June 2012    Print this article

Twelve Students from France and Morocco attend the 2012 Abitibi field School

Patrice Roy, Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune
Denis Bois, Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue
Anne-Sylvie André-Mayer and Alain Cheilletz, Université de Lorraine, France

Since 2008, Québec’s Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune (MRNF), in partnership with the Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT), the Université de Nancy and the mining industry, has been organizing the field school entitled “Géologie en contexte nord-américain”(geology in a North American context). The internship program is designed specifically for geology graduates from French universities outside Québec, who come to perfect their practical training in the field in Abitibi-Témiscamingue, a world-renowned geological and mining region. This year, the fifth edition was held from May 13 to 25, with a cohort of twelve students from France and Morocco.


Group photo of students from the class of 2011 at the field school with a few professors.

The internship provides students with a practical application of the academic training they received in geology and with basic knowledge about rock and geological structures prospective for mineralization. It enables them to learn new concepts of the dynamics of geological events and to master modern geological fieldwork methods (observation, analysis, interpretation), while remaining grounded in direct observation and handling of geological materials. Finally, the course contributes to enhancing the students’ knowledge of North American geology.


Students examining a mineralized outcrop under the watchful eye of supervisors (west zone, Horne mine sector in Rouyn-Noranda).

During this course, students become familiar with copper and zinc deposits of volcanic origin and gold deposits associated with the Abitibi region’s well-known major faults (Cadillac-Larder Lake Break and Porcupine-Destor Fault). The students, registered at UQAT throughout the activities, receive three academic credits when they successfully complete the program. Each participant then works in a paid internship for three months as part of a geological team with the MRNF or a mining company.


Students learning how to take structural measurements properly in blocky tuff (Cap d’Ours, Rouyn-Noranda, university sector).

Several MRNF geologists, some of whom are also professors associated with UQAT, join teachers from that university, two French professors from the École nationale supérieure de géologie de Nancy and a Moroccan professor from the Université Moulay Ismaïl (Faculté des sciences de Meknès) in supervising the thematic activities, which include health, safety, transport and communication aspects.


Group of students listening to an explanation of replacement-type gold mineralization (trench on the Francoeur deposit in Rouyn-Noranda).

The Abitibi field school is an original initiative supported by Emploi Québec. It encourages the recruitment of qualified geologists from abroad, who would be in a position to rapidly and effectively meet the needs of the mining industry and government agencies. This unique program also helps to develop useful and solid relationships within the French-speaking community in the field of earth sciences.

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© Gouvernement du Québec, 2012