Diamond rush in Nord-du-Québec
The announcement on December 17,
2001 of the discovery of two diamantiferous kimberlite deposits
by Ashton Mining of Canada and SOQUEM inc. in the Monts Otish sector
triggered a real rush to stake out claims in Nord-du-Québec. Since
then, MRN has received more than 33,400 title applications,
with the diamond rush accounting for 96%. This amounts to a daily
average of 500 to 1,000 applications.
To date, 153 companies
or individuals have made requests affecting 202 NTS map sheets.
Other areas of interest in the quest for diamonds are currently
being explored in Québec such as Caniapiscau, Mistassini, Nottaway,
Torngat, and Wemindji.
Watch for our next issue in May 2002 to find
out the status of diamond exploration in Québec.
Québec ranked first worldwide
for its investment climate
in mineral exploration Sylvain
Direction de la politique et de l'économie minérales
In the fifth Annual Survey of Mining Companies
carried out by the Fraser Institute, which was released on December 18,
2001, Québec and Ontario tied for first place worldwide.
Québec obtained the highest score, 90 points out of
100, among the forty-five jurisdictions surveyed.
Investment attractiveness for mineral exploration
investment, as assessed by the 2001/2002 Fraser Institute survey,
combines mineral potential (60% of overall attractiveness) and government
policy (40%). Québec ranked first for mineral potential,
with a maximum score (100 points out of 100), and sixth (76 points
out of 100) for government policies.
This 1st place for overall attractiveness
in 2001 is the best result achieved by Québec since
the initial survey by the Fraser Institute in 1997. Québec
ranked ninth worldwide in 2000, second in 1999 and sixth
in 1998. Québec has always finished among the top three
mining jurisdictions in Canada, and came first in 1999.
The companies that took part in the 2001/2002 Fraser
Institute survey had worldwide exploration budgets of US$782 million
in 2000, roughly 60% in North America. This amount represents approximately
30% of worldwide exploration budgets in 2000 (US$2.6 billion).
More information and the complete text
of the 2001/2002 Fraser Institute survey report can be obtained
The rehabilitation os State-owned mining sites
$20 million invested
Direction du développement minéral
|The mining industry has acquired an unflattering
reputation, after abandoning countless mine tailings sites to
erosion by wind and water and to oxidization processes that
lead to the production of acid mine drainage. Other problems
include abandoned waste rock dumps, trenches and other dangerous
openings, unsecured infrastructures and machinery, and badly-stored
products of varying toxicity.
To ensure that situations like these will not occur
in the future, the gouvernement du Québec introduced changes
to the Mining Act on March 9, 1995. Since then, whenever mineral
exploration or mine extraction activities are undertaken, a rehabilitation
plan must be submitted and a financial guarantee covering 70% of
the foreseeable cost of rehabilitation work on stocking areas must
be deposited by the mining company concerned.
The program to restore State-owned mine sites
Between 1967 and 1985, 11 mine sites, covering
a total area of more than 500 hectares, were transferred back
to the government by the mining industry. They are located in Abitibi-Témiscamingue
(East Sullivan, Sullivan, Terrains Aurifères A, Canadian
Malartic, Wood Cadillac, Preissac, Stadaconna and Lorraine), Mauricie
(Somex) and Gaspésie (Candego and Les Mines Madeleines).
In view of the extensive environmental problems caused by these
mining sites, the Department launched a rehabilitation program for
State-owned mining sites in 1987. Since 1991, over $20 million
has been invested in the program.
A great deal of energy has been directed at the
development of efficient, economical restoration methods. Many different
experts from the university and engineering consultancy fields have
contributed to the work undertaken by the Department. In several
cases, an exhaustive characterization of the site concerned has
led to the development of innovative technological approaches using
various residual materials, such as forest residue, sludge from
sewage treatment plants, septic tanks or paper mills, and ash from
co-generation power plants. These technologies have reduced costs
and offered a solution to the problem of stockpiling at least some
of the residues concerned. Various studies have also been carried
out to develop passive treatment systems adapted to the specific
parameters of mine effluents (biofilters, wetlands, limestone drains,
organic barriers, etc.).
As an illustration, the following pages describe
the results of some of these mine rehabilitation projects.
The rehabilitation of State-owned sites has led to the development,
within Québec, of recognized expertise in site characterization,
the understanding of mine tailings alteration processes, and the
development of effective and economical technologies. In addition,
the use and revalorization of various types of residue, the design
of passive treatment systems and the integration of wildlife habitat
creation as part of the mine site rehabilitation process are entirely
in keeping with a concept of sustainable development.
