May 2002

Diamond Rush in Québec
A closer look at the situation
James Moorhead and Marc Beaumier
Géologie Québec

Québec is currently a major target area for diamond exploration in Canada. Since the announcement, on December 17, 2001, of the discovery of diamond-bearing kimberlites by the SOQUEM/Ashton joint venture in the Renard sector, located north of the Monts Otish, diamond exploration activity has been booming. Since then, about 44,000 claim applications have been submitted. These claims cover a surface area of about 1.6 million hectares. Overall, roughly $5M have been spent in acquisition costs only, for properties related to diamond exploration.

Over the years, the Ministère des Ressources naturelles du Québec has contributed to this recent boom through:
  • petrographic and geochemical studies of dykes (Gittins, Hewins and Laurin,1975);

  • indicator mineral inventories in eskers (Beaumier and al.,1993) and tills in the Abitibi subprovince (LaSalle and al.,1986; Beaumier and al.,1994);

  • orientation work in the Témiscamingue region, focussing on the geochemistry of stream sediments in the vicinity of kimberlite pipes (Beaumier and al.,1993) in order to outline areas of interest in the region for kimberlite exploration (Beaumier and al.,1994).

More recent contributions include:

  • Studies on the characteristics and structural controls of kimberlites in Québec, that helped define 4 zones where new kimberlite fields could potentially be located (Moorhead and al., 1999, 2000). Exploration programs have since then uncovered kimberlites or indicator minerals in 3 of these sectors.

  • Discovery of ultramafic lamprophyre dykes in the Lac Aigneau area, some of which are geochemically similar to kimberlites (Berclaz and al., 2000; Lemieux and al., 2001), during a mapping project in Québec's Far North. Claims were staked over these dykes.

  • A mineral potential study based on a compilation of remote sensing and geophysical lineaments in the Far North region, that identified lineament intersection zones that may be conducive to kimberlite emplacement (Labbé, 2000).

  • Geochemical characterization studies of lake sediments in Québec's Far North, to identify target areas for diamond exploration (Beaumier, 2000).

  • Petrography and mineralogy studies on the Lac Beaver kimberlite, in the Otish field (Bernier and Moorhead, 2000; Girard, 2001) that helped identify the hypabyssal nature of the intrusion, as well as the composition of indicator minerals.

  • Studies on the various phases of glacial flow, conducted in conjunction with a till and esker sampling program, in order to identify kimberlite indicator minerals. This work was performed with the cooperation of the Geological Survey of Canada, as a component of the Far North mapping program (Beaumier and al., 2002; Beaumier and al., 2001; Parent and al., 2002). Samples collected in two different locations in eskers north of Lac Bienville contain picroilmenite. Several claims were staked in this area after these results were released at the PDAC convention in Toronto, in March 2002.


May 2002

The hot spots for diamond exploration in Québec

James Moorhead and Marc Beaumier
Géologie Québec

Although we are currently witnessing an unprecedented rush for diamonds, diamond-related exploration is far from being just the latest fad.

In Québec, diamond exploration is mainly focussed in three regions:

Other active areas include:

Registered claims with location of main diamond exploration areas
(PDF format, 142 kb)

Kimberlite fields in Québec (PDF format, 373 kb)

To date, five kimberlite fields have been identified in Québec. These are:


May 2002

A few milestones in the history of diamond exploration in Québec:

