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Québec Exploration 2008
An event you won't want to miss

The 6th edition of Québec Exploration will be held under the theme "Strike It Rich: Explore Québec!" from November 24 to 27 at the magnificent Château Frontenac hotel in the Ville de Québec.

By all indications, Québec Exploration 2008 is shaping up to be the most popular mining congress held in Québec in the last 25 years.

It's a must-attend event where you can

  • Learn about the most recent discoveries, promising occurrences, and new mining camps in Québec and elsewhere in Canada
  • Find new prospects to explore
  • See the results of the geological work performed in summer 2008
  • Evaluate the best business opportunities with exploration companies
  • Find out about new Québec and North American oil and gas exploration projects
  • Hear everything there is to know about Québec's 400 years of mining history from top Québec historians
  • Meet with mining, oil, and gas exploration companies, government representatives, and people from the finance, research, and education communities

You will have access to an extraordinary lecture program: six talks covering topics as varied as geology, mineralogy, mineral deposits, finance, aboriginal agreements, and history!

For the occasion, top international lecturers will reveal their latest secrets.

To pique your curiosity, here is an overview of the content of the lectures in the program.

Session 1
New Frontiers and New Knowledge

Mineral exploration in Québec has always enhanced the general knowledge acquired by teams of geologists from Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune du Québec and the Geological Survey of Canada as well as researchers at our universities. These dedicated specialists are pushing limits, redrawing the portrait of high-potential regions, and providing us with new data indispensable to the success of our exploration programs. This session presents the results of their most recent work.

Special guest: Greg Stott (OGS)

Session 2
Mining Investment: What's in Store for 2009?

Specialists will give their take on investments in mine and metal exploration for 2009 and share their latest opinions on the prices of precious and base metals and their perception of the current mining supercycle. A panel discussion following their short presentation will include a question and answer period for the public to interact with the specialists.

Special guest: John A. Kaiser

Session 3
First Nations Communities and Mining Exploration in Québec

During this session, key players will take the floor and address the increased participation of First Nations in mineral exploration and mining in Québec. They will present examples of partnership between mining companies and First Nations communities. These partnerships are necessary for mineral development in the vast, little-explored area of the Middle and Far North.

Special guest: Matthew Mukash, Grand Chief of the Grand Council of the Crees

Session 4
The Utica Shale Deposit: A World-Class Natural Gas Field?

Production of natural gas from shale gas plays has grown phenomenally over the past decade in the United States. Specialists will look at this new type of deposit, currently one of the most promising in Québec. The results of the most recent developments in this field will be presented.

Special guest: Daniel M. Jarvie of the Texas Christian University 's Worldwide Geochemistry Energy Institute

Session 5
Gold—A Sustainable Industry

Québec has a gold belly, according to a local song. You could also say gold runs in its veins, as recent successes in mining exploration in the Abitibi and Baie-James regions bear out. This session's speakers will describe some of the largest gold mining projects currently under way.

Session 6
The Rich History of Exploration in Québec

For over 400 years, Québec has been attracting prospectors with its wealth of natural resources. Iron, gold, copper, asbestos, and other minerals have helped open up and develop regions that today enjoy a thriving, sustainable economy. This unique session will replay great moments in mining exploration and development that helped build today's Québec.

Special guests: Jean Provencher (historian) and Gilles O. Allard of the University of Georgia

What's more, you will have a chance to brush up on your knowledge in specific fields of geology, geophysics, 3D modeling, and gitology by registering for the workshops on Monday, November 24.

Finally, to help you unwind, Québec Exploration 2008 will offer even more social activities and opportunities to relax, such as a visit to the museum, an excursion in Old Québec, dinner conferences, a gala evening, numerous cocktail receptions, and many other surprises!

Given the scope of the congress, please note that the organizing committee has negotiated blocks of rooms in four other hotels located near Château Frontenac. For more details, consult the Québec Exploration 2008 website.