The MRN must now work to promote technology transfers
and the diffusion of knowledge in the underworld to ensure that
its expertise is put to good use, while continuing to focus on research
and technological innovation. Although the restoration of the sites
transferred back to the State has now been practically completed,
many other sites that have been abandoned over the years still await
The mining companies that ceased their operations
before the amendments to the Mining Act came into force are not
required to provide rehabilitation plans or financial guarantees,
but they still remain responsible for the tailings produced at their
mines. However, there are around 70 sites where the companies concerned
either cannot be traced or are insolvent, and are therefore unable
to carry out the work required. 15 of these sites are considered
to have a major impact on the environment, and must be prioritized
for future work. The estimated cost of restoring these 15 sites
is around $40 million, and the total cost for all abandoned
sites could reach $70 million.
- Bertrand, P. and J. Cyr. Restauration du site minier Sullivan
: un concept écologique d'aménagement. Vecteur environment-
Volume 34, number 4, July 2001.
- Isabel, D., N. Tassé, C. Dufour and F. Bergeron. Traitement
des résurgences d'un parc à résidus miniers
au moyen d'un biofiltre réducteur. Colloque Nedem 2000,
October 3-5, 2000, Sherbrooke.
- Dagenais, A.M., M. Aubertin, B. Bussière, L. Bernier
and J. Cyr. Monitoring at the Lorraine mine site : a follow up
on the remediation plan. 2001 National Association of Abandoned
Mine Lands Annual Conference, August 19-22, 2001, Athens, Ohio.
The East Sullivan site
The East Sullivan mine produced copper, zinc, silver
and cadmium from 1949 to 1966, leaving behind around 15 Mt
of tailings and over 200,000 t of acidic waste rock. The site
covers a total area of 228 hectares, of which over 200 hectares
are occupied by mine waste.
A 6 km long containment dam was constructed
between 1992 and 1996 around the tailings site and spillage
areas. A geomembrane anchored in the underlying clay ensures that
the dam remains watertight, and an organic covering containing a
minimum thickness of 2 metres of forest residue creates an
oxygen barrier over the mine tailings. Sludge from the Val-d'Or
water treatment plan is incorporated as a surface additive to allow
plants to become permanently established. In 1997, a system
was introduced to re-circulate drainage water from the tailings
site through the organic covering to neutralize acidity and precipitate
dissolved metals within the site. A natural wetland, covering approximately
35 hectares, completes the water treatment process.
The waste rock and piles of pyrite concentrate
were relocated on the site and in the glory hole secured by a fence.
The head frame and other infrastructures were completely dismantled,
and the zone was planted with trees. Forest residue currently covers
roughly 75% of the tailing, and should cover the whole area within
The East Sullivan site before and after restoration
The restoration work at East Sullivan began in 1992
and has cost $9.5 million to date. If the techniques generally
used at the time to restore acidic sites had been implemented, the
restoration would have cost almost $50 million. The development
of more effective and economical technologies for restoring the
site were made possible by detailed hydrogeo-chemical
survey, an analysis of the alteration phases between the solid,
liquid and gaseous states, and many different studies of passive
water treatment systems and the use of residual materials.
The Sullivan site
|Gold and silver extraction at the Sullivan
mine between 1934 and 1967 generated 5.4 Mt of
mine tailings, which form a 50-hectare delta alongside
Lac Demontigny. The mercury contamination of the tailings results
from the mercury amalgamation process used between 1934
and 1943 to recover metals from the ore.
The Sullivan site before work began in 1994.
The same site, during the restoration work in 2000.
|The Sullivan site was restored in 1999-2000
at a cost of $1.2 million. The work focused mainly on bank
stabilization (enrockment, rows of fagotage wood), surface re-profiling
and resurfacing of the mine tailings with a layer of clay loam,
the installation of membranes and rock fill in drainage canals,
and re-vegetation (wind-break hedges, small islands, aquatic
grasses, wetlands). It is expected that the site will evolve
in keeping with the local biophysical conditions and will become
established as a productive, long-lasting ecosystem.
|The dumping of mine tailings in and around
the lake led to the loss of several hectares of wildlife and
lakeshore habitat. For this reason, the overall site restoration
plan included the creation of wildlife habitats to encourage
the rapid establishment of the characteristic natural environment
in the region and offer integrated wildlife support potential.
The Sullivan site provided an opportunity to implement plant-engineering
techniques on a broad scale. The techniques proved less costly
to apply than more conventional techniques, because they relied
more on manpower than on machinery.
The bank stabilization join the mechanical and vegetal
The Canadian Malartic site
|Gold and silver were mined at the Canadian
Malartic mine between 1935 and 1965, producing 9.9 Mt of
mine tailings. Between 1962 and 1968, Marbridge Mines
also processed 702,000 t of nickel-rich and copper-rich
ore on the site. The Canadian Malartic mine tailings site consists
of a 78-hectare flat base of gold ore tailings,
underlying a 3 to 5 metre high mound covering 43 hectares.
