NEWS RELEASE: Government Intervention May Threaten Global Mining Industry – Quebec Remains One of the Best Places to Invest

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“The Northern Plan has strengthened Quebec’s position as one of the best places to invest in the mining sector in the world,” – Anand Beejan, Partner and Mining Sector Expert

Montreal, August 17, 2011 – Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton unveiled today a global study on the mining sector conducted by Grant Thornton International. The report demonstrates that government intervention in the mining sector is causing high levels of uncertainty among companies and investors. In addition, it states that the current approach of governments threatens not only the long-term growth of the mining industry, but also that of the global economy.

The report states that increasing and unpredictable intervention across the world’s leading mining jurisdictions is adding uncertainty to a sector already laden with risk. Changes to taxation, nationalisation of resources and environmental legislation are pushing complexity to acute levels for mining companies and pose a threat to commodity prices. In this regard, the extent of government interventions are also increasing risks for investors, clouding corporate valuations and making it harder to raise capital.

More particularly in Quebec, the mining industry can look forward to the Northern Plan, unveiled last May, which represents the most extensive economic, social and environmental development project in the history of the province. Over a 25-year period, this plan will lead to over $80 billion in investments, including toward the development of mining projects, among others. “The Northern Plan has strengthened Quebec’s position as one of the best places to invest in the mining sector in the world, and that’s despite the fact that mining dues increased from 12% to 16% in the last 2010-2011 budget,” declared Anand Beejan, Partner and Mining Sector Expert, of Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton.

Quebec is the only jurisdiction where $10 billion in mining investments was announced last May, making it one of the most attractive jurisdictions in the world.

On a different note, Bill 14, an act concerning the growth of mineral resources in keeping with the principles of sustainable development, was tabled at the National Assembly on May 12. Taking the Northern Plan into account, and the important mining sector investments it entails, RCGT is sceptical of certain elements included that may limit the investments of mining companies but the sustainable development of the sectors concerned must also be ensured. “The mining industry is watching Bill 14 closely as these amendments may have a significant economic impact and may also potentially compromise certain investments already undertaken by mining companies. In order to keep the mining sector going, mining corporates must ensure that key risks are understood and articulated to investors. On their side, governments need to understand and appreciate the many positive aspects that mining can and does bring to the economy,” concluded Mr. Beejan.

Governments must work to limit or end policy and taxation uncertainty. They need to resist targeting mining as if it were an endless revenue stream and recognise that excessive intervention stifles investment and exploration. Otherwise, there is a real threat that mining operations cease to operate in their jurisdictions, which will have a serious impact on their economies.

About Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton

Founded in 1948, Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton has become one of the international leaders in assurance, taxation, consulting, and recovery and reorganization services. The Firm owes its success to over 2,000 employees, including 225 partners in over 90 offices in Quebec, Eastern Ontario and New Brunswick. The scope of its network has made the Firm the leader in its sector of activities. For over 30 years now, Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton has also been a member of Grant Thornton International Ltd, offering its clients access to the expertise of member and representative firms in more than 100 countries. Grant Thornton Raymond Chabot Infrastructure Inc. works across Canada and is headquartered in Montreal.

About Anand Beejan, Partner and Mining Sector Expert

With over 20 years of business experience including in international environments, Mr. Beejan has specific in-depth knowledge of the mining sector, providing counsel to global mining companies and their executives, as well as contributing to their growth and financial success. Member of Grant Thornton’s International Mining Sector Working Group, he also played a central role within the Mining Sector IFRS Working Group, toward the processing of costs related to mining explorations undertaken by small mining companies.

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Marie-Eve Carignan
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