1686 A deposit of lead, zinc and silver is discovered in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region by Chevalier de Troyes, located on the shores of Lac Témiscamingue. Neglected for 200 years, the deposit was mined in the 1890s.
1729-1883 The mineral industry centres on two main activities: the mining of ferruginous sand for the production of cast iron, and the extraction of sand and stone for construction activities.
1734 The opening of the Saint-Maurice Forge marks the birth of the iron and steel industry in Québec.
1835 The first gold nuggets are discovered in the Beauce region.
1842 The Geological Survey of Canada carries out land surveys; its reports encourage prospectors to begin exploration work.
1847 The first alluvial gold is mined in the Beauce region.
1865 The first copper mine, the Eustis mine, opens.
1867 The extraction of ferruginous sand from the embouchure of the Moisie river begins.
1875 Québec becomes Canada’s leading producer of phosphates, following the discovery of a deposit in Vallée de la Lièvre, in the Outaouais region.
1876 Joseph Fecteau, a farmer, discovers asbestos in the Thetford township.
1878 Discovery of an asbestos deposit by Williams Jeffrey in the Asbestos area, and start of asbestos production at the Bell mine, in Thetford Mines. Asbestos production at the Jeffrey mine will begin in 1881.
1880 Québec introduces its first mining legislation, the Québec General Mining Act. This law gave the Government ownership over underground resources and it became the owner of all mines in Québec, later granting them to other owners.
1881 Joseph Obalski becomes the first mining engineer in the Province. Ten years later he is appointed as the head of the newly-established Mining Office.
1903 The first discoveries of copper and asbestos are made in the Chibougamau sector by P. McKenzie, who notes the presence of copper on Île du Portage and of asbestos on Île de l’Amiante in Lac Chibougamau. By 1905, the region is recognized as having mineral potential, and in 1908 E. Dulieux reports the presence of minerals on Île Merrill.
1906 Alphonse Olier and Auguste Renault make the first discovery of a gold vein in the Rouyn-Noranda region, on the shores of Lac Fortune. Despite their discovery, the area only became a centre for mining following the staking of claims and the discovery of a copper and gold deposit at the northern end of Lac Tremoy by Edmund Horne, a prospector from Nova Scotia, in 1922.
1911 The first gold is discovered in the Malartic-Val-d’Or region by J.J. Sullivan and Hertel Authier, but it is only in 1928 that the exploration results are encouraging enough for the Sullivan mine to begin operations.
1920-1930 The opening up of Québec’s northwest determines the future of the mining industry. Over 90% of the mineral claims registered in Québec are in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region. The main minerals extracted are copper, gold, iron and asbestos.
1920-1950 Mines operate in several regions of Québec. In addition to the Abitibi region, other finds are made at Chibougamau, on the North Shore, in Labrador, on the Gaspé peninsula and in the Eastern townships.
1924 Gold is discovered in the Bousquet-Cadillac area by M.J. O’Brien in 1924. The vein named after him is mined from 1932.
1929 The only molybdenum mine in Québec, the Eureka mine in the LaCorne township, opens.
1931-1937 Discovery of several copper and nickel showings in the Ungava Peninsula.
1933 Gold-bearing rock is reported in the Belleterre area, and a sulphide deposit is discovered at Lorraine in 1961.
1941 Discovery of massive ilmenite showings along the shores of Lac Allard and Lac Puyjalon.
1941 Discovery of kimberlites on Île Bizard, west of Montréal (Clark, 1941, 1952).
1945-1949 Hollinger North Shore delineates more than 400 million tonnes of iron ore reserves accessible by open pit mining in the Schefferville area.
1946-1950 Discovery of the Lac Tio deposit, and development of the orebody by Kennecott Copper. During this time, a 42-km stretch of railway is also built, linking Havre-Saint-Pierre and the Tio mine.
1948 Discovery of iron formations at the Mont-Wright mine.
1950-1954 Completion of one of the largest construction projects in Canada at the time: a railway of 573 kilometres between Sept-Îles and Schefferville, mining facilities in Schefferville, two hydroelectric power plants, one in Schefferville and the other in Sept-Îles, a shipping terminal in Sept-Îles, and last but not least, the construction of town sites in Schefferville and Sept-Îles. In 1954, the Iron Ore Company delivered its first shipment of iron ore, which left Sept-Îles aboard the Hawaiian ore carrier.
1950-1970 The pace of iron mining increases on the Côte-Nord, as does gold and copper and mining in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region and asbestos mining in the Eastern Townships.
1953 The first niobium deposit is discovered in the Oka area, following by the discovery in 1967 of the Saint-Honoré deposit, the second largest in the world.
1954 The Gaspé Copper Mine opens in Murdochville.
Start-up of mining operations at the Black Lake asbestos mine, near Thetford Mines.
