West Quebec registers jump in mining claims


by Mark Burgess on May 27, 2010

Mining companies have purchased hundreds of new mining claims in western Quebec, with at least one company planning to invest millions in exploration, according to the West Quebec Coalition Against Mining Uranium.

Michael Patenaude, an Ottawa business analyst with a cottage near Duclos who helped found the coalition a couple of years ago, reported more than 500 registered claims in La Peche and more than 200 others in the Wakefield-Val des Monts area.

“It seems like there’s been a bit of resurgence in claims,” he said, explaining that those filed in the last boom (2007) have now expired. “I’d say probably close to half of those are new.”

Patenaude said the most significant claims are the 266 that make up the Gatineau Zinc Project, which covers 160 square-kilometres north of Masham and east of East Aldfield. All the claims are held by Midland Exploration, who has signed a deal with Zincore Metals calling for $3.5 million in exploration work over four years – $700,000 of which is to be spent in the first year.

“That’s definitely enough to do some drilling and trenching and stuff like that,” Patenaude said.

Patenaude said Midland had previously been working on the claims with a company called Breakwater Resources, which was forced to withdraw after the financial crisis hit. Now that Midland has a new partner, he expects work to resume.

Mining claims allow for exploration of ground even if it’s under private property, which can cause disputes between companies and residents who often don’t even know their claims have been purchased.

Patenaude said he hadn’t heard from any residents complaining that their land had been disturbed, although he said “we’re kind of heading into prime season now” with cottagers returning. He also said exploration could be taking place on Crown land that wouldn’t affect property owners.

For more information and a map on active and pending mining claims in the area, visit http://no-uranium.blogspot.com.