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Québec's new surveys, geoscience publications and exploration targets

Sylvain Lacroix, Jean-Yves Labbé and Isabelle D'Amours

Be sure to pass by Québec’s booth during the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) convention to learn about the 18 geoscience projects that took place in 2010 and others still underway in the province, as well as the most recent Géologie Québec publications. In addition, new exploration targets and new geoscientific data and publications will be unveiled for the first time! Here is a preview of what’s in store:

  • 5,751 new lake-bottom sediment geochemical analyses from a summer 2010 survey performed along a north-south section of the Grenville Province, centred on the municipality of Saguenay (Project N° 11). The analysis of these geochemical data led to the identification of ten new targets of interest for mineral exploration, particularly for rare earths, copper and niobium (PRO 2011-01);
  • 1,471 new geochemical re-analyses of lake-bottom sediments collected during the 1987 Fermont survey covering a large area west of Fermont (Project N° 13);
  • Maps and data from a new airborne geophysical survey (magnetism/spectrometry) covering 13 NTS map sheets at a scale of 1:50,000 in the Baie-James region (Project N° 15). The analysis of these geophysical data has already led to the identification of some 120 new exploration targets, of which about 40 are based on spectrometric data and about 80 represent potential new targets for kimberlite exploration. These targets were recognized using the Keating coefficient method applied to magnetic data (PRO 2011-04).

The new exploration targets, which will be made public for the first time during the PDAC 2011 convention, are in addition to 91 other exploration targets from last year’s geoscience projects, which were unveiled during the Québec Exploration 2010 convention in November 2010 (PRO 2010-05). Moreover, Géologie Québec has made public about 3,000 exploration targets, identified by updating and reprocessing a province-wide secondary environment geochemistry database that was recently enhanced by re-analyzing some 27,000 lake-bottom sediment samples from the Baie-James region. The locations and descriptions of the exploration targets generated by this reprocessing of geochemical data are available for download in Google Earth format from the MRNF website (maps section).

All the targets made public at Québec Exploration 2010 and those that will soon be unveiled at the PDAC convention are already or will soon be available in Google Earth format from both GESTIM ( and the Mineral resource maps ( section of the MRNF website.

Geologists specializing in the identification of geological, geochemical and geophysical targets will be present at the Québec booth to provide details about the new targets and the methods used to identify them.

Open House on Earthquakes

Sylvie Otis, Coordinator of the Open Day at Québec Exploration 2010
Direction de l’information géologique du Québec

The Open Day of Québec Exploration is back in the aim of promoting Earth sciences and the mining sector in particular! The topic of this fourth Open Day is “Earthquakes – Cause and Effect”.

This year again, school groups will have guided tours on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning. During these visits, they will participate in a workshop with Dr. Maurice Lamontagne, seismologist at the Geological Survey of Canada; they will hear testimonies from people working in geology and the mining sector and will have the opportunity to meet with representatives from mining exploration businesses as well as CEGEPS and universities. Québec Exploration will be opened to the general public on Thursday afternoon.

The Open Day organizing committee has innovated this year by organizing a workshop on earthquakes for elementary 3rd cycle and secondary 1st cycle teachers. This one-day workshop, which was held at the end of September, was aimed at providing learning tools in Earth sciences. Afterward, a scientific contest has been organized for elementary and secondary students where they are invited to explore and discover earthquakes from a geological point of view. They can submit an individual entry in the form of written texts, comic strip, or group entries in the form of models. The winners will be featured during Québec Exploration 2010.

Last year, about 350 elementary and secondary students as well as their escorts benefited from guided tours of Québec Exploration exposition.

To learn more about the Open Day consult Québec Exploration website (

Outstanding geological sites: an initiative in geodiversity protection

Dominique Richard, geologist, M. Env., MRNF
Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), geodiversity is “the variety of rocks, minerals, fossils, landforms, sediments and soils, together with the natural processes which form and alter them.” Some natural windows into the world of geology or geomorphology, known as “geosites” or “geoparks”, display important geodiversity features that have significantly contributed to our understanding of Earth’s history. In order to preserve these sites for future generations, Québec’s Mining Act was modified in 2005 so they may be given legal status under the designation of outstanding geological sites (OGS).

