Churchill Diamond Project $2.5 Million Exploration Program Approved


Northern Empire Minerals Ltd. ("Northern Empire") and Shear Minerals Ltd. (SRM:TSXV) ("Shear") are pleased to announce joint exploration plans for the upcoming year. The program will entail ground geophysics on a minimum of 30 targets, detailed till sampling and drill testing on a minimum of 15 kimberlite targets. The work program will commence in February with a total budget estimated at $2.5 million. Exploration budgets have been increased, and timing accelerated, based on the 2002 results suggestive of local kimberlite sources.

Highlights in 2002 include the discovery of two kimberlite fragments ("kimberlite float") from two separate locations and the identification of areas of focus based on sample results. Of the 132 samples collected in 2002, results have been obtained from 106. Thus far, a total of 31 of these samples yielded diamond indicator minerals with one sample containing 46 pyrope garnets and two eclogitic garnets. 45% of all pyrope garnets collected are G10 subcalcic pyropes that plot to the left of the 85% line defined by Gurney (1984).

The completion of a 16,000 line-km airborne survey has identified an initial 90 high priority kimberlite targets, some in the vicinity of kimberlite fragments. Interpretation and data review is still underway. Full results from the 2002 program will be released once finalized.

The Churchill Project represents an entirely new conceptual diamond play in the Churchill Craton of the Keewatin district of Nunavut. Northern Empire holds a 35% interest with partners Shear (51%) and Hunter Exploration (14%). The project comprises 540,000 acres near the community of Rankin Inlet where logistics facilitate exploration with barge and rail access. The region has been largely unexplored for diamonds in the past. The partnership acquired the ground after two years of regional work that recovered KIM's from regional samples.

"The Churchill Diamond Project exhibits remarkable potential and represents another key opportunity realized through Northern Empire's aggressive approach to diamond exploration in Canada", said Northern Empire President, John Robins, P.Geo.

Northern Empire Minerals Ltd. is a leader in the Canadian diamond exploration community with an aggressive acquisition and development philosophy. The Company holds one of Canada's most prospective diamond exploration property portfolios totaling more than 3.5 million acres. The Company has 14 diamond properties in the Coronation Diamond District, the Melville Peninsula, and Rankin Inlet areas of Nunavut and 2 diamond properties in the Otish Mountains region of Quebec.

On behalf of the Board,


"John E. Robins"                                   

John E. Robins, P. Geo.
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