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.