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L’économie du Québec : l’industrie minière et la durabilité
Quebec has immense mining potential. In 2021, it was the second mineral-producing province by value, with $11.9 billion , behind British Columbia ($12.9 billion). Nearly 90% of Quebec’s subsoil is made up of Precambrian rocks from the Canadian Shield (north of the St. Lawrence River). The remaining 10% is made up of Paleozoic rocks, including the St. Lawrence platform that encircles the river and the mountainous region of the Appalachians south of the river. These geological regions have a high potential for mineral production, the most well-known geological zone being the Abitibi greenstone belt.. Abitibi also has the largest Archean volcano-sedimentary belt in the world and is known for its gold, copper, zinc and silver resources. Quebec mines 17 metals and 12 non-metals, making it the most diversified resource base in Canada.
Quebec has enormous mining potential and the province has implemented several action plans to ensure sustainable growth and support for its socio-economic infrastructure. These plans offer solutions to environmental concerns and support for the community, which hold promise for the long-term health of the province’s economy.
Growing global demand for critical and strategic minerals (CSM)
The global economy is changing rapidly, and new technologies are accelerating this transformation while changing the way we live. Growing industries like telecommunications, renewable energy, biomedicine, aerospace and electric vehicles are driving the demand for precious metals and minerals. In addition to gold and silver, Quebec has the opportunity to become a major producer of critical and strategic minerals (CSM),such as nickel, niobium and graphite, and to embark on mining projects for lithium, vanadium and tantalum. MCS are essential in our daily lives: batteries in laptops, smart phones and electric vehicles all contain graphite, lithium, cobalt and nickel. Platinum group elements are essential in computer hard drives while rare earth elements are essential in electric motors.
Last February, the Fraser Institute ranked Quebec sixth in the world and second in Canada in its annual survey of the most attractive territories for investment in mineral exploration. The move from 18th to 6th place indicates that Quebec is capable of attracting exploratory financing from national and international investors . The Quebec Mining Association (AMQ) is delighted with this discovery and anticipates that future exploration expenditures will allow the opening of new mines. This is promising news for local and provincial economies.
Quebec is in an excellent position due to its proximity to the United States. It is close to metropolitan cities and business centers like Toronto and New York as well as industrial centers. In addition, its deep-water ports provide easy access for exports to Europe and Asia. The province also works closely with mining industry organizations and the communities that host the projects. These communities are natural project partners and they work with the government to develop and promote the mining sector while adhering to the principles of sustainable development and social acceptability.
The orientations of the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources (MERN) in terms of social acceptability
Quebec offers a collaborative environment where mining sector actors cooperate closely with local populations and First Nations on mining sites. In February 2016, the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources (MERN) published the following five guidelines for social acceptability:
- Increase awareness of the Department’s roles and responsibilities in land planning and management.
- Make the mechanisms for planning and reconciling uses in the public land use plans (PATP) more transparent and more participatory and update them.
- Ensure there are predictable public participation processes in place at all stages of a project.
- Promote sharing of the benefits of energy and mining development projects with local communities.
- Strengthen the Department’s analytical capacity on the impacts, economic spinoffs and repercussions of projects by ensuring that social acceptability factors are taken into account.
Mining projects in collaboration with communities
To promote transparency with Aboriginal businesses and communities, Quebec provides tools and resources to improve the social acceptability of mining operations and promote open discussion. From the first consultation stage, promoters are encouraged to establish development conditions that respect the environment and the host communities of mining projects.
Treaties with First Nations
Quebec has signed treaties covering approximately 1.1 million square kilometers (over 65% of the total area of Quebec) with the Cree, Inuit and Naskapi. The Government of Quebec and the MERN have also adopted policies providing rules for communicating with the other First Nations of Quebec when a project risks infringing on their established, ancestral or treaty rights. In the case of the Abitibiwinni First Nation, the MERN contributed to the development of a clear framework for community consultation and accommodation regarding mining activities.
Job growth in the mining industry
The training of a qualified labor force to fill all positions in the mining industry is also a condition of success for the exploitation of future minerals in Québec.
Several elements contribute to skills development in the mining industry, such as scholarships and training programs for skilled workers. Businesses whose payroll for the year exceeds $2 million must also allocate a training expense for the personnel in place in order to refresh or acquire relevant skills within the framework of the contribution to the Fund for the development and recognition of workforce skills . People who are unemployed or underemployed can get financial help to train for jobs in the mining industry.
In the province, the growth of the sector in the discovery, extraction, processing, upgrading and recycling of minerals will create quality jobs and stimulate regional economic viability.
According to the AMQ, the mining industry in Quebec supports more than 48,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs. Mining companies spend approximately $10 billion in the province and a network of more than 3,800 suppliers contributes to the development of Quebec’s natural resources. It should also be noted that the average annual compensation in the industry is almost $104,000, which is significantly higher than the average annual salary in Quebec, which is $53,000, and the Canadian average of $51,000. .
The report also answers a frequently asked question: how much money does the government receive from the exploitation of mineral resources? The answer is more than $1 billion per year. In 2018, the Government of Quebec alone obtained $1.3 billion, not including corporation tax, while the Government of Canada received an additional $500 million.
Best Practices in Sustainable Development
Quebec enjoys a good reputation in the mining sector as a reliable, long-term partner. It regularly updates its legislation and regulatory framework to embed the ideas of sustainability at the heart of some of the world’s most ethical mining companies, prioritizing increased environmental and health regulation and safety at work. The government continues to improve its knowledge of environmental management of mineral-related projects for the future. Sustainable development programs and initiatives help ensure that new mining projects follow a process that respects the environment and the surrounding community by adhering to the principles of sustainable development.
The Sustainable Mobility Policy – 2030
In 2018, the Quebec government announced its Sustainable Mobility Policy – 2030: Transporting Quebec to Modernity, as well as the 2018-2023 Action Plan.
According to the Policy, “mobility represents the ability and potential of people and goods to move or be transported. It forms the basis of social, economic and cultural exchanges between individuals, businesses and societies. To be sustainable, mobility must be efficient, safe, sustainable, equitable, integrated into the environment and compatible with human health and ecosystems. Sustainable mobility limits the consumption of space and resources, provides and facilitates access, promotes economic dynamism, is socially responsible and respects the integrity of the environment”.
Also, “the policy addresses public, active, road, maritime, air and rail transportation as well as interventions on the road network, all from an integrated perspective. It will be in effect until 2030 and will be updated periodically through the various action plans that will help maintain the course towards the objectives to be achieved. »
Quebec is also contributing to accelerating the energy transition and fighting climate change by adopting regulations as a development strategy for the battery industry. In 2021, the Quebec government announced a plan to invest up to $1.4 billion in the lithium battery industry to become a world leader in electric transportation.
Québec is in a favorable position thanks to several assets that promote the energy transition:
- Quebec’s hydroelectricity production has a relatively low environmental impact and will allow Quebec to manufacture the greenest battery in North America.
- A network of world-class universities that serves as an incubator for highly qualified personnel in fields related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
- Expertise in the production of electric cars , including major manufacturers like Nova Bus, Lion Electric and BRP.
- The geographical proximity of major automobile manufacturers and spare parts manufacturers.
- Low operational costs compared to the rest of North America as well as trade agreements that provide access to a large consumer market.
What you must remember
Quebec is also one of the most business-friendly cities in the country, with competitive salaries and considerable tax and financial advantages. While the province is attractive to international investors, it also has an extensive planning system and encourages collaboration to ensure the regions’ communities, including indigenous peoples, thrive.
To learn more about how to invest in a Quebec-based progressive mining company, contact us today!
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