What is an outstanding geological site?

Section 1 of the Mining Act defines an OGS as “land whose geological, geomorphic, landscape or biological characteristics are of educational value, or of interest for scientific research or conservation purposes, and that deserves to be protected, in particular because it is threatened, rare or vulnerable”. OGS are divided into twelve categories: cavern; cave; fossiliferous; mineralogical; lithological; stratotype; historical or cultural; landscape; geosystem; ecosystem; meteorite impact; and glacial structures and landforms.

Objective and purpose

The main goal of assigning legal classification to an OGS is to ensure its protection. The Mining Act entitles the Minister to legally classify an OGS by publishing a notice in the official gazette of Québec. The precise boundaries of each OGS must be indicated on maps kept at the Registrar’s office.

If an OGS meets the definition of a protected area as defined by the Natural Heritage Conservation Act of the Ministère du Développement Durable, de l’Environnement et des Parcs (MDDEP), it will also be recorded in the protected area registry and may then be included in the World Database of Protected Areas (WDPA), a project jointly run by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the IUCN.

OGS background

In June 1992, during the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro, 150 countries (including Canada) signed the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The Québec government adheres to the principles and objectives of this agreement.

In the fall of 2001, the Québec government unveiled its Québec Protected Area Strategy (QPAS). This strategy mainly concerns ministries that intervene in land issues, namely the MDDEP and the Ministère des Ressources Naturelles et de la Faune (MRNF). It presents the basics of sustainable development and the goal of increasing Québec’s protected area network to 8% of the province’s surface area, in the hopes of working toward a stable planet with a promising future.

In 2005, the Mining Act was modified and arrangements were made to classify and protect outstanding geological sites. For more information, please consult the Mining Act (R.S.Q., chapter M-13.1 ( ).

By March of 2009, the SQAP’s goal of protecting 8% of land in Québec had been reached. A target of another 4% was added to the initial objective. It is now expected that 12% of Québec’s territory will be protected by 2015.

At the present time, legal recognition has not yet been granted to any OGS in Québec. However, 63 geosites were presented for consultation in 2009 and 2010, and the MRNF’s goal is to officially classify 50 OGS between now and June 2013.

Selection and consultation process

The MRNF has established guidelines describing the steps to follow in matters of obtaining legal classification for an OGS. The basic steps are: assess a proposed site, prepare a descriptive record, and verify any rights, titles and permits associated with the site. After this, various branches of the MRNF must begin a consultation process, and then the MDDEP must carry out consultations with aboriginal and urban communities, municipalities, and professional mining associations.

Once this process has been completed and no obstacles were uncovered that would prevent legal recognition, the Minister of Natural Resources and Wildlife can officially classify the site by publishing a notice in the Gazette Officielle du Québec.

How to submit an OGS proposal

Since the amendments to the Act in 2005 allowing legal recognition of an OGS, more than 300 geosite or geoparks have been proposed by eager and generous people who love geology and nature.

To learn more about OGS, please consult the OGS website ( (in French).

If you wish to propose a new OGS, please download the form ( Once filled in, it should be mailed or e-mailed to:

Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune
Direction de l’information géologique du Québec
880, chemin Sainte-Foy, 3e étage
Québec (Québec) G1S 4X4

E-mail :

Example of an OGS

In order to provide a more concrete idea of what an OGS might represent, examples of proposed geosites ( (in French) can be found at the following OGS website.

In addition, several proposed sites are presented in poster format as part of the series of GT documents available from the Examine database:

GT 2009-05 - Le parc Leblanc - roches volcaniques et effet des glaciers. 2009,  by   Lelcerc, F., De Corta, H. ( 2009-05).

GT 2009-06 - Le parc Allard - roches volcaniques et effet des glaciers.  2009, by   Leclerc, F., De Corta, H. ( 2009-06).

GT 2009-07 - Les canelures glaciaires de la rivière du Sault Plat.  2009,  by   Martineau, G. ( 2009-07).

GT 2009-09 - Les plus anciennes roches de la planète découvertes dans le nord du Québec.  2009, by Maurice, C., O'Neil, J. ( 2009-09).