The acid-producing sulphur-rich tailings are spread over the
surface of the mound to a thickness of between 1 and 2 metres.
The Canadian Malartic site,
as it appeared in 1992 after more than 20 years
A hydrogeochemical characterization study carried
out in 1992-93 led to a considerable reduction in the cost of the
rehabilitation work, initially estimated at several million dollars
because of the presence of sulphurous tailings with a high potential
for acid drainage, and the area of the site. The rehabilitation
plan uses the neutralizing potential of the underlying gold ore
tailings, and the presence of an indurated layer formed by the cementation
of the secondary phases, mainly sulphates, at roughly one metre
below the surface of the sulphurous tailings. The cementation considerably
reduces oxygen dispersal and the oxidization rate of the sulphurous
The same site, after the 1996 restoration work.
|The site was restored in 1996 at a cost
of $1.37 million, mainly in order to ensure that surface
water could percolate through the layer of alkaline gold ore
residue and to limit wind and water erosion at the surface.
The work involved displacing some of the tailings, flattering
overall slope, stabilizing the surface, installing a drainage
system, and finally, amending and seeding the surface.
Mineral exploration in Québec,
Canada and the world
Direction de la politique et de l'économie minérales
Mineral exploration activities in Québec
increase in 2001
Preliminary data show that total expenditure for mineral exploration
and deposit appraisal in Québec in 2001 amounted to
$119 million. This amount, which includes both "on-site"
and "off-site" expenditure, represents a 13% increase
compared to the total of $103.2 million recorded for 2000.
|The establishment of several new poles of
attraction, in particular for diamonds in the Baie-James and
Mont Otish sectors, led to a major wave of applications for
exploration licences covering a surface area of more than 20,000 km²
(about 1,3% of the surface area of Québec). On January 1,
2002, over 39,919 claims had been registered using the
map designation process, which has been the main way to acquire
mineral titles in Québec since the coming into force
of the new mining regime on November 22, 2000.
Québec one of the most explored
mining jurisdictions in Canada over the last decade
the period 1991 to 2000, an average annual amount of $124.4 million
was spent in Québec on exploration and deposit appraisal.
Only the Northwest Territories and Nunavut received higher exploration
and deposit appraisal expenditure in the same period, with an average
annual amount of $127.3 million. Ontario and British Columbia
ranked 3rd and 4th, respectively, with average
annual investments of $118.2 million and $78.8 million.
The increase in exploration and deposit appraisal
expenditure in Québec in 2001 reverses the trend of
the three previous years. From 1997 to 2000, exploration
and deposit appraisal expenditure fell by $70.1 million or
40% compared to the $173.3 million recorded for 1997.
From 1992 to 1997, expenditure increased by 84% from $94.1 million
in 1992, the lowest amount recorded in the last decade.
Québec among the ten most explored
territories in the world in 2001
The most recent survey by the Metals Economics Group (MEG) estimated
world exploration budgets for 2001 at US$2.2 billion (CAN$3.385 billion),
a decrease of US$400 million or 15% compared to the US$2.6
billion spent in 2000.
||The distribution of world exploration budgets
is highly concentrated in geographical terms. The expenditure
for the ten most explored countries in the world, namely Australia,
Canada, the United States, Peru, Chile, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina,
South Africa and Indonesia, represent almost two-thirds of the
total amount. With exploration and deposit appraisal expenditure
of $119 million (US$77 million in 2001), Québec
ranks eighth in the world and received roughly 3.5% of world
Some world mineral exploration
trends over the last decade
For more information, please contact:
Sylvain Lacroix (exploration analyst - DPEM)
François Côté (head, Québec mining data
division - DDM)
Roch Gaudreau (head, legislation management systems - DDM).
Some world mineral exploration trends
over the last decade
- The decrease in world exploration budgets in 2001 is the
fourth consecutive annual drop. Such budgets have now fallen US$3 billion,
or 58%, from the high of US$5.2 billion recorded in 1997.
Before this, world exploration budgets had increased continuously
by US$3.1 billion, or 148%, from the estimated US$2.1 recorded
- The trend in exploration and deposit appraisal expenditure
in Québec is inversely correlated with world exploration
expenditure. The share of world exploration capital spent in Québec
dropped from 5.3% to 2.2% between 1991 and 1996, before
increasing gradually to 3.5% in 2001.
- The absolute value of world exploration budgets has decreased
for all the main substance categories over the last four years.
