By Team IOS, Friday, February 14, 2020

A talk (in french) at the Consorem-UQAM 2020 forum on critical and strategic minerals,
Montréal, UQAM, room CO-R700 ‘'La Chaufferie'', February 19, 2020, 4:30 PM.


Last November 19th, the Québec government announced its consultation on critical and strategic minerals. Such reflection was a must, since the government already invested massively through its various financial and political arms in mining projects involving such commodities (Québec iron Mine, Stornaway Diamonds, Arnaud Mines, Mason Graphite, Blackrock metals, Nemaska Lithium, etc.). Still, in the course of the last 30 years in Québec, notwithstanding that a long list of such projects completed their feasibility or were even granted their certificates of authorization for construction, very few were built and very seldom were successes. Else than a few iron mines, the last sustainable project to be built was Stratemin graphite mine, in the 80's. In the same period, almost every gold or base metal projects reaching feasibility have been built and mined profitably. So, there is a blatant problem!


Through his career, the author has been involved in hundreds of industrial mineral projects, involving commodities as diverse as iron, titanium, graphite, lithium, tantalum, niobium, vanadium, diamond, phosphates, dolomite, lime, aggregates, cobalt, uranium, rare earths, silica, zircon, garnet, wollastonite, feldspar, etc. Such involvement included from the project generation to feasibility study, metallurgy, environmental assessment as well as coaching promoters. The common issue of most of these projects was that they were managed as mining projects, with the culture of the mining industry that we need first to find the resources, and decide afterward what we can do with this product. However, whatsoever we may think, in most cases, resource shortage is a myth. To be built, such projects require exceptional conditions that are usually not related to the deposit itself. What is lacking for these projects to go ahead is the second transformation capability, which is where wealth is generated, and which is dependent on diverse social, technological and economical factors that are not related to mining. This industry is ultimately driven by the manufacturing sector and shall be in tandem with.


We do not dare to think we have a magical solution to the problems of this industry, but we are brainstorming about it since years and invite you to share the reflection.


‘'There are those who follow the rules... and those who define them!"


Large diameter PQ core description from a graphite project, in preparation of resource estimation and SAG mill testing.

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