Montreal, December 3, 2018 – On October 23, the Ordre des géologues du Québec, the Quebec professional association of Geologists, gave two awards recognizing the achievements of its members. Michel Rheault, Vice-President – Geology at Effigis Geo-Solutions, received the Côme-Carbonneau 2018 High Merit of Geoscience Award. This highest distinction recognizes Michel’s constant and remarkable achievements in serving the field of geology.
Michel is a geologist specializing in remote sensing and Geospatial Information Systems (GIS). He is also one of the main actors of change in the way geoscientific information is captured, manipulated and disseminated in the province of Quebec, Canada. But most importantly, he is an entrepreneur who was at the forefront of the digital wave in the province. As such, he contributed in developing entrepreneurship in the mining exploration sector.
For nearly 40 years, Michel contributed to discoveries by developing exploration products that have made Quebec’s mining sector tremendously more competitive, such as structural geology interpretation maps, satellite image classification, and the merging of geochemical, geophysical and topographic data. Here’s an overview of his remarkable career.
A dazzling start
In the early 80’s, Michel began his career working on image analysis for Lavalin. At the same time, he participated in the testing of information technology-based methods to assess mineral potential, as they were carried out by the Quebec Ministry of Natural Resources. As an expert geologist and trainer, he also collaborated in developing Quebec’s reference geomining information system SIGEOM, thus playing an early role in the global recognition of Quebec’s approach to geoscience data management and in making the province more competitive on the mineral exploration front.
At the forefront of remote sensing technologies
Riding the digital wave, Michel founded MIR Teledetection in 1990. Thanks to his enviable business acumen, he was able to establish an impressive network of contacts, and attracted people of all backgrounds into dynamic and innovative teams. His company contributed to the development of numerous mining properties using image analysis and spatial reference technologies. In this context, Michel created exploration opportunities and designed novel approaches to property assessment. He also implemented a national geoscience data management system in Mali. Furthermore, he made sure that MIR Teledetection would constantly stay on the leading edge of technologies and geological knowledge by working closely with scientists from the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing (today Canada Centre for Mapping and Earth Observation), UQAM, INRS, Geology Quebec and ÉTS.
A skilled leader
In 2010, MIR Teledetection became part of VIASAT GeoTechnologies, which later became Effigis Geo-Solutions. Michel built integrated models, especially for Quebec’s mining entrepreneurs. He was among the first in Quebec to offer satellite image processing services to the mineral exploration industry. He was involved in hundreds of projects, some of which were international in scope. Since 2016, he has been leading a major World Bank initiative in Burkina Faso, mapping an area of 150,000 km2 in the country. Michel also worked on setting up a national framework for artisanal gold mining analysis and implemented a geoportal based on open software, whose goal is to promote the geoscientific data of the Burkinabe government.
Michel has pursued an entrepreneurial career with achievements that were significant for the advancement of mineral exploration, and he has shone his expertise by participating in numerous conferences, symposia, workshops and social activities, whether as an exhibitor, workshop leader or guest speaker. Ultimately, his expertise, innovative spirit and determination benefited not only the Quebec mining exploration industry, but society as a whole.
All of Effigis wishes to congratulate Michel for this award, and above all, to thank him for his invaluable contribution to the fields of geology and remote sensing.