Though surrounded by endless expanses of land, northern mining towns in Quebec are running out of permissible space to build much-needed housing and other property types required for growing cities.
It’s a problem expected to intensify as the region faces an influx of anticipated workers from a major new contract with U.S. manufacturer Tesla and an increase in mining for materials used to make batteries for electric vehicles. Tesla announced a deal last month to buy spodumene concentrate, a source of lithium and important raw material needed for electric vehicle batteries, from the Sayona Mine 560 kilometres northwest of Montreal.
Local leaders expect Tesla’s deal with Piedmont Lithium, based in Belmont, North Carolina, and part owner of the Sayona Mine, and other area mining operations to bring a significant number of workers to Northern Quebec, home to one of North America’s largest natural supplies of spodumene.
Local authorities say the towns closest to the mines are already bursting at the seams and their attempts to greenlight further housing development have been handcuffed by provincial government regulations that can take years to process.
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