GT 2002-01 - Géologie du parc national d’Aiguebelle : « Marchez sur des milliards d’années ».  2003,  by   Goutier, J., Melançon, M.  1 microfilm ( 2002-01).

GT 92-01 - Minéraux du mont Saint-Hilaire, Québec.  1992, by   Remick, J. H., Bellemare, Y.  1 Colour Poster, 96,5 X 63 cm Format. 1 microfilm ( 92-01).

GT 88-01 - Mont Saint-Hilaire, une des collines montérégiennes. 1988,  by   Lasalle, Y. 1 Colour Poster, 63 X 96.5 cm Format. 1 microfilm ( 88-01).

GT 003 - La chute Montmorency. 1968, by Bureau, R., Riva, J.  23 pages.  1 microfilm ( 003).

GT 002 - L’histoire géologique de la région de Percé. 1968, by McGerrigle, H. W.  34 pages.  Map 1627 (Scale 1/63 360). 1 microfilm ( 002).

And finally, a geological heritage poster provides an overview of several of these sites:

GT 2007-03 - Le patrimoine géologique du Québec. 2007, by MRNF ( 2007-03).

Tantalum: a responsive market

Martin Labrecque, Charles Maurice, Denis Raymond,
Patrice Roy and N'Golo Togola

What is it?

Tantalum (symbol Ta, atomic number 73) is a blue-grey metal that is dense (16.7 g/cm3), ductile, very hard, corrosion-resistant and a good conductor of heat and electricity. Due to its physical properties, tantalum plays an increasingly important role in the fields of electronics and superalloys.

Tantalite is the main ore mineral for tantalum. There are several other lesser tantalum ore minerals, namely microlite, wodginite, euxenite, polycrase and columbite-tantalite. Tantalum is also commonly found in niobium minerals (pyrochlore, loparite).

At the beginning of the 1800s, it was even thought that tantalum and niobium were the same element.


In 2008, more than 70 % of the world’s tantalum was used in metallic powder form to manufacture electronic components, mainly capacitors. Tantalum is also used as an additive in superalloys (aeronautics industry), in the chemical industry, in the manufacture of surgical instruments and implants, and as a filter for x-rays in the field of optics.

Uses of world tantalum production in 2008

Source: USGS and Gippsland Ltd, 2010.

The tantalum market

The tantalum market, being relatively limited, is subject to rapid and sporadic changes. Adding just a few new mining projects can dramatically affect global supply, whereas just a handful of new tantalum-bearing products can significantly impact global demand. Price is directly affected by this mechanism of supply and demand.

The worldwide production of tantalum has grown considerably since the 1990s, particularly in response to the demand for high-tech components. Most of the global production of tantalum (70%) comes from mines in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda. About one third of the tantalum is derived from recycling processes or synthetic concentrates. About 2% of the world’s production comes from inventory accumulated during the technology bubble, before 2001.

Source: USGS, 2010. Provisional data.
* Does not include recycling activities or production from illegal mines (see below).

According to information from the mining company Global Advanced Metals, African countries represent about 40% of the world’s production of tantalum when the production from illegal mines is taken into account (about 700 tonnes in 2009). The real total for global tantalum mine production was therefore closer to 2,000 tonnes in 2008 and in 20092.

Illegal production3

Many illegal mines of “coltan” (short for columbite-tantalite, a mineral containing niobium and tantalum) operate in Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and other African countries. The supply from these mines enters global markets (mainly destined for China) and the proceeds are used to finance civil wars and the purchase of military equipment. The use of forced labour in the mines has been a contributing factor in keeping tantalum prices relatively low for many years. The industry and even some governments are setting up tracking methods that will identify the source of tantalum products and prevent the supply from illegal mines from entering the market.


Tantalum is not traded on the world’s regulated markets. Instead, it is governed by long-term agreements between mining companies, smelters and metal producers. The data for tantalum spot prices in specialized publications are only indicative of real prices and trends.

Sources : USGS and

Québec’s potential

In Québec, the most advanced project is the Crevier Project north of Lac Saint-Jean, held by Minière du Nord. With indicated resources of 25.8 Mt at 1,860 ppm Nb2O5 and 199 ppm Ta2O5, ongoing metallurgical tests, and a feasibility study expected in early 2011, the project is at the development stage.

