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MERN – Québec mines – Interview with Minister Luc Blanchette

July 2014    Print this article

Interview with
Minister Luc Blanchette

Jancimon Reid, Ministère de l'Énergie et des Ressources naturelles

Luc Blanchette was elected MNA for Rouyn-Noranda-Témiscamingue in the April 7 election, and was subsequently appointed Minister for Mines. The Québec Mines Newsletter team asked him some questions, to help readers get to know him better.

You’re new to politics, and our readers would like to know more about you and the path that brought you to this point. What can you tell us?

I have a Bachelor’s degree in economics from Sherbrooke University and a Master’s degree in project management from the Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue.

Until just before the elections, I’d worked for Service Canada as a regional economist for the previous 14 years, with responsibility for the Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Northern Québec and North Shore regions. I’ve always worked in regional economics, first in the Eastern Townships, then in Abitibi-Témiscamingue. I worked for the Abitibi-Témiscamingue Vocational Training Commission, and for the Office de planification et de développement du Québec (OPDQ), which is the ancestor of MAMROT. I was also self-employed for five years, working mainly for industrial commissariats, CLDs, SADCs, the Association des prospecteurs du Québec (ancestor of the AEMQ) and some federal and provincial government departments, and I taught economics from 1998 to 2014, at the Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue.

You’ve clearly had a flourishing career. Have you also had opportunities to become involved in your community?

I’ve always been involved. I was the Economics Department representative at Sherbrooke University before becoming President of the university’s student association. When I first arrived in Abitibi-Témiscamingue, I was President of the UQAM guest lecturers’ union. I was also my union’s representative on the Québec Teachers’ Federation and the CSN for five years.

In addition, I was President of the Rouyn-Noranda Family Centre, and chair of the Rouyn-Noranda health and social services commission board for ten years, and I was also treasurer of Québec’s association of health and social services institutions (AQESSS). That’s how I become known at the provincial level, and how I was approached to enter politics.

Which of your past experience will be most useful to you in your new position as Minister for Mines?

My detailed knowledge of the mine production sector will certainly be useful. Throughout my career, and in particular during my time as a regional economist, I had to produce reports on mining activities. So it’s a sector I know well, not only in terms of investments, wage bill or employment but also in terms of the professional structures of open-cast and underground mines. I’ve also worked at the provincial level on Aboriginal profiles. Finally, with the whole notion of social acceptability becoming so important, I had to estimate mine projects spinoffs.

I’ve always been a field economist and have forged good relationships with sector professionals from the MERN and from mining associations, including the Association de l’exploration minière du Québec and the sector-based labour committees.

Anyone who lives in Abitibi is obviously going to have more opportunities to visit mines, and will inevitably have friends who are geologists! I’m no exception to that.

How important do you think mines are, globally speaking, in 2014? What’s your vision of the sector?

Mine exploration is a global activity. Competition is everywhere, and Québec is just one of many mining areas. So even in Abitibi-Témiscamingue, the mining community has no option but to look at what’s happening elsewhere in the world, and how things are changing. All mine exploration and operational activities depend on this.

What’s your diagnosis of the mining sector in Québec?

I like to use valid data to support what I say. According to the last Fraser Institute report, we went from first place to fifth, then to eleventh, and just recently we’ve plummeted to 21st in the list of preferred mining territories for worldwide investors. We’re ranked sixth from the standpoint of geoscientific information and eleventh or twelfth in terms of workforce quality. We should be in first place! We have good geological and geoscientific expertise and good tools available to us.

The diagnosis is even more severe if we look at other aspects. For example, we’re ranked 55th for our regulatory framework. That’s really not very good! And for territorial access, we’ve dropped to 72nd. In other words, we have some challenges ahead and work to do, among other things to clarify our territorial access rules and simplify all our bureaucracy and regulations. We can make things easier without changing the law – and we won’t change the law because we want a stable mining industry.

