The articles in this issue are available in a printable format. Click on the printer icon below to begin printing. The page setup was designed for printing in portrait format.

2009 Abitibi Convention

The 2009 Abitibi Convention, which runs from September 28 to October 2, 2009, at Centre des congrès de Rouyn-Noranda in Abitibi, boasts an exciting program of professional and geological activities. The convention organizing committee wishes to thank the following organizations for their collaboration:

Ordre des géologues du Québec (OGQ)
Association de l’exploration minière du Québec (AEMQ)
Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune du Québec (MRNF-Géologie Québec)
Ontario Geological Survey (OGS)
Geological Survey of Canada (GSC)

Ordre des géologues du Québec (OGQ) ACTIVITIES
September 28, 2009

The OGQ Annual General Meeting is an opportunity for members to meet with OGQ board members and learn about the Ordre’s projects and activities. A series of lectures on the theme of Geological expertise at the heart of the development of Abitibi-Témiscamingue will be held. The AGM will also provide the opportunity to highlight the outstanding work of geologists with the OGQ’s Prix du mérite awards.

One or more training workshops will be organized to round out the day’s activities.

The activities are open to everyone, but only members of the Ordre will have the right to speak or vote during the assembly. For more information, please contact Ordre des géologues.

2009 Explo-Abitibi
Association de l'exploration minière du Québec (AEMQ)
September 29, 2009

Take advantage of this unique opportunity to present your products and services or the latest developments in your exploration projects by reserving an exhibition booth. Hurry, space is limited!

End the day with the AEMQ’s annual dinner conference, during which a speaker will discuss a current topic.

For more information, contact the AEMQ.

Abitibi Copper 2009
Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune (MRNF)
Ontario Geological Survey (OGS)
Geological Survey of Canada (GSC)

To mark the upcoming conclusion of a vast joint program of geoscientific activities (the Copper Plan and TGI-3 [Targeted Geoscience Initiative]) carried out by MRNF, OGS, and GSC over the last five years in the Abitibi region in Québec and in Ontario, we will present the most recent findings and the latest interpretations of geological situations conducive to deposits of base metals (copper, zinc, nickel) and precious metals (gold, silver).

For more information, please contact

Sylvain Lacroix
Benoît Dubé
Jack Parker

A full day of geological conferences
September 29, 2009

The latest results of the Copper Plan and TGI-3 will be unveiled. An impressive series of lectures will be given by geologists from MRNF, the GSC, and the OGS as well as their university and industry partners. These lectures will address the main geological units conducive to the discovery of volcanogenic massive sulfides, glacial deposits in Abitibi, and how technological developments can contribute to mining exploration.

For more information, see the lecture program (PDF Format, 58 Kb).

Three days of geological outings in Québec and Ontario
September 30 to October 2, 2009

These outings in the Rouyn-Noranda sector will give participants an opportunity to see the region’s major volcanic units at the Blake River Group and the mineralization of volcanogenic massive sulfides associated with it, including the massive Horne and La Ronde Penna deposits. Then, discover the latest on the stratigraphy of the eastern part of the Kidd-Munro assemblage in Ontario. Lastly, you can find out more about the geology of the western part of the Malartic Group and Kinojévis Group (Québec).

For more information, please see the detailed Outings program (PDF Format, 58 Kb).

Space is limited, so please reserve early using the registration form (PDF Format, 93 Kb).

A block of rooms have been set aside for September 28 to October 1, 2009.
Hôtel Gouverneur Le Noranda
41, 6e Rue, Rouyn-Noranda Québec Canada J9X 1Y8
1 888 910-111 or 819 762-2341

Québec Exploration 2009
Towards Sustainable Mining Exploration

The theme of the 7th edition of Québec Exploration will be “Towards Sustainable Mining Exploration.” The convention, which grows increasingly popular with each passing year, will once again be a must-attend event for all mining exploration stakeholders and investors. It will also provide an opportunity for representatives of the geoscientific communities of Québec and the other provinces to meet and share the latest developments in the geosciences.

The organizing committee is proud to announce that distinguished geologist François Robert has agreed to act as honorary chair of Québec Exploration 2009. Mr. Robert, who holds a PhD from École Polytechnique de Montréal and a post doctorate from the University of Michigan, is currently head exploration geologist for Barrick Gold Corporation.

