6,000 Carat Bulk Sample Program Now Underway in Quebec


Ashton Mining of Canada Inc. ("Ashton" or the "Corporation") is pleased to announce that Ashton and its 50:50 joint venture partner, SOQUEM INC. ("SOQUEM"), have commenced a bulk sample program designed to recover a parcel of at least 6,000 carats of diamonds from the Foxtrot property in north-central Quebec. The minimum 6,000 tonne bulk sample will be collected from four of the kimberlitic bodies in the Renard cluster. The joint venture plans to conduct a diamond valuation of the parcel during the first half of 2007 and use the results to complete a pre-feasibility study. As reported on April 26, 2005, the average modeled value of the initial parcel of 459 carats of Renard diamonds was US$88 per carat.

In addition to the 6,000 tonne bulk sample, the $24 million program approved by the joint venture includes an aggressive exploration program to discover new kimberlitic bodies on the Foxtrot property and to further evaluate the existing discoveries.

"The collection of a 6,000 carat parcel positions the Quebec project as one of the few advanced diamond exploration projects in Canada," said Robert Boyd, Ashton's President and CEO. "We expect that this parcel will include a representative selection of stones greater than two carats in weight. These larger stones typically have a disproportionately favourable influence on the average value of a diamond population."

Bulk Sample Program

Through a combination of trenching, underground mining methods and reverse circulation ("RC") drilling, the bulk sample will be collected from Renard 2, 3, 4 and 9, four of the 13 kimberlitic bodies identified to date on the Foxtrot property. The joint venture has estimated that the four bodies contain from 18.6 to 22.0 million carats of diamonds in 23.2 to 27.5 million tonnes of kimberlitic material. As noted in the Corporation's news release issued on November 8, 2005, the tonnage estimates are conceptual in nature and do not constitute a mineral resource as defined by National Instrument 43-101.


The joint venture will collect more than 2,000 tonnes of kimberlitic material during the summer field season by trenching at an exposed outcrop at the northern end of Renard 4. As reported on October 5, 2005, a cumulative 9.16 tonnes of outcrop material processed by dense media separation ("DMS") from the outcrop returned an estimated diamond content of 173 carats per hundred tonnes ("cpht"). The cumulative estimated diamond content of all samples processed from Renard 4 to date is 46 cpht.

Underground Decline and Sampling

A cumulative sample of at least 4,000 tonnes will be collected by underground mining methods at Renard 2 and 3. The preliminary program design calls for construction, during the fall of this year, of a portal and the excavation of an inclined ramp to a depth of approximately 50 metres below surface. Horizontal drifts will then be driven to Renard 2 and Renard 3 to recover the sample material. The estimated diamond content of samples processed thus far from Renard 2 and 3 is 92 and 124 cpht, respectively.

Core and RC Drilling

Further investigation of Renard 9 during the winter 2006 program will include core and RC drilling to increase the confidence in the estimated diamond content of this body and to better define its tonnage potential. Approximately 75 tonnes of material will be collected by drilling and processed by DMS at Ashton's laboratory in North Vancouver, with diamond results expected during the summer. As reported on June 27, 2005, 12.2 tonnes of material from Renard 9 returned an estimated diamond content of 97 cpht after processing by DMS. The two largest diamonds weighed 3.58 and 3.26 carats, respectively. In addition to the drilling at Renard 9, limited core and RC drilling will also be conducted on Renard 2 and Renard 4.

On-site Processing by DMS

The joint venture has engaged Hatch Ltd., a global engineering consulting firm, to provide the procurement and construction management services required to establish a modular 10 tonne per hour DMS test facility on the Foxtrot property. The facility will be installed this summer at a site close to Renard 2 and 3. The processing of the bulk sample material from Renard 2, 3 and 4 will begin immediately after commissioning of the DMS facility and is scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2007. The kimberlitic concentrates generated by the initial on-site processing will undergo further processing and diamond recovery at Ashton's North Vancouver laboratory. The joint venture expects to release diamond results on a progressive basis commencing with results from Renard 4 in late 2006 followed by results from Renard 2 and 3 continuing into 2007.

An aerial photo showing Renard 2, 3, 4 and 9 and the proposed location of the DMS facility, portal, inclined ramp and horizontal drifts can be viewed at: http://www.ashton.ca/projects_quebec_map_2006_sample.html.

Logistics and Permitting

Commencement of the trenching program, the excavation of the underground decline and the installation of onsite processing activities are dependent on logistical factors, including weather conditions and aircraft operations. Initiating these activities also requires completion of the permitting process, which is currently underway.

Continued Exploration of the Foxtrot Property

Having discovered four new dykes in 2005, the joint venture believes that additional bodies can be discovered on the Foxtrot property in 2006 through drilling, geophysical surveying, heavy mineral sampling and prospecting. The 2006 exploration program will therefore focus on discovering new kimberlitic bodies by investigating unexplained indicator mineral and boulder anomalies including the South and Southeast anomalies together with continued evaluation of the Lynx, Hibou and North Anomaly dyke systems.

Drilling will commence in late winter as soon as new targets developed through winter ground geophysical surveys have been ranked in order of priority. Diamond results from 30 tonnes of material collected in 2005 by trenching along the Lynx dyke system are expected in March 2006. Further information on the dyke systems and the promising anomalies on the Foxtrot property is available on Ashton's website at www.ashton.ca.

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 laboratory facilities in North Vancouver, fully dedicated to the Corporation's exploration projects.

SOQUEM INC. is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Société générale de financement du Québec ("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.

For further information, please contact:

Robert T. Boyd            -or-
President and CEO
(604) 983-7750

Mike Westerlund                  -or-
Manager, Investor Relations
(604) 983-7750

visit our website :
email: contact@ashton.ca