It’s the same for royalties: they’re 16%, and will remain at that level, but we’re going to try to simplify the calculation method.

Briefly, my diagnosis is this: the mining industry has been through some difficult times in recent years, due among other things to legislative uncertainty. We need to restore the industry’s image and work on reviving the trust of investors.

Is there anything else you’d like to do during your term to restore stability to the mining sector?

We want to consult people from the industry, for example on how to simplify the regulatory framework. We’re going to resuscitate the advisory committee, composed of representatives from the mining industry, environmental groups, sector-based associations, universities and research centres. We also want to consult the Aboriginal communities and the municipalities, to make sure the rules are clearer and that mine development is respectful of the environment. My first task is to increase mining investments within a context of social acceptability, for both Aboriginal and local communities. And, of course, this has to be done with due respect for sustainable development and the environment.

Our Government has proposed to give some royalties back to the communities that host mining projects. Most of the royalties from mining will go into the Generations Fund to pay the future debt, but a certain percentage – we don’t know exactly how much as yet – will be given back to the host regions, to help prepare for or guard against deposit closures, which are inevitable. The money will be used for vocational training, economic diversification and tourism development among other things.

We’re also resuscitating the Plan Nord. We need to make sure the necessary road, rail and air infrastructures are in place and integrated with the maritime strategy. We have concentrates and primary processing products that we can ship throughout the world. The maritime strategy and the Plan Nord will serve as spearheads for the entire mining industry.

Social acceptability is now part of the Act. What does it mean to you?

Often, legislation is inspired by reality. In the past, companies as well as individuals acted in ways that now seem negligent and that are no longer acceptable Times have changed! People are much more environmentally aware. What we need now is to work with the very definition of sustainable development, on the social, economic and environmental aspects. It is not a mere choice, it is an obligation. Society demands it, and the Government is going to demand it. We need to make sure we have a win-win-win relationship: for companies, for the Government and for the host society. Now that’s an interesting challenge and goal!

In both Québec and the rest of Canada, there are projects that are very socially acceptable, on which everyone – Aboriginal communities, environmentalists, the industry workforce and the host society – agrees. Goldcorp’s Eleonore project in Northern Québec, with Crees of Weminji, and Royal Nickel project in Abitibi-Témiscamingue, with the Amos community, are good examples of this. We really need to start working upstream of projects. We need to meet with the people, understand their conditions, work on mitigation measures, and so on. That’s how we’ll achieve our win-win-win relationship!

As Minister responsible for Abitibi-Témiscamingue and Northern Québec, what do you think these two regions need the most?

The mining industry is concentrated in Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Northern Québec and the North Shore. I’m not responsible for the North Shore region, and I know there are some projects in other regions too, but in terms of mine development, these three regions are of particular concern to me. The industry demands a highly specialized workforce, so we need to make sure vocational training is available.

Another of my concerns relates to induced activities: stores, hotels, residences, etc. They’re really important too! It’s not up to the Government to build these kinds of facilities, but we need to make sure there’s a workforce available, and proper training, so they can be built. Growth-related problems are always a concern and must be addressed.

I’m also concerned about funding for exploration projects. We know it’s a high-risk sector, so we need to make sure investors have a positive perception, and we also need to create a certain amount of stability in Québec’s mine development sector. In addition, we need to look at what can be done to simplify processes and encourage investors, and we need to negotiate territorial access with municipalities and identify incompatible areas. These are all elements in a set of tasks that must be completed to revive economic activity. In other words, there are plenty of challenges. When I’ve done all this, I’ll have accomplished a large portion of my task.

