Ashton Mining of Canada Inc.
TSX : ACA

Ashton Mining of Canada Inc.

November 20, 2006 09:01 ET

Ashton Mining of Canada Inc.: DMS Facility Completed and Commissioning Underway

Processing of Renard 4 bulk sample to start in December

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 20, 2006) - Ashton Mining of Canada Inc. ("Ashton" or the "Corporation") (TSX:ACA) is pleased to report that construction of the dense media separation ("DMS") test facility at the Foxtrot property in north-central Quebec has been completed. Commissioning is now underway in preparation for the processing of the 2,400 tonne Renard 4 bulk sample currently stockpiled at the site. Ashton and its 50:50 joint venture partner, SOQUEM INC. ("SOQUEM"), expect processing to commence in December. Concurrently, the underground decline at the property has continued to advance toward the Renard 2 and 3 kimberlites. Collection of a 4,000 tonne bulk sample from each of these bodies is expected to start in early December.

A series of photographs showing the installations now in place for the collection of the 2006 bulk sample can be viewed at http://www.ashton.ca/projects_quebec_photo_gallery.html.

DMS Test Facility and Renard 4 Bulk Sample

Bond Equipment (PTY) Ltd. of South Africa fabricated the 10 tonne per hour DMS unit during the first and second quarters of 2006. The joint venture mobilized several large pieces of ancillary equipment, including a jaw crusher, to the property in March and April. The main components of the DMS facility were then airlifted to the site during July and August.

Construction of the main components of the DMS facility and related infrastructure began in August and was finished in October. The electrical system and other peripheral components have been installed and inspected, and the necessary regulatory approvals have been received. As a result, commissioning of the facility has now commenced and will be immediately followed by the processing of approximately 2,400 tonnes of kimberlite collected from a surface exposure of Renard 4. Kimberlite processed to date from this portion of the body has returned a cumulative diamond content of 173 cpht.

The concentrates produced at the property will be shipped in batches to Ashton's North Vancouver, B.C., laboratory. Final diamond recovery will take advantage of the laboratory's recently upgraded x-ray sortex circuit and will be carried out by the Corporation's highly experienced personnel. The joint venture now expects to announce diamond results from Renard 4 in three or four installments starting in January 2007.

Robert Boyd, Ashton's President and CEO, stated: "The construction and commissioning of the DMS facility at the Foxtrot property is a remarkable achievement, considering the logistical challenges of ordering a custom-built DMS unit from South Africa in February of this year and having it operational at a remote site, accessible only by air, within a matter of months. We are now well positioned to recover diamonds from the Renard bulk sample with a facility that can also evaluate other diamond discoveries on the property in a cost effective manner. Ashton and its shareholders should be justifiably proud of these accomplishments."

Underground Sampling at Renard 2 and 3

While poor ground conditions in certain areas of the country rock have slowed the advancement of the underground decline, crews have now completed approximately 340 metres of the total of 550 metres of excavation required to reach the Renard 2 and 3 kimberlites. The decline is presently driving toward Renard 3 and a cross-cut is concurrently being driven toward Renard 2. The joint venture expects to reach kimberlite in late November or early December when a sample of approximately 4,000 tonnes of will be collected from each body. Half of each sample will be processed in 2007 after processing of the Renard 4 sample has been completed. Final diamond results from the Renard 2 and 3 samples are expected in April or May of 2007. The cumulative parcel from the three bodies, expected to exceed 6,000 carats of diamonds, will undergo a valuation immediately thereafter.

Additional Renard 2 Diamond Results

In 2005 and 2006, the joint venture drilled a total of 23 holes into Renard 2 as part of program to define tonnage and investigate the geological characteristics of the body. The drilling focused on three areas of the body where only limited drilling had previously been conducted: the southern margin, a lobe of kimberlite extending west from the main body, and kimberlite from 200 to 562 metres below surface. A total of 9.42 tonnes of kimberlitic material recovered from eleven of these holes was recently processed by DMS at Ashton's North Vancouver laboratory. The sample returned 7.22 carats of diamonds larger than 1.18 mm using a square mesh screen, giving it an estimated diamond content of 77 cpht. These results are consistent with previous results from Renard 2. To date, an aggregate 182 tonnes of kimberlite has been collected and processed from Renard 2. Taking into account the results from the 9.42 tonne sample, the diamond content of this material remains unchanged at 92 cpht.

The Corporation currently estimates that Renard 2 may contain from 9.9 to 12.4 million tonnes of kimberlite. There is significant tonnage at depth and Ashton is pleased that the most recent results confirm an elevated diamond content in the lateral extensions and deeper portions of the body. These results support further consideration of the use of underground mining at this body as part of a pre-feasibility study of the Renard cluster in 2007.

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 Societe generale de financement du Quebec ("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.


Contact Information

  • Ashton Mining of Canada Inc.
    Robert T. Boyd
    President and CEO
    (604) 983-7750
    or
    Ashton Mining of Canada Inc.
    Ariel Bowers
    Investor Relations
    (604) 983-7750
    Email: contact@ashton.ca
    Website: www.ashton.ca