The Quebec North-East Branch of CIM is strong with an active membership. Mining is the most important industry in the area, as the three largest iron ore
mines in Canada (Iron Ore Company of Canada, Quebec-Cartier Mining Company, and Wabush Mines), as well as Alouette Aluminium are all found in this region.
The branch covers a large area, spanning Sept-Îles, Port Cartier and Havre St-Pierre.
The Quebec North-East region is looking forward to new opportunities as much interest and plans have been discussed surrounding the base metals
industry. There have been five to ten thousand claims laid since the nickel-cobalt find in Voisey’s Bay. “This growing future in mining in the area
will be the main focus for the next 10 years,” said branch past-chairman Richard Lapierre.
The branch enjoys a full annual program, with regular meetings throughout the year. The most popular event is the annual Seafood Dinner held in
September. Drawing a crowd of approximately 200 people, the dinner features invited speakers. The dinner follows a month-long telephone campaign to
recruit new members and is the focal point of the membership campaign, the first meeting of the new year.
A focus of the annual program on technical presentations guarantees its strength. Between October and May, six technical meetings draw large crowds.
The meetings rely on local resources for content and speakers. Lecturers from various local companies share information ensuring the topics reflect
members’ interests and concerns. The topics vary from meeting to meeting, focusing not only on the aluminum and iron ore industries but also on
maintenance engineering, transportation, exploration and other fields of interest. As the number of small companies grows in the area, a focus on
technical development programs is winning widespread support.
An annual maintenance engineering forum attracts representatives from all local companies. The branch has a partnership with the
Maintenance/Engineering Division of CIM, as local interest in the field is high. The half-day session, held in May, groups teams from various companies
and suppliers for presentations and panel discussions. It’s an opportunity to share common experiences and challenges, to exchange ideas and learn from
The final meeting of the year is a social event in the spring — a wine-and-cheese party or an industrial tour. Members are able to form contacts and
alliances that provide support and assistance on the work front.
All local industries, from small local companies to large international corporations, are represented in the branch. Membership spans a diverse
population: engineers, directors, accountants, secretaries, suppliers — covering the whole community of the industry. The branch must select broad
session topics to attract the largest possible group of its diversified membership. “A very technical subject, though important, will only attract a
specific group,” said Biswajit Chanda, a long-time member of the branch. “We try to address topics that will be of interest to everyone. For instance,
discussing a mine opening would draw a large crowd.”
A focus of the branch is to promote understanding of the mining industry and maintaining CIM’s image in the community. The branch works with media to
ensure all activities are covered in the local papers. They also strive to be available to assist and answer any questions that might arise concerning
the minerals industries. The Quebec Nord-Est branch is the representative of industry in the area and has gained the respect of the mining companies
and suppliers for its activities.
The branch is also active with the local community. “We are quite involved with other associations, such as the Chamber of Commerce,” said branch
member Jatindra Kanungo. The Industrial/Commercial Trade Show, held every two years, was originally organized by the CIM branch. The local Chamber of
Commerce has since assumed the responsibility for its organization, but maintains CIM as a partner. The branch attracts large companies and suppliers
to the exhibit.
As well, the branch works with the local Prospectors’ Association to plan Prospecting Week, focusing on the technical program and organizing
presentations. Chanda believes the success and accomplishments of the branch can stand as an example to follow in other small mining communities. “CIM
can become a focal point of the community by providing the opportunity for technical exchange and support,” he said. “It’s a good cause and should be
pursued, because of the many benefits. All it takes is time.”
Every two years the branch holds a panel discussion focusing on the future of the industry. Directors of the four major companies are joined by
marketplace experts. This look to the future attracts a large crowd of about 100 members, most with personal concerns about tomorrow.
One of the challenges facing the branch is attracting new members. Various factors must be considered, including demographic problems and company
downsizing leading to more responsibilities and longer work weeks. “We are not able to recruit and attract young people as we did in the past,” said
Chanda. “Today, they start their jobs and are immediately thrown into the turmoil and pressures at work, leaving little time for anything else.”
The branch sponsors a Scholarship Program, begun in 1982. Every year, the branch awards four $650 scholarships to university students, encouraging the
youths who will be the industry leaders of tomorrow. “We hope to adjust the amount we award to meet the changing demands of tuition fees,” said