The annual Québec Mines Congress, organized by the MERN, will be held again this year in November. As Minister for Mines, what do you expect of the event?
                                                            
I think the ultimate goal is to share expertise and geoscientific information. We’re a Government department; we aren’t the ones who develop mines. We can provide mineralogical indicators, but basically it’s the companies that need to show interest and take the initiative in developing projects. This year, I’d really like to see some good examples of social acceptability. I also think it would be interesting to promote the contextual aspect of mine development. Québec Mines offers a perfect opportunity not only to exchange knowledge, but also, at the same time, to gain information and assess good practices within the industry. I strongly believe the event is a golden opportunity to show that Québec is a great place for mine development investments.

In closing, if you had one message to convey to Québecers and mine sector stakeholders, what would it be?

If I were to talk directly to the general public, I’d reiterate the importance of the win-win-win concept. Basically, the public must be properly informed about mine projects, at both the implementation and the development stages. The industry knows it still has work to do to become known and provide better information for citizens. In addition, mining companies have a duty to do things well, and better. I've visited several mine development projects. There are some really good and really nice projects. I like the mining sector. Also, research, especially in mines and environment, is another area in which Québec stands out for the quality of its international research teams at UQAT and at Polytechnique.

My primary concern as Minister for Mines is that there should be investments, as well as good, environmentally respectful projects, a high level of social acceptability for host communities and local communities, and above all, involvement of Aboriginal communities from the start of the process. It’s in this way that mines will come to be regarded as a plus for the communities.

Lastly, there’s also a significant technological challenge, and mining companies must compete globally. We need to work on social acceptability and adopt better practices. The companies have reached this stage; they, too, want to become good corporate citizens. As Minister for Mines, my job will be to make sure people know more about the industry: there are definitely some misconceptions and a certain amount of misinformation as well. I’m going to make sure I give accurate, true and valid information, and set the record straight.

 

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MERN – Québec mines – Québec Mines 2014

July 2014    Print this article

Québec Mines 2014
A Rich and Varied Program: Mining Activity from Every Angle!

Gladys Chamberland, Ministère de l'Énergie et des Ressources naturelles

The organizers of Québec Mines are proud to present the preliminary program for Québec Mines 2014. The phrase “mining activity from every angle” truly summarizes the scope and diversity of Québec’s most complete mining congress. Below are some of the highlights.

Three main themes: More than 100 conferences, training sessions and workshops

This year, the Québec Mines program is divided into three separate themes: Economy, Environment and Society; Mining; and Geology and Exploration.

Economy, Environment and Society

Do not miss

The "Mines and Northern Aboriginal Communities" session – something for everyone

Many major mine development projects are, and will be, carried out in northern areas inhabited by Aboriginal communities. What do these communities expect of mine development? What are their concerns and hopes? How do mining companies address these concerns? Aboriginal community members and representatives of mining companies with activities in the North will present their views of these issues.

The conference sessions presented under this heading will address mining development in the North, the mining-related views of Aboriginal communities, mining companies and southern and northern communities, international and regional economic prospects for the mining sector, and the challenges of sustainable mine development.

The training sessions and workshops will focus in particular on the steps in a mining project, the art of intelligent, profitable networking and how well the educational supply addresses the mining sector’s needs. The program also includes a “human resources” day organized by the Institut national des mines and the Québec Mining Association, to which mining industry human resources representatives and public educational institution managers are invited for a series of networking activities and conferences on innovation in training.

Mining

The conference sessions in this category will consider the subject of mining from different angles: mine engineering, rock mechanics, mine restoration, ore processing, and workplace health and safety. As for the training sessions, they will focus on new mining sector technologies.

Geology and Exploration

The “Geology and Exploration” theme will include several sessions that are rich in content and innovation. Naturally, the most recent findings of the Ministère de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles (MERN) will be presented, including some from this summer (see the article on the geoscientific research program in Québec in 2014). Other subjects addressed will include advances in geophysical data processing, new intrusion-related mineralization targets, and the use of satellites and drones for exploration. The training sessions, given by MERN and CONSOREM experts, will examine geology in the Abitibi sub-province, technological advances in exploration, and new SIGÉOM applications.

