Ashton Mining of Canada Inc.
TSX : ACA

Ashton Mining of Canada Inc.

December 21, 2006 09:00 ET

Ashton Mining of Canada Inc.: Progress Report on Quebec Bulk Sample Progam

1,000 tonnes of kimberlite now collected from Renard 3

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(CCNMatthews - Dec. 21, 2006) - Ashton Mining of Canada Inc. ("Ashton" or the "Corporation") (TSX:ACA) reports on the progress toward completion of the 2006 program at the Foxtrot property in north-central Quebec. Ashton and its 50:50 joint venture partner, SOQUEM INC. ("SOQUEM") have continued to advance the collection of the 10,000 tonne bulk sample from Renard 2, 3 and 4, three significantly diamondiferous kimberlites that form part of the Renard cluster of nine bodies. All underground mining and DMS commissioning activities have now been suspended for the holiday break.

Underground Sampling at Renard 2 and 3

Before the current suspension of operations, mining crews had completed approximately 510 metres of the total of 750 metres of underground excavation required to collect 4,000 tonnes from each of Renard 2 and 3. The decline has now reached Renard 3 and approximately 1,000 tonnes of kimberlite have been collected from this body. Concurrently, a cross-cut was driven toward Renard 2. Ground conditions in the Renard 3 kimberlite are favourable but crews have encountered more challenging conditions while excavating the Renard 2 cross-cut. The current suspension of underground operations will allow the joint venture to implement changes to a number of operating procedures with the goal of resuming underground mining work in January.

DMS Test Facility and Bulk Sample Processing

Commissioning of the DMS test facility started in late November and continued into December. Subject to the timely delivery of certain spare and replacement parts, final testing of the facility is now scheduled for mid to late January. Once final testing has been completed, the processing of approximately 2,400 tonnes of kimberlite collected from a surface exposure at Renard 4 will follow immediately.

As reported on November 20, 2006, the concentrates produced at the property will be shipped to Ashton's North Vancouver, B.C., laboratory where final diamond recovery will be carried out. The joint venture expects to report diamond results from Renard 4 in three or four installments before the end of the first quarter of 2007. Diamond results from Renard 3 and Renard 2 will then follow. The results from the valuation of the anticipated 6000-carat parcel of diamonds are expected by mid-year.

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.
    Brooke Clements
    Vice President, Exploration
    (604) 983-7750
    or
    Ashton Mining of Canada Inc.
    Ariel Bowers
    Investor Relations
    (604) 983-7750
    Email: contact@ashton.ca
    Website: www.ashton.ca