Québec has a number of geological settings that are favourable for the discovery of tantalum-bearing deposits from which tantalum could be mined as the main or secondary economic substance. There are several deposit types in Québec that could contain tantalum4 and an overview of their distribution across the province is presented on rare metal mineralization maps (PDF Format, 1,78 Mb (

Type 1 :This type of mineralization is associated with lithium-bearing granitic pegmatites that may or may not contain tantalum. In Québec, mineralization of this type is found only in the Superior Province and the Abitibi-Témiscamingue and James Bay regions. It is the same type of mineralization as the Tanco mine in Manitoba. The potential for new discoveries in Québec is excellent, namely in the James Bay region. Several lithium showings have not yet been systematically analyzed for tantalum or niobium. An example would be the Rose deposit, in the James Bay region, which also contains tantalum resources.

Type 2 : This type of mineralization is associated with syenite and carbonatite complexes. It is the most favourable context for discovering tantalum mineralization. The Crevier and Niocan projects, and the Niobec mine, all belong to this type. The potential for discovering new carbonatites in Québec is high, especially in the north of the province, where geoscientific information is less detailed.

Type 3 : This type of mineralization is associated with hyperalkaline intrusive complexes. They contain rare earth elements as the main substances, but may also yield significant tantalum and niobium grades.

Undetermined type : Several niobium and tantalum showings that do not fall into any of the above-mentioned genetic deposit types have been identified within the Grenville Province of Québec. A more in-depth examination of the geological settings hosting these showings could lead to the discovery of atypical deposits.


United States Geological Survey (USGS), 2010. Colakis, M. and Joan, M., Classical mythology & more, 2007.


According to Roskill Information Services, the world production of tantalum was 2,430 tonnes Ta in 2008.


Roskill Information Services, USGS, and The Wall Street Journal.


Classification according to Boily and Gosselin, 2004 – report ET 2004-01.

Drop by the Québec booth at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) 2011 convention

Come and discover Québec’s mineral potential and explore the future!

Sylvain Lacroix and Christian Fortin,
Géologie Québec

From March 6 to 9, 2011, representatives from the mining sector of the Ministère des Ressources Naturelles et de la Faune (MRNF) will be in Toronto to promote Québec’s mineral potential and other competitive advantages at the annual international convention of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC), the world’s largest convention for the mineral exploration industry.

It will be hard to miss the Québec display, which will be the third biggest booth among the thousand or so exhibitors! Both generalists and experts will be on hand to welcome you and provide information about the province’s mineral potential and all the incentives and advantages to investing in exploration in Québec.

At the display, visitors will be able to search geoscience databases, obtain new information, and even acquire mining titles on new targets to be unveiled for the first time at the convention! Those in charge of the SIGEOM and GESTIM Plus systems will also be present to answer any questions.



Delegates will also be able to learn about the 18 geoscience projects that took place in 2010 and others still underway in the province, as well as the most recent Géologie Québec publications. A wealth of information on Québec’s mineral potential will be at your fingertips! For a preview, read the article “Québec’s new surveys, geoscience publications and exploration targets” (

Geologists specializing in the identification of geological, geochemical and geophysical targets will be available to provide details about their newly identified targets and the methods used to identify them.

Presentation of an innovative methodology involving the re-analysis of lake-bottom sediments to identify new geochemical exploration targets

As part of the Innovation Forum on March 7 and 8, 2011, co-organized by the PDAC and the Canadian Association of Mining Equipment and Services for Export (CAMESE), Géologie Québec will present an innovative methodology recently used in Québec to identify exploration targets.

Daniel Lamothe, the geologist in charge of the project, will explain how approximately 3,000 targets were identified by updating and processing a province-wide secondary environment geochemistry database that was enhanced by re-analyzing some 27,000 lake-bottom sediment samples from the Baie-James region. The locations and descriptions of the latter targets are already or will soon be available in Google Earth format from both GESTIM and the Mineral resource maps of the MRNF website (

Add this presentation to your PDAC agenda: Monday, 11:20, Hall D – Aisle 1300, Booth 1349

Support for mining companies

Again this year, visitors can learn more about the support offered to mining companies. The support program was set up to provide answers about obtaining the permits, certificates and rights needed to carry out mining ventures in Québec, for everything from exploration to rehabilitation. The role of the MRNF as supporter is to facilitate the development of a mining project while promoting full compliance with any applicable acts and regulations, directives, and established standards.

