Collection of 10,000 Tonne Renard Bulk Sample and Construction of DMS Test Facility Now Underway


Robert T. Boyd, President and CEO of Ashton Mining of Canada Inc. ("Ashton" or the "Corporation"), is pleased to announce that Ashton and its 50:50 joint venture partner, SOQUEM INC., have commenced

collection of a 10,000 tonne bulk sample on the Foxtrot property in north-central Quebec. Concurrent with the bulk sample program, the joint venture has initiated construction of a 10 tonne per hour dense media separation ("DMS") test facility at the project site.

The bulk sample will be collected by surface trenching at Renard 4 and underground mining methods at Renard 2 and 3. The six thousand tonnes of material currently scheduled for processing by DMS starting in October is expected to yield a diamond parcel of at least 6,000 carats. The valuation of these diamonds, planned for the first half of 2007, will enable the joint venture to advance its assessment of the economic potential of the Renard cluster of kimberlitic bodies.

Surface Trenching at Renard 4

Surface trenching at the Northern Zone of Renard 4 is now underway, with the goal of collecting approximately 2,000 tonnes of kimberlitic material over the next three to four weeks. This material is expected to yield approximately 2,000 carats of diamonds. As announced on June 26, the cumulative 49.8 tonne sample collected by surface trenching and reverse circulation drilling in the Northern Zone returned an estimated diamond content of 101 carats per hundred tonnes ("cpht").

Underground Sampling at Renard 2 and 3

Construction of the portal for the decline that will provide access to Renard 2 and 3 underground has now commenced. Over the next three to four months, a 475-metre decline will be extended to a depth of approximately 50 metres from surface. Horizontal drifts having a length of approximately 200 metres will be driven into each of Renard 2 and 3 to collect representative samples from each of these bodies. Some of the waste rock excavated from the decline will be crushed on-site and used as the foundation for the DMS facility.

The joint venture intends to collect a cumulative 8,000 tonnes of kimberlitic material from Renard 2 and 3 and plans to process approximately 2,000 tonnes from each body under the current program. Approximately 4,000 carats of diamonds are expected from this portion of the bulk sample. The remaining 4,000 tonnes of material will be stockpiled in the field for processing by DMS at a future date. As reported in 2005, a 173 tonne sample from Renard 2 and a 160 tonne sample Renard 3 returned an estimated diamond content of 92 cpht and 124 cpht, respectively.

The joint venture has engaged Genivar Inc., an international engineering and construction consulting company, to design and manage the collection of the underground portion of the bulk sample. MonterieXpert, a firm based in Val-d'Or, Quebec, has been awarded the underground mining contract.

DMS Test Facility and Diamond Processing Timetable

Site preparation for the construction of the ten tonne per hour DMS test facility is now underway. Construction will commence in late July and commissioning is currently planned for September. As reported on June 26, the DMS module, a principal component of the facility, is scheduled to arrive at the project site by month-end.

The joint venture has engaged Hatch Ltd., a diversified engineering, project management and construction firm based in Montreal, to manage the construction and commissioning of the DMS facility. Lajoie Somec Construction Inc., based in Saguenay, Quebec, has been awarded the construction contract.

The bulk sample material from Renard 4 will be the first to be processed through the DMS facility starting in October, followed by the material from Renard 2 and 3. The resulting concentrates will be shipped to Ashton's North Vancouver, B.C., laboratory for final diamond recovery. Diamond results will be reported commencing late in 2006 and during the first quarter of 2007. The DMS facility will remain on site for processing the remaining material from Renard 2 and 3, if warranted, and for processing samples collected from kimberlitic bodies on the Foxtrot property in the future.

An aerial photo showing Renard 2, 3, and 4 and the location of the DMS facility, the portal and the planned underground workings can be viewed at:

Revised Budget for 2006 Program

The joint venture has increased the budget for the 2006 program from the $24 million originally reported on February 6 to $29 million. This change reflects additional costs associated with a revised mining plan, higher construction and engineering costs for the DMS facility, and increased operating costs. Ashton will fund its share of the additional costs from the Corporation's existing treasury.

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 diamond laboratory facilities in North Vancouver.

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

Alessandro Bitelli                 -or-
Vice President, Finance
(604) 983-7750

visit our website :