February 2009    Print this article

Québec Mineral Exploration and Development Highlights

James Moorhead, Raymond Beullac, and Pierre Doucet

Since last year, the annual report on mineral exploration in Québec has been available free of charge in PDF format on the MRNF website.

This report includes

2007–2008 highlights

In the last five years, Québec has benefited from a highly favorable investment climate for mineral exploration. As of January 8, 2009, there were over 264,000 active mining titles in Québec for a total area of 12 million hectares—a new record. A map showing the distribution of Québec mining titles can be found at the following at GESTIM.

According to data collected by Institut de la statistique du Québec, exploration and development expenditures in Québec have topped $200 million in each of the last five years: $227 million in 2004, $205 million in 2005, $295 million in 2006, and $476 million in 2007.

Exploration and development expenditures
in $M in Québec
Substances
2004
2005
2006
2007
Precious metals 135 115.6 145.4 225.9
Base metals 57 53 70.8 118.3
Diamond 28 22.8 29 26.9
Ferrous metals 0.,3 1.4 22.2 29.2
Uranium 1.4 4.3 22 70.9
Others 5.5 8 5.7 5.1
         
Total ($M) 227.2 205.1 295.1 476.3

As of April 2008, the 2007 annual survey predicted updated exploration and development spending intentions of $571 million. The boom quickly evaporated in June, however, following the crash in metal prices, except gold, and in the wake of the world financial crisis. Nonetheless, the 2008 preliminary survey still shows exploration and development expenditures of $450 million. For 2009, however, spending intentions have fallen to $250 million.

The results of the 2007 annual survey show that approximately 200 mining establishments reported conducting, as project manager, exploration or development activities in Québec: 22 major ($97 million) and 178 junior ($375 million) companies, including government corporations ($4 million). Junior companies were headquartered in Québec (49%), British Columbia (22%), Ontario (19%), and elsewhere in Canada or outside the country (11%).

Exploration and development activities were primarily aimed at precious metals, particularly gold ($225.9 million, 47.4%), base metals ($118.3 million, 24.8%), uranium ($70.9 million, 14.9%), ferrous metals ($29.2 million, 6.1%), and diamonds ($26.9 million, 5.6%). Two notable developments in the most recent up cycle were spectacular increases in exploration expenditures for uranium (from $1.4 to $70.9 million) and ferrous metals ($0.3 to $29.2 million) between 2004 and 2007.

Exploration and development work in 2007 took place mainly in three specific Québec regions: Nord-du-Québec ($269.3 million, 56.5%), Abitibi-Témiscamingue ($148.5 million, 31.6%), and Côte-Nord ($39.3 million, 8.2%).

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© Gouvernement du Québec, 2009