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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).