James Moorhead and Marc Beaumier
Géologie Québec

1955 Discovery of kimberlite dykes at Lac Bachelor near Desmaraisville, in the north-central part of the Abitibi Subprovince, during an exploration program for gold (Watson, 1955).
1968 Discovery just west of Montréal, on Île Bizard, of the "Sugar loaf", a rock considered at the time as a kimberlite (Brummer, 1978).
1978 Discovery of kimberlite dykes near the northern margin of the Otish basin during an exploration program for uranium conducted by Uranerz (Gehrish and al., 1979).
1983 Discovery of a kimberlite pipe in Guigues Township in the Témiscamingue region by Monopros (Brunet, 1983).
1992 Discovery of a diamond-bearing kimberlite pipe near Desmaraisville by Explorations minières du Nord Ltée. (Field and Tainton, 1993).
1993 Discovery of diamond-bearing ultramafic lamprophyre dykes in the Fjord Alluviaq (Abloviak) area, on the east coast of Ungava Bay in the Monts Torngat by scientists of the Université du Québec à Montréal (Digonnet and al., 2000).
1993 Discovery of kimberlites in Notre-Dame-du-Nord in the Témiscamingue region (Thomas, 1994).
1995-1998 Discovery of diamond-bearing ultramafic lamprophyres in the Grenville Province south of the Témiscamingue region by Ditem Explorations (Brack, 1996).
1997-1998 Assessment by Ditem Explorations of a diamond-bearing kimberlite pipe adjacent to kimberlite dykes discovered by Uranerz near the Otish basin (Brack, 1998,1999).
1999-2001 Exploration and assessment of dykes in the Fjord Alluviaq area (Monts Torngat) by Twin Mining and other companies.
1998-2001 Exploration and delineation of indicator mineral trains in areas west of Wemindji by Majescor Resources, and north of the Monts Otish by SOQUEM/Ashton and Majescor Resources.
2001-2002 Discovery of two diamond-bearing kimberlite pipes in the Renard sector, north of the Monts Otish by SOQUEM/Ashton in December 2001, and of four other kimberlites in the winter 2002.
2001-2002 Discovery of diamond-bearing mafic lamprophyre dykes in an area south of Réservoir Robert-Bourassa by Dianor Resources.
2002 Discovery of kimberlite sills in an area east of Wemindji by Majescor Resources.


May 2002

2002-2003 Field Program
An exclusive!
Pierre Verpaelst and Robert Marquis
Géologie Québec

Year after year, in order to open new territories to mineral exploration, the Ministère des Ressources naturelles, through Géologie Québec, continues to acquire geoscience data in areas with promising mineral potential.

Next November, during the Geological Research Information Seminar, the results of surveys conducted during the summer by the Department and its partners involved in exploration will be unveiled.

Here is an exclusive look at the projects that will be carried out over the course of the 2002 field season.

Far North

In 1998, Géologie Québec launched a five-year project to complete the mapping coverage of the Nord-du-Québec region at 1:250,000 scale. This year, Géologie Québec heads into the fifth field campaign of this project. Given its magnitude and complexity, this campaign calls on an important proportion of the human and financial resources of our geological services. This year, three teams will be at work north of the 55th parallel.

A metallogenic study of the principal metalliferous showings, and an age dating program will be undertaken. In partnership with the Université du Québec à Montréal, McGill University, Simon Fraser University and the Geological Survey of Canada, thematic studies will complement Géologie Québec's involvement in the Far North. Recently, a collaborative effort between the Geological Survey of Canada and Géologie Québec led to the discovery of kimberlite indicator minerals in the Lac Bienville area. To conclude this program, a geological overview of Québec's Far North will be produced.

Baie James

Projects underway in the Baie James region essentially relate to a global geological and metallogenic overview of work performed since 1995 along the rivière La Grande.

A recent compilation of geological data for map sheet will allow us to release very soon a new collection of colour-coded maps at 1:50,000 scale for the entire 33G map sheet.


Projects in the Abitibi are conducted under the three-year action plan for 2001-2003 established by the Ministère in conjunction with mining industry members. Géologie Québec is currently continuing its inventory survey in the Urban-Barry belt, east of Lebel-sur-Quévillon, as well as a metallogenic study of the Doyon-Bousquet-LaRonde mining camp undertaken in 2000. This year, a 3D-modelling component will be added to the latter study. The 3D-modelling, at the scale of the mining camp, will be conducted in partnership with the URSTM (Unité de recherché en sciences et en technologie minérale) of the Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamigue. The other partners involved in the Doyon-Bousquet-LaRonde project with the Department are: mining companies Barrick Gold Corporation, Cambior Inc., Agnico-Eagle Mines Ltd and Yorbeau Resources Inc., as well as the Geological Survey of Canada.

During the summer 2002, the Department will also launch a new mapping project in the Lac Olga sector, located between Matagami and Chibougamau. A metallogenic study north of Rouyn-Noranda, along the Destor-Porcupine fault, is also on the agenda. This study includes a 3D-modelling component as well.

Furthermore, our compilation efforts at all map scales will continue. This measure will allow us to produce a new collection of colour-coded maps for the entire 32E map sheet.

This year also, a global map at 1:500,000 scale of the entire Abitibi greenstone belt incorporating the latest geological and geochronological data will be released in digital format.

Finally, three new mineral potential maps for the volcanogenic massive sulphide model will be produced.