However, the drop is particularly marked in the gold sector, which
accounted for 65% of world exploration budgets in 1997 and
only 43% in 2001. Over the same period, the share of world
exploration budgets devoted to base metals increased from 27%
to 39%, and for diamonds from 6% to 10%. The portion
of world exploration budgets allocated to the platinoids was 3.4%
- The MEG survey estimates that Canada received 41% of world
exploration budgets for diamonds in 2001, placing it in first
place ahead of Africa (35%) and Australia (9%). These three regions
of the world together account for 85% of exploration budgets for
- The major drop in exploration budgets over the last four years
is mainly linked to low metal prices. After the eleven first months
of 2001, the annual average prices for gold (US$271/ounce)
and zinc (US$0.41/lb) were the lowest recorded in 1991-2001, while
the price of copper (US$0.72/lb) was only slightly above the low
point of US$0.71/lb reached in 1999. The price of nickel
is estimated at US$2.70/lb for 2001, a drop of 31% from the
high point of US$3.92/lb reached in 2000.
- Another significant factor is the clear desire of mining companies
to increase their mineral reserves quickly through acquisitions
rather than through current exploration activities. MEG estimates
that merger and acquisition activities between 1996 and 2001
in the gold and base metals sector represented spending of US$50 billion,
and that an additional amount of US$20 billion can be estimated
for the diamond sector in 2000 and 2001. These amounts
are far higher than the US$19 billion allocated to world
exploration expenditure since 1996.
Québec, a promising vein!
Sigéom and Gestim: two databases serving the mining industry
The Ministère des Ressources naturelles
has recently issued a CD-ROM that explains to investors all the
advantages of conducting exploration or mining operations in Québec.
The CD-ROM also presents two important
databases accessible via the Internet: SIGÉOM, which
contains geo-scientific data, and GESTIM, an
electronic register of all mining rights in Québec.
The operation of each database is explained using actual search
examples.The CD-ROM is available in both French
and English. To obtain a copy, please contact the mining service
centre at 1 800 363-7233.
The Ungava Trough
Exceptional Potential for the Platinum Group Elements
After investing nearly 500M$ since 1997,
Raglan Mining, a 100% subsidiary of Falconbridge Ltd., now
produces nearly 26,000 tonnes of nickel concentrate annually
at its Raglan mine. Initially, the company forecasted an operational
life of 25 years, annually producing 21,000 tonnes
of nickel concentrate, 5,000 tonnes of copper concentrate,
and 200 tonnes of cobalt concentrate.
Raglan Mining facilities.
The Ungava Trough has a long history of exploration
for nickel and copper, with the first mention dating back to the
end of the 19th century. It wasn't until 1937, however,
that the first indications of copper and nickel in the Cape Smith
- Wakeham Bay area were discovered by Murray Watts. They were then
developed in over subsequent decades by different companies.
The Ungava Trough: An Exceptional
but Barely Developed Potential.
During the 1950's, a number of companies
became interested in the Ungava Trough at the same time that
geological mapping work was being carried out by the gouvernement du Québec. Many showings and deposits were discovered at that
time, including the Delta and Expo-Ungava deposits as well
as a number of deposits in the Raglan mining camp (Figure 1).
Around mid 1980's, the Ungava Trough became a target area
for platinum exploration.
In 1997, High North Resources, under
Ungava Minerals Corporation's option, carried out a drilling program
(1,038 m), mapping, and airborne / land-based geophysical surveys
of the Expo-Ungava property. The program revealed that the Expo-Ungava
deposit was formed of massive sulfide lenses at the base of ultramafic
sills injected into the Povungnituk Group. The geochemical signature
of these ultramafic sills is similar to ultramafic suites of sills
and cogenetic flows forming the Chukotat Group (Picard et al. 1995,
MB 94-30). The geological model suggests that sulfides accumulated
in troughs at the base of a continuous ultramafic lava flow or sill
that opens towards the west. The trough is truncated to the west
by a thrust fault that juxtaposes sedimentary and volcanic rocks.
A number of remobilized massive sulfide lenses occur within the
sediment in the fault walls.
In 2001, Canadian Royalties Inc., under Ungava
Minerals Corporation's option (Figure 1)
uncovered significant amounts of platinum and palladium as the result
of a new analysis of cores taken during the 1997 drilling program.
During the initial program, drill cores were assayed for nickel,
copper, and cobalt, but not for the platinum group elements (platinum,
palladium, and rhodium).
Furthermore, works carried out by the company in
summer 2001 revealed mineralization along a length of 732 m
in the east-west axis, averaging 107 m along the north-south
During the same period, Canadian Royalties Inc.
discovered significant amounts of platinum, palladium, nickel, and
copper as the result of works done on a new showing (Phoenix), located
on the TK property, 20 km south of the Raglan mining camp and
7 km northeast of Expo-Ungava. The mineralization comprises
massive sulfides near the base of an ultramafic sill (TK sill) similar
The work carried out by Canadian Royalties reveals an outstanding
potential for PGE's associated to ultramafic sills cogenetic to
the Chukotat Group injected into the Povungnituk Group. Indeed,
the Povungnituk is currently one of the most promising sectors for
mineral exploration in Québec due to its significant amounts of
lava and mafic and ultramafic sills. All that remains now is to
find sufficient volume to make mining of these elements economically
feasible, which looks exceptionally promising.