An international component for all participants

Representatives from mining companies throughout the world will be present

Last year’s international component, the first of its kind, was a resounding success, and the activity will be back, stronger than ever, at Québec Mines 2014! Under this year’s new formula, the international activities will be built into the general program, meaning that all congress participants can take part. There will be numerous conferences on subjects of interest to everyone, including the social, environmental and economic aspects of sustainable mine development and implementation of the Plan Nord.  

So far, ten countries have confirmed their presence, and others are likely to join the list. Foreign order-givers will be on site to present their projects and needs to participants, and networking activities will be organized to facilitate the discussions.

Spotlight on Québec’s potential

Workshops have also been planned to help foreign participants learn more about the mineral and investment potential of Québec, how to proceed, the regulatory and tax environment, and the tools available to them, including the geological information systems. 

A large-scale exhibition: A true showcase for mine development

The Québec Mines 2014 exhibition hall will bring together exhibitors from every horizon, representing every sector of mine development activity: exploration, mining, research and development, financing, government, First Nations, and so on.

Be at the heart of the action: Reserve your booth today!

“Triple the Results of Your Exhibitions”

A free training session is offered exclusively to Québec Mines exhibitors by Face to Face Marketing.

If you haven’t yet reserved your space, it’s not too late. Visit the Exhibition page of the Québec Mines website.

Take advantage of this wonderful showcase to display your products and services, and take part in the daily networking activities!

An evolving program

If you like the look of the Québec Mines program, visit the event website for further information and add it to your list of favourites so that you can consult it regularly and follow the program and the event as they evolve. Now that the foundations have been laid, the team will continue to work on the details of the program, and to add the “little extras” that make the Québec Mines experience so memorable. We have several surprises in store for you! Follow us on Internet, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for a front-row seat.

Online registration is now available:

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MERN – Québec mines – Québec Geoscience Programming in 2014

July 2014    Print this article

Québec Geoscience Programming in 2014

Patrice Roy, Ministère de l'Énergie et des Ressources naturelles

Québec’s geological exploration bureau, the Bureau de la connaissance géoscientifique du Québec (BCGQ), is responsible for acquiring and processing geoscience knowledge with a perspective on the sustainable development of our province’s mineral resources. In 2014–2015, the BCGQ will carry out 22 projects related to geological knowledge acquisition or mineral potential assessment in Québec. These projects were made possible thanks to the mining heritage component of the province’s Natural Resources Fund, which is financed by mining taxes. This year, almost $12 million will be invested in geoscience work, to which will be added another $250,000 for 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 knowledge acquisition projects, illustrated in Figure 1, will include 8 geological surveys, 4 geophysical surveys, 7 Quaternary surveys, 1 inventory of industrial minerals and stones, and 2 mineral potential studies.

Geological surveys

Among the eight planned geological surveys in the program, five represent the continuation of projects initiated in previous years, and three are new. The goal for all these projects is to expand our knowledge base, particularly in poorly known regions, and to stimulate exploration in northern Québec and in mining regions.

The Churchill–Pyramid Camp project (No. 1) is in its third year of a five-year mapping plan in the Churchill geological province at a scale of 1:250,000. In 2014–2015, the project will cover the northern part of NTS map sheet 24A, the southern part of 24H, and the northeast part of 24B.

A geological survey will be carried out in the Lac Dalmas area of the James Bay region (project No. 2) as the continuation of the Lac des Voeux and Lac Pelletan projects. The work will complete an E-W transect at the boundary between the La Grande Subprovince to the north and the Opinaca Subprovince to the south.

The new Grenville–Gouin-Parent project at a scale of 1:50,000 (No. 3) will mark the first year of mapping the Haute-Mauricie region, which should take a about five or six years. Current information suggests a good potential for rare metals and for Fe-Ti-P and Ni-Cu mineralization.

