completed the grid power project, connecting Liqhobong to the grid, allowing for a consistent supply of electricity at site for the remainder of construction and through to production.

"2016 will be an exciting year for the Company and I, together with the team, look forward to keeping shareholders updated as we complete construction and make our way to our goal of initial production in Q4 and to becoming a leading mid-tier diamond miner, recovering one million carats per annum."

* * *

Metal Tiger [LON:MTR] has exercised its option to participate in the Semenovsky tailings project gold production opportunity in partnership with Eurasia Mining [LON:EUA].

Metal Tiger chief executive Paul Johnson said: "I am please to confirm that Metal Tiger will be participating in this gold production opportunity. The project fundamentals, particularly recently updated and announced in February made exercise of this option an obvious commercial decision for the company.

"By exercising this option Metal Tiger is committed to a payment of up to US$100,000 for due diligence, US$50,000 of which has already been paid in option fees, leaving up to $50,000 payable for the due diligence phase.

"We will be meeting with Eurasia shortly to review forward planning and will update the market with our plans for due diligence completion and 2016 activities, in the near term. Metal Tiger also continues to receive interest in this project from third parties and will update the market should this interest crystallise.

"Metal Tiger continues to build its portfolio of interests, now with a clear focus on its 'Metal Projects' Division. The STP is an excellent addition to the larger scale opportunities in Botswana, Spain and Thailand, where significant progress is being made and further market updates are expected shortly."

* * *

Ariana Resources [LON:AAU] has confirmed a significant gold system at Kepez West following its recent drilling programme in Turkey.

Kepez West is located within the Red Rabbit joint venture, within only 12km trucking distance of the processing plant at Kiziltepe, currently under construction and targeting production in H2 2016.

Ariana said drilling results across 1,300m of strike confirmed the presence of a significant near-surface mineralised system. Notable intercepts include 6m @ 2.7g/t Au + 16g/t Ag from 10m, 4m @ 3.2g/t Au + 23g/t Ag from 8m, 6m @ 2.2 g/t Au +13 g/t Ag from 6m. It said results suggest a shallow-dipping (10-20�) stockwork vein-hosted style of mineralisation, with probable near-surface enrichment, amenable to low strip-ratio open-pit mining.

Managing director Dr. Kerim Sener said: "The results of our recent drilling programme at Kepez West has confirmed the presence of a significant mineralised system. Many drilling intercepts returned good grades of gold and silver within close proximity to surface. This is extremely encouraging as it suggests that any resource potential is likely to be very shallow in this area, and therefore amenable to low strip-ratio open-pit mining. Our future work will focus on defining a shallow resource in this area which, in time, may be scheduled with the output from our nearby Kiziltepe Mine, which will be entering production in H2 2016."

* * *

The sector's biggest riser was Landore Resources [LON:LND] - up by more than 20.6% in late trading. The biggest faller was Alexander Mining [LON:AXM] - down by over 10.7%.

At 3:52pm:

[LON:AAU] Ariana Resources PLC share price was 0p at 1.05p

[LON:AQP] Aquarius Platinum Ltd share price was +0.63p at 13.63p

[LON:BEM] Beowulf Mining PLC share price was +0.01p at 4.13p

[LON:BKY] Berkeley Energia Ltd share price was +0.25p at 25.25p

[LON:CEY] Centamin PLC share price was +1.43p at 91.43p

[LON:CHL] Churchill Mining PLC share price was +0.01p at 13.13p

[LON:CZA] Coal of Africa Ltd share price was -0.02p at 1.88p

[LON:EUA] Eurasia Mining PLC share price was -0.03p at 0.68p

[LON:FDI] Firestone Diamonds PLC share price was +2p at 22.25p

[LON:FRES] Fresnillo PLC share price was +1.5p at 916.5p

[LON:GEMD] Gem Diamonds Ltd share price was -1p at 109p

[LON:HOC] Hochschild Mining PLC share price was -0.5p at 83.75p

[LON:KMR] Kenmare Resources PLC share price was +0.09p at 1.1p

[LON:LND] Landore Resources Ltd share price was +0.15p at 0.88p

[LON:MTR] Metal Tiger Plc Ord 0.01p share price was +0.25p at 2.78p

[LON:VED] Vedanta Resources PLC share price was -9.5p at 295.5p

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