- Botswana Diamonds [LON:BOD] says a first phase four hole drilling programme in the Gope region of the Kalahari Desert has begun.

Botswana Diamonds says: "The Gope region is a very remote part of the world with no people, no water, deep sand and extreme temperatures. Operating in the region requires significant planning and logistical support. This licence is a top priority target for the Botswana Diamonds/Alrosa joint venture and the drilling programme is targeting new kimberlites.

"It was selected in separate studies by BOD and by Alrosa geologists as having significant potential and it has never previously been drilled. Intensive soil sampling and electromagnetic studies have identified anomalies in the geology."

The core resulting from the drilling programme will be analysed by Alrosa mineralogists present in Botswana. If required, further evaluation and analysis will take place in St. Petersburg, Russia. Results can be expected in approximately 12 weeks.

Chairman John Teeling said: "The Gope drill campaign is breaking new ground in one of the most remote deserts on Earth. There are no people, even water must be transported long distances and the sand is deep. Temperatures can differ by 50 Celsius between day and night.

"No mining companies have ventured here before to undertake drilling programmes. And yet the preliminary geochemical and geophysical indicators are strongly positive. We are at the cutting edge of diamond exploration and are cautiously optimistic of finding kimberlites."

* * *

Stratex International [LON:STI] has entered into a service agreement with Goldstone Resources Ltd [LON:GRL], in which it holds a 33.45% interest.

Under the terms of the agreement, Stratex would provide technical services to support Goldstone for a monthly fee of £1,750 plus VAT as well as a further fee in respect of any specific work streams, including but not limited to project management and analysis of results from exploration programmes.

* * *

Landore Resources [LON:LND] says resource and extension drilling has recommenced on the BAM East gold prospect on its Junior Lake property in Ontario, Canada.

The programme will consist of 10 HQ and 7 NQ diamond drill holes for 4,000 metres, to expand the newly defined central zone and to test highly prospective targets along the remaining 2.7 kilometre MM-7 geophysical trend respectively

It said the first two HQ holes completed, drilled to extend lines 2350E and 2400E a further 50 metres down dip, have intersected the same lithology as the higher holes with visible gold sighted. The core is currently being processed for assaying.

Longitudinal sections show the central zone to be plunging to the West with the width and gold content improving at depth.

Chief executive Bill Humphries said: "The BAM East Gold Prospect is rapidly developing into a significant new gold discovery for Landore Resources, enjoying very low discovery costs per ounce, favourable mineralogy potentially providing a simple processing path with maximum recoveries and low capex opex costs."

* * *

DiamondCorp [LON:DCP] has entered into a Shariah-compliant secured convertible financing facility with Rasmala, a leading independent investment manager and shareholder in the company.

The company and Rasmala have agreed to the drawdown by DiamondCorp of two tranches under the facility, for a total principal amount of £700,000.

The first of the tranches, in the amount of £400,000, is to be drawn down immediately. The second tranche of £300,000 is anticipated to be drawn down in the near term. The facility will mature on 15 December, with the option for early repayment at DiamondCorp's discretion.

The facility is to be repaid either in cash or convertible at Rasmala's discretion on maturity of the facility into new ordinary shares at the equivalent of a 30% discount to the average daily volume weighted average price of the ordinary shares across each trading day from the date of the agreement of the facility to the date of conversion.

The company also announces the following board changes under the terms of the Facility: Chairman Euan Worthington has resigned from the board, effective immediately, but shall remain as an employee of the company for the immediate future in order to ensure an orderly handover of his responsibilities.

Chris Ellis, current Non-Executive Director of DiamondCorp, shall shortly be formally appointed as independent interim non-executive chairman and on or by 31 October. It is currently intended that Ellis's appointment shall be on an interim basis to oversee the formal sale process as announced on 18 October.

Rasmala has been granted the right to appoint an individual to the Board of DiamondCorp, subject to satisfactory completion of terms and in accordance with applicable rules and regulations. The right by Rasmala is in addition to the continued role of Michael Toxvaerd as Non-Executive Director of both DiamondCorp and Rasmala.

