Rural communities push back as mining claims surge – by Andrew Cruickshank (Cottage Life – January 31, 2024)

Approximately 60 kilometres north of Ottawa, a small Quebec municipality is taking a stand against mining exploration in the area. After hearing feedback from locals, the municipality of Low, Que., decided during a January 8th council meeting to support its population in resisting mining development.

The decision came after the municipality noticed a “proliferation of mining claims on private land as well as on public land, on the territory of the Municipality of the Township of Low and neighbouring municipalities,” council said.

The rise in Quebec mining claims is due, in part, to the increased demand for minerals such as lithium