1955 Discovery of kimberlite dykes at Lac Bachelor near Desmaraisville, north-central Abitibi Subprovince, during a gold exploration program (Watson, 1955).
1956 Geophysical work leads to the detection of major electromagnetic anomalies near Matagami. In 1957, boring by the Mattagami Syndicate cuts across the mineral-bearing zone, which becomes the Lac Mattagami find.
1959 Mining operations begin at the Lac Jeannine open pit mine by the Québec Cartier Mining Company. This mine will be shut down in 1977.
1968 Discovery of ten diamonds on Île Bizard totaling 0.0605 carats in what was considered to be kimberlites at the time (Brummer, 1978; Raeside and Helmstaedt, 1982). The rocks have since been reclassified as alnoites (Mitchell, 1983).
1970-1975 Construction of mining facilities (open pit mine, crusher, mill and concentrator) at the Mont-Wright mine and Fermont.
1972 Start-up of production at the Asbestos Hill asbestos mine (in Purtuniq). This is the first mine to go into production in the Far North region of Québec.
1973 Construction of an iron ore beneficiation complex, including a concentrator and a pellet plant in Sept-Îles.
1975 Start-up of operations at the Lac Fire iron ore deposit by Sidbec-Normines, and the Mont-Wright iron ore deposit by Québec Cartier Mining Company. The mine is still in operation.
1977 First load of iron pellets at the pellet plant in Port-Cartier by Sidbec-Normines.
1978 Discovery of kimberlite dykes near the northern margin of the Bassin Otish during an exploration program for uranium by Uranerz (Gehrish et al., 1979).
1978-2002 The Thompson Bousquet mine, in 1978, and the Doyon mine, in 1979, open to the north of the municipality of Cadillac in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region, and mining begins on the LaRonde (Dumagami) deposit, in 1988, and the Bousquet 2 deposit, in 1990. The Bousquet-Cadillac area is today the main location for gold mining in Québec, with the Bousquet 2, Doyon, Mouska and LaRonde mines.
1982 Closure of iron ore mines in Schefferville, and shutdown of concentrator and pellet plant in Sept-Îles.
1983 Discovery of a kimberlite pipe in Guigues Township after 15 years of exploration in the Témiscamingue region by Monopros (Brunet, 1983).
1992 Discovery of a kimberlite pipe containing two microdiamonds in Le Tac Township near Desmaraisville by Northern Mining Explorations (Field and Tainton, 1993).
1993 Discovery by KWG Resources Inc. of microdiamond-bearing kimberlites at Notre-Dame-du-Nord in the Témiscamingue region. Discovery of diamondiferous ultramafic lamprophyre dykes in the Alluviaq (Abloviak) Fjord a long the eastern coast of Baie d’Ungava in the Monts Torngat.
1997 The mining of copper, nickel and cobalt deposits begins in the Raglan area in the Far North.
1999-2004 Exploration and assessment of the diamondiferous ultramafic lamprophyre dykes in the Alluviaq Fjord (Monts Torngat) by Twin Mining Corporation, Diamond Discoveries International Corporation, and other companies. Bulk sampling by Twin Mining on its Torngat dyke revealed an overall grade of 3.84 carats per 100 tonnes.
2000-2001 A discovery of diamonds is made to the east of Ungava Bay, near Monts Otish.
2001 Discovery in September and October of two kimberlite pipes on the Foxtrot property north of the Monts Otish by Ashton Mining of Canada Inc. and SOQUEM Inc. The companies announced in December that drill samples from the kimberlite bodies contained 34 macrodiamonds and 170 microdiamonds.
2002 A major staking rush hits Québec, with 46,000 claims registered between February and May 2002; 42,000 of these claims are for the Near North region following the announcement of the December 2001 discovery. Discovery of microdiamonds in kimberlite sills east of Wemindji near Baie James by Majescor Resources Inc.
2003 Ashton Mining of Canada Inc. and SOQUEM Inc. discover nine diamondiferous kimberlite bodies, collectively known as the Renard cluster, on their Foxtrot property. A 36.5-tonne bulk sample from several kimberlites comprising the cluster’s Central Zone returns 24 carats for an average diamond content of 0.66 carats per tonne. Forty-nine of these diamonds are greater than 0.10 carats, including a gem-quality stone weighing more than 4 carats that remains to this day the largest diamond found in Québec.
2004 Ashton Mining of Canada Inc. and SOQUEM Inc. invest approximately $18M in 2004 on the Foxtrot property. A 639-tonne bulk sampling program is effected to assess the diamond value of the Renard kimberlite bodies. The first 269 tonnes return a total of 97 carats. Another kimberlitic dyke cluster named “Lynx” is discovered and explored to the west of the Renard cluster.