* * *

Rio Tinto [LON:RIO] has delivered strong third-quarter production, underpinned by improving operational performance across its Tier 1 portfolio.

"Output from our iron ore and bauxite assets reflects the drive for productivity and operational excellence," said CEO J-S Jacques.

"With a continued focus on value, we will seek further productivity improvements across the business.

"Our rigorous attention to cash generation, coupled with a disciplined allocation of capital remains our key focus in delivering shareholder value."


- Pilbara iron ore production (100 per cent basis), saw a run-rate of 330 million tonnes a year. Shipments were reduced by port and rail maintenance during the quarter and annual shipment guidance is revised to between 325 and 330 million tonnes for 2016.

- Quarterly production records at both Weipa and Gove led to nine month bauxite production of 35.6 million tonnes, ten per cent higher than the same period in 2015.

- Kitimat delivered its second consecutive quarter at nameplate capacity, giving rise to an 11 per cent increase in year to date aluminium production.

- Mined copper production for the first nine months of 2016 was four per cent higher than the same period in 2015, despite 18 per cent lower copper production at Escondida, primarily due to lower grades. Rio Tinto Kennecott achieved increased production from mining an area of higher grades, whilst continuing its focus on de-weighting to access ore from the east wall of Bingham Canyon.

- On 5 August, the Group completed the sale of its Mount Pleasant thermal coal assets for $221 million plus royalties.

* * *

Weatherly International [LON:WTI] said following a strong performance in the March quarter, it is disappointed that it is unable to anticipate such high groundwater inflow rates at Tschudi.

It said this spoiled the company's track record of beating its guidance.

"Our operating team however is fully focused on meeting or beating the new revised guidance and on demonstrating once again what they, and the Tschudi operation, are capable of," said CEO Craig Thomas.


- Tschudi production for the quarter was 3,641 tonnes of copper cathode, in line with the most recent guidance for reduced production due to excessive rates of groundwater inflow to the open pit.

- Upgraded in-pit groundwater management systems and infrastructure have been commissioned as planned, and mining is proceeding as per our revised schedules.

- Nameplate production rates of 1,417 tonnes of copper cathode per month are still expected to be achieved by the end of the 2016 calendar year.

- As a result of reduced production, additional costs to deal with the groundwater inflow and adverse exchange rate movements, C1 costs for the quarter increased to US$5,073 per tonne.

- Groundwater management focus is now on long-term management systems and the Company is now confident in its ability to manage groundwater in the long term.

At 4:01pm:

[LON:BEM] Beowulf Mining PLC share price was 0p at 5p

[LON:BKY] Berkeley Energia Ltd share price was -0.37p at 48.38p

[LON:BOD] Botswana Diamonds PLC share price was +0.2p at 1.63p

[LON:CEY] Centamin PLC share price was -1.5p at 148.1p

[LON:CHL] Churchill Mining PLC share price was -0.63p at 28p

[LON:CZA] Coal of Africa Ltd share price was +0.26p at 3.38p

[LON:DCP] Diamondcorp PLC share price was -0.03p at 2.83p

[LON:FDI] Firestone Diamonds PLC share price was +0.5p at 55p

[LON:FRES] Fresnillo PLC share price was -7p at 1644p

[LON:GEMD] Gem Diamonds Ltd share price was +2.5p at 116p

[LON:GRL] GoldStone Resources Ltd share price was 0p at 1.88p

[LON:HOC] Hochschild Mining PLC share price was -5.2p at 270.5p

[LON:KMR] Kenmare Resources PLC share price was +3.75p at 293.5p

[LON:LND] Landore Resources Ltd share price was +0.08p at 3.4p

[LON:STI] Stratex International PLC share price was +0.1p at 1.9p

[LON:VED] Vedanta Resources PLC share price was -1.5p at 658.5p

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