Foxtrot Property Winter Program Status Report
March 4, 2004
Robert T. Boyd, President and CEO of Ashton Mining of Canada Inc. ("Ashton"), is pleased to provide an update on the progress of the winter 2004 exploration program now being conducted by Ashton and its joint venture partner, SOQUEM INC. ("SOQUEM"), on the Foxtrot property in north-central Quebec. The Foxtrot property hosts the Renard cluster of nine kimberlitic bodies and the Lynx kimberlitic body. As announced on January 19, 2004, each party will fund an equal share of the estimated $18 million cost of the program.
Bulk Sampling - Renard Cluster
A principal objective of the 2004 program is the collection of a cumulative bulk sample of at least 600 tonnes from the Renard 2, 3, 4 and 65 kimberlitic bodies. Existing data suggest that a sample of this magnitude should return 300 or more carats of diamonds. The sample will be collected by drilling 40 to 60 vertical HQ core holes each 6.35 cm in diameter and 30 to 40 reverse circulation ("RC") holes each 30 cm in diameter. An estimated 150 to 250 tonnes of material will be collected during the winter portion of the program that will continue until late March. The remainder will be collected during the 2004 summer and fall field seasons.
The bulk sampling initiative commenced in late January. To date, 20 vertical core holes have been completed to a minimum depth of 200 m on Renard 4 and Renard 65, resulting in a cumulative sample of more than 30 tonnes. During the week of March 1, RC drilling commenced at Renard 65. Each 150 metre RC hole is expected to yield 15 to 20 tonnes of kimberlitic material.
The information generated by the 2004 program will further define the size and diamond content of the Renard bodies. The parcel of diamonds that the joint venture expects to recover will provide the basis for a preliminary determination of diamond value.
The winter portion of the 2004 exploration program on the Foxtrot property is now underway. A detailed airborne geophysical survey has been completed and ground-based investigation of airborne geophysical anomalies associated with unexplained indicator mineral anomalies is underway. This work has identified a number of high priority targets. Up to ten of these will be drilled commencing in mid-March.
SOQUEM is a wholly-owned subsidiary of SGF Minéral inc., a subsidiary of Société générale de financement du Québec ("SGF"). The mission of the SGF, as an industrial and financial holding company, is to carry out economic development projects, especially in the industrial sector, in cooperation with partners and in accordance with accepted requirements for profitability that comply with the economic development policy 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.
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