Develop mineral resources sustainably

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INRS and Québec Silica are joining forces for a multidisciplinary industrial silica project in the Charlevoix region.

QUEBEC CITY, January 31, 2022 /CNW Telbec/ – The National Institute for Scientific Research (INRS) has launched a major project in collaboration with Québec Silica Resources. This research partnership will make it possible to optimize exploration and mining methods while respecting the environment and local biodiversity.

Project partners will assess the site of a high-purity silica deposit based on its mineralogical, chemical and environmental characteristics. An important aspect of the project is a detailed study of the local geomorphology, fauna and flora.

Led by INRS professor Marc Richer-Laflèche, the objective of the project is to provide the data and interpretations necessary for decision-making regarding the development of a silica deposit in the Charlevoix region.

“My team has carried out numerous mineralogical, geochemical and geophysical studies on silica deposits in the Charlevoix, Matapédia and Montérégie regions over the years. Our expertise in the field of industrial minerals will be useful in accelerating the progress of Québec Silica’s work,” says Marc Richer-Laflèche, scientific manager of the Applied Geosciences Laboratory.

The research teams will analyze, among other things, the performance of silica, a natural form of silicon dioxide (SiO2) used in many industrial materials. They will also study its use as a potential source of advanced technologies to produce high-purity silicon for batteries and photovoltaics.

The mineralogy, geochemistry, particle size and mineral impurities of silica will be documented to select the optimal physical mineralogical purification processes. The production of high purity silica is necessary to provide the raw material needed for glass, ceramics, silicon, chemical and solar panel applications.

Active in the laboratory and in the field

Using drones, soil characteristics will be measured from high-resolution aerial images. This step is essential, particularly for the assessment of mountain areas intended for quarrying. In addition, aerial imagery will make it possible to precisely locate quartzite outcrops. Combined with trenches and drill holes, digital terrain data from UAV surveys will be used to assess the volume of quartzite that can potentially be mined. Aerial imagery will also make it possible to study the vegetation cover (trees, bushes, lichens and mosses) and, in winter, to assess the presence of caribou and moose from the tracks left in the snow.

Two automated weather stations (located at altitude and in the valley) will be installed for 12 months to monitor local weather conditions, ie rainfall, wind and temperature fluctuations. The team will also install automated surveillance cameras to monitor animal activity in different areas of the property.

Other studies will be carried out in the laboratory with mineralogical, chemical and petrophysical analyzes of quartzite samples and surrounding host rocks. These measurements will make it possible to determine the most appropriate geophysical exploration methods and to guide the various stages of mineralogical purification of silica to produce quality silica that meets industry specifications.

Teams from Québec Silica Resources and INRS will work with the Montrealbased at EkoXplor for research, exploration and evaluation of the Charlevoix silica deposit.

“We are very pleased with the team we have assembled. They are highly respected individuals in their respective fields with in-depth knowledge of the subject. They also have an extensive network within the community. Their participation reinforces our vision to develop our resources appropriately and sustainably, and to provide the necessary building blocks for a greener economy,” says Raymond WladichukCEO of Quebec Silica Resources.

About INRS

INRS is a university dedicated exclusively to research and graduate training. Since its creation in 1969, INRS has played an active role in the economic, social and cultural development of Quebec and ranks first for the intensity of research in Quebec and in Canada. INRS is made up of four interdisciplinary research and training centers in Quebec City, Montreal, Lavaland Varennes, with expertise in strategic sectors: Water Land Environment, Energy Materials Telecommunications, Urbanization Culture Society and Armand-Frappier Health Biotechnology. The INRS community includes more than 1,500 students, postdoctoral fellows, faculty members and staff.

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SOURCE National Institute for Scientific Research (INRS)

For further information: Source: Audrey-Maude Vézina, INRS Communications and Public Affairs Department, 418 254-2156, [email protected]

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