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
Production and use
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.
“Red and greenish-grey stromatactis calcilutite of the West
Point Formation in Port-Daniel” (PDF Format,