Parti Québécois mining promises under scrutiny – by Monique Beaudin (Montreal Gazette – September 10, 2012)

Premier-designate Pauline Marois made a lot of promises about mining in the election campaign.  Her Parti Québécois promised to hike mining royalties, revamp the 25-year Plan Nord and require environmental reviews of new mining projects.
Now the industry and environmental groups are wondering which promises will come true. On Monday, a coalition of environmental groups called on the new government to make good on its promises, while an industry spokesperson denied companies were “in a panic” about the PQ plans.
“Despite being in a minority position, we believe that the Parti Québécois is in a good position to make quick and necessary reforms in Quebec’s mining sector,” said Ugo Lapointe, spokesperson for Québec meilleure mine, a coalition of 30 different groups.
There was a consensus among all political parties that Quebec’s mining law needs to be updated, the group said in a statement. It believes Quebecers should benefit more from the development of the province’s natural resources.
The group says the new PQ government should adopt a new mining law by Christmas.
“The status quo is unacceptable while mines continue to open all over the province with the only rules being the old and outdated mining act,” said Henri Jacob, president of Action boréale de l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue.
A report from Quebec’s auditor-general in 2009 said Quebec was receiving little revenue from mining royalties and was often on the hook for cleaning up abandoned mines. In reaction to the report, the former Liberal government began work on updating the mining act in 2009, but was not finished by the time the election was called. The Liberals also increased mining royalties in 2010 from to 16 per cent from 12 per cent.
The PQ’s platform said the party would require companies to transform raw materials in Quebec, instead of sending them elsewhere for processing. Mining critics have long argued that transformation of natural resources in the province would create more jobs here.
“The days of putting our natural resources on a boat and exporting them without asking anything in return are over,” Martine Ouellet, the MNA for Vachon and the PQ’s mining critic, said during the election campaign.
Coalition meilleure mine sent each political party a questionnaire during the campaign asking them various questions about mining. According to the coalition, the PQ said it would require an environmental assessment and public consultations for all new mines, and allocate funding to departments and independent organizations to ensure adequate monitoring and control.
For the rest of this article, please go to the Montreal Gazette website:

Comments are closed.