Québec mining exploration
Given the number of important discoveries made
throughout the year, the diversification of targeted commodities,
and the very favourable perception of mineral exploration companies
regarding Québec's mineral potential, the number of exploration
projects and the amounts invested remained stable relative to last
year. A significant increase in the number of diamond exploration
projects in the Near North region was noted, however.
The Abitibi Subprovince
This region remains a prime target for base metal
and precious metal exploration. Maude Lake Exploration obtained
promising drill results on its Comtois property, located west of
Lebel-sur-Quévillon. South Malartic Exploration continued
stripping and drilling programs, which yielded interesting gold
intersections. A bulk sampling program on the Fenelon project, located
95 km northwest of Matagami, was completed by International
Taurus Resources and Fairstar Explorations. Approximately
14,000 metric tonnes of ore were extracted and processed, from
which 4,213.4 ounces of gold were recovered. Major General
Resources and Cameco Gold continued their drill program
on the Despinassy property, located 55 km northeast of Amos. Cambior
and Aurizon Mines, joint owners of the Sleeping Giant mine,
located 70 km north of Amos, announced an increase of their
mining reserve estimate following an exploration program. In the
Desmaraisville area, stripping by Ressources Nomans helped
outline a new gold-bearing vein system. On the Fenton property,
south of Chapais, investigations by Sudbury Contact Mines
confirmed the highly auriferous nature of the deposit.
On August 17th, Agnico-Eagle Mines inaugurated
the Penna shaft at the Laronde mine. An important exploration program
is underway at depth on zones 20 North and 20 South and on the El
Coco property, adjacent to the Laronde mine. The Explorers Alliance
Corporation obtained encouraging results on its Bonhomme property
in Beschefer Township. West of Joutel, Cancor Mines continued
their work on the Gemini project. Southern Africa Minerals Corporation
completed a 2-hole drill program on the Caber North property and,
in partnership with SOQUEM INC., a 4-hole program on the
Caber property. In the Chibougamau area, Loubel Exploration
and Inmet Mining Corporation completed a drill program on
the Lemoine property. Aurora Platinum Corporation released
drill results throughout the year from the Midrim-Belleterre projects
in the Témiscamingue region. The company also revealed it
had discovered a kimberlite pipe on the property. In September,
Loubel Exploration announced the first results from its prospecting
campaign on the Kelly Lake property. These new discoveries, combined
with the advanced exploration programs conducted on known deposits,
illustrate the attractive mineral potential of the Abitibi and Pontiac
In the Baie James region, numerous exploration programs
yielded significant results for gold, base metals, platinum group
elements, and diamonds. For instance, Matamec Explorations
announced drill intersections in iron formation on the Sakami property.
A study conducted by the INRS (Institut national de la recherche
scientifique) confirmed the economic potential for chromium and
PGE, of the Menarik property held by Ressources Minières
Pro-Or. On the La Grande Sud project, work by Cambior
and Virginia Gold Mines led to the discovery of a new auriferous
zone. Sirios Resources and SOQUEM INC. outlined a new type
of gold mineralization on the Aquilon property. Investigations by
Virginia Gold Mines on the Eleonore property led to the discovery
of new corridors with porphyry-type copper, gold, and silver mineralization
in dioritic to tonalitic intrusions.
In the Eastmain area, SOQUEM INC. and Eastmain
Resources detected several new highly auriferous veins, west
of the Clearwater deposit.
Baie James Diamond exploration
Majescor Resources continued its till sampling
program and geophysical surveys in the Wemindji area. Their results
confirmed the potential for the discovery of kimberlite pipes. In
the same area, Dianor Resources announced the presence of
a clear yellow, octahedral to cubic microdiamond in a lamprophyre
dyke on the Yasinski North property. In the Baie James Lowlands sector,
Poplar Resources announced the discovery of kimberlitic indicator
minerals on the Nottaway property.
In the Monts Otish area, Ashton Mining of Canada
and SOQUEM INC. announced they had intersected in drillhole
two kimberlitic bodies spaced one kilometre apart. Following this
announcement, several exploration groups acquired properties in
this area and north of Lac Mistassini, making the region one of
the prime target areas for diamond exploration in Québec.
Given the new discoveries of gold mineralization, porphyry-type,
and massive sulphide mineralization, as well as the confirmed diamond
potential of the Near North region, the level of interest should
remain fairly high in this area for the year 2002.
St. Lawrence and Appalachians
In 2001, Niocan continued the procedures
to obtain an authorization certificate in order to finance the production
startup costs of its niobium deposit in the Oka Carbonatite Complex.
