NORTHERN EMPIRE AND STORNOWAY ANNOUNCE COMPLETION OF COMBINATION Creation of world class diamond exploration company New Company to control over 11 million acres of diamond properties


Northern Empire Minerals Ltd. (NEM) and Stornoway Ventures Ltd. (SWV) announce today that they have completed the combination of their respective businesses originally announced on May 20, 2003. This transaction involved the acquisition of Stornoway by Northern Empire and has the effect of consolidating Northern Empire's and Stornoway's respective 35% interests in the Aviat Project, located on the Melville Peninsula in Nunavut and host to the diamondiferous AV-1 kimberlite. Northern Empire now holds a 70% interest in Aviat, giving Northern Empire greater control over the exploration and development of the 7 million acre Aviat property.

Northern Empire also maintains a 35% interest in the Churchill diamond project, totaling more than 1.5 million acres located near the community of Rankin Inlet, Nunavut. Recent drill testing of priority geophysical targets identified at Churchill in 2002 has resulted in the discovery of nine new kimberlite-like bodies. Many high priority geophysical targets remain to be drill tested as part of an ongoing summer exploration program that also includes geophysics, prospecting and sampling.

Other diamond interests held within prospective diamond regions throughout Canada include the Coronation (North Slave) properties in Nunavut as well as the Otish Mountain property in Quebec Northern Empire's diamond properties now encompass over 11 million acres, making its landholdings one of the largest in Canada.

Eira Thomas, the CEO of Stornoway has been appointed the CEO and President of Northern Empire and will be responsible for the operational activities and development of the exploration assets of the company. Ms. Thomas is well known for her previous involvement in the discovery of the Diavik deposit, Canada's newest producing diamond mine.

John Robins, former President of Northern Empire and Catherine McLeod-Seltzer, President of Stornoway have been appointed Co-Chairs of Northern Empire. Bruce McLeod has been appointed Chief Operating Officer.

The Board of Directors of Northern Empire has been re-constituted and consists of John Robins, Catherine McLeod-Seltzer, Eira Thomas, Bruce McLeod and Peter Nixon.

As a consequence of closing the transaction each Stornoway shareholder prior to closing now holds 0.8734 of a common share of Northern Empire for each common share of Stornoway previously held. Northern Empire owns 100% of the outstanding shares of Stornoway, which shares have been halted and will be delisted from the TSX Venture Exchange.

Shareholders approved a name change at the recent Extraordinary General Meeting. The Company's name will be changed to Stornoway Diamond Corporation and will trade under the symbol SWY on the TSX Venture Exchange effective July 22, 2003.

For more information, please contact Northern Empire's offices.

On behalf of the Board
/s/ "Eira M. Thomas
Eira M. Thomas
President and CEO
For further information, please contact the
Company at 604-331-2267 or (888) 338-2200

The TSX Venture Exchange has not reviewed and does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release