MERN - Québec Mines - Marble - Renewed interest in Québec!








        ISSN en ligne :
        1499-383X





february 2004
 

Marble - Renewed interest in Québec!

Yves Bellemare, ing.
Direction de Géologie Québec

Worldwide market demand for architectural stone has been in constant flux over the past few years. More traditionally based on granite, part of Québec's industry is now seeking to diversify production and reorient some exploration work toward developing deposits of marble limestone and marble. It is interesting to note that certain areas of the St. Lawrence lowlands and the Appalachians, where these deposits used to be quarried, are once more considered to be territories with high potential for architectural stone.

Production and use

Québec's current production is still minimal and comes from the Stukely-Sud area, where Consultants R. L. Jomphe quarries a milky-white or very light gray marble. In the past, marble was mostly quarried in the Saint-Armand area, in the Montérégie Region, and had multiple indoor and outdoor uses.

These days, marble is primarily used for interior decoration of homes and public or commercial buildings. The demand for worked stone is high, which motivates some Québec businesses to evaluate the geological potential of marble units in Québec.

Exploration work and geological potential

Marble or marble limestone are commodities that are likely to be brought into production in the short term, mainly in the Gaspésie Region. Polycor is interested in searching for marble limestone deposits for production of dimension stone and ornamental stone. Over the past few years, it has acquired six mining properties in the Gaspésie Region and one in the Montérégie Region. In 2003, SOQUEM and Polycor formed a new company, NAMCA, which is planning to develop Québec's potential for dimension stone from limestone, marble, and iridescent anorthosite deposits. In some cases, exploration work has had encouraging results. They will probably motivate additional stakeholders to work on developing marble deposits in Québec.

The marble or marble limestone units likely to be explored and developed include those of the West Point Formation, which outcrops in the Port-Daniel area and in the centre of the Gaspésie Region. They form huge reef complexes consisting of thick layers of attractively coloured and textured limestone. These marble limestones could produce very good-looking stones, comparable to some marbles currently available on the market. The Bonaventure Formation also includes a sequence of conglomerates, sandstone, siltstone, and shale and sometimes contains limestone. In some places, such as in a quarry northeast of Maria, exposed units include a red polygenic conglomerate with a sandstone matrix and calcareous cement, a grey clastic limestone with reddish fragments, as well as a pale grey calcilutite. These lithological units are massive and the layers are generally metric in size.

At Saint-Armand, the rocks have been quarried intensively as ornamental stone in the past, but still deserve special attention. Belonging to the uppermost unit of the Strites Pond Formation and to the Wallace Creek Formation, they are respectively calcilutites varying from a very light whitish grey to medium grey, occasionally tinged with green or pink, in thick beds, and very dark grey argillaceous calcilutites. Other units quarried to produce high-purity limestone, for example, the medium grey calcilutites of the Corey Formation in Bedford and the recrystallized limestone of the Lac Aylmer Formation in Dudswell, could be used by the industry.

It should be noted, in closing, that promotion of the potential of marble architectural stone has been rather limited for many years in Québec. Recent developments suggest that the trend could be reversed during the coming years.

Photo:
“Red and greenish-grey stromatactis calcilutite of the West Point Formation in Port-Daniel” (PDF Format, 285 Kb)
















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