Near Thetford-Mines, Ressources Allican discovered PGE concentrations
in chromitites from the Hall deposit and from the Starcore showing.
On the Sainte-Marguerite property near Causapscal, Ressources
Appalaches cut two new quartz and massive sulfide veins in drillholes.
In Boisbuisson Township, Système Géostat International
cut important Cu and Ag values in the Cu-Ag-rich cap rocks of the
old Mines Madeleine deposit.
In the Ungava Trough, Canadian Royalties
and Ungava Minerals outlined interesting PGE mineralization
in the Expo-Ungava zone and on a new property (Phoenix). The mineralization
consists of massive sulphides and is located near the base of a
Raglan-type ultramafic sill (TK sill). In the Rae Province (or southeast
Churchill), the company WMC Exploration completed several
thousand kilometres of airborne geophysical surveys, as well as
prospecting, geological mapping, and drilling programs for their
Québec-7 project. A few Cu-Ni showings were discovered and drill-tested
during the summer and fall, 2001. In the fall of 2000, WMC
had acquired mineral exploration licences covering nearly 13,000 km².
Appalaches Resources and Marum Resources
outlined an important EM conductor south of the B-20 property. This
property, along with the Baie des Sables property, are located along
the northeastern and eastern margins, respectively, of the Rivière-Pentecôte
In the Far North region of Québec, geological
mapping at 1:250,000 scale by Géologie Québec helped
detail the geology and assess the mineral potential of the northeastern
Superior Province, thus opening new territories to mineral exploration.
NTS sheets 34K, 34L, 34O, 35B, and the southern half of sheet 35G
The search for new dimension stone deposits was
concentrated in three areas. In the Portneuf region (NTS 31P/01),
A. Lacroix et Fils Granite proceeded with stripping and sampling
work in a greyish black, coarse-grained tonalitic and dioritic gneiss.
The property is identified as the Lac-Gaulois property. In the Saguenay
– Lac-Saint-Jean region (NTS 22E/14), A. Lacroix
et Fils Granite also began stripping and sampling work in a
greyish pink, medium-grained migmatized gneiss, on the Rivière-des-Prairies
property. In both cases, the properties were developed and operations
began over the course of 2001. In the Bas-Saint-Laurent
region (NTS 21N/07), Glendyne conducted an extensive
drill program in order to increase reserves in its black slate deposit
mined for the production of roof tiling.
The Magnola plant operated by Noranda, located
in Asbestos in the Eastern Townships, increased its magnesium metal
output. McKenzie Bay International, in partnership with
SOQUEM INC., commissioned a bankable feasibility study on the
Chibougamau vanadium project. Raymor Industries acquired
the facilities at the former Beacon mine east of Val-d'Or,
with the objective of building a pilot plant to produce lithium
metal from spodumene extracted from the LaMotte deposit located
near Amos, in the Abitibi region. In conclusion, industrial mineral
prospecting activities in southern Québec remained stable
in 2001, mainly due to the efforts of the various regional
mining exploration funds.
Important changes at MRN
Over the last year, the Secteur Mines of the Ministère
des Ressources naturelles (MRN) has been proceeded to a major reorganization
of its administrative units.
Part of the activities of the Direction de l'industrie minérale
and the Direction des redevances et des titres miniers have been
merged to create a new administrative unit: Direction du développement
Une partie des activités de la Direction
de l'industrie minérale et de la Direction des redevances
et des titres miniers ont été fusionnées au
sein d'une nouvelle unité administrative : la Direction du
This branch now comprises:
This department's main responsibilities are:
- Managing and applying the sections of the Mining Act.
- Delivering and renewing prospecting licences.
- Issuing staking tags.
- Recording deeds related to mineral titles.
- Updating the register of holders of mineral titles.
- Receiving royalties from the mining of surface mineral substances.
- Administering the provisions of the Mining Duties Act.
- Rehabilitating mining sites.
- Administering measures supporting the development of the
- Collating, processing, and disseminating data pertaining
to Québec's mineral industry.
Le Service des titres miniers
The Service des titres miniers issues and renews
mining titles in accordance with the provisions of the Mining Act
and its attendant regulations. The purpose of this department is
developing mineral substances from Québec's subsoil.
In addition, it receives and analyzes statements
and reports of work that holders of mining titles must carry out
in order to renew their titles. The service also maintains a public
register of mineral titles and records all liens and transfers that
have been filed with respect to these titles.
Lastly, it receives declarations of extraction
of surface mineral substances and the related royalties. The service
uses inspectors to exercise control in the field. They are also
in charge of planning and supervising the rehabilitation of exhausted
or inactive mining sites.
Christian Morin, PEng, Attorney
Chef du Service des titres miniers
(418) 627-6290 or 1 800 363-7233, Ext.
