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École de terrain Abitibi 2008
Spotlignt on Québec's expertise

R. Marquis and S. Lacroix, MRNF
D. Bois, UQAT
A. Cheilletz, ENSG-INPL, France

The Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune (MRNF) and the Université du Québec en Abitbi-Temiscamingue (UQAT) recently set up a project to promote the recruitment of qualified geologists who would be in a position to quickly and effectively meet the needs of the mining industry. The École de terrain Abitibi 2008 (field school) is intended primarily for geology students about to graduate from French universities outside Québec, with the goal of developing common skills in applied geology. The École nationale supérieure de géologie de Nancy, in France , contributes its expertise and is the bridgehead for recruiting students.

This year, the field school was held over a two-week period, from May 11 to 23. It is intended to develop very concrete know-how in the students through a practical exercise supervised by MRNF and UQAT professionals. Field training has proven to be the best pedagogical tool, at both the technical and human levels, since the student actually has to deal with the surrounding geological, economic and sociological reality.

The field training is organized into workshops and personal exercises for the students. It is built around essential themes specific to the Abitibi region: volcanism and base metal deposits, orogenic and plutonic gold deposits, geophysics applied to exploration, and superficial formations. Particular emphasis is placed on aspects related to health, safety, transportation, communications, traverses and positioning. The students are evaluated and can receive academic credit.

Several private sector companies have offered their support during the training. Xstrata Copper is carrying out a drill core logging activity, while Abitibi-Géophysique is providing its expertise in applied geophysics. Finally, Agnico-Eagle’s contribution involves an underground mine mapping exercise.

The field school also includes a three-month internship proposed by mining companies that operate in Québec and by the MRNF. Partner companies contribute to funding the field school, which is also supported by Emploi-Québec. This year, Soquem, Cartier Resources, Adventure Gold, Aurizon Mines and NQ Exploration have decided to participate in this pedagogical and industrial adventure. The school enabled twelve French-speaking students from France , Morocco and Guinea to familiarize themselves with Québec's geology and professional working conditions.


Funding geoscience activities

During the 2008-2009 Budget Speech, the gouvernement du Québec announced that it was allocating additional funding of $2 million in 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 to Québec's Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune to continue geoscience work on the Copper Plan. The work is intended to promote the discovery of copper in Québec in order to ensure a long-term copper supply.

The government also announced the creation of the Mining Heritage Fund, which will be funded by the dues that companies pay in return for extracting mineral resources in Québec.

It will be used to finance the geoscience work of Géologie Québec, whose mandate is to identify strategic geographical sectors for exploration work and to promote the mineral potential of the various regions of Québec in a sustainable development perspective.

In 2008-2009, Géologie Québec will be continuing several geoscience projects inititated or conducted in 2007-2008:

  • Geological syntheses in the Rouyn-Noranda, de Preissac and Chibougamau areas, as well as a new synthesis near Matagami (Copper Plan)
  • Mapping of the area west of Schefferville (Far North) at 1:250,000
  • Mapping of the area east of the Éléonore project (Opinaca) at 1:50,000
  • Mapping of an area north of Labrieville (North shore) at 1:50,000
  • New airborne geophysical surveys in the Baie-James area
  • New lake-bottom sediment surveys and analysis of old samples in the eastern part of the Grenville Province.

A detailed report of the geoscience work and its location will be published in the October issue of the Québec mines bulletin. Keep an eye out for new publications during the Québec Exploration 2008 event, as well!


Québec Exploration 2008

Québec Exploration is back in 2008 with new content that is sure to please everyone.

The sixth edition of the event will be held under the theme: “Strike it rich: Explore Québec!” from November 24 to 27, 2008, at the Château Frontenac. This year, Québec Exploration delegates will be able to take advantage of Québec's 400th anniversary celebrations.

Under the honorary chairmanship of Mr. André Gaumond, President and founder of Virginia Mines Inc., Québec Exploration will be presenting a technical program with something for everyone.

Some thirty technical sessions will address the following themes:

  • New frontiers and new knowledge
  • Mining investment - what does 2009 have in store?
  • First Nations communities and mining exploration in Québec
  • The Utica Shale: a world-class natural gas deposit?
  • Gold, a sustainable industry
  • The rich history of exploration in Québec

Internationally known keynote speakers will also be in attendance. They include Greg Stott, Ph. D., of the Ontario Geological Survey, who devoted his career to the study of Ontario’s Precambrian geology; Jeremy Richards of the University of Alberta, specialist in the genesis of epithermal and porphyry copper and gold deposits; Dan Jarvie, President of Worldwide Geochemistry of Texas, world expert on gas shales; and John A. Kaiser, financial analyst and prominent mining investment specialist.

More than 150 trade and scientific exhibitors are also expected.

New this year… a core shack on the event site will allow mineral exploration companies to display their drilling results.

Also on the program: workshops, interactive sessions, the Exploration/Investment Forum, a half-day open house for students and the general public, as well as social activities to round out the event.

More than 2,000 delegates are expected!

To find out more, visit the Québec Exploration Internet site.


Québec Exploration 2007: it was the place to be!

The fifth edition of Québec Exploration took place under the theme “The Right Place to Explore!”. A total of 1,950 participants roamed the halls of the Château Frontenac from November 26 to 29, 2008.

This event has become over the years, one of the most important of its kind in Canada. It brought together members of the mineral exploration industry as well as a number of representatives from various fields, all sharing a common interest for this sector. Moreover, a large number of visitors from the general public came to find out more about the mining world, responding to the invitation of the organizing committee. Participants were able to discuss newly acquired data on Québec’s territory, promising mining developments, and business opportunities in Québec.

Diversified content for various interests!

In addition to high-level speaker programs, participants took advantage of a diversified program combining scientific, commercial, and financial interests. The Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune hosted several workshops, namely dealing with products and services provided to industry such as Sigéom, Gestim Plus and SIGPEG. Moreover, a record number of exhibitors from the mining industry and government showcased their latest results of research and mapping projects. The next generation was also nicely represented, with exhibits from university students in Earth sciences. Finally, in order to foster exchanges and add a little ambiance, a series of social events were planned for delegates and their accompanying guests.

The future mineral strategy in the heart of discussions

Québec’s future Mineral Strategy was of course the topic of many conversations. Most everyone readily expressed the opinion that the mineral industry could not remain competitive without the crucial input of dynamic and skilled newcomers. Also of interest is that Québec is known to offer some of the most attractive measures in the world for the mining industry. Maintaining these advantages is crucial for the growth of the mining sector, which is the ultimate purpose of the strategy.

From the Copper Plan to the “Gamma effect”: a speaker program of undeniable quality!

Delegates certainly got their money’s worth! The topics of speaker programs were so popular that event organizers were taken by surprise by the number of delegates wanting to attend oral presentations. There just wasn’t enough room! After dealing with this situation in 2007, the organizing committee will have to considerably increase the number of seats available for the 2008 edition in order to meet the growing demand for geoscience presentations.

The first “Open House” for Québec Exploration

To shed some light on this relatively unknown sector in the general population, the organizing committee offered an educational program for high-school representatives, students and the public at large, within the scope of an “Open House” that took place on Thursday afternoon. This first edition was quite successful and will no doubt be repeated for Québec Exploration 2008.

It’s all on the website: www.quebecexploration.qc.ca

If you did not have to opportunity to attend Québec Exploration 2007, you can still find lots of relevant information on the event’s website. You can namely view the abstracts for all oral presentations and even see most of the slideshows presented by the speakers. Abstracts for posters prepared by geologists from Géologie Québec, the Geological Survey of Canada, various geoscience research institutes as well as Earth science university students are also available. Finally, you can see for yourself how popular the various social events were by consulting the photo album available on the website. Explore the site, it’s a good investment!

See you in 2008!

Don’t miss the next edition of Québec Exploration! This event, now a staple for the mining and oil & gas industries, will be back on November 24 to 27, 2008, at the Château Frontenac in Québec. Special events will be planned for the 2008 edition, within the scope of the International Year of Planet Earth and the 400th anniversary of Québec!


The best mining policies in the world!

The Fraser Institute's 11th annual international survey of mining companies put Québec in first place worldwide in the 2007 ranking of policy environments for mining investment.

This exceptional ranking is due to the nature of Québec's mining policies, which the Institute has qualified as “the best in the world”. Québec's mineral potential, described by the Fraser Institute as “the best in Canada and the second worldwide” is also a major contributing factor.

Thanks to this perfect performance, Québec is well ahead of Nevada, Chile, Mexico, Western Australia, Brazil and Russia. On the Canadian scene, Québec also outstripped Manitoba, Yukon and British Columbia.

This recognition has contributed to Québec's mining investment boom. In fact, in the past few years, resource prices have been high and opportunities to expand have abounded. In addition, mineral exploration expenditures topped the $385 million mark in 2007. That kind of performance had not been seen in 20 years.

Following publication of the results on February 28, 2008 , the Minister of Natural Resources and Wildlife, Claude Béchard, said that he was particularly pleased that this international ranking was obtained in parallel with efforts made by the gouvernement du Québec in terms of sustainable development and respect for the environment.


Québec mines is expanding its readership

(Editor’s Note) For almost seven years, the Québec mines bulletin has been published three times a year to keep mining industry stakeholders informed of the latest developments in this very active sector in Québec.

In a context where Québec’s mining prospects are more promising than ever, the Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune (MRNF) would like to expand the distribution of its bulletin. In future, Québec mines will also make an effort to interest the general public.

Accordingly, the MRNF will be multiplying its distribution efforts with media representatives. By communicating more effectively with journalists and editors covering the industry, Québec mines will have more opportunities to get its content out to the general public.

Although the Québec mines bulletin intends to expand its distribution list, your e-bulletin will continue to meet your expectations by providing well-documented and timely information on the mining industry, remaining committed to the same high standards as ever.

Thank you for being part of our faithful readership! We hope you enjoy the June 2008 issue.


