Abdelali Moukhsil, Fabien Solgadi et Patrice Roy
Ministère des Ressources naturelles
From 2010 to 2013, the Bureau de l’exploration géologique du Québec (BEGQ) carried out geoscience knowledge acquisition projects in the Daniel-Johnson (Manic 5) reservoir region, north of the city of Baie-Comeau (Figure 1). In all, $5,1M has been invested in this region to develop its mineral potential.
The region was covered by aeromagnetic geophysical surveys with a line spacing of 300 m. The surveys, which were conducted in 2012 and 2013, provided new detailed geological information to support prospecting and regional mapping (Figure 2).
From 2010 to 2013, geological surveys at a scale of 1:50,000 covered a surface area of 28,000 km2, corresponding to the area covered by 23 NTS map sheets. This broad-scale mapping work deepened our understanding of the regional geology in terms of lithology, stratigraphy and geochronology, and led to the discovery of many new mineral showings, mineral targets and sites for dimension stone and ornamental stone (46). The MRN work uncovered new showings for a wide range of mineral substances, thereby increasing the mineral potential of the region. These new discoveries are presented in Figure 3 and in tables 1 and 2.
The Ni-Cu mineralization is associated with mafic to ultramafic rocks, related or not to anorthositic suites. The host rock is either a dyke or a small intrusion of plagioclase peridotite, olivine pyroxenite, gabbronorite or gabbro. These rocks contain 1 to 3% disseminated to semi-massive sulphides (pyrrhotite, chalcopyrite, pentlandite and pyrite). The host rocks were injected into, or are in contact with, paragneiss.
PGE mineralization was discovered in a 1-m-thick boudin of ultramafic rock, hosted in amphibolitized garnet-gabbronorite. The boudin is composed of fine-grained, foliated and magnetic pyroxenite. Mineralization is characterized by traces of malachite on altered surface and fine dissemination (3 to 5%) of chalcopyrite, pyrrhotite and pyrite.
Magmatic-type Ni-Cu mineralization consisting of approximately 5% sulphides (pyrite, chalcopyrite, pyrrhotite) was discovered in an erratic boulder of clinopyroxenite. The mineralization is present as disseminations or as fine veinlets ranging in length from centimetres to metres.
Hydrothermal (epigenetic) mineralization of lesser importance is associated with late fractures in the host rock (gabbronorite). Sulphide mineralization (2 % chalcopyrite, 3% pyrrhotite and 1% pyrite) is present in disseminated form, or as thin veinlets along small fractures. The extent and number of these fractures have not yet been documented.
The newly discovered iron-titanium showings are of magmatic origin and hosted in anorthositic suites as centimetre- to metre-scale layers. They are also associated with clinopyroxene-, amphibole- and garnet-bearing gabbros, and with foliated porphyroclastic garnet- and magnetite-bearing norites. Vanadium (vanadiferous magnetite) and phosphate (apatite) may also be associated with iron and titanium in these showings. The main oxides are hemo-ilmenite and magnetite. Inclusion-free ilmenite and traces of sulphides (pyrite, chalcopyrite, pyrrhotite) and hematite locally accompany the oxide mineralization.
Rare earth showings were discovered during the mapping programs. The demand for these elements continues to grow thanks to their many uses (hybrid and electric cars, smart phones, plasma screens, the wind turbine industry, electromagnets, etc.).
In Québec, rare earths are most commonly found in alkaline or peralkaline intrusive complexes (carbonatite, granite, syenite, pegmatite). They are also associated with polymetallic iron oxide mineralization and skarns, and rarely with secondary environments (placers or paleoplacers). In the Manicouagan region (central Grenville Province, RG 2003-01, RG 2003-03, RG 2012-01), rare earth mineralization is found mainly in thorium-enriched granite pegmatites. A large volume of pegmatitic dykes has been observed in this region. These granitic pegmatite dykes (photos 1 and 2) range in thickness from 10 cm to 15 m across.