The organizing committee has already lined up a program of lectures that are sure to be of great interest to convention-goers. Some of the topics that will be discussed include…

  • Québec’s major gold potential
  • The latest discoveries
  • Industrial minerals and mineral diversification in Québec
  • The financial outlook for the mining industry
  • New targeting methods
  • Sustainable development and responsible exploration

A number of internationally renowned speakers have confirmed they will attend.

The event will also welcome a number of new exhibitors. Given its success last year, a core library will once again be set up for mining companies to display their drilling results.

As in past years, mining exploration stakeholders will enjoy the unique opportunity to get a sneak preview of the results of mapping and studies carried out by Bureau de l’exploration géologique du Québec, the Québec Geoscience Centre, and universities.

In addition, the Open House event starting at noon on Thursday will feature a number of surprises for those in attendance. The event will be open to the general public and will be better than ever before. Don’t miss it!

Be sure to set aside time from November 23 to 26, 2009, for this exciting event at the magnificent Château Frontenac in Québec. Register before October 15, 2009, and you’ll enjoy a discounted registration rate. For more information, visit the Québec Exploration website.

Rehabilitation of Site No. 1 at the Eustis Mining Complex
(Municipalité du Canton de Hatley)

Rehabilitation work was carried out at the former Eustis 1 mining site in 2007 and 2008 at a cost of $2.6 million. The Eustis site is among the contaminated sites under the responsibility of the Gouvernement du Québec.

The work consisted of covering the mine tailings with a waterproof barrier to prevent oxidation, rainwater infiltration, and subsequent acid mine drainage.

The rehabilitation was authorized by Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et des Parcs and carried out in close cooperation with Municipalité du canton de Hatley and Fondation des villages miniers Capelton, which owns the land.


Mining in the Estrie region dates back to the 19th century, when exploration in 1840 led to the discovery of a number of copper and pyrite deposits. The region’s first mines opened in 1850. However, it wasn’t until 1860 that copper mining really took off, when demand for the metal skyrocketed due to the American Civil War (1861–1865).

Copper mining was concentrated mainly in Ascot County, where the Capelton and Eustis mines were located. The Capelton industrial and mining complex operated from 1865 to 1939. The Eustis mine was known in turn as the Lower Canada (1865), Hartford (1866-1872), Crown (1872-1888), and Eustis (1888-1939) mine. With a depth of 2,260 meters, for many years it was the deepest copper mine in Canada.

Underground mining was first carried out in the Hartford shaft at Eustis 3, the oldest of the sites. The ore extracted there was sorted by hand at the site before being transported to the Eustis 1 site for roasting. Starting in 1879, the ore was extracted from the mine through a drift that connected to the Hartford shaft. The barren rock extracted during the shaft sinking and the manual sorting operations was dumped along the banks of Ruisseau Eustis (now known as the Eustis 2 site). The mine closed down in 1939.

Location of the Eustis Site

The Eustis mining site is located approximately 9 kilometers south of Sherbrooke, in Municipalité du canton de Hatley. It consists of three sites, including a tailings site (Eustis 1) and two waste rock piles (Eustis 2 and 3). The Eustis mine tailings are a source of acid mine drainage. The total surface area of these three sites is approximately 15 hectares.

The approximately 11 hectare Eustis 1 site is located on Chemin Stafford, bordering Rivière Massawippi. The site is divided into three zones: The old railroad that has been converted into a bike path connecting Municipalité de North Hatley and Lennoxville bisects the Eustis 1 site (sections A and B), while Chemin Stafford divides the Eustis 1A site from a small waste rock pile known as the experimental cell. The tailings storage area is a mound about 20 meters high and is just a few meters upstream from the bike path and east of Chemin Stafford (Eustis 1A).

The spillage zone extends from the bike path to Rivière Massawippi over about 300 meters in length (Eustis 1B). The site also includes an experimental cell to the west of Chemin Stafford that was restored in the mid-1990s.

Eustis 1 Site and its Components
Eustis 1 Site and its Components

The 1.5 hectare Eustis 2 site containing barren rock is about 700 meters north of Route 108, alongside Ruisseau Eustis.

Eustis 2 Site
Eustis 2 Site

The 3 hectare Eustis 3 site containing barren rock is located on a slope alongside Ruisseau Eustis, just over one kilometer north of the Eustis 2 site.

Eustis 3 Site
Eustis 3 Site

Ruisseau Eustis runs into Rivière Massawippi.

