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  • An update on the Copper Plan  >>
    • 3D common-earth model south of the Chibougamau Mining Camp  >>
    • Evaluation of the potential Cu-Au-Mo in Abitibi  >>
  • A new high-resolution airborne geophysical for Chapais-Chibougamau  >>
  • Val-d'Or, Québec's mining pole  >>
  • 2006-2007 programming - Mapping huge territories  >>
  • Québec Exploration 2006 : programmation  >>
  • A new president for the Geological Association of Canada  >>

An update on the Copper Plan

Robert Marquis, director
Bureau de l'exploration géologique du Québec
Géologie Québec directorate

Over the past few years, several Québec copper producers have ceased activities because their mineral reserves were depleted. This drop in local copper production has had a major impact on the supply of concentrate for the Horne smelter. For the time being, significant world consumption of copper makes it possible to keep the Horne smelter in operation. But its medium- and long-term development requires a local supply.

The Copper Plan: its development

The development of a copper plan was initially proposed, in October 2003, by a working group on stimulating and improving the effectiveness of mineral exploration in Québec. The idea was taken up again in June 2004 by the Noranda Coalition, which advocated the creation of a committee involving key mining industry and regional economic development stakeholders to take an inventory of the situation, identify the issues and develop recommendations to promote the discovery of new copper deposits.

A group of experts from the governments of Québec and Ontario, the federal government, several private companies, universities in Québec and Ontario, and specialized research centres also gathered for a workshop in Rouyn-Noranda, in March 2005. These copper industry experts recommended that new geoscience work be carried out in specific sectors of the Abitibi Greenstone Belt, which still has considerable potential for the discovery of copper deposits.

Revitalizing copper exploration activities

Even though the geological coverage of this area is relatively complete, a great deal of work needs to be done quickly to revitalize copper exploration. More specifically, geophysical and geological surveys, as well as geochemical surveys of overburden and various thematic maps are needed. This multidisciplinary work will require networking between human resources from Québec's Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune, the Ontario Geological Survey, and the Geological Survey of Canada, in association with universities, various research centres, and several mineral exploration companies.

The Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune intends to take the lead in promoting the discovery and development of new deposits by adopting this new partnership approach, which will require unprecedented cooperation. This strategy will undoubtedly foster the discovery of new copper deposits and ensure the medium- and long-term development of the industry.

Areas of interest

During the year, the Department has invested considerably in work to acquire geoscience data. Geological, geophysical, and geochemical surveys were carried out all over Québec, with more or less detailed coverage depending on the area of interest.

As part of the Copper Plan, the Abitibi-Témiscamingue and Nord-du-Québec administrative regions were targeted for most of the work. From 2006 to 2009, attention will focus on the following geological sectors:

  1. The sector between Lebel-sur-Quévillon and Normétal
  2. The Rouyn-Noranda sector
  3. The Chibougamau sector
  4. The Baie-James territory, north of the rivière Eastmain

Work to be done

The recommended approach will vary based on the degree of geoscience knowledge for each of the sectors. The work is divided into four categories:

  1. Acquiring airborne and ground geophysical data
  2. Acquiring geochemical data for rocks and overburden
  3. New geological mapping and updating existing maps
  4. Acquiring specific geoscience data (thematic studies)

Counteracting the drop in copper production in Québec

Finally, even though current market conditions are favourable to ongoing mining activities related to copper production, the process leading to the Copper Plan has made it possible to better identify the issues and come up with options to counteract the drop in copper production in Québec. The measures selected and implemented by the Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune are essential to stimulate exploration work for the metal, increase the number of companies exploring for copper, increase exploration expenditures, and generate new exploration targets.

The best potential for discovery in the short term is still near known mine sites where the geological setting is favourable and road and mining infrastructure is present. However, in these areas, exploration must target greater depths.

A partnership agreement will soon be signed with our colleagues in Ontario and the federal government to carry out the necessary work, with industry support.

An innovative 3D common-earth model south
of the Chibougamau Mining Camp

Patrice Roy (MRNF)
Francine Fallara (URSTM-UQAT)

The Chibougamau area has an extensive mining history. Nevertheless, it remains relatively unexplored. To contribute to stimulating exploration activities, a 3D common-earth model of the south limb of the lac Doré Complex is being prepared. This innovative regional approach will make it possible to formulate queries and target various types of deposits within a single model. New exploration targets could therefore be identified on the basis of known ore-deposit models.