Le Service des systèmes de gestion des lois (SSGL)
This department provides support and information
to customers and is coordinated by the MRN's staff at the Centre
de service des mines.
- Mineral Titles Register (XBF-GESTIM)
The XBF (database) team manages Québec's
official register of mineral titles and must also respond to internal
and external queries.
The mineral titles management system team (GESTIM)
must update the register's graphical data, which require frequent
modification. GESTIM is also responsible of the production of digital
maps for the mineral titles that are distributed to customers.
The team constantly strives to improve the system.
As a result of their efforts, the system's geomatics support will
be changed in the near future and a number of modifications will
be made to the panoramas and queries available to customers at the
GESTIM Web site: http://gestim.mines.gouv.qc.ca
A multidisciplinary task force has just been set
up to ensure integrity of the data among the XBF register, the GESTIM
system, and the digital maps for mineral titles. This group is currently
developing new procedures to optimize the validation and updating
of the register and maps for mineral titles.
The current system for managing titles, which dates
from 1989, is becoming outdated. XBF will be replaced by the ODM
(awarding of mineral rights) project. The ODM system, which is now
being designed, will make use of new technologies such as geomatics,
e-commerce and the Internet. The main development phase will begin
during fiscal year 2002-2003. Furthermore, this Oracle-based system
will be connected to GESTIM for dissemination on the Internet.
Chef du Service des systèmes de gestion des lois
(418) 627-6292, Ext. 5467
Le Service du développement et du milieu miniers
The mandate of this service consists of:
- Monitoring the mining industry and certain related processing
industries primarily by conducting research, analysis, and studies
to follow growth in the industrial sectors of mining, mainly with
respect to project and production components within Québec in
order to define their major characteristics, troubleshoot problems,
and identify business opportunities.
SDMM offers technical support on a broad selection
of topics, such as financing, technology, and markets, to firms
involved in extracting, processing, and marketing of Québec's
- Promoting investment and technological-innovation projects through
the application of financial, tax-related and other support measures.
- Promoting investment and technological-innovation projects through
the application of financial, tax-related and other support measures.
- Proposing, if necessary, the implementation of support measures
responding to the needs of Québec's mining industry.
- Cooperating, if required, in monitoring national and international
markets that could have an impact on mining operations or projects
- Cooperating with firms and organizations in the mining sector
in order to identify and select R&D projects with a view towards
enhancing the competitiveness and security of Québec companies
in the mining sector.
SDMM's main mandates with respect to the environment
- Ensuring application of provisions of the Mining Act related
to the rehabilitation of mining sites. The activities ensuing
from this mandate are reception, analysis, and consultations with
stakeholders with a view towards approving rehabilitation plans
and managing the deposit of financial guarantees related to such
plans. Mining site safety is an important issue for SDMM. Monitoring
this aspect of mining site rehabilitation makes it possible to
ensure public safety.
- In close cooperation with the Ministère de l'Environnement
du Québec (Québec's Environment Department), developing
and updating minimum requirements for mining site rehabilitation
in a guide produced specifically for mining customers.
- Ensuring administrative follow-up of requests to abandon mineral
titles, site verification as a result of such requests, and the
carrying out of corrective work.
- Completing rehabilitation work at mining sites belonging to
the Crown and implementing a program to rehabilitate inactive
André Jean, PEng
Chef du Service du développement et du milieu miniers
(418) 627-6365, Ext. 5612
Le Service de l'imposition et des données minières
The Service de l'imposition et des données
minières comprises divisions for mining data and mining taxation.
The mining data division brings together, under
the provisions of the Mining Act, the economic knowledge related
to activities in the mining industry and to the context in which
these occur, thereby enabling MRN authorities and intervening parties
in the sector to develop and apply economic policies likely to contribute
to the industry's development.
This division collects, checks, and processes statistical
data concerning conducted by producers and exploration companies
such as mineral production, expenditures, labor, inventory, reserves,
This information is disseminated in four
- Bilan et faits saillants de l'industrie minière du
- Industrie minière du Québec;
- Production et investissements de l'industrie minière
du Québec statistiques;
- Informations sur l'industrie minière du Québec
The division aims to add an electronic exchange
module to the MAGMA computer system that would allow firms to transmit
their data by Internet. Implementation is slated for the first quarter
Chef de la division des données minières
Service de l'imposition et des données minières
(418) 627-6295 or 1 800 463-3357, Ext.
Le Bureau de la conversion et des litiges miniers
The Bureau's mandates are:
- Conducting inspections and managing conflicts concerning the
staking and relocation of claims as well as other matters resulting
from the application of the Mining Act.
- Conducting inspections and managing issues related to occupants
- Conducting inspections resulting from suspect declarations
of work and cases of fraud.
- Converting staked claims and exploration licences for surface
mineral substances into map-designated claims.