The Lac Holmes project is also new. It will focus on the Attic Complex, a neglected area of the southeast Abitibi (project No. 4). A recent aeromagnetic survey over the area (DP2010-04) revealed characteristics that are suggestive of greenstone rocks, which do not appear on existing maps.

A geological survey at a scale of 1:20,000 will take place north of Chibougamau (project No. 5) as the continuation of last year’s project. It will involve mapping an area at the contact between the Abitibi and Opatica subprovinces that is considered prospective for gold and volcanogenic massive sulphide mineralization.

The Val-d’Or project (No. 6) follows up on the revision of 1:20,000 maps in the Malartic area. It will cover the southwest quadrant of NTS map sheet 32C/05 and the west quadrant of 32C/04. The project will bridge the gap between mapping work conducted in the western part of the Malartic Group and the Val-d’Or Formation to the east. This project is a collaborative effort with the Geological Survey of Canada, the Canadian Mining Innovation Council, and several university researchers and mining companies.

The Rimouski project (No. 7) will support the geological compilation of the Appalachian Province. This verification project is warranted now that this poorly known area has been opened up by new roads.

The Lac Saint-Jean project (No. 8), which began in 2013, will be finished this year. The focus is on the potential of granites for rare metal and stone resources.

Geophysical surveys

Part B of the Gouin project (No. 9) will cover the southeast area of the Gouin Reservoir, all the way to La Tuque. This survey will prepare the way for future mapping programs in this area that will begin in 2014.

The Baie-Comeau project (No. 10) will complete a north-south transect in the central part of the Grenville Province. It will cover an area thought to contain supracrustal rocks. This hypothesis will also be tested by a petrologic study that will begin this year.

In Nunavik, the Rivières Buron–Brochant project (No. 11), divided into two blocks, will cover the extension of the Labrador Trough, west of Ungava Bay, as well as several greenstone belts identified by the Far North mapping program, which began in the late 1990s.

The Rivière Matapedia project (No. 12) will support the mapping revision that started with the Rimouski project. This area may host minerals and hydrocarbons of economic interest.

Quaternary surveys

The Churchill Quaternary mapping project (No. 13) will continue in parallel with the bedrock mapping project (No. 1). This project will improve our understanding of glacial dynamics in northeast Québec and will complete the coverage of several different geoscientific databases for this geological province.

In municipalized Québec, four Quaternary deposit mapping projects at 1:50,000 scale (Nos. 14, 15, 16, 17) that started in 2012 or 2013 will continue in 2014. These projects will cover the Charlevoix, Nicolet–Saint-François, Chaudière and Vaudreuil-Soulanges regions. The goal is to support PACES, the MSDEFCC’s provincial groundwater knowledge acquisition program.

An inventory of sand and gravel (aggregate) resources will be carried out in the communities of Tasiujaq, Aupaluk and Kangirsuk (project No. 21) in response to a request from the Ministère des Affaires municipales et de l’Occupation du territoire (MAMOT). The goal of the inventory is to address problems caused by melting permafrost and to meet the needs of infrastructure construction projects in Nunavik communities.

The Chibougamau project (No. 19) will increase our knowledge of Quaternary deposits at the Abitibi–Opatica–Grenville junction. It will also be used to determine whether bedrock mapping projects should be carried out at the Grenville Front in the north-central part of the Grenville Province.

Mineral potential studies

Building on the five drilling programs in the Quaternary deposits and the bedrock of the Rivière Bell–Rivière Octave sector in the Abitibi, the geological synthesis and mineral potential study of this region will continue in 2013-2014 (project No. 22). The goal is to better understand the geometry of Quaternary units in the region and to identify pathfinders for discovering new mineralization.

Following a major mapping program at the Opinaca-La Grande contact, the reanalysis of lake sediments and rocks, and improvements to the metallogenic models for gold in the area, the Ministry will now update its study on the gold potential of the James Bay region (project No. 21).

