February 2013

All things mining under one roof

Québec Mines 2012 gets warm reception

By Alain Castonguay

 

Dominique Dionne speaks about the Quebec mining sector’s strength | Photo by Peter Braul


Québec Mines 2012, held from November 26 to 29, brought 6,000 attendees and more than 300 exhibitors to the Centre des congrès de Québec in Quebec City. Although it was the Ministère des Ressources naturelles’ (MRN) first solo convention, the event featured a jam-packed program, including technical sessions, an exhibition, a job fair and an educational show for the general public.

After years of sharing the organization of the event with the Quebec Mineral Exploration Association (AEMQ), MRN presented its own convention at a new venue, attracting a wide range of attendees, including mining company staff, suppliers, researchers and representatives of public and private training organizations. The event was coordinated with support from CIM, the Québec Mining Association (QMA), the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Québec, the Comité sectoriel de main d’œuvre de l’industrie des mines, Québec International and the Institut national des mines.

CIM executive director Jean Vavrek said the change of venue was advantageous: “The new location allows for better networking on the exhibition floor and the flow of foot traffic is better for getting from one session to another. There were more people than usual, but the larger space afforded by the convention centre allowed for easier and more pleasant circulation.”

Industry received a warm reception from local governments and the community. Robert Marquis, Quebec’s associate deputy minister for mines, was impressed by the public participation in Québec Mines for All, an open-door day ­featuring CIM’s educational Mining for Society (M4S) exhibit that attracted 800 people. Also, the QMA president and Québec Mines honorary president, Dominique Dionne, spoke about the Quebec mining sector’s world-class capacity for research and development. “Our expertise is recognized globally,” she said. “There are Quebec mining engineers all over the world.” MRN Minister Martine Ouellet, who presented the major taxation changes in the provincial budget tabled the previous week, also expressed support for the industry, assuaging concerns over the government's plan to revise the mining royalties system.

Technical presentations and workshops touched on all aspects of the industry, from exploration and operations, to mine closure and financing. New modules devoted to networking, recruitment and human resources were showcased as well. At the plenary session “Mining Development, Society and Global Trends: Where Does Quebec Stand?” Martin Granger of Deloitte provided a preview of the firm’s annual report, Tracking the trends 2012, which was released shortly thereafter. In the “Geoscience and Mining Challenges of Northern Development” session, Ted Moses, former grand chief of the Cree Nation of Quebec, praised the merits of the partnership between the Cree and the Quebec government, which came from the “Paix des Braves” agreement, to which he was a signatory in 2002. And keynote speaker Thierry Rodon, research chair in sustainable development of the North at Université Laval, addressed the environmental and social legacy of mining projects.

Although the exhibition floor teemed with activity, there were few exploration companies. Some braced for what may be a tough year ahead. “This is not an easy time,” said Roland Horst, CEO of CBay Minerals, speaking about his company’s attempt to relaunch the Corner Bay copper deposit project near Chibougamau. “We need to find $15 million on the financial markets to launch production by the end of 2013.”

Still, Québec Mines 2012 offered plenty of chances for delegates to find future opportunities through networking. These included the job fair, which attracted 300 people, and an exciting social program that featured a guided night out on the town to sample local cuisine and connect with other industry stakeholders.

Québec Mines 2013 will take place a little earlier this year, from November 11 to 14.

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