The organizers of Québec Exploration—Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune and Association de l'exploration minière du Québec—invite you to attend this major gathering, which is sure to satisfy your expectations and interests in the field of mineral, oil, and gas exploration.

Visit the Québec Exploration website and register today:

2008-2009 Geoscientific Program

Sylvain Lacroix and Jean-Yves Labbé,
Bureau de l'exploration géologique du Québec (BEGQ), Géologie Québec

For 2008–2009, Bureau de l'exploration géologique du Québec has a $9 million budget with which to carry out geoscientific projects aimed at understanding, promoting, and developing Québec mineral potential. Through these efforts, we will pursue our Plan cuivre and undertake the many secondary regional geophysical and environmental geochemical initiatives that were added to the list of geological projects and studies carried our across Québec during the summer of 2008.

In the Baie-James region, the LG4 reservoir will be the subject of a vast aerial magnetic survey covering forty NTS sheets on a scale of 1/50,000—twelve of which will also be covered by spectrometry. This survey comes on the heels of the aerial magnetic survey carried out in 2007–2008 between the Opinaca and LG3 reservoirs. These two aerial magnetic surveys combined will cover a triangle defined by the Renard (diamond), Éléonore (gold), and Coulon (zinc-copper) advanced exploration projects.

In Grenville, a new lake sediment survey will cover the area between the Val-d'Or, Chibougamau, and La Tuque municipalities. The survey aims to identify new exploration targets in the Grenville area parautochthon, where we may find structural and geological units like those found in the lower Abitibi region, where base and precious metals abound. The sector east of Sept-Îles will also be the site of a major project reanalyzing lake bottom sediments in partnership with Corporation de promotion du développement minéral de la Côte-Nord.

A seismic reflection survey will be carried out in the Appalaches region's Rimouski sector between the Saint-Simon and Saint-Joseph-de-Lepage municipalities. The area's potential for hydrocarbon and Mississippi Valley type metals (Pb-Zn-Ba) will then be investigated. These types of deposits have been discovered in hydrothermal dolomite reservoirs in the United States and Ontario which were similar to certain geological features found in Québec. In the Gaspésie region, a project for the reanalysis of river bottom sediment will cover a part of the area east of Sainte-Anne-des-Monts.

These sample will be added to the many inventories and geological studies carried out in the area during the summer of 2008 and whose results will be available at Québec Exploration 2008. The conference will also be an opportunity to present two surveys carried out in 2007–2008. The first is an aerial magnetic survey of the Baie-James area, and the other is a geochemical lake bottom survey carried out north of Sept-Îles. A new project evaluating the copper porphyry mineral potential in the Baie-James area will also be presented.

Special publication from Géologie Québec

FORTHCOMING at Exploration Québec 2008

In November 2008, the Department will publish Géologie des ressources minérales by professors Michel Jebrak and Éric Marcoux.

Géologie des ressources naturellesThis work, written entirely in French, is intended for beginning and experienced geologists who want access to the most factual information possible on the various types of mineral resources. Readers will find concepts of metallogeny that shed light on the various types of deposits. With this better understanding of the mineral deposit genesis process, geologists will be better equipped for their exploration work.

The authors discuss all mineral resources because they are all a result of the same geological process.

The work focuses more on metallic ore, but also has passages on industrial minerals, organic energy resources (oil, gas, coal), and quarry materials. Each chapter presents several examples of current environments, chosen as much as possible from the world's French-speaking countries to provide readers with familiar contexts. The book is richly illustrated and packed with tables to improve readability and deliver a maximum of information.

New publications from Géologie Québec

In the coming months, Géologie Québec will publish a number of reports detailing the results of the work by the geologists at Bureau de l'exploration géologique du Québec. Summary of the geology of the northeastern part of the Superior Province

Here are the main titles forthcoming:

  1. A major summary of the geology of the northeastern part of the Superior Province. This work, which will be published in the "MM" Prestige Document series, is the outcome of a major investment by the gouvernement du Québec in northern Québec between 1997 and 2003.

    Please note that there will be a special launch for this book at Québec Exploration.

