A really big show
For the past 23 years, Qubec’s miners and explorers have gathered each November to attend the Qubec Ministry of Natural Resources’ open house. As a result, it has become a key industry event that highlights discoveries and developments made by the Qubec’s geological survey, Gologie Qubec. This year’s event promises to be a little different as the established open house evolves into a full-fledged conference with the goal of attracting participants from outside La belle province.
The reason for the change is simple, says Dr. Alain Simard, director of Gologie Qubec. “Over the past years, local industry interest and attendance at our open house has grown, but we have reached all the interested people within the province. Mining is now a global industry and in order to grow and have a healthy mining industry, we must become more global as well. To do this we need to attract interest from outside Qubec.”
As a result, the two-day open house will become a four-day conference — subtitled “Claim your share of the action!” — that will be broader in scope and include topics of interest for all. The newly added sessions include presentations on the Appalachians and a separate session on hydrocarbon exploration. The remainder are devoted to new technologies, new frontiers, mineral deposits, and diamonds.
In all, there will be 30 oral presentations and several keynote addresses given by a diverse group of speakers from provinces as far away as Alberta and Newfoundland. Some of the keynote addresses will include:
Metallogenesis of Ni-Cu-(PGE) Mineralization in Mafic and Ultramafic Flows and Sills by C.M. Lesher of Laurentian University;
The Future of Geophysical Prospecting by George F. West of the University of Toronto; and
Indicator Mineralogy: A Tool for Reviving Mineral Discoveries in the Abitibi by Stuart Averill of Overburden Drilling Management Ltd.
Pierre Lassonde, President of Newmont Mining Corportion will be the honorary chairman of the conference.
In addition to the technical sessions and presentations, there will be core shack displays and a trade show. A number of workshops and short courses will take place at the beginning of the conference. Topics here include a discussion on current tax incentives in the province, an overview of the newly developed GESTIM online mining title management system and the SIGEOM geoscientific database system. In addition, there will be a discussion of oil and gas exploration techniques, a course on diamonds and kimberlites, and a course on structural geology as it relates to gold and base metal exploration.
In order to help the open house expand, Gologie Qubec has joined forces with the Association de l’exploration minire du Qubec, (the Qubec Mineral Exploration Association), a move that will benefit both organizations. Explains Simard, “The time is right to make this important move. Gologie Qubec has strong organizational capabilities and with the Association de l’exploration minire du Qubec we will have a great sponsor and important partner.” The Association represents the heart of Qubec’s mining industry with more than 500 individual members, representing prospectors, geologists, geophysicists, members of the financial community, and some 100 corporate members including senior and junior companies and consulting companies that provide services to the industry.
Simard hopes this conference will further help solidify Qubec’s reputation as being the best province in Canada when it comes to mineral potential and investment attractiveness. This was the opinion expressed in the Fraser Institute’s December 2001 report and one he strongly agrees with. “Qubec has done much more than any other provincial government to attract exploration dollars. We have created better conditions and offered financial incentives, fiscal credits, and made flow-through shares possible. We have seen more benefits in the recent past and we think there will be additional impact. The fact is that the exploration expenditures are increasing here, largely because of the junior exploration companies, even though worldwide exploration is down. That’s a good sign for us.”
Even with the good news, Simard remains a little frustrated. “Despite the good publicity of the Fraser report, there seems to be some hesitation from investors and the mining industry.” Nevertheless, he remains undaunted and enthusiastic, believing business will continue to improve. “We are trying to overcome this and get them interested by giving them an opportunity to see how things work and learn more about conditions here. To be honest, I don’t think many companies really know how good the conditions are in Qubec.”
The companies that are already in Qubec conducting exploration are focused on three main commodities. “Diamonds remain hot and nickel is very important as well. The search for gold is also continuing in the Abitibi and in the James Bay frontier” states Simard. Fewer companies are looking, but those that are searching for base metals are conducting large regional programs, especially in the Abitibi. One of the tools that could prove to be a valuable asset is the SIGEOM geoscientific database system, an online database system for accessing all the geoscientific data relevant to exploration. States Simard, “The database system is easy, accessible and working well.”
Last year’s open house set a record with over 1,000 local attendees and a small number from outside Qubec. Organizers are hoping for similar response with increased interest from outside the province for this year’s conference. While the conference remains more than three months away, early indications suggest it will be strongly supported. For more information on the Qubec Exploration 2003 conference to be held from November 24th to the 27th at the Chateau Frontenac in Qubec City, visit the web site: www.quebecexploration.qc.ca