Abitibi-Témiscamingue, an ancient land!! Here we find 2 geological provinces: the Superior, the most ancient in the northern part and the Grenville further south. Touching the ground of this region may send you as far back in time as 2,7 billion years ago. The rock alternates between volcanic and sedimentary, with several granitic intrusions. Acknowledged as a geological universe in itself, the geological sub-province of Abitibi is the largest archean volcanic-sedimentary formation in the world!
When the ice of the Wisconsinan withdrew some 10,000 years ago, it scraped and left exposed the geological wealth of the Canadian Shield. The glacial lakes that formed at the base of the withdrawing glaciers became « the walking roads » of the paleoindians. With these routes now open from the Great Lakes to the Saint Lawrence River, they now became, for thousands of years, the thoroughfare for native copper and silver that would be exchanged to the shoreline people of the Atlantic coast in return for shells and sea produce. As a result, Abitibi-Témiscamingue is no newcomer in the business of its mineral resources!
In 1688, the expedition organized by the fur merchants of Montreal to oust the English from the « Cristinaux » land, the shoreline of James Bay and Hudson Bay, stopped at Lake Témiscamingue to establish a fur-trading post and also to lend truth to a silver mine that was the talk of the Anishnabe. Then, an interval that lasted until the beginning of the 20th century was be necessary before the event of the Cobalt Mine on the Ontario shores of the lake by the same name. Prospectors once again began to explore this mining land that still yields its wealth and which holds even more for the future.
In Abitibi, the elders used to say: There’s the law of God and just above it, the law of mines! In their own way, the pioneers of the region of Abitibi-Témiscamingue had understood that no one could come in the way of exploration and the opening of a mine. At the apex of the Great Depression of the 30s, a multitude of mining developments were born along an important mineralization called the Cadillac Fault. Bellies were crying from hunger and men went down into the mines without saying another word. The budding cities prospered! But in time, it became evident that mining activity generated toxic extractions that would take centuries to eliminate. The frenzy was replaced by blatant error. A crisis of values: ecology and the environment were concepts born from the social fabric of the 60s and 70s.
It is a well-known fact that Abitibi-Témiscamingue was not born from the sole willingness to explore the depths of the earth to extract precious metals. The agricultural, forestry and hydroelectric industries also have their fair share of the economic activity, not to forget recreation-tourism and traditional activities of the First Nations. Nowhere else but in Abitibi-Témiscamingue will you find such importance given to environmental issues linked to mining development. Whether urban or natural, the settings shared by the residents must remain open and healthy. Hence, it is the legislator’s responsibility to ensure environmental protection, the management of potential-use conflicts and the guarantee that the constraints and protection laws are managed on a territorial and municipal scale.
Today, the Abitibi mining cycle holds provision for the rehabilitation of impact studies. From now on, mining companies consider that because of the non-renewable character of the resources they develop, they must leave lasting spin-offs:
Nearly 100 years ago when the first mines erected their head frames in the region, the mining camps of Rouyn and Val-d’Or immediately welcomed the contribution of immigrant workers. For a good reason: French Canadians knew nothing about mining work.
They would learn the hard way! Hence, in the 20th century, 3 generations of drillers and miners would work the rock, but this came with a price; injuries and industrial illnesses.
Today, the residents of Abitibi-Témiscamingue have become genuine mine builders. Their know-how is such that they also work all over the world. Abitibi-Témiscamingue is a world-class mining region that has given birth to 150 mines over the last 100 years, representing 400 billion dollars in production. This mining camp, which is among the most productive in the world, attracts the assets needed for the on-going renewal of its wealth-creation channels.
As a mining region, it boasts expertise that ranges from the discovery of ore deposits, to the design of mines, their development and optimization, right up to their closing, all carried out with respect for the environment.
The development of the mining manpower rests upon a network of mine schools at all levels, from vocational training to the doctorate level. Then again, the region holds a leading position in mining environment thanks to its laboratories equipped with cutting-edge technology.
Mining companies from everywhere know that here they can depend on a knowledgeable and experienced manpower. To this we may add a chain of assets comprising subcontractors, equipment dealers and training resources in prevention, research and management.
Random chance and observation that helped find mines in the past have given place to much more structured processes. In the last 10 years, all of the mines that have opened in the region were first the subject of surface data analysis before the carry-out of underground exploration activities. We owe this fact to several methods, among these the detection of electromagnetic anomalies developed since the 70s. The definition of ore bodies now benefits from 3D modeling, whereas drill heads are now highly dependable.
Whether we are dealing with robotics applied to extraction vehicles or specialized explosives, everything reminds us that new technologies have become a must in the mining industry. If ventilation systems are modeled in order to increase efficiency in an underground environment, what about the mapping of hazardous zones and the new modular shelters that have been developed to meet all types of incidents.
Of course, in the mining environment we find many challenges, starting with the neutralization of mining waste. But today, impact studies already hold provision for rehabilitation measures that will hold true for a long time after the end of development. Today, whether we are creating treatment marshes or proceeding with the hydraseeding of surfaces, the environmental imprint of the mining developer is much more in sync with the concept of sustainable development.
An organization committed to promoting the ecosystem of mining expertise in Abitibi, 48e Nord International is a liaison platform connected to a perfectly integrated export network of businesses and organizations based in Abitibi-Témiscamingue. Their outstanding expertise and remarkable range of specialized services and products in the following fields are recognized worldwide.
With all these expert resources available under the same roof, 48e Nord International is remarkably well positioned to offer structured and coordinated activities for the benefit of mining companies, educational institutions, development agencies and foreign governments.
48e Nord International is supportive of the fieldwork approach, which facilitates transfer of expertise through a wide range of tailored-developed activities:
48e Nord International contributes to the advancement of emerging mining markets and regions engaged in the extractive industry around the world. Its business development and consolidation efforts concentrate chiefly on the following markets:
48e Nord International
70, avenue du Lac - C.P. 44
Rouyn-Noranda (Québec) J9X 5C1
Phone : 819 762-4923