Other

The recent opening of several mining operations for non-metallic commodities has yielded new information about these deposits (project No. 22). An overview of this new information will be used to update the Ministry’s information files on deposits of industrial minerals, architectural stone, industrial stone and gems.

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MERN – Québec mines – Important Meetings in Kuujjuaq

July 2014    Print this article

Important Meetings in Kuujjuaq

Pierre Lacoste, Ministère de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles

From April 28 to May 1, 2014, the Makivik Corporation organized a series of workshop days for students at the Jaanimmarik School in Kuujjuaq, Northern Québec. The organizers’ aim in presenting the workshops was to introduce the students to geology and mine development, in the hope that they would understand and come to realize the scope of the mining projects available to them in the future, and develop an interest around which they could plan their education, given that Nunavik is a vast area with undeniable mining potential.

My colleagues Debborah Smith-Sauvé from the Canadian Mining and Metallurgical Foundation, Roger Guay from the Club de minéralogie de Montréal, Robert Bergeron from Hewitt Equipment, Dave McMullan from the Kativik School Board, and myself, Pierre Lacoste, a geologist with the Ministère de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles, were privileged to lead the workshops and meet nearly 400 students of all ages, from Grade 3 of elementary school to Secondary V. Interestingly, the vast majority were trilingual, and were able to speak French, English and Inuktituk.

A memorable experience

The students, regardless of their age, were keen to discover, and showed a great deal of interest in all the workshops. Naturally, it was important to surprise them from time to time, and find ways to maintain their interest. But their expressions, when we spoke and taught new notions, were eloquent. The experience was a memorable one for the facilitators, and they are ready and willing to repeat it. My special thanks go to Jean-Marc Séguin from the Makivik Corporation, who invited us to take part in the activity, and to Dave McMullan, our on-site resource.

In the meantime …

While we were with the Kuujjuak students, several hundred people were in attendance at the Town Hall for the “2014 Kuujjuaq Mining Workshop Congress” organized by the Nunavik Mining Exploration Fund. The Congress presented conferences on regional mine development, and its aim was to give participants an opportunity to create networks and partnership opportunities. In addition, it offered a forum at which Nunavik’s leaders and inhabitants were able to ask questions and express their concerns in connection with mine development.

 

Congratulations!

Pierre Lacoste is very popular as a facilitator for youth events. He gives regular workshop conferences in schools, presenting the basics of geology and mine development. He recently received the top Innovation Recognition award at the evening ceremony held by the metropolitan region Conseil du Loisir Scientifique to celebrate School and Library Innovators. Pierre was the most popular Innovator and obtained the best evaluations from schools and teachers alike. Well done!

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MERN – Québec mines – The Electronic Geology Report

July 2014    Print this article

The Electronic Geology Report

Nicolas Bégin, Ministère de l'Énergie et des Ressources naturelles

In 2013, the Géologie Québec branch of the Ministry began a major undertaking that will take several years to complete, known as the “electronic geology report” (RGE: rapport géologique électronique). This major project consists of producing and distributing geology reports in a wiki-type website that can only be modified by employees of Géologie Québec.

Existing reports are available as electronic documents, usually in PDF format (paper format in the past), which describe the many facets of the geology of a given area. They have a considerable disadvantage: they cannot be modified once published. The consequence is that 20 to 25 years may go by before a particular report is updated.

“The main problem is that we cannot update these reports once additional information is made available to us by geologists from the Ministry, the industry or universities,” explains project supervisor, Charles Roy, who will work with colleagues Ghislain Roy and Caroline Thorn and a group of geologists. “We cannot modify the information in an existing report.”

The Wiki system will change all that. This web platform offers several advantages, starting with the ease of access to geological information. Other advantages include:

 

The task of updating geological reports will change the job of a geologist, who will become both author and editor. The geologist will revise the report and integrate information provided by different sources.

“We will retain the intellectual property rights,” added Mr. Roy. “Géologie Québec will still own the published information.”

