Jean Descarreaux (deceased)
For founding the Québec Mineral Exploration Association (AEMQ) and developing the mineral exploration sector in Quebec
Jean Descarreaux is best known for his role in developing the Québec mineral exploration sector. In 1975 he co-founded the Québec Prospectors’ Association (now the Québec Mineral Exploration Association, or AEMQ) to promote exploration and entrepreneurship in the province. He then spearheaded a successful effort to convince former Premier René Levesque to adopt legislation allowing flow-through shares to be issued in Québec. The popular tax incentive for exploration helped finance several mineral discoveries including Belmoral, Casa Berardi, Elèonore and Lamaque.
Jean became the first French-speaking resident of Québec to obtain a doctorate in geochemistry when he graduated from Laval University in 1973. He pioneered the use of lithogeochemistry as a prospecting tool to outline alteration halos around mineralized zones, thereby increasing the size of exploration targets. He later compiled a massive lithogeochemical database designed to help geoscientists compare their rock samples with those found in the vicinity of known orebodies and deposits, and digitized all of Québec’s lake sediment data.
Jean was the founding president of Claude Resources (purchased by Silver Standard Resources for $337 million in 2016), co-founder of Cartier Resources and advisor to several junior companies. He participated in the discovery of gold and base metal deposits in Québec, including Golden Pond and Estrades, and in 1986 was awarded the Discovery of the Year award by the AEMQ.
Jean served on PDAC’s Board of Directors from 1978-1984 and on the board of the Mineral Research Institute of the Université du Montréal and McGill University from 1984-1986. In 1983 he became the first chairman of the Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT). Under his leadership, UQAT grew and eventually established its own school of engineering.
Today, AEMQ has 1,200 individual members and 225 corporate members and offers an annual research award in Descarreaux’s name. Jean died in March 2017 at the age of 76. His legacy is Québec’s strong, vibrant mineral exploration sector.