These rare earth pegmatitic dykes were injected into intrusions and metasedimentary rocks. Mineralization is magmatic in nature and the rare earth minerals are monazite, allanite, parisite, synchysite, apatite and zircon.
The region is well known for its graphite and sillimanite potential. Several economically important deposits have been discovered in the Manicouagan region and are still being evaluated to determine their reserves. We discovered new graphite showings associated with rusty paragneiss containing graphite-rich (2 to 20%) lenticular layers. Graphite is present as small laminated flakes, stacked and easily exfoliated, and also as small disseminated rods.
Sillimanite is also known to occur in this region. During our work, several showings were discovered, typically in the same geological units containing the graphite-rich lenses (paragneiss). Good mineral potential for sillimanite (SM) was noted in the Grand Lac du Nord region to the east of the Manicouagan Reservoir. The observed sillimanite zones range from several metres wide (1 to 15 m) to several kilometres long (0.5 to 4 km). Sillimanite accounts for up to 30% of the rock, with grades up to 21% Al2O3, and it occurs in fibrous form or as fibrolite sprays.
Several sites with dimension stone potential were identified during our work. All the sites have easy access and contain a significant volume of stone with locally acceptable quality. The targets represent intrusive rocks, such as greenish quartz mangerite, charcoal grey porphyritic to porphyroblastic garnet-bearing granite, and greenish porphyritic mangerite. The information on these targets is available on the MRN website via E-Sigeom à la carte, under the entry “Construction materials and industrial stones”.
A target for ornamental stone was discovered, which may be of interest for its quality. It represents a dyke of undeformed, massive megaporphyritic leuconorite, several tens of metres thick, with large labradorite phenocrysts. It could be suitable as an ornamental stone due to the play of colours in its labradorite crystals, which range from 2 to 20 cm long and account for up to 33% of the rock. The crystals display primarily blue iridescence and are characterized by colour zoning (vivid iridescent colours with shades of green, blue, or green and orange), which varies depending on the angle of the light hitting the rock’s surface. The dyke is of sufficient volume to warrant interest and the zone containing iridescent labradorite is at least 20 m long over a height of roughly 1 to 2 metres with a moderate slope. The labradorite crystals appear be of semi-precious stone quality, but further study is required.
Zinc mineralization, mainly found in the western part of the Grenville Province, is associated with Mississippi Valley-type (SEDEX-type) carbonate rocks and metasedimentary rocks. In the Manicouagan region, a zinc showing was discovered in rusty biotite-, graphite- and sphalerite-bearing paragneisses associated with marbles.
Gold mineralization is less well known in the Grenville Province. Showings have been reported, among other places, in the small greenstone belt in the Escoumins region (Côte-Nord). A gold showing was discovered in the Manicouagan region on the eastern shore of the Outardes 4 Reservoir. The host rock is an olivine pyroxenite, associated with a locally layered norite, containing plagioclase xenocrysts. The analyzed sample from this showing yielded grades of 0.76 ppm Au (Actlabs laboratory) and 0 ppm Au (ALS Minerals laboratory). This discrepancy may be explained by the nugget effect, which is common to this type of mineralization, or by sample contamination.
Molybdenum mineralization has been discovered along the margins of a white pegmatite dyke of granitic composition (1 to 3 cm thick) at the contact with a gabbronorite. The mineralization consists of large molybdenite crystals (1 to 3 cm) with lamellar structure. Molybdenite mineralization associated with granite pegmatites has been documented in the southwest part of the Grenville Province. This type of mineralization is considered to be post-tectonic and to have crystallized at low temperatures from water-undersaturated liquid.
All this information will soon be synthesized in a geological study. The study will be multidisciplinary, covering several subjects that will assist in understanding the geology and economic potential of this region.
Annie Bérubé, Ministère des Ressources naturelles
The first edition of Québec Mines INTERNATIONAL was a resounding success. This new component, created as a means of presenting Québec’s mineral exploration and mine development expertise, also provided a unique opportunity for Québec goods and service suppliers to network with order-givers, mostly from West Africa.
