OTISH MOUNTAINS, Quebec Vancouver's ASHTON MINING and partner SOQUEM have outlined an $18-million exploration and bulk sampling program this year for their diamond properties in this northern part of Quebec.
Two-thirds of the money will be spent to collect a bulk sample from the Renard cluster and exploration. This will involve drilling 40 to 60 core holes. The resulting geological information will be used to determine the location of 30-cm-diameter reverse circulation drill holes. At least 600 tonnes of kimberlitic material will be collected so that a preliminary determination of diamond value can be made.
Preparations for the bulk sample have already begun, with the mobilization of equipment and the construction of an ice airstrip near the Renard cluster that is capable of receiving large cargo aircraft.
The remaining $6 million will be spent for surveys and drilling on two other prospects. Sampling of indicator minerals in 2003 from the Foxtrot property identified four highly anomalous trains with associated kimberlitic pebbles and boulders; these will be further investigated and mini-bulk samples collected. At the Tichegami property 80 km south of the Renard cluster, Ashton and Soquem plan to conduct indicator mineral sampling, geophysical surveys and target drilling this summer.
Ashton has posted some beautiful photos from its Quebec properties at www.ashton.ca.