MERN - Québec Mines

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February 2002

Mineral exploration in Québec, Canada and the world
Sylvain Lacroix
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

Over 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 exploration capital.

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).

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