Ashton Releases Renard 4 Bulk Sample Results


Robert T. Boyd, President and CEO of Ashton Mining of Canada Inc. ("Ashton"), is pleased to report that 39.8 carats of diamonds have been recovered from 97.1 tonnes of material collected by core drilling and reverse circulation ("RC") drilling from the Renard 4 kimberlitic body during the winter 2004 program. These results give the sample an estimated diamond content of 41 carats per hundred tonnes ("cpht"). The 97.1 tonnes of material constitutes part of the bulk sample of more than 600 tonnes that Ashton and its 50 percent joint venture partner, SOQUEM INC. (SOQUEM") have collected from the Renard cluster on the Foxtrot property in north-central Quebec, this year.

The five largest diamonds recovered from this sample weigh 2.9, 0.69, 0.61, 0.59 and 0.56 carats, bringing to 24 the total number of diamonds greater than 0.5 carats that have been recovered from the Renard cluster to date. The 2.9 and 0.69 carat stones are a colourless octahedral crystal and a grey dodecahedral crystal respectively. The 2.9 carat diamond is the largest stone recovered from Renard 4 and the second largest stone thus far recovered from the Renard cluster. The frequency of occurrence of larger diamonds in a deposit can materially affect the average value of the stones and therefore the average rock value of the deposit. The recovery of additional larger diamonds from this sample is therefore significant.

The table below summarizes the diamond results for the mini-bulk and bulk samples processed from Renard 4 to date.

Cumulative Diamond Results from Renard 4


Sample Weight (tonnes)

Square Mesh Screen Size (mm)

Largest Diamonds
Recovered (carats)

Weight of Diamonds Recovered (carats)

Estimated Diamond Content (cpht)

October 18, 2004








74.1 (Note 1)


2.9 and .69





23.0 (Note 2)


0.61 and 0.49










February 11, 2004

15.1 (Note 2)


0.66 and 0.31



Total to Date:






Note 1: This is the calculated weight of the material collected by RC drilling

Note 2: This is the actual weight of the material collected by core drilling

The results from the 97.1 tonnes of material are considered consistent with those reported on February 11, 2004 for the mini-bulk samples collected in 2002 and 2003. The difference in the estimated diamond content of the most recent sample and the earlier samples could be attributable to the larger aperture-size screen now used to recover the diamonds, the location of the drill sites and the variability in sample size. 

Collection and Processing of the Sample

Located 100 m southwest of Renard 65 and 450 m northwest of Renard 2, Renard 4 is one of six kimberlitic bodies in the Core Area of the Renard cluster. Drill and geophysical data suggest that Renard 4 has an average length of 160 m and a width of 70 m, giving the body a minimum surface area of one hectare.

The 97.1 tonnes were collected by drilling 15 vertical core holes to an average depth of 210 metres and three RC holes to an average depth of 168 metres. Each of the holes terminated in kimberlitic material. The core holes were drilled across the southern half of the body. The three RC holes were drilled from the frozen surface of the lake that covers the southeastern corner of the body.

The in-ground weight of the RC portion of the sample was calculated at 74.1 tonnes by multiplying the volume of each hole by the specific gravity of the rock determined at 2.6 grams per cubic centimetre. The volume of each hole was calculated by multiplying its diameter, as measured using a caliper system, by its depth. The specific gravity of 2.6 is the average value determined to date for kimberlitic material collected from the Renard bodies.

The material recovered by RC drilling was screened in the field to remove material less than 1.18 mm in size. Consequently, the material that was processed weighed 47.6 tonnes. It was treated by dense media separation ("DMS") at a ten tonne per hour DMS plant located in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The resulting concentrates underwent post-DMS processing and final observation at Ashton's laboratory in North Vancouver, B.C. The core portion of the sample was processed by Ashton's five tonne per hour DMS plant in North Vancouver.

The 97.1 tonne sample represents approximately 64 percent of the material collected from Renard 4 in 2004. During the summer field season, an additional 55 tonnes were recovered by drilling two RC holes in the southwestern corner of the body and eight core holes across the northern half of the body. The joint venture anticipates that diamond results for this material will be available in early 2005.

Progress Report: 2004 Bulk Sample Program

The 2004 bulk sample program was designed to collect at least 600 tonnes of kimberlitic material from Renard 2, 3, 4 and 65. To date, the 237 tonnes recovered from Renard 65 and Renard 4 during the winter portion of the program has returned 70.6 carats of diamonds. During the summer field season, approximately 390 tonnes of material was collected from all four bodies. This material includes approximately 150 tonnes from each of Renard 2 and 3, the two bodies that have thus far shown the highest diamond content in the Renard cluster.

The 390 tonnes of material awaiting analysis is expected to produce the remainder of the 300 carats of diamonds anticipated from the 2004 bulk sampling program. The valuation of the 300 carat parcel is planned for early 2005 to provide a preliminary determination of diamond value for the Renard cluster.

The results of the 2004 program, including the preliminary determination of diamond value, will assist the joint venture in evaluating the alternatives for additional work on the Renard cluster. Further work could include collecting a larger bulk sample, resource definition drilling and economic modeling. 

About 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. Ashton has positioned itself among the leading explorers in the Canadian diamond industry. Its key competitive advantages include significant exploration experience and its in-house processing and laboratory facilities in North Vancouver exclusively dedicated to Ashton's exploration projects.

SOQUEM is a wholly-owned subsidiary of SGF Minéral inc., a subsidiary of Société générale de financement du Québec ("SGF"). The SGF, the Quebec industrial and financial holding company, has as its mission 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 responsible for their design and conduct, and for the verification and quality assurance of analytical results.

For further information, please contact:          

Robert T. Boyd       -or-    Brooke Clements           -or-       visit our website:
President and CEO             Vice President, Exploration
(604) 983-7750                      (604) 983-7750                     email: