June 2008    Print this article

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.

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