The program, on the topic of Science - Innovation – Society, addressed issues relating to responsible mine development with a view to achieving sustainability. This theme also helped distinguish Québec Mines INTERNATIONAL from the other international congresses, which were more scientific, economic or industrial in nature.
In all, more than 130 people from 20 different countries took part in Québec Mines INTERNATIONAL activities.
In additional, Québec Mines INTERNATIONAL hosted the first-ever International Forum for Young Leaders in Responsible Mine Development. The 30 participants discussed the main issues of mine development, and also expressed their concerns and discussed potential solutions, based on the principle that responsible, well-thought-out mine development is a way to improve quality of life at the national, regional and world levels. They made a total of 15 recommendations that will be brought to the attention of the Institut de la Francophonie pour le développement durable (IFDD), a subsidiary body of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), and the Réseau Normalisation et Francophonie (RNF), both of which were partners in the international component of Québec Mines.
Lastly, the Québec Government took advantage of Québec Mines INTERNATIONAL to plan a number of bilateral meetings with international delegations and consular representatives from Burkina Faso, Gabon, Cameroon, France and Russia. At the meetings, participants discussed real possibilities for exchanges of good practices, along with opportunities for cooperation highlighting Québec’s expertise and likely to generate positive economic spin-offs for Québec.
The success of the 2013 edition of Québec Mines INTERNATIONAL will allow us to build the 2014 international component on a larger scale. This not-to-be-missed event will be of interest to participants from Québec and from other countries. Keep an eye on the program!
Ministère des Ressources naturelles
Québec Mines Newsletter – Your career path is very impressive. How did you come to deal with the mining sector?
Pierre Lortie – When I did my engineering course, my first job was at the Lake Dufault mine near Rouyn-Noranda. When I went back, I specialized in engineering physics, but the mining experience was a good one, and a key one. Financing for mining activities, whether for exploration, planning or development, is obtained mainly from the financial markets. As Vice-President of the Montreal Stock Exchange, and later as President, one of my ongoing concerns was market access for junior companies and the place of Montreal as a financial centre.
More recently, I became involved in the development of the Bloom Lake iron ore mine. It’s one of very few mines to have been developed in Québec, in recent years, by an independent junior mining company – the other was Osisko. The experience gave me another perspective. It was an interesting challenge, and all the more so because it was brought to fruition.
QMN – Do you work at the provincial or international level?
PL – You can’t do any significant mine development in Québec without using both the Canadian and the international markets, whether for financing or for strategic partners. Developing a moderately important mine in Québec requires financing of between $1 billion and $1.5 billion.
QMN – Today, what is the connection between your duties and the mining sector?
PL – Dentons Canada is very active in the resource sector: petroleum, gas, mining, and so on. Several of my colleagues at the Montreal office are involved with mining sector mandates abroad, especially in Africa. The work, which requires expertise from Québec professionals, is done for international development agencies, governments that want to set up modern legal and regulatory frameworks, and mining companies.
QMN – From an economic standpoint, how would you describe the mining sector in Québec?
PL – It’s an important sector for several reasons. First, for the number of direct jobs in the sector. And second, for its expertise. Québec has traditionally ascribed a lot of importance to resource-related scientific and technical education, especially in the fields of geology, metallurgy and mine engineering. The effort has been considerable and sustained. Today, Québecers can be found in mining projects in Latin America and throughout the world. You don’t have to travel much to realize just how many Canadians work in the mining sector abroad. Everyone wins when these Québecers, who have expertise and experience, are given the opportunity to shine in Québec.
Peripheral to the mining sector, we also have the engineering services industry, the geophysics and geology industries, and equipment suppliers who export their products throughout the world. It’s also important to note that, for some metals, Québec imports ore that is subsequently refined and processed here. This is an important fact which is often forgotten in the debate regarding the use of our mineral resources.