Géologie Québec continues to extend its geological mapping coverage at 1:50,000 scale of the Grenville Province, as well as its regional overviews. One of these deals with map sheet 22E north of the Saguenay region, an area with particularly promising Ni-Cu and PGE potential. Another mapping project covers map sheet 31O/06, north of Mont-Laurier; it will allow us to complete an overview of the north part of the Central Metasedimentary Belt. This area is particularly interesting for its ore deposit settings in a metasedimentary environment.


Over the past year, after consulting with exploration companies and research agencies involved in this area, Géologie Québec has prepared a three-year plan for its activities in the Appalachians. This year, phase I of the plan will be launched with a project to compile, update the geology and study the metallogenic setting of the southern Gaspésie region and the Bas-Saint-Laurent. These studies are more specifically focused on base and precious metal deposits hosted in "red bed" and Carlin-type settings. This project also includes a re-analysis of stream sediments for base metals.

May 2002

An important strategic issue for the mining industry in Québec
Jean Désilets
Direction de la politique et de l'économie minérales


The mission of limited partnerships SODÉMEX (Société de développement des entreprises minières et d'exploration) and SODÉMEX II is to participate in the development of the mining industry in Québec, by taking an equity stake in junior exploration companies and mining producers involved in Québec whose market capitalization is below 125 million dollars. Gestion SODÉMEX inc. manages the investment portfolio of these limited partnership funds.

For more information, please contact Mr. Denis Landry, president of Gestion SODÉMEX inc. in Québec, at (418) 684-8168 or at the following e-mail address:

Diversification of Exploration Investment Partnership

The gouvernement du Québec, in partnership with the QFL Solidarity Fund, created the Diversification of Exploration Investment Partnership (Société d'investissement dans la diversification de l'exploration - SIDEX). Its mission is to invest in companies involved in mineral exploration, in order to diversify Québec's mineral base. This fund allows the gouvernement du Québec, the QFL Solidarity Fund and their partners to play key roles in the most promising exploration projects.

For more information, please consult the fund's website at:

QFL Solidarity Fund
Mining investment portfolio

The QFL Solidarity Fund owns a mining portfolio including exploration companies and mining producers. The Nord-du-Québec QFL Regional Solidarity Fund, and the Abitibi-Témiscamingue QFL Regional Solidarity Fund are also interested in the mineral exploration sector.

For more information concerning eligibility requirements and general investment terms and conditions, please consult the QFL Solidarity Fund's website at:

May 2002

Regulations concerning temporary camps… In brief

The tent

A titleholder who owns a claim, a mining exploration licence or a licence to explore for surface mineral substances, may erect a tent on lands in the public domain, without prior authorization from the Minister, provided it is required to perform mining or exploration work. A ministerial order concerning this issue is in effect since November 22, 2000. (Sections 66, 93 and 136 of the Québec Mining Act)

Other types of construction In order to be granted authorization to erect a construction other than a tent, the titleholder must meet the following terms and conditions:

The authorization shall be granted de plano:

  • to a mining company registered in the Canadian Mines Handbook;
  • to a junior company that owns more than 10 claims, and that has filed more than $100,000 in cumulative assessment work over the last 15 years.
The authorization shall be granted upon request:
  • to a prospector who has filed more than $20,000 in cumulative assessment work over the last 15 years;
  • to a company who is a partner of a company involved in Québec, who already has authorization and whose property subject to the construction is formed of 10 claims or less. The authorization shall be valid for all titles held by the applicant.
In all other cases, the request for authorization shall be analyzed by a committee formed of three representatives from the Mines sector, namely from Géologie Québec, from the Service des titres miniers and from the Bureau de la conversion et des litiges miniers.

May 2002

Price structure for grouped data sets

It is now possible to take advantage of a new price structure when ordering digital products grouped by NTS sheet or by theme, for all of Québec.

Products grouped by NTS sheet

The cost for the entire digital data set available for each 1:50,000 scale NTS sheet (ex: 32C04) is $30.
As for digital products available for 1:250,000 scale map sheets (ex: 33A), these may also be purchased at a cost of $30.

Products grouped for all of Québec

Moreover, all digital data sets covering the entire landmass of Québec may be purchased at a cost of $5,000.

As for the complete database of Géologie Québec, it may be divided and sold as three distinct sub-sets, namely the CG series data set ($2,000), the GP series geophysical coverage ($2,000), or the rock and secondary environment geochemistry data set including mineral potential maps ($1,000).

For more information, please contact the Mines Services Center at 1 800 363-7233.