Mining Week, each May, is always a busy time for the Rouyn-Noranda Branch of CIM. Branch members work throughout the week to promote the mining industry
and to educate the public about mining. They organize an exhibition at the local shopping mall and host visits to mines, smelters and manufacturers. Branch
members give presentations at local high schools about the industry’s importance to the area. Placemats are distributed to local restaurants advertising
the week’s activities including information on mining. Mining Week is a joint venture of the CIM Branch, the local Association des Prospecteurs du
Québec and the Ministre des Ressources naturelles du Québec.
The Branch's centennial project, started in 1998, was the creation of a geological garden, on the grounds of the local botanical garden, Au fleur de l’eau.
The permanent exhibit features about fifteen two- to four-ton blocks of the area’s indigenous minerals accompanied by information panels.
“The garden tells the history of mining in the area,” said Mario Bouchard, a Branch director. “Visitors will learn about the geology of the area.”
The aim of the garden was to mark both the CIM Centennial and to create a tourist attraction highlighting the mineral industry, one of the major economic
activities of the region. The branch worked in cooperation with the City of Rouyn-Noranda, the Au fleur de l’eau Botanical Garden Corporation and local
businesses to fund and build the $213,000 project.
Another branch educational initiative is its scholarship program. Annually, $500 is awarded to a student in mineral technology at the CEGEP de
The Rouyn-Noranda Branch has a full annual program. The highlight of the year is an Oyster Party in early November, usually attended by about 150 people. A
curling tournament in February usually attracts about 50 people.
The branch has technical conferences about every two months, from September through May. Attendance will vary from 15 to 90 people. Topics include
discussions on mining projects and mineral exploration in the region. Speakers are often invited from the local businesses, and occasionally the branch
hosts a CIM Distinguished Lecturer. “Mineral discoveries and geology are the most popular topics,” said Bouchard.
One challenge the branch executive is facing is the need for more people to get involved in the organization of the branch activities. “We need more
involvement from our membership,” said Bouchard. “It’s always the same people who work for the branch. It’s time to bring in some new executives.”
The branch has 120 Members. Past-chairman Robert Vos said the executive tries to recruit new people to the various organizing committees. “Anyone wanting
to help is welcome,” he said.
Branch events and projects are heavily sponsored by local mining companies, manufacturers and service providers.
“We thank all our sponsors,” said Vos. “Without them, we couldn’t have the activities.”