A geologist will be able to illustrate the material and insert predefined SIGÉOM searches, which would display the most up-to-date information in the database each time they would run. The tables and figures would thus become dynamic elements of the report.


1. Documents (reports, summaries, certificates, etc.) that must be sent to the Ministry to comply with the Mining Act.

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MERN – Québec mines – The Digital Field Log

July 2014    Print this article

The Digital Field Log

Charles Blais, Ministère de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles

During geological mapping campaigns, the MERN’s geologists travel through Québec looking for rock outcrops, to provide additional information on the province’s geology. Every outcrop is carefully identified, positioned using GPS and described using a specific nomenclature and photographs. Currently, observations are written by hand in a notebook, in the form of a paper log, before being transferred manually to the geo-mining information system (SIGÉOM), processed and circulated publicly in different formats (see the article on the interactive map and use of SIGÉOM’s Web mapping data).

This method, in use for some years now, has several disadvantages. For example, geologists may forget to write down certain details, or their handwritten notes may be illegible. In addition, information must be entered twice, once on paper and once on a computer, and transcription mistakes are inevitable. Data processing times are also longer.

The emergence of mobile technology offers new solutions for data collection in the field, and Géologie Québec intends to take advantage of these innovations for its mapping campaigns.

A tablet-based digital field log will be tested beginning in the summer of 2014. The log will be used to geo-position rock outcrops using the tablet’s GPS system, enter various descriptive codes and take photographs. Verification factors built into the digital log will ensure that the information is of good quality. The log content will then be downloaded and compiled in the SIGÉOM system.

The pilot project will be carried out by one of the teams during a field campaign. Among other things, it will allow for evaluation of both the hardware and the software applications used.

From the standpoint of hardware, the pilot project will test four robust Android tablets selected for trial. The tablets will be used by the geologists on a daily basis, so that they are exposed to different conditions and situations including rain, cold, heat, dust, impacts, vibrations and mosquito repellent. The built-in GPS and camera, and the effect of sunlight on the tablet screen, will also be tested.

From the standpoint of software, the application’s user-friendliness will be studied from every angle: data input, stability, proposed values, data verification and the mechanism used to transfer data to the current system. A mapping application will also be tested for use in the field.

Based on the comments received after the trial, the application will be improved and the most suitable tablet will be chosen. In the coming summers, all the teams involved in mapping campaigns will gradually be equipped with the new tablets.

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MERN – Québec mines – Two field guides for exploring the Earth’s crust

July 2014    Print this article

Two field guides for exploring the Earth's crust

Charlotte Grenier, Ministère de l'Énergie et des Ressources naturelles

 

Summer is the best time to discover the many rocks and minerals that can be found all around us. A hammer, a hand lens, a couple of rock and mineral field guides, and a good sense of observation are all you need to learn about the fascinating world of rocks and minerals.

An update of the most pertinent information

Although the compositions of rocks and minerals do not change, our geological knowledge and our understanding of the natural environment are constantly evolving. We have updated our 10-year-old guides to reflect our current level of knowledge, making the world of rocks and minerals even more accessible.

The rock field guide presents the classification systems for igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks and explains how they formed. Using colour illustrations, it describes more than 30 rocks commonly found in Québec and lists the main observations needed to identify them. The terms and the classification method are the same as those used in other tools provided by the Ministry. It is the perfect guide for a first introduction into geology.

The mineral field guide, which first appeared in 2009, will be your main tool on identifying minerals. You will find a detailed description of the 40 most commonly found minerals in our province. It also includes a supplement that describes the main noble metals. It is an authoritative guide for an initiation into the world of mineralogy.

The rocks of Québec are part of our wealth of natural resources and provide the raw materials for more than 50% of the objects around us. A little knowledge about the main rock types helps us appreciate these non-renewable resources even more.

You can obtain copies of these guides at the Centre de services des mines, or at Publications du Québec or a bookstore.

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