Showcasing our partners

To showcase its partners in the Québec mining industry, the MRNF will share its booth with long-standing partners: the Cree Mineral Board, the Fonds d’Exploration Minière du Nunavik, the Corporation de Promotion du Développement Minéral de la Côte-Nord, DIVEX, SOQUEM and CONSOREM, as well as the Association de l’Exploration Minière du Québec, who co-organize the Québec Exploration convention.


Drop by and see us at the PDAC convention! The coffee’s on us!

Symposium Mines Baie-James 2011: an event not to miss!

May 30-31, Chibougamau
June 1, Mistissini

Patrick Houle and Sylvain Lacroix,
Géologie Québec

The Chapais-Chibougamau branch of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) is collaborating with the Nord-du-Québec office of the Ministère des Ressources Naturelles et de la Faune (MRNF), the Bureau d’Exploration Géologique du Québec, also with the MRNF, the company Développement Chibougamau, and the Cree Nation of Mistissini to organize an important mining symposium on May 30-31 and June 1, 2011 to be held in Chibougamau (May 30-31) and Mistissini (June 1). The goal of this symposium is to increase awareness and understanding about the Baie-James region and its main stakeholders, and to help develop its extraordinary mineral potential.


During this gathering, participants will present new data and the most up-to-date interpretations for the geological settings of five areas of interest in the Baie-James area. These areas are favourable for base metals (copper, zinc), precious metals (gold, silver) and rare metals (lithium and rare earths), in addition to iron, uranium and diamonds.

The program will consist of three conference sessions:

  • Geology and mineral potential in the Chapais-Chibougamau area;
  • Geology, mineral potential and social issues in the Troilus-Nemaska-Éléonore areas; and
  • Status of advanced projects in the Monts Otish area.

Consult the program (PDF Format, 150 Kb ( )

Abstract (PDF Format, 276 Kb (


Take advantage of this unique event to discover new exploration targets in our vast province, still full of opportunities. To register, fill the form (Word Format, 162 Kb (

Map of Ville de Chibougamau (Format PDF, 90,5 Ko (

Accomodation (Format PDF, 83 Ko ( (In French)

Thanks to our partners for their financial support (PDF Format, 86,1 Kb (

For more information, please contact:

Patrick Houle (
Sylvain Lacroix (


Québec Exploration 2010: Record Attendance

Gladys Chamberland, MRNF
Direction des communications

Québec Exploration 2010 achieved record attendance with nearly 2,400 visitors and an increase of more than 10% in registered participants over last year. The conference's eighth edition was a resounding success, which confirms the importance of this annual gathering of Québec's mining-exploration stakeholders!


Timely Theme

The 2010 conference unfolded around the theme of Creating Collective Wealth, which is quite timely according to the honorary chair, Sean Roosen, President and Chief Executive Officer of Osisko Mining Corporation. During the press conference kicking off Québec Exploration 2010, Roosen commented that “the sharing of Québec's underground resources is an essential subject." He went to state that "it is important to recall that minerals and metals have no value without the mobilization of scientists and the talent of geologists and engineers, the vision of entrepreneurs, the calculated risks of investors, and the energy and know-how of more 50,000 competent and courageous Quebecers who work in the industry."

Rich Program Content

The conference's program included nearly 50 presentations, workshops, and interactive sessions on themes related to the various aspects of mineral exploration. Some of the main topics included mineral potential in the James Bay region and Grenville Province, financing for exploration, innovation, and the social issues related to mineral exploration.

Each year, Québec Exploration showcases Québec expertise in acquiring and disseminating geoscientific knowledge. The work carried out by the Ministère in evaluating and developing Québec's mineral potential results in significant investments in mineral exploration. This year, nearly 700 new exploration targets—primarily in Northern Québec —were unveiled in what is an outstanding example of creating collective wealth. Mining rights for most of these targets were rapidly acquired, sending a clear signal of confidence in the geological work carried out by the Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune (MRNF).

