MONTREAL — The big summit meeting on universities and colleges held last month in Quebec seemed to leave no one satisfied by the time it was over. It was more of an occasion for posturing and politicking than for an honest look at the future of higher education.
Well, you can forgive companies and investors for feeling a bit nervous about the mining-industry summit planned by the Parti Québecois government for March 15. Politics could again cloud the outcome of a meeting that is crucial to the future of the province.
Mining is one of the few promising avenues of industrial development in Quebec right now. But investment is currently on hold amid uncertainty about the future royalty regime and regulatory environment that will apply in Quebec.
Investors and mining companies are so concerned that they are planning their own meeting on March 13 to make sure their voices are heard. “Our clients are worried,” says Michel Rathier, a consultant at KPMG-Sécor. He is attending the annual meeting of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada in Toronto this week, where there’s growing concern about a slowdown across the industry.
“Everybody is worried about the investment climate — both big players and smaller ones. The capital is there, but it’s just not being invested right now.”
The PQ government’s fall budget did not include any details on the party’s promise to boost royalty rates on mining companies. Instead, the government vowed to consult more closely with the industry.
But such consultation hasn’t been extensive. And the government’s summit, while focusing attention on mining firms, will also include representatives from a wide range of other groups including municipalities, environmentalists and citizen groups.
Rathier says the advance meeting to be held by the industry will bring together the heads of mining companies to talk about the economic challenges they face.
At the PDAC conference in Toronto this week, a study was released showing the global growth rate in mining fell by half in 2012.
For the rest of this editorial, please go to the Montreal Gazette website: http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Peter+Hadekel+Politics+could+affect+mining+industry+summit/8053062/story.html