(Available in French)
2D Geology and mineralization of the south limb of the Doré Lake Complex, which will be modelled in 3D

The area selected for the model has excellent potential for copper and gold exploration. It covers the south limb of the lac Doré Complex and includes the Devlin and Corner Bay copper deposits, as well as the lac Doré vanadium deposit. It also includes the Lemoine member, hosting the old Lemoine Mine, which was known for its exceptional grades and net revenue. Finally, it covers the volcanic units south of the lac Doré Complex, as far as the La Dauversière Pluton. These units contain many gold and copper showings, including the East Showing.

Many showings in the area can be associated with existing deposit models. Among these, the most important are volcanogenic massive sulphides, Cu-Au veins, magmatic Fe-Ti-V deposits, Cu-Au porphyries, Chibougamau-type Cu-Au veins, and orogenic gold veins. Their main characteristics are presented (Format PDF, 62 Ko Available in French).

A number of actions will be taken once the 3D model has been completed. It provides an opportunity for reviewing and validating stratigraphy, standardizing data banks, updating the geological map, studying the most recent showings, validating established metallogenic models, defining regional alteration envelopes, and locating new 3D exploration vectors.

(Available in French)
The various stages of the construction of the 3D common-earth model of the south limb of the Doré Lake Complex and a progress report on the work.

The preliminary 3D model of the south limb of the lac Doré Complex will be available at Québec Exploration 2006, which will be held next November. The various stages of its construction, a progress report on the work, and the products to be delivered are presented in the adjoining figure.

The model was prepared in partnership with URSTM-UQAT, with the cooperation of mining companies active in the area: Cambior, Campbell Resources, Cogitore Resources, Loubel Exploration (Lounor) and SOQUEM.

To find out more about 3D modelling, please read the article entitled 3D Common-Earth Model, in the February 2003 edition.

Evaluation of the potentiel for Cu-Au-Mo porphyry type mineralization in Abitibi: a contribution to the Copper Plan

Jean-Yves Labbé
Géologie Québec directorate

On the occasion of a workshop on the Copper Plan, held in Rouyn-Noranda in March 2005, the idea of evaluating mineral potential for Cu-Au-Mo porphyry-type deposits in Abitibi was proposed.

Because of the industry’s enthusiastic reaction to the publication of a study on volcanogenic massive sulphide potential (EP 2005-01), the exercise will be repeated for Cu-Au-Mo porphyry-type deposits throughout Abitibi. The study, based on 15 distinct geological attributes, has so far led to the production of a mineral potential map at a scale of 1:500,000.

The map shows:

  • Promising areas for the discovery of porphyry-type Cu-Au-Mo mineralization
  • About 75 exploration targets corresponding to highly prospective areas that had not been staked at the time of the study

The final results of the study will be revealed for the first time at Québec Exploration 2006, which will be held in Québec, next November. In addition to the 1:500,000 map of potential, the document will include an explanatory report on the various stages of the evaluation model, 21 maps at a scale of 1:500,000 illustrating the interim results of each of the stages, and 5 maps of potential at a scale of 1:250,000. A descriptive database of the 75 exploration targets will also be available.

A new high-resolution airborne geophysical survey
for the Chapais-Chibougamau area

Benoît Dubé, Geological Survey of Canada
Patrick Houle, Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune (MRNF)

Known as a major copper and gold producer since the early 1950s, the Chapais-Chibougamau area has experienced a marked decrease in exploration work over the past few years. To help stimulate base metal exploration in struggling mining camps, in winter 2006, Natural Resources Canada, under the supervision of the Geological Survey of Canada, carried out a $1.2 million airborne MEGATEM II survey of the area as part of the federal Targeted Geoscience Initiative (IGC-TGI-3 Abitibi).

The objectives of the survey were:

  • To generate new exploration targets to increase private investment in exploration in the area;
  • To acquire new knowledge to refine the geological understanding of the various sectors targeted by the survey;
  • To continue the partnership with the MRNF ’s Copper Plan;
  • To generate economic spinoffs for the area.

In addition, following an analysis of the Chapais-Chibougamau area carried out in cooperation with the MRNF and the industry, four areas of interest were picked for coverage by the 1,700 km2 survey. The primary reasons for selecting these areas were geology favourable for the discovery of base metal deposits (volcanogenic massive sulphide, vein-type Cu-Au and porphyry copper), the presence of nearby mining infrastructure, the little exploration work done, airborne geophysical coverage, and good road access.