Problems Stemming From Acid Mine Drainage1

Environmental problems at this site are nothing new. In the early days of mining here, the sulfur contained in the ore was eliminated by roasting the ore on a bed of hot coal, which would burn for about 70 days as the sulfur oxidized. The roasting process released sulfur emissions that affected the surrounding environment and had a harmful effect on livestock and human health. In the early 1880s, this process was replaced by a flotation concentrate plant.

More than 70 years after mining operations were abandoned, the presence of sulfurous tailings is the main problem at the Eustis mine site. The acid mine drainage caused by the oxidation of iron sulfide mineral in the mine tailings is a major source of contamination of Ruisseau Eustis and Rivière Massawippi.

In 1983 samples taken by Ministère de l’Environnement revealed that the water in Ruisseau Eustis was extremely acidic, with a pH of 2.3. In 2003 Berryman2 detected concentrations of cadmium, copper, iron, lead, and zinc in Ruisseau Eustis that were respectively 41; 2,490; 67; 25; and 65 times higher than criteria for the protection of aquatic life. As for Rivière Massawippi, it is contaminated by both the Eustis 1 site and the high levels of heavy metals in Ruisseau Eustis.

Rehabilitation of the Eustis 1 Site

In the early 1990s, work was done on the experimental cell to cover the mine tailings with a waterproof layer of de-inking residues in order to limit leaching. Due to the instability of the slope and the odor emanating from the residues, corrective measures are required.

In November 2006 Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune undertook rehabilitation work at the Eustis 1 site. The proposed rehabilitation was based on the findings of the site characterization. Construction plans and specifications were drawn up and an invitation to tender was issued.

The Eustis 1 site rehabilitation, which began in 2007 and was completed in November 2008, included the following:

  • Excavation and transfer of approximately 49,000 m3 of tailings from the flood plain (Eustis 1B) bordering Rivière Massawippi to Eustis 1A
  • Containment of these tailings and those from the reshaping work on the experimental cell along with tailings piled upstream from the bike path (Eustis 1A) beneath a cover consisting of de-inking residues on the flat part of the site and a geomembrane on the sloped part
  • Covering of the de-inking residues and geomembrane with soil and material to promote vegetation
  • Reducing the slope of the experimental cell by excavating tailings and transporting them to the Eustis 1A site, then replacing the de-inking residue cover
  • Installation of subsurface drains and drainage ditches for ground and surface water
  • Revegetation of the Eustis 1A site and the experimental cell
  • Flood plain habitat enhancement (Eustis 1B) to recreate a biodiverse wildlife environment

During the rehabilitation work, Chemin Stafford had to be closed temporarily to ensure the safety of motorists and allow off-road vehicles to access the site. A temporary detour was also created next to the flood plain (Eustis 1B) to redirect cyclists during work along the bike path.

Before and after views of the Eustis 1A cell upstream from the bike path
Before and after views of the Eustis 1A cell upstream from the bike path

Before and after views of the Eustis 1A cell upstream from the bike path

In foreground, view of the flood plain (Eustis 1B) and, in background, of the Eustis 1A site
In foreground, view of the flood plain (Eustis 1B) and, in background, of the Eustis 1A site

In foreground, view of the flood plain (Eustis 1B) and, in background, of the Eustis 1A site

Rehabilitation of the Eustis 2 and 3 Sites

Following characterization of the sites, rehabilitation plans for these two sites were developed. They include containing barren rock under a waterproof barrier consisting of a geomembrane covered by a layer of soil and vegetation. Ditches will be dug upstream from the two sites in order to collect and direct surface water into Ruisseau Eustis.

Work is slated to begin in June 2009 and will be complete by November 2009 at the latest.

1. Caractérisation environnementale des sites miniers Eustis 2 et 3, Final report presented to Jacques Langlois, Fondation du village minier de Capelton, by Université de Sherbrooke and Les consultants SM Inc., September 2001.
2. BERRYMAN, David, ST-ONGE, Jacques, GENDRON, Andrée, BROCHU, Charles : L’impact d’anciens parcs à résidus miniers sur la qualité de l’eau et les communautés benthiques de la rivière Massawippi et des ruisseaux Eustis et Capel , Ministère de l’Environnement, 2003. 