- Substituting map-designated claims for claims whose parcels
correspond to the divisions determined by the Ministère.
- Withdrawing territories from mining activities used for purposes
other than mining (parks, preserves, hydroelectric lines).
- Conducting title research for instances of mine-site rehabilitation
- Managing cases of revocation of mining rights for lands of
the private domain.
- Preparing ministerial decisions and managing appeals to the
Court of Québec.
- Managing cases of criminal offences.
Jean-Marie Mathieu, PEng and Attorney
Chef du Bureau de la conversion et des litiges miniers
(418) 627-6291, Ext. 5444
Summary and Highlights of the Québec mining industry in 2001
Although most analysts had predicted a slowdown
in the world economy in 2001, the slump was worse than expected.
The drop in economic activity began in the United Sates and spread
to almost all areas of the world. Signs of the slowdown were already
perceptible before the September 11 terrorist attacks and grew stronger
after the attacks, meaning that, in most parts of the world, the
downward adjustments to the 2001 growth forecasts were greater than
would otherwise have been expected. This was the first time in twenty
years that all OECD countries had experienced such a synchronized
economic slowdown. The world economy is estimated to have grown
by 2.4% in 2001.
The decline in the US economy, which began in the
third quarter of 2000, was even more marked in 2001. Industrial
production continued to drop, as did business investments and exports.
The US economy was particularly affected by a decreased demand for
goods in the information and communications technology sector. The
events of September 11 rattled the confidence of economic agents,
especially consumers whose spending was at the time the main driving
force behind the US economy. The United States, after its longest-ever
expansion cycle, saw its real GDP shrink by 1.3% in the third quarter,
and on November 26, the National Bureau of Economic Research
(NBER) announced that the country was officially in recession. For 2001
as a whole, the growth in real GDP is estimated at 1.1%.
In the euro zone, growth had already begun to falter
in late 2000, and was hit harder than expected. Domestic demand
dropped, especially in terms of investment, and the flow of exports
slowed. The growth in real GDP during the second and third quarters
was only just above zero, and the terrorist attacks led to a further
decline in the economic situation of the euro zone, although it
should be able to avoid a recession.
Japan moved into recession for the third time in
the last ten years. In fact, the Japanese economy is stalled since
mid-2000, owing to the collapse of the information and communications
technology sector and the drop in outside demand. Japan is also
facing major structural problems, including an extremely high public
debt and a banking sector that has to deal with a large number of
Economic activity in Canada went into decline in
the fourth quarter of 2000, and the growth of the Canadian economy
was strongly compromised by a drop in exports, especially to the
United States. Household spending remained relatively high, while
business investment, in particular in machinery and equipment, plummeted.
After a reduction in the GDP in the third quarter, partly attributable
to the terrorist attacks, Canada was considered by most analysts
to have slipped into recession. For the year as a whole, Canada's
real GDP probably grew by 1.3%. Clearly, Québec was also
affected by the difficulties experienced by its two major trading
partners, the United States and Canada. The Québec economy,
hit hard by a drop in exports to the United States, especially in
the field of information and communications technologies, was almost
in recession in the first quarter, and the growth in Québec's
GDP for 2001 was probably around 1.1%.
This major slowdown in the world economy obviously
reduced demand for most minerals, leading to larger inventories
and a drop in prices, which had already begun to move downwards
in the last months of 2000. This was particularly true in the case
of base metals, which recorded average prices in December 2001
that were 20% below the comparable prices at the end of the previous
year. Gold prices ran counter to this trend, because of the September 11
events but still, they only rosed slightly
Outlook for 2002
The recovery of the world economy will depend largely
on the economic performance of the United States. According to most
forecasts, the recession in the United States will be short-lived.
The easing of monetary policy in 2001, along with the implementation
of important tax and spending measures in the federal budget, should
result in a gradual recovery of the US economy during the first
quarter of 2002 and a return to growth in the second half of the
year provided, of course, that the geopolitical context and confidence
levels do not worsen. Growth in world GDP is expected to average
An easing of monetary policy and a strong recovery
in the United States would allow the economy of the euro zone to
gather speed by the end of 2002. In Japan, not only will the recession
continue into the first two quarters, but no recovery is expected
before the end of the year, and then only if the situation improves
in the United States and the structural problems of the Japanese
economy are resolved. The economy in Canada and Québec will
obviously benefit from the expected recovery in the United States,
and also from various internal factors, such as the set of macro-economic
instruments brought into play by both the federal and provincial
governments. The two economies should therefore return progressively
to a growth situation during the first half of the year.
In 2002, the demand for mineral products will increase
as the world economy recovers. Prices for base metals should begin
to turn around, especially during the third and fourth quarters.
However, the pace and strength of the recovery will also depend
greatly on the ability to match production to demand.