June 2013    Print this article

Québec geoscience programming in 2013

Patrice Roy and Charles Maurice
Ministère des Ressources naturelles

Québec’s geological exploration bureau, the Bureau de l’exploration géologique du Québec (BEGQ), is responsible for acquiring and processing geoscience knowledge across the province. In 2013–2014, the BEGQ plans to carry out 22 projects in Québec. These projects were made possible thanks to the mining heritage component of the Natural Resources Fund, which is financed by mining taxes. This year, almost $12 million will be invested in geoscience work, and an additional amount of $250,000 will fund the mapping of Quaternary deposits in areas targeted by the municipal groundwater knowledge acquisition program (PACES: Programme d’acquisition de connaissances sur les eaux souterraines du Québec municipalisé). The 22 projects for acquiring new geoscience knowledge will include seven geological surveys, one of which will be a drilling program, five geophysical surveys, three geochemical projects, and seven Quaternary surveys. Mineral potential studies are also part of the plan.

Geological surveys

The seven geological surveys are the continuation of already started projects. The goal is to increase knowledge and stimulate exploration in northern Québec and mining regions.

The Churchill–Pyramid Camp project (Project No. 1) is the third year of a five-year mapping plan at a scale of 1:250,000 in the Churchill geological province. In 2013–2014, the project will cover the area southeast of Kuujjuaq, that is, the northeastern part of NTS map sheet 24G and the map sheet 24H.

Two geological surveys will be carried out in the Baie-James area. The Baie-James–Lac des Voeux project (No. 2) covers the eastern extension of the Keyano, Guyer and Corvette volcanosedimentary units. The Baie-James–Lac Pellatan project (No. 3) will focus on better defining the boundary between the La Grande Subprovince to the north and the Opinaca Subprovince to the south.

The Grenville–Okaopeo project (No. 4) consists of mapping at a scale of 1:50,000 to complete the geological synthesis of map sheet 22K. The mineral potential of this region is highly variable and appears to be related mainly to granitic rocks.

A geological survey at a scale of 1:20,000 will be carried out northwest of Chapais (No. 5), in an area with known gold potential, as the continuation of the 2012 project. It will involve mapping part of the contact between the Abitibi and Opatica subprovinces.

The revision of 1:20,000 maps in the Malartic area (No. 6) will continue in the southeast quadrants of NTS map sheets 32D/08 and 32D/01. This work will bridge the gap between mapping work conducted in the western part of the Malartic Group and the mapping in the Val-d’Or Formation to the east. It will also improve the characterization of the Abitibi–Pontiac transition and of known gold and nickel mineralization in the area. This project is a collaborative effort with the Geological Survey of Canada, the Canadian Mining Innovation Council, and several university researchers and mining companies.

Geophysical surveys

The Rivière George South and Rivière George North projects (Nos. 8 and 9) will complete the airborne magnetic and spectrometric coverage of the Churchill Subprovince, south of Ungava Bay.

In addition, two projects started in 2012 will be completed. These are the Northern Ungava Orogen project (No. 8), an airborne magnetic and spectrometric survey covering the northern part of the Ungava Peninsula, and the Lac Vallard project (No. 10), an airborne magnetic survey covering the area west of Fermont at the contact between the Grenville and Superior provinces.

Finally, the Gouin project (No. 12) will cover the eastern part of the Gouin reservoir region. The exact area will be determined in the fall, following field surveys. The project will lay the groundwork for a mapping program in the area, which should begin in 2014.

Geochemical surveys

The Abitibi-East lake sediment sampling survey (Project No. 13) covers the Caopatina band, the Urban-Barry belt, and the Attic Complex at the southeast end of the Abitibi Subprovince. This area was never covered by lake sediment surveying and was only discontinuously covered by till and stream sediment sampling. It is also a relatively poorly explored area of the Abitibi Subprovince, which is renowned for its excellent mineral potential.

The Nord-East Lac Mistassini project (No. 14) is the only other area in northern Québec where no lake sediment analyses are available.

The Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean till analysis project follows up on regional till sampling carried out in 2010 as ancillary work to the PACES project. The goal of the project is to support exploration in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region.

Quaternary surveys

As part of a five-year knowledge acquisition plan in the Churchill geological province, south of Ungava Bay, the Churchill Quaternary mapping and surficial deposit sampling project (No. 1a) will continue in conjunction with the bedrock mapping project (No. 1). The Quaternary project will complete the initiative, which also included geophysical surveys, lake geochemistry surveys, and bedrock mapping, thereby providing an integrated knowledge base for this geological province.

In municipalized Québec, three 1:50,000 Quaternary deposit mapping projects (Nos. 16, 17, 18) that started in 2012 will continue in 2013. These projects will cover the Charlevoix, Nicolet–Saint-François and Chaudière regions. In addition, other projects will be carried out in the Vaudreuil-Soulanges region (No. 19) and the St-Lawrence Lowlands (No. 20). All these projects are intended to support PACES, the MDDEP’s provincial groundwater knowledge acquisition program. Project 16 will be part of a collaboration between the MRN, Université Laval and Université du Québec à Chicoutimi. Projects 17, 18 and 19 will be conducted by Université du Québec à Montréal, while project No. 20 will be carried out as a partnership between the Geological Survey of Canada and UQTR.

Finally, an inventory of aggregate (sand and gravel) resources will also be conducted for the communities of Quaqtaq and Kangiqsujuaq (Project No. 21), in response to a request from the Ministère des Affaires municipales, des Régions et de l’Occupation du territoire (MAMROT). The goal of the inventory is to supply resources needed for the construction of new infrastructure in Nunavik communities, particularly due to problems of melting permafrost.

Mineral potential studies

After five drilling programs in the bedrock and Quaternary deposits of the Rivière Bell and Rivière Octave region in the Abitibi, a more in-depth mineral potential study will be conducted in 2013-2014 (Project No. 22). The goal is to better understand the geometry and extent of Quaternary units in the region and to identify pathfinders for discovering new mineralization.

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