QMN – Every year, Québec Mines opens its doors to the general public, on the Wednesday afternoon. What would you like Congress visitors to remember from their visit?
PL – I think the recent debates on the mining sector have generated an unfavourable impression, one that isn’t fair. It’s unfortunate, and we need to try and correct it. Also, what bothers me is that there are virtually no mining companies with head offices in Québec. Personally, I think that’s regrettable. We need a better balance, not by limiting the activities and expansion of Canadian or foreign companies in Québec – on the contrary – but by encouraging and promoting the development of mining companies from Québec that are active throughout the world. We’ve had some successes, in particular Osisko, whose head office is in Montreal, and Virginia Mines, which is based in Québec City. These companies set good examples for others to copy. We need a lot more like them, and that means promoting and appreciating the value of mining entrepreneurship.
Jean-Yves Labbé, Ministère des Ressources naturelles
As in previous years, the Ministère des Ressources naturelles will be present at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada Convention (PDAC 2014), on March 2 to 5 next. If you are there, come and visit the Québec Government booth. Past visitors already know the booth is easy to find! Otherwise, simply look for exhibit spaces 222 and 223 on the Convention plan.
You can talk about development, assistance and support with representatives of the Ministère. They will be available to answer questions about tax issues, the new Mining Act and the Gestim PLUS system. You will also have an opportunity to talk to exploration and geological information specialists who will be pleased to discuss a variety of issues with you, including:
Monday, March 3, 1:30 p.m., Room 104 A, Northern Building, Metro Toronto Convention Centre
Don’t miss the information session organized by the MRN on the modernization of the public mining development framework, business opportunities and projects currently underway in Québec. The program will begin with a speech by Martine Ouellet, Québec’s Minister of Natural Resources, on the place of the mining industry in Québec. This will be followed by other conferences on the following topics:
We look forward to seeing you in Toronto!
Charlotte Grenier, Ministère des Ressources naturelles.
The Québec Mines Congress will, of course, be back, on November 17 to 20, 2014. This will be the 35th consecutive annual rendezvous for Québec’s mining industry organized by the Ministère des Ressources naturelles (MRN)! The organizing committee is already working to prepare a rich and varied program that will meet your expectations, regardless of whether you are from the exploration, mine operation or supply sector, or whether you are a student, researcher or teacher, from Québec or abroad.
Québec Mines is the product of a partnership based on collaboration and shared expertise. The Ministère des Ressources naturelles relies on the valuable contributions of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum, the Association minière du Québec, the Comité sectoriel de main-d'œuvre de l'industrie des mines, the Institut national des mines, Québec international, Misa and 48e nord international to prepare the different components of its program.
Once again in 2014, the Québec Mines exhibition will include a commercial component! With its geoscience exhibition, government marketplace, international salon and, of course, its commercial exhibition, the Congress will offer a host of opportunities for discussion and networking. It will truly be a showcase for Québec’s mining sector expertise.
Reserve your site before March 31, 2014, and obtain a 15% discount.* The regular cost of a 10 ft x 10 ft booth space is $2,500 + taxes. This includes two passes for the exhibition hall, plus one pass for the Congress.
In addition, you may choose your location by consulting the exhibition plan.
For further information, please contact:
Phone: 1 866 249-0649, ext. 4533
We look forward to seeing you at Québec Mines 2014!
*Payment within 30 days
Gladys Chamberland, Ministère des Ressources naturelles.
AS mineral resources are present throughout Québec and constitute social wealth for present and future generations;
AS mining has helped forge Québec’s identity and should continue to be a source of pride;
AS it is necessary to promote the optimal use of mineral resources in order to create as much wealth as possible for the people of Québec;
AS it is necessary to engage in mineral development in a manner respectful of the environment;
AS it is necessary to promote development that is associated with Québec communities and integrated into their environment;
AS it is necessary to pursue sustainable diversification of the regions’ economies.