  2. Four documents in the "PRO" series (promotional documents)
    • Targets for the model of porphyritic Cu-Au-Mo deposits for the Baie-James sector
    • Mineral deposits in Québec (update)
    • New mineral exploration targets stemming from MRNF work in summer 2008
    • Results of a lake sediment survey conducted in the Côte-Nord region in 2006

  3. Two documents in the "Geology 101" (GT) series for students and the general public by the end of next year
    • The main events that occurred in Québec in the geological time
    • Simplified, annotated geological map of Québec

Creation of the Mining Heritage Fund

The Act to establish the Mining Heritage Fund (bill no. 87) was finally assented to on June 20, 2008. The gouvernement du Québec had announced the creation of this fund in its last budget. The Mining Heritage Fund will provide sustained and stable funding for Géologie Québec's geoscientific survey work and for R&D initiatives, while also facilitating multiyear planning.

The Mining Heritage Fund will be fully funded by mining duties paid by mining companies operating in Québec in accordance with the Mining Duties Act. Each year, from 2008–2009 to 2010–2011, $20 million will be earmarked for the Fund, followed by $10 million in subsequent years.

The fund will be devoted to financing activities that promote the development of Québec's mineral potential. Its goals are to

  • Provide funding for geoscientific knowledge acquisition
  • Help finance R&D work in exploration, mining, and mining site redevelopment and restoration techniques
  • Support the development of Québec entrepreneurship and mineral diversification

Fund resources could also be allocated to fund specific programs to promote innovation in the mining sector and to provide financial assistance for government organizations such as COREM and Société de recherche et de développement minier (SOREDEM).

Aldermac mine site restoration:
A $16.5 million project

Johanne Cyr,
Direction du développement et du milieu miniers

Restoration of the Aldermac mine site began in September 2008 and will continue over a two-year period. The total cost of the project is estimated at $16.5 million and will be financed by the gouvernement du Québec's contaminated site restoration fund.

Firmly rooted in sustainable development principles, this project will help restore the site to its natural state and promote the creation of wildlife habitats.


Located 15 kilometers west of Rouyn-Noranda and 3 kilometers northeast of Arntfield, the Aldermac mine site is one of the most problematic abandoned1 mine sites in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region.

The Aldermac property is named for two prospectors who first staked out the site in 1922 – 1923: W. Alderson and A.A. Mackay. Discovered in 1925, the Cu-Zn deposit was mined from 1932 to 1943 by two companies—Aldermac Mines Limited and Aldermac Copper Corporation Ltd. The first was dissolved on December 13, 1937 , and the second was liquidated in January 1946.

Average copper content varied from 1.47 to 1.65%, average silver content was 6.47 g/t, and average gold content 0.17 g/t. The concentrator produced 28,041 tons of copper, 10,675 ounces of gold, 389,100 ounces of silver, 63,753 tons of silica, and approximately 505,600 tons of pyrite.

Problems give rise to a major challenge

Characterization work and many studies have made it possible to clearly identify the environmental issues facing the Aldermac mine site. An estimated 1.5 Mt of mine tailings produced on the Aldermac site have resulted in acid mine drainage. Mine tailings deposited without any containment precautions now cover a 76 hectare area.

These mine tailings consist of approximately 50% sulfurous minerals and contain significant concentrations of arsenic, cadmium, copper, molybdenum, zinc, and sulfur. The sectors affected by acid mine drainage are Rivière Arnoux and its tributaries, lakes Arnoux and Dasserat, and areas adjacent to the mine tailings.

The major environmental damage caused by mining at this site requires considerable corrective measures. This site also represents an indirect public health risk, as the food chain has been affected (sport fishing). As none of the operators can be directed to restore or redevelop the site under the Mining Act, it is considered abandoned. MRNF was therefore forced to take responsibility.

