Québec geoscience programming in 2012
Patrice Roy and Charles Maurice
Bureau de l’exploration géologique du Québec
Québec’s geological exploration bureau, the Bureau de l’exploration géologique du Québec (BEGQ), is responsible for acquiring and processing geoscience knowledge throughout Québec. In 2012–2013, the BEGQ will be finishing 22 projects in Québec. Through the mining heritage component of the Natural Resources Fund, financed by royalties from mining operations, almost $13 million will be invested in geoscience work. An additional amount of at least $300,000, obtained through an agreement with the Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et des Parcs (MDDEP), will fund mapping of Quaternary deposits in the areas targeted by its municipal groundwater knowledge acquisition program, the Programme d’acquisition de connaissances sur les eaux souterraines du Québec municipalisé. Therefore, 18 geoscience knowledge acquisition projects, including six geological surveys, seven Quaternary surveys, two geochemical projects and three geophysical surveys (PDF Format, 3,2 Mb) will be carried out. Two studies of mineral potential and two 3D models will also be completed. Finally, to conserve Québec’s geological heritage, several outstanding geological sites will be visited to finalize their characterization.
The six geological surveys are part of an extensive geoscience knowledge acquisition program intended to spur exploration in northern Québec and the mining regions.
The Churchill–Lac Saffray (No. 1) project is part of a reconnaissance project at a scale of 1:250,000 in the Churchill geological province that is in its second year. In 2012–2013, the area southeast of Kuujjuaq, that is, the eastern part of NTS map sheet 24F and sheet 24 G, will be covered.
Two geological surveys will be carried out in the Baie James area. The Baie James–La Grande 4 (No. 2) project consists of a survey in the La Grande Subprovince and covers the eastern extension of volcanosedimentary units in the Lac Guyer and Lac de la Corvette area. The Baie James–Lac Kamusaawach (No. 3) project, on the other hand, covers the contact between the La Grande Subprovince to the north and the Opinaca Subprovince to the south. These two surveys at a scale of 1:50,000 are the extension to the east and south of mapping projects carried out in the past three years near the La Grande 3 and 4 reservoirs.
The Grenville–Outardes (No. 4) project consists of mapping at a scale of 1:50,000 of paragneiss, quartzite, anorthositic suites and gabbro units around the Manicouagan reservoir, in the Grenville Province. It is the extension to the southwest of the geological survey of the Tétépisca area conducted last year.
A geological survey at a scale of 1:20,000 will be carried out west of Chapais (No. 5) to improve understanding of the geology and better document gold and volcanogenic massive sulphide potential outside the traditional Chapais and Chibougamau mining camps. It will also define the extension of the oldest volcanic rocks in the Abitibi region (Chrissie Formation) and refine their stratigraphy.
The multidisciplinary Malartic (No. 6) project will cover a 1:20,000 NTS map sheet. It will bridge the gap between mapping of the western part of the Malartic Group and of the Val-d’Or Formation to the east and improve characterisation of gold and nickel mineralization in the area. This project is being conducted with the Geological Survey of Canada, the Canadian Mining Innovation Council and several mining companies.
The Lac Romanet (No. 7) project will complete the airborne magnetic and spectrometric coverage of the New Québec Orogen. It is the second and final phase of a multi-year project undertaken to provide coverage of the area equivalent to the past few years’ coverage east of Baie James.
The Rivière à la Baleine (No. 8) project consists of a magnetic and spectrometric survey in the central part of the Churchill Province that will contribute to improving geological mapping in this area.
Finally, the project north of the Ungava Orogen (No. 8) consists of an airborne magnetic and spectrometric survey covering the northern part of the Ungava peninsula. This survey will initially be used to contribute to the assessment of orogenic gold potential (project No. 18), and then to complete reconnaissance mapping of this area.
Project No. 10 consists of a lake-bottom sediment survey in the southwestern portion of the Grenville geological province, north of urban areas along the Rivière des Outaouais and the Fleuve Saint-Laurent. A more detailed survey will be carried out to document geochemical signatures in the Kipawa area (project No. 10a), known for its rare earth potential.
Project No. 11 consists of the reanalysis, by ICP-MS, of archived sediment samples from 1997. Once this project has been completed, all Québec’s lake-bottom sediment samples will have been analyzed at the same laboratory, using the same method.
Concurrent with the Churchill–Lac Saffray (No. 1) geological mapping project, an ambitious project of Quaternary mapping and surficial deposit sampling is being initiated this year in the area covered by NTS map sheet 24G (No. 1a).
To the south, four Quaternary deposit mapping projects (Nos. 12, 13, 14, 15) at a scale of 1:50,000 will target the Charlevoix, Nicolet–Saint-François, Outaouais and Chaudière areas. These projects are intended to support the MDDEP’s municipal groundwater knowledge acquisition program in southern Québec. Project No. 12 will be conducted jointly by the BEGQ, Université Laval and Université du Québec à Chicoutimi. Projects Nos. 13 and 14 will be carried out by Université du Québec à Montréal, while project No. 15 will be conducted by Université Laval.
In addition, the Mégantic area (No. 16) will be covered by an aggregate inventory project.
Finally, an inventory of aggregate resources will also be conducted for the community of Kuujjuaq (project No. 17). This operation is being carried out in response to a request from the Ministère des Affaires municipales, des Régions et de l’Occupation du territoire (MAMROT) to assess the availability of new resources for meeting immediate needs related to melting permafrost in Nunavik communities.
Studies of potential and 3D modeling
A study of orogenic gold potential will be carried out in the area north of the Ungava Orogen (Project No. 18).
Project No. 19, a pilot project, is designed to target gossan-type alteration using high-resolution satellite images.
After four drilling programs on Quaternary deposits in the Rivière Octave area, a 3D model (Project No. 20) will be produced to provide a better understanding of the geometry and extent of Quaternary units in the area. The model will then be used as a platform to integrate analyzes of till fine fractions and heavy minerals.
Finally, the project for rock characterization and 3D modeling of the geology of the Îles de la Madeleine (No. 21) will be carried out jointly with the MDDEP, École Polytechnique de Montréal and Université Laval to document the effect of climate change on aquifer replenishment.
Conservation of geological heritage
This summer, a new knowledge acquisition project will be initiated to improve the characterization of sites targeted to become outstanding geological sites.
Preliminary results from all these surveys and studies will be released at the Québec Mines conference to be held at the Centre des Congrès de Québec from November 26 to 29, 2012.