A look back at PDAC 2008

The Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) convention is a world-class event held every year in Toronto. There were more than 1,000 exhibitors and nearly 21,000 delegates at the 2008 edition.

The Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune (MRNF) has been participating in this event for over 25 years. In the past few years, the MRNF has chosen a space where its booth stands out among the hundreds occupied by other countries or provinces.

In addition, Géologie Québec invited partners from the geological and mineral exploration community to share the 1,400 square feet of its booth and asked them to assist in welcoming convention delegates. Soquem, Consorem, Divex, the mining funds and Investissement Québec all responded to this invitation and contributed to the mission of Géologie Québec during the event.

Themes and topics of interest

The selection of booth staff, documentation and database access was intended to cover a wide range of topics related to Québec's mineral potential, the state of geoscience knowledge about the territory, mining activity, the tax benefits of investing in Québec and the Québec Mining Act.

Special attention was paid to the Baie-James area and to uranium exploration in the MRNF’s theme selection. In fact, the Baie-James area’s mineral potential and new exploration targets were the most popular topics.

Special attention was paid to the Baie-James area and to uranium exploration in the MRNF’s theme selection. In fact, the Baie-James area’s mineral potential and new exploration targets were the most popular topics.

Access to Gestim and SIGÉOM with the assistance of experienced advisors made it possible to transfer a significant amount of information to visitors while familiarizing them with the MRNF’s information tools. In addition, many questions were fielded by the DGDM representative responsible for taxation related to mineral exploration. Several people also expressed an interest in Québec's mine rehabilitation policies.

Chinese and Colombian delegations

The PDAC convention is an ideal venue for making initial contact with representatives or delegations from outside Québec. During their stay, MRNF representatives had the opportunity to meet several representatives of companies seeking a better understanding of the rules to follow for exploring in Québec.

Since many countries sent representatives to the event, the PDAC convention was an excellent occasion to initiate meetings between the various delegations. MRNF representatives met with three delegations during their stay in Toronto:

  • Chinese delegation, Ministry of Natural Resources of China
  • Chinese provincial delegation: private companies and provincial representatives from China
  • Colombian delegation: representative of the Colombian government

Meeting with these three delegations allowed the MRNF to make initial contact with government representatives and to highlight Québec’s model for managing exploration of its mineral resources. It should be noted that the Colombian delegation traveled to Québec after the PDAC convention to meet again with MRNF representatives and to exchange information about Québec’s land management policies and legislation.

Visitors to the MRNF booth

A brief analysis of the data collected by sensors installed at booth entrances has allowed the MRNF to establish that about 12,000 people—or about 60% of PDAC convention delegates—visited its booth.


The agreement to rehabilitate abandoned mineral exploration sites in Nunavik rewarded

Efforts to rehabilitate abandoned mineral exploration sites recently paid off. In fact, the agreement to rehabilitate 18 abandoned mineral exploration sites in Nunavik, signed in fall 2007 by a group of exploration companies (Fonds Restor-Action Nunavik), the Kativik Regional Government, the Makivik Corporation and the Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune (MRNF), received the e3 Environmental Excellence in Exploration Award from the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC).

The award received from the PDAC earlier this year honours companies or individuals demonstrating outstanding initiative, leadership and accomplishment in protecting and preserving the natural environment. Accordingly, the practices of nominees must comply with those suggested in the Internet -based e3 toolkit.

The e3 toolkit was designed by a group of mining industry geologists who wanted a reference database for environmental procedures used in exploration. E3 is in use in more than 40 countries so far, with users in several of the world’s largest mining companies.

Negotiations leading to the agreement began in spring 2007. The four signatories agreed to spend more than $4 million to clean up 18 major sites, including the well-known Pio Lake site, which was the subject of several television news stories.

This agreement is in line with a new environmental philosophy in which private companies forge alliances with governments and local communities to ensure sustainable and responsible use of natural resources. It is apparently already inspiring other Canadian provinces.


The human nature of Québec's mining industry

An environment dominated by technology? A den of gold diggers? An industry that's all about profit, shares and investments? Opinions abound, but the mining industry also has another side, which is not as well known to the general public.

In fact, the Québec mining industry is made up of women and men who are passionate about geology, mineral exploration, geophysics and the economy. That is what was revealed by this year’s Québec Mining Week, held from April 28 to May 4, which was launched in Val-d’Or.

Throughout this very busy week, many activities were held to demystify the mineral sector for Quebecers. They included exhibitions and open house events organized for the general public and training offered to high school teachers.

In the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region and all over Québec, there were also presentations about mining projects that are in the news and about the many careers available in mining.

In this boom period for the mining industry, these Québec-wide activities made it clear that it is important to take advantage of current conditions to guarantee sustainable development of Québec's mineral resources.

They also reminded Quebecers about the importance of relying on their own human resources, promoting training, adequately preparing the next generation and drawing attention to local expertise. These challenges will ultimately allow Québec to remain among the global leaders of the mining industry.

To find out more about Mining Week activities and about mining industry developments and issues, see the program of activities (in French). Special supplements were also published in business newspaper Les Affaires and many regional weeklies.