In planning the Aldermac site restoration project, MRNF considered the following objectives:

  • Significant improvement of the site's environmental quality
  • Integration of the site in its environment
  • Return of wildlife
  • Compatibility with future use of a possible deposit on the site
  • Maintenance and monitoring
  • Site security

Chosen solutions

The Aldermac mine site is located in a shallow valley running north-south and bordered by many rock outcrops to the east and an esker nearly 2 kilometers long to the west. A gravel mine is in operation at the southern tip of this esker. A watercourse drains the tailings site into Stream 1, which flows into Rivière Arnoux.

The tailings site starts in the south near the former mine facilities and extends 1,900 meters further north. It presents a 25 meter difference in level from south to north, and significant changes in elevation can be observed at the transitions between sectors.

A restoration approach has been chosen for each of the four distinct sectors of the Aldermac site:

South sector – impervious covering

The rugged south sector features zones of rock outcrops. It is located at the source of the tailings spill, upstream from the intermediate sector. The south sector has a significant proportion of the total volume of tailings, as well as various waste and debris associated with the former mine and concentrator buildings. The tailings layer is up to 6 meters thick at the former discharge point.

An impervious covering will be placed over a portion of the south sector. It will consist of a geomembrane, a protective geotextile, a layer of granular materials, and a topsoil horizon on steeper inclines. The eco-efficiency of such a system has been proven. This type of covering is highly effective in reducing the supply of water and oxygen, and preventing acid mine drainage. Waste and debris will be removed and disposed of in accordance with current environmental regulations.

Intermediate sector – excavation of sulfurous tailings

Tailings in the intermediate sector will be excavated and transported to the north sector. The terrain will then be limed and revegetated in harmony with the site environment. A water body will cover part of the intermediate sector after restoration. This efficacy of this method hinges on the complete removal of the source of the acid mine drainage.

North sector – saturation of sulfurous tailings

The north sector encompasses the bulk of the area to be restored—approximately 26.5 hectares. Most of the tailings there are already saturated due to the high groundwater level. This sector will remain a wetland developed on two terraces. Tailings will be covered with a granular material designed to maintain the water table near the surface while reducing runoff and evaporation. This method is effective in preventing tailing acidification and, consequently, acid mine drainage.

To establish a high groundwater level, existing dikes will be enhanced and new ones built. Agricultural lime will be added to the tailings surface to minimize the impact of the release of acids and heavy metals in any tailings deposits carried in from the intermediate sector and Stream 1. Special efforts will be made in landscaping this sector to ensure its integration into the environment and the return of wildlife.

Stream 1 – cleanup

The Stream 1 sector can be divided into two segments. The first runs south to north along a 700 meter stretch with a greater than 2% grade, while the second runs east to west over approximately 1.9 kilometers with an average grade of approximately 0.2% and includes a floodplain varying between 20 and 100 meters in width.

The tailings accumulated in the 2.6 kilometers of Stream 1 will be excavated and transported to the north sector. The terrain will then be limed and revegetated to obtain plant cover in tune with the site environment.

The restoration plan was designed by SNC LAVALIN Inc. in partnership with Journeaux, Bédard & Ass. and Écogénie Inc. The Norascon construction firm in Amos has been tasked with completing the site work.


SNC LAVALIN, Plan de restauration du site minier Aldermac, final report, October 2007.

Bédard, Isabelle, Techniques de réhabilitation des zones d'épanchement du parc à résidus miniers Aldermac, master's thesis; Civil, Geological, and Mineral Engineering Department, École Polytechnique de Montréal, September 2000.

CONSOR, Rapport de caractérisation – Parc à résidus miniers Aldermac, January 1995.

An inactive mine site is deemed "abandoned" when, under the Mining Act, no responsible party is able to restore it either because such parties no longer exist legally or no longer have the required financial resources.

Symposium on Geological Heritage

As part of the Québec 2008 Conference(1), a symposium on geological heritage was held in May at the Centre des Congrès de Québec.

