Ashton Mining of Canada Inc.: Average Diamond Content of Samples from Northern End of Renard 4 Now 101 cphtadmin
Largest diamond a 1.71 carat octahedron
Robert T. Boyd, President and CEO of Ashton Mining of Canada Inc. (“Ashton” or the “Corporation”) (TSX:ACA), is pleased to report that the cumulative 49.8 tonnes of kimberlitic material collected from the northern end of the Renard 4 kimberlitic body (“Northern Zone”) on the Foxtrot property in north-central Quebec has an estimated diamond content of 101 carats per hundred tonnes (“cpht”). Ashton and its 50:50 joint venture partner, SOQUEM INC. (“SOQUEM”), now anticipate that the 2,000 tonne bulk sample to be collected from the Northern Zone during this year’s program will return approximately 2,000 carats of diamonds.
The cumulative results from the Northern Zone include those from a sample of 40.6 tonnes of material that was collected by reverse circulation (“RC”) drilling during the first quarter of 2006. After processing by dense media separation (“DMS”), this material returned 34.5 carats of diamonds, giving the sample an estimated diamond content of 85 cpht. A photo of the two largest stones, a 1.71 carat off-white octahedron and a 0.74 carat clear octahedron, is available on Ashton’s website at http://www.ashton.ca/projects_quebec_photo_gallery_diamonds.html. Eight other diamonds larger than 0.5 carats were also recovered.
Including the 40.6 tonne sample, a total of 219 tonnes of kimberlitic material has now been collected and processed from Renard 4. As indicated in the table below, the cumulative diamond content of this material is 53 cpht, an increase from the cumulative 46 cpht reported on October 5, 2005.
The 40.6 tonne sample was collected from two RC holes and consisted of macrocrystic kimberlitic material, kimberlitic breccia and country rock breccia. One hole was collared on the outcrop where the 2,000 tonne trench sample will be collected this summer, and terminated in country rock breccia at 89 metres below surface. The 13.7 tonnes of material collected from this hole returned an estimated diamond content of 120 cpht. The second hole was collared approximately 50 metres southwest of the first hole at a location near the interpreted margin of the body, and was terminated in kimberlitic material at a depth of 204 metres. The 26.9 tonnes of material collected from this hole returned an estimated diamond content of 67 cpht.
The in-ground weight of the sample, 40.6 tonnes, was calculated by multiplying the volume of each hole by a specific gravity of 2.6 grams per cubic centimetre. The volume of the hole was determined by down-hole caliper methods. The specific gravity of 2.6 grams per cubic centimetre is the average value determined to date for kimberlitic material collected from the Renard bodies. The RC material was screened in the field to remove particles less than 1.18 mm. As a result, the material processed by dense media separation (“DMS”) at Ashton’s North Vancouver laboratory weighed 23.1 tonnes.
The limited drill data generated to date suggest that the area of elevated diamond content referred to as the Northern Zone of Renard 4 is confined to the northern end of the body and may not constitute a significant portion of its potential tonnage. Further work is required to determine the overall extent and the potential influence of the Northern Zone on the average diamond content of Renard 4.
The joint venture expects to initiate collection of the 2,000 tonne bulk sample from the surface trench on the Northern Zone within the next few weeks.
Underground Bulk Sample and DMS Facility Update
Concurrent with the trenching at Renard 4, the joint venture will initiate the excavation of a portal near Renard 2 and 3 in preparation for the underground collection of approximately 4,000 tonnes of kimberlitic material from each of Renard 2 and 3, for a total of 8,000 tonnes. Approximately 2,000 tonnes of the material collected from each body is scheduled for diamond analysis as part of the current program. The remaining 4,000 tonnes will be retained in the field for processing by DMS at a future date.
Other activities currently underway on the Foxtrot property include assembly of underground mining equipment, site preparation for the excavation of the underground portal, as well as geotechnical and hydrogeological testing.
Preparations for construction of the ten tonne per hour DMS test facility have also commenced. The DMS module, a principal component of this facility, was shipped from South Africa in May and will be mobilized to the field by float plane and helicopter in July. Construction of the DMS facility is currently planned for July and August, and commissioning of the facility is expected in September.
Renard 9 Update
Diamond results from the approximately 65 tonnes collected by RC drilling from Renard 9 during the first quarter are expected by mid-July.
Ashton Mining of Canada Inc. and SOQUEM INC.
Ashton’s prime objective is the discovery or acquisition of diamond prospects capable of rapid advancement to development and production. The Corporation is recognized as one of the leading explorers in the Canadian diamond industry. Ashton’s competitive advantages include the significant exploration experience of its key personnel as well as its extensive in-house diamond laboratory facilities in North Vancouver.
SOQUEM INC. is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Societe generale de financement du Quebec (“SGF”). The mission of the SGF, an industrial and financial holding company, is to undertake economic development projects in the industrial sector in cooperation with partners and in compliance with the economic development policies of the Government of Quebec.
Ashton is the operator of the joint venture’s exploration programs. Brooke Clements, Professional Geologist and Ashton’s Vice President Exploration, is a Qualified Person pursuant to National Instrument 43-101. Mr. Clements is responsible for the design and conduct of the Corporation’s exploration programs and for the verification and quality assurance of analytical results.