After four bills and three public consultations over a four-year period, the Québec Government’s last parliamentary work period ended on December 10, 2013, with the adoption and coming into force of the Act to amend the Mining Act (Bill 70).
The purpose of the new Act is to promote mining activity with a view to achieving transparency and sustainable development. Among other things, its provisions ensure that the people of Québec will receive a fair share of the wealth created by mining operations, taking into account other potential land uses; that mining operations will benefit future generations; that natural resource exploration, extraction and processing expertise is developed in Québec; that more information is obtained from mining companies, and made public; and that the rights and interests of Aboriginal communities are taken into account.
The main changes introduced by the new Act are presented below, according to whether they affect the economic, environmental or social aspects of sustainable mine development.
The measures affecting the economic aspect of sustainable development will help maximize the economic spinoffs from mining activity in Québec, and stimulate mine exploration and operations.
The new Act contains several measures that will help protect the environment. Among other things, a mining lease cannot be granted until public consultations have been held, and until a rehabilitation and restoration plan has been approved for the site.
A mining lease cannot now be granted until a rehabilitation and restoration plan for the site has been approved by the Minister of Natural Resources, and until the certificate of authorization required in the Environment Quality Act has been issued.
The Act updates the system of penal sanctions by significantly increasing certain fines, among other things to bring them into line with those stipulated in the Environment Quality Act.
The new Act innovates by introducing a host of measures designed to promote better communications with citizens affected by mining activities, and to ensure that mining projects are integrated smoothly into their environment.
To see the full text of the Act to amend the Mining Act, assented to on December 10, 2013, click here.
Caroline Thorn, Ministère des Ressources naturelles
The new interactive map of mining data was created in November 2012. Its purpose was to make basic geological and mining data more accessible to a broader client base. A paper was published in the Québec Mines Newsletter in February 2013, describing the map.
Since then, the SIGEOM steering team has continued to enrich the map’s content and improve its functionalities. Thanks to your comments, we have been able to adjust some of its components and transform it into a tool that better addresses your needs. Below are the main innovations and improvements introduced so far, along with a preview of some of the aspects we intend to develop in the coming months.
Some new data layers have been added in recent months. Among other things, you now have access to the indexed report survey areas in the SIGEOM-Examine geoscientific library holding (surveys). We have cut them into four layers, so as to maintain an acceptable display time and avoid too many overlays.
Morpho-sedimentological zone data for the following map sectors have also been added: 24H, 21E, 21L, 31H and 31I.
A new icon () allows you to consult the outstanding geological sites in Québec, as listed by Géologie Québec.
More data are constantly being added to the interactive map. In the last year, more than 5,000 new drilling sites, 160 new indicators, deposits and ore bodies and more than 700 public documents have been indexed and scanned into SIGEOM-Examine (surveys).
Geophysical data coverage (vertical gradient and magnetic field) has also been extended. It now includes the sectors south-west of Fermont, the Churchill Province and others.
The interactive map displays data in real time, meaning that you are able to take immediate advantage of the many updates made to ensure the integrity of our data (see the paper entitled Notions of Integrity in Geological Compilation, published in the June 2013 Québec Mines newsletter).
As of the end of December 2013, it is now possible to share a map with other users. You have three choices when you click on the Share button:
* The heading and menu are not displayed, so that the map easier to integrate.
To help you make the most of SIGEOM, we are going to provide a link between the classical search function (via SIGEOM on the map) and the interactive map. As a result, in a few weeks’ time you will be able to display every localized element obtained in the results of a SIGEOM search on the interactive map.
In addition, we are planning to add the following layers:
From mid-December 2013 to mid-January 2014, the organizing committee conducted an online survey of its clients to evaluate the rate of satisfaction among Québec Mines 2013 participants and to find out the opinion of its clients (participants and non-participants) on various aspects of the convention. For an overview of the results, see our summary of your feedback on the Québec Mines website.