Presented by MRNF, the symposium Our Geological Heritage brought together 18 speakers from most Canadian provinces and elsewhere. The symposium was a resounding success in many regards. First, it drew an average of 50 to 70 participants per session—excellent considering the highly specialized subjects under discussion. Furthermore, the department counted among its speakers a leading expert in the preservation and promotion of geological heritage in the United Kingdom, Professor Murray Gray of the University of London. His very well-received lecture dealt with the principles and values of geodiversity, a term modeled on biodiversity, and discussed the dangers that threaten it and the importance of conserving it.

The symposium was divided into three sessions with the following themes:

  • Outstanding geological sites in Québec and elsewhere
  • The conservation of geological heritage in museums
  • Geological heritage as an earth sciences teaching tool

Presentations in the first session dealt with concepts in geological heritage as well as outstanding geological sites in Québec, the rest of Canada, and Egypt, including the Joggins Fossil Cliffs in Nova Scotia, which were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site this summer at a ceremony in the Ville de Québec. A report on the state of outstanding Québec geological sites was also presented. Close to twenty geological sites of interest were put forward as candidates for protected status and will be evaluated and classified as outstanding geological sites in the upcoming months.

Rivière du Sault Plat in the Sept-Îles region, which flows across a series of gigantic glacial grooves Rocher Percé, which, in addition to being an important Gaspésie tourist attraction, is a limestone monolith containing fascinating fossil fauna
Two examples of outstanding geological sites. Left: Rivière du Sault Plat in the Sept-Îles region, which flows across a series of gigantic glacial grooves. Right: Rocher Percé, which, in addition to being an important Gaspésie tourist attraction, is a limestone monolith containing fascinating fossil fauna. (Photos: MRNF)

Speakers in the second session dealt with the role of museums in the conservation of geological heritage. Many museums possess mineral, rock, and fossil collections. In Québec, three museums recognized by the gouvernement du Québec are primarily devoted to geology (McGill University 's Redpath Museum, Musée minéralogique et minier de Thetford Mines, and Malartic's Musée minéralogique).

The third session was devoted to the teaching of earth sciences at various levels, the resources available for promoting geological heritage in education, and the efforts carried out during the International Year of Planet Earth toward understanding our geological heritage. During this session, the organization presented an innovative video of a pre-recorded talk by colleagues from the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Alberta. This lively and dynamic format highlighted the Royal Tyrrell Museum 's efforts to promote its collection and globally recognized dinosaur knowledge. Notably, this presentation was also broadcast via videoconferencing to elementary and secondary school students in far-flung regions of Alberta.

To sum up, this symposium enabled the Department to take a leading role on a national level in promoting geological heritage.

(1) A conference organized by the Geological Association of Canada, the Mineralogical Association of Canada, the Society of Economic Geology, and the Society for Geology Applied to Mineral Products (SGA).

A stronger presence at major mining events outside Québec

Pierre Verpaelst,
Géologie Québec

The Department's sector of mines will be adopting an increasingly high profile at events outside Québec. As usual, we will be at the Mineral Exploration Roundup in Vancouver in January 2009 and at the annual PDAC in Toronto next March.

This year, the Department will also return to the China Mining congress to be held in Beijing in mid-November. During the event, the Department, in collaboration with Investissement Québec, will set up a booth promoting Québec's mineral potential and the advantages of exploring in Québec. Pierre Verpaelst will give a talk on these same subjects. The promotion of Québec's mining potential will focus on current exploration projects that could benefit from new sources of financing. In recent months, through meetings with Chinese delegates, we have learned that certain Chinese companies now wish to move beyond involvement in projects already at the development and operation stage to get into exploration.

The Department also has a new destination this year—India—where it will attend a conference entitled Mining Exploration Summit: Policy Initiatives. For this event, a Department delegation will present Québec's system for managing mineral titles. The presentation will also provide information on Department's geoscientific document holdings, Québec's mineral potential, and the advantages of carrying out exploration work in the province.

With financing growing increasingly tight, promoting Québec's mineral potential abroad and presenting promising projects could prove profitable. These measures are part of the Department's commitment to being proactive in promoting Québec's mining sector.