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Ashton Mining of Canada Inc.: Modeled Value of Renard Diamonds US$88 per Carat.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Robert T. Boyd, President and CEO of Ashton Mining of Canada Inc. ("Ashton") (TSX:ACA), is pleased to announce that WWW International Diamond Consultants Ltd. ("WWW") has determined a modeled value of US$88 per carat for a parcel of 459 carats of diamonds recovered from the Renard cluster of kimberlitic bodies. The minimum modeled value was determined at US$76 per carat and the high modeled value at US$104 per carat. Ashton and its 50:50 joint venture partner, SOQUEM INC. ("SOQUEM"), recovered the 459 carat parcel from Renard 2, 3, 4 and 65, four of the six bodies situated within the Core Area of the Renard cluster on the Foxtrot property in north-central Quebec.

WWW's report indicates that it is highly unlikely that the average price for run of mine production from the four bodies would be less than US$76 per carat, based on current prices. Conversely, despite the size of the parcel, WWW stated that the high value of US$104 is not an unreasonable estimate.

WWW stated that the Renard diamonds presented well during the valuation, that their colour was good overall, and that they were free of boart (low-value industrial diamonds). WWW also said that these diamonds would sell well in the market and noted that the modeled value is greater than the prevailing average world price for rough diamonds of approximately US$80 per carat.

In addition to calculating the modeled value of the parcel, WWW valued the 459 carats based on the price that a producer would receive in Antwerp at current diamond prices. Similar determinations of the actual value of the diamonds were made by three other independent international diamantaires as well as Rio Tinto Diamonds NV, an affiliate of Ashton's 52.2 per cent shareholder, the Rio Tinto group. The average price attributed to the parcel by the five valuators is US$70 per carat. All of the diamonds in the 459 carat parcel were greater than the aperture size of a DTC 2 sieve (1.03 mm). WWW estimated that the two highest-value diamonds, octahedral crystals recovered from Renard 3 weighing 4.3 carats and 2.30 carats, have a value of US$1,551 and US$1,308 per carat, respectively.

Since the parcel of diamonds is relatively small, the modeled diamond value, rather than the actual value of the parcel, is believed to provide a more accurate prediction of the average value of the diamonds contained in the Renard bodies.

Next Steps

Ashton's President and CEO, Robert Boyd, said: "We are pleased that these diamonds have returned a modeled value that provides encouragement for the joint venture to advance the evaluation of the Renard Core Area."

The joint venture plans to proceed with an evaluation of potential mining scenarios for the Core Area using the modeled diamond values and the current estimates of tonnage. The results of this study will guide the joint venture in determining the next steps to advance the project. This work could include the collection of a larger bulk sample in 2006. The joint venture is also considering additional work in 2005 to identify further kimberlitic material beyond the 20 million tonnes already estimated for Renard 2, 3, 4 and 65, and to determine more precisely the diamond content of the Renard 8 and 9 kimberlitic bodies through mini-bulk sampling.

Modeled Diamond Value

WWW developed the modeled value using statistical methods to predict the frequency of recovery and the expected value of all size-classes of diamonds in run of mine production from a future commercial mining operation at Renard 2, 3, 4 and 65. These estimates were based on the size-frequency distribution of the diamonds in the parcel, the actual current values per size class determined in the valuation, and the estimated current values per size class for larger, more valuable, diamonds that were not fully represented in the parcel.

Based on the available data, WWW determined that there is no significant difference in the type of stones from each of the four bodies and concluded that none of the bodies would be expected to return diamonds with consistently higher or lower values than the average for the four. However, it was also noted that a larger sample would be needed to confirm this conclusion.

WWW has significant experience in the valuation of diamonds. WWW and its partner, Aboriginal Diamonds Group, are joint owners of Diamonds International Canada (DICAN) Limited, the entity that values diamond production for royalty purposes from the Ekati and Diavik mines in the Northwest Territories on behalf of the Government of Canada.

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 laboratory facilities in North Vancouver, dedicated exclusively to the Corporation's exploration projects.

SOQUEM is a wholly owned subsidiary of SGF Mineral inc., a 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 responsible for their design and conduct, and for the verification and quality assurance of analytical results. Mr. Clements monitored each step of the valuation process in Antwerp.

Ashton Mining of Canada Inc. (TSX:ACA)
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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Apr 26, 2005
Words:952
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