The results of the MEGATEM II survey of Chibougamau will be published on August 1, 2006 (or in early August 2006), in the form of maps and digital data. Profile and gridded data will be accessible on the Internet site of the Geological Survey of Canada's Geophysical Data Centre . A series of 1:50,000 and 1:20,000 maps presenting the survey results will be published and available at low cost. The images and PDF files can be downloaded, free of charge, from MIRAGE (Map Image Rendering Database for Geoscience). Finally, point and grid data will be accessible, free of charge, from the Aeromagnetic Data section of the Geoscience Data Repository. There will be charges if it is necessary to make copies on DVD or in another format.

For more information, please contact the Geophysical Data Centre at:

615 Booth Street, Room 235
Ottawa (Ontario) K1A 0E9
Tel: (613) 995-5326
Fax: (613) 952-8987

Val-d'Or, Québec's mining pole

These are good times for Québec's mining industry. In fact, the number of significant discoveries made in Québec, along with favourable metal prices, made 2005 one of the best years in the past two decades.

Of all the investments in mineral exploration and ore deposit development, 80% are made in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue and Nord-du-Québec regions. The gouvernement du Québec recently recognized these regions as a major mining pole and therefore decided to consolidate several services.

Creation of the Bureau de l’exploration géologique du Québec

The Member for Abitibi-Est, Minister of Natural Resources and Wildlife and Minister responsible for the Abitibi-Témiscamingue Region and the Nord-du-Québec Region, Mr. Pierre Corbeil announced, on March 10, 2006, the creation of the Bureau de l'exploration géologique du Québec (in French), located in Val-d'Or. Setting up this new agency reinforces geological inventory work, thereby contributing to replenishing ore reserves, in addition to actively supporting Québec's mining industry.

The Bureau de l'exploration géologique du Québec has a province-wide mandate; it contributes to developing the mineral potential of each of Québec’s regions. The gouvernement du Québec is thereby providing its teams with the means to be more effective, to be near areas where exploration activities are most intensive and to handle operations across Québec. Geological work throughout Québec will continue to be planned and directed by a committee involving stakeholders from every region.

Underground techno-mines niche of excellence

For new diversification initiatives and job-creating economic development to be successful, all stakeholders have to be involved. On the basis of the strengths and characteristics of the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region and by networking businesses and organizations that provide training and promote innovation, the region's mining industry stakeholders recently took up the challenge of building a shared vision for developing their region.

The Underground techno-mines niche of excellence (in French) is therefore an excellent way to ensure the development of dynamic, innovative, and competitive regions internationally. Accordingly, the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region, in close partnership with the Nord-du-Québec Region, now has the tools it needs to reinforce its role as a leader in Québec and to position itself favourably on world markets in the mining sector.

It should be noted that an action plan has already been defined. It presents projects to be carried out and actions to be taken over the next five years in order to achieve, in 2020, world recognition of the expertise of the Abitibi-Témiscamingue and Nord-du-Québec regions in innovative, competitive and safe underground mining that complies with sustainable development principles and is compatible with diverse land use.

SOQUEM relocates

Following the creation of the Bureau de l'exploration géologique du Québec in Val-d'Or, SOQUEM’s head office will be transferred from Québec to Val-d'Or. The government, with the Société générale de financement (SGF), is also allocating $3 million per year, over the next three years, to SOQUEM, to allow this key player in Québec's mineral exploration to carry on its activities.

SOQUEM's mandate is province-wide. However, locating its head office in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region will bring it closer to where exploration activities are most intensive, thereby creating synergy with other industry stakeholders.

For more information, please read the related media release (in French).

2006-2007 annual programming
Mapping huge territories

Robert Marquis, director
Bureau de l'exploration géologique du Québec
Géologie Québec directorate

The 2006-2007 programming of the Bureau de l’exploration géologique du Québec is based on a renewed partnership with the community and on networking human and financial resources at all levels of government concerned about reasoned development of the mineral resource as a tool for sustainable economic development.

In 2006-2007, as part of the initial annual programming of the Bureau de l’exploration géologique du Québec, the focus will be on mapping huge areas in the Baie-James territory and on the Côte-Nord. Several thematic studies will also be carried out in partnership with the Geological Survey of Canada, the Ontario Geological Survey and our industrial and academic partners.

In the Baie-James territory, a new three-year mapping program will concentrate on an east-west corridor, north of the Rivière Eastmain. This area has not been revisited since the late 1970s and several recent discoveries call for new work to be carried out to identify the regional geological setting. Mapping of the Olga Lake area, initiated in 2002, will also be completed this year to link up the geology of the Matagami and Chibougamau areas.