SIGEOM to Serve all Québecers

By Charles Roy
SIGEOM Project Leader

SIGEOM now offers users synchronized access to the GESTIM mining title database. Since early spring, users have been able to consult mining titles inSIGEOM à la carte at the following address: Under the menu “Mining titles” you will find “Mining rights” and “Mining rights on demand.” The following figure shows the mining titles menu:

“Mining rights” refers to rights whose status is “active,” “abandoned,” “converted,” etc. It is possible to perform a search using geographic elements such as NTS map sheet number, township/seigniory, type of title, and title number. Users can also search by title status, date of registration, expiry date, titleholder, or customized territory. While search results accurately reflect the mining cadastre, they are not considered the legal version, which is under the purview of DEDM.

The following figure shows the list of search fields:

“Mining rights on demand” refers to rights whose status is on demand, i.e., titles that are sought by one or more companies or persons but that have not yet been granted by the registrar. The search criteria are “NTS map sheet,” “township/seigniory,” and “customized territory.” The following figure shows the search criteria for mining rights on demand.

By searching both types of titles, users can get a clear picture of both the rights granted and those on demand across Québec.

What is new for the customer in all this? The good news is that all the functions used for other SIGEOM geoscientific entities are available for title rights, too. The search, advanced search, project conversion, format conversion, e-commerce, and download functions are available. Titles are simply treated as another form of SIGEOM data. The following figure shows mining rights (green), mining rights on demand (yellow), and diamond drilling sites (red) on the 22B15 page. The mining rights are held by an individual owner.

Geophysical Atlas

The SIGEOM group is also in the process of preparing a geophysical atlas that will serve to identify regional geophysical information. With this application, users will be able to retrieve various types of information. The following figure shows the system’s interface.

SIGEOM version 2010

The SIGEOM group is working to update the system by changing certain “modus operandi” to speed up information updates and provide continuous Québec-wide coverage. The hardware and software components of the system will be ready at the end of 2010. As for the database update, changes will be introduced gradually over several years. These changes are, of course, part of our strategy to improve customer service and the accuracy and quality of geoscientific data, and keep this information up-to-date, all at the lowest possible cost.

The continuous representation of linear (faults, folds, contacts, etc.) and polygonal elements (geologic zones, etc.) should provide users with greater insight into the field of geology. For example, a fault such as the Cadillac Fault would appear as a single linear element crossing a good part of the Abitibi region. One of this fault’s attributes will be the NTS sheets that it crosses. We will be working to provide this continuous coverage in the coming years.

This system update will allow two product formats to be offered: the Shapefile format and the File GeoDataBase format, both from the company ESRI. Shapefile can be used both with ArcGIS and MapInfo. MapInfo allows delivery of the entire SIGEOM relational data model. It will still be possible to purchase data à la carte or in sets of 1:40,000 or 1:250,000.

What's in Store

We are looking into improving our page and plan map (image size and other functions) to make the site more user-friendly.

We are attuned to new market trends and are studying various options such as Google Earth or Visual Earth technology to display geographic data. We are also considering the use of Web services so that users can connect to the ministerial database and obtain information related to their work without having to go through an intermediary. Furthermore, we plan to better streamline our site with other government data to provide customers with a clearer picture of the territory and land use restrictions.

Géologie Québec is proud of its information system and considers it a valuable tool that serves a growing clientele and makes quality geoscientific information on Québec accessible to all. That’s why we are devoting considerable effort to upgrading the technologies and improving data and accessibility.

Regional Forum on Uranium Exploration and Mining

On May 21 and 22, Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune (MRNF) took part in a regional information forum on uranium exploration and mining held in Sept-Îles. The forum was organized by Conférence régionale des élus (CRE) de la Côte-Nord and provided over 200 participants with information on the uranium mining industry and its impact. The presentations were also recorded for later broadcast on local television.

Sixteen speakers representing various ministries, government bodies, mining companies, and lobby groups from Québec, Saskatchewan, and France were invited. They addressed a total of seventeen topics, which were divided into six themes:

  • General knowledge of uranium
  • Uranium and the environment
  • Uranium and economic benefits
  • Uranium and occupational health
  • Uranium and public health
  • Uranium and social acceptability

The complete forum program and the content of the presentations are available on the CRE Côte-Nord website. MRNF was represented by Jean-Yves Labbé, who took part in three presentations on general knowledge of uranium, uranium exploration in the Côte-Nord region, and the economic benefits of exploration.

Last January the Ville de Sept-Îles called for a permanent moratorium on uranium exploration and mining in Québec. A number of demonstrations were held by Côte-Nord residents to support this demand. The goal of the forum held in May was to present objective information to the public on uranium exploration and mining so that it could better evaluate the socioeconomic and environmental issues involved.