Rivière Romaine, 496 km long with a 14 350 km2 basin, rises (elev 760 m) in the Québec-Labrador lacustrine plateau, 45 km southwest of the CHURCHILL RIVER, and forms part of the Québec-Labrador boundary north of the 52nd parallel. The INNU frequently used it in their annual migrations to the Labrador coast, for there are only 15 km of lakes and portages to reach the Churchill Basin. "Romaine" is a French deformation of the Innu word uramen, which means "red ochre."
Near its head, the river crosses Lac Brûlé. Seventy-five kilometres upstream from where the river enters Détroit de Jacques-Cartier, it cuts through a 150 m deep gorge called Les Murailles. Its elevation then drops 75 m along the next 6 km of rapids. The river's last 35 km flow through a vast postglacial delta, on the shores of which sits Havre-Saint-Pierre (pop 3450, 1996c). This seaport is the terminus of the 40 km railway that joins the QIT-Fer et Titane Inc mine (ilmenite), on Lac Allard, with the coast. The town is the administrative centre of the regional county municipality of Minganie and is the entry point of MINGAN ARCHIPELAGO NATIONAL PARK RESERVE. Hydro-Québec sees great hydroelectric power potential for this river.