On the Côte-Nord, an extensive mapping program will begin in summer 2006 in the Baie-Comeau area. The new program will be carried out in conjunction with the startup of an ambitious regional synthesis of the Grenville Province, which will extend over a five-year period.

In the Abitibi Greenstone Belt, fieldwork will be carried out in specific sectors selected with industry input. The areas were picked because they were highly prospective for base metals, especially copper. This strategic approach is based on an unprecedented cooperative effort. It will allow better integration of geological knowledge about the Blake River Group and make it possible to quickly find new exploration targets in the Rouyn-Noranda area.

Summer 2006 fieldwork in Chibougamau, which has been planned to take into consideration the results of a new airborne geophysical MEGATEM survey recently carried out by the Geological Survey of Canada as part of the IGC/TGI 3 Targeted Geoscience Initiative, will make it possible to update several geological maps in this area, which is highly prospective for copper mineralization. The compilation of overburden data in the area north of Lake Mistassini initiated in 2005-2006 will also continue, in cooperation with the Table jamésienne de concertation minière (Baie-James mining issue-table).

Another important aspect of the 2006-2007 programming will be the startup of an ambitious multiyear project to systematically drill Quaternary deposits in the Lebel-sur-Quévillon-Normétal corridor. Jointly funded by both levels of government and carried out in cooperation with academic partners, this project will make it possible to considerably improve our understanding of an area whose potential for base metals remains largely untapped to this day. Establishing new exploration targets in this highly prospective area is one of the cornerstones of the 2006-2007 annual programming.

Québec Exploration 2006

Québec will be welcoming the
mineral exploration industry next november

Under the theme, “Exploration at its Best”, Québec will be welcoming representatives of the mineral exploration industry to the fourth annual Québec Exploration event, from November 20 to 3, 2006. The event, jointly organized by the Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune and the Québec Mineral Exploration Association, will bring together about 1,400 financial and scientific participants.

Under the honorary chairmanship of Mr. Ian Telfer (Goldcorp Inc.)

Québec Exploration 2006 will be held under the honorary chairmanship of Mr. Ian Telfer, President and Chief Executive Officer of Goldcorp Inc. “In view of the recent acquisition of the Éléonore gold deposit by Goldcorp and its involvement in northwestern Québec, it is a privilege for me to serve as Honorary Chairman of Québec Exploration 2006. Goldcorp is pleased to be part of this growth and to invest in what it believes to be one of the most promising new gold districts in North America. I am therefore very pleased to invite you to attend Québec Exploration 2006, which, in addition to providing excellent networking opportunities, will allow you to exchange ideas and find out more about mineral exploration in Québec,” he stated.

New this year: The Exploration/Investment Forum

The Exploration/Investment Forum is a unique opportunity to attend technical sessions and presentations by specialists in investment and exploration. Participants will have a chance to make contacts and exchange ideas with investors, financial analysts, brokers and other representatives of the business community, as well as with companies involved in exploration in Québec.

High-calibre programming

Québec Exploration 2006 will also be offering technical sessions and workshops dealing with exploration activities in Québec. More specifically, the spotlight will be on the geology of the Abitibi Belt, extending into Québec and Ontario , along with models that explain the formation of the world’s copper and nickel deposits. Participants can also find out about the major efforts now under way in oil and gas exploration in Québec, which hold the promise of new discoveries.

For more information about the program of Québec Exploration 2006, please visit the event’s Website.

A new president for the Geological Association of Canada

In May 2006, at the Annual Meeting of the Geological Association of Canada (AGC/GAC), held in Montréal, Robert Marquis, Director of the Bureau de l’exploration géologique du Québec, was elected president.

The AGC/GAC is a learned society with more than 2000 members from across Canada and abroad. Three permanent employees staff its headquarters, at Memorial University in St. John's, Newfoundland.

The AGC/GAC has twelve branch-related divisions and six regional sections, which promote geoscience at the national and international levels. In addition to chairing meetings of the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the AGC/GAC, the president also serves on other boards including those of the Canadian Geological Foundation and the Canadian Geoscience Council.

The Director of the Bureau de l’exploration géologique du Québec will therefore be in a position to promote the leadership of the MRNF’s Energy and Mines Sector to Canadian geoscience community leaders, distinguished university researchers, the directors of provincial and federal geological surveys and influential representatives of the mining and oil industry.