Multifaceted Exhibition

The exhibition component featured 44 geoscientific exhibitors and more than 115 trade exhibitors, along with 6 exhibitors from the educational field. In short, Québec Exploration stands out as an exceptional showcase for the field's stakeholders.


Each year, Québec Exploration highlights excellence in exploration. During the awards ceremony, the Association de l’exploration minière du Québec presented seven recognition awards, including the prestigious Prospector of the Year, which, in 2010 was awarded to Minéraux Rares Quest for its discovery of the B-Zone deposit. MRNF presented its celebrated Marteau d’or award to metallogenist Claude Dion, with the Bureau de l'exploration géologique at Géologie Québec. The Association québécoise des sciences de la Terre (AQUEST) awarded a scholarship to Anouk Lemieux, a student at Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM).

  • For the complete list of 2010 recipients of AEMQ recognition award ( (in French)
  • Marteau d’or 2010 (
    communiques-detail.jsp?id=8751) press release (in French)
  • AQUEST (
    communiques-detail.jsp?id=8752) press release (in French)

Successful Open House

On the theme of earthquakes, the open house for the general public proved to be one of the week's highlights, in particular, the workshop conducted by one of the field's bright stars, seismologist Maurice Lamontagne from the Geological Survey of Canada. Visitors both large and small let themselves be whisked away into the fascinating world of geoscience.

Guided tours, encounters with prospectors, highly varied exhibitions, and impressive mineral collections combined to make this day a resounding success.

Québec Exploration 2010: Survey Results at a Glance

Gladys Chamberland et Christian Fortin,
Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune

In the weeks following Québec Exploration 2010, attendees were invited to respond to an online survey. Conference organizers were hoping to elicit their opinions about the event's organization and overall directions to better prepare future editions of Québec Exploration. The response rate of 28.3% was quite high. Our thanks to those who responded.

While the results are still being analyzed, some interesting figures have come to light.

  • For example, 25% of respondents attended Québec Exploration for the first time in 2010, whereas 17.4% were on their eighth time. Broken down according to language, the rates for French-speaking participants were 23% and 19%, respectively, compared to 35% and 7% for English-speaking attendees.
  • The majority of respondents (60%) had heard of Québec Exploration by word of mouth. The Web site and e-mail announcements tied for second as the most visible promotional methods according to 28% and 27% of respondents (note that respondents could select more than one response).
  • Ninety-seven percent of respondents said that they were satisfied (37%) or very satisfied (60%) with the quality of services offered by the staff.
  • As for the program, 98% of respondents indicated that it suited them well or perfectly (well: 40%; perfectly: 58%).
  • Participants indicated that Québec Exploration's three most important components were the geoscientific program (64%), the trade show (61%), and partnering and networking (56%).
  • The most popular topics on the program were current and future exploration projects (77% of respondents); new exploration targets (65% of respondents); and innovations, technology, and R&D (60% of respondents).

Detailed analysis of the survey results is under way. Conclusions drawn from it will help guide future editions of Québec Exploration. Why not block off November 21–24, 2011 on your calendar right now for the 9th edition of Québec Exploration at the Château Frontenac?

Mineral activity highlights in Québec

A revamped report for a more complete snapshot of the industry

James Moorhead, Patrice Roy and Pierre Doucet,
Géologie Québec

The Annual Report on Mineral Activities in Québec is undergoing even more changes! After a complete makeover in 2009, a number of new adjustments were made to the 2010 version. We have now added many useful statistics presented as graphs and tables. The updated 2011 version will notably contain the most recent data about mining and mineral exploration investments, the value of mine product shipments, and employment in the mining industry.

You will also be able to read highlights about mining and mineral exploration activities in Québec, as well as information on all aspects of mining-related developments, including the mining regime and land protection, geoscience work, mineral exploration, mine development, mining, and mine rehabilitation.

Since 2008, the annual report has been available free-of-charge in PDF format from the MRNF website ( .

Let us know what you would like to see in the Annual Report on Mineral Activities in Québec. The fine-tuning of this vital document will continue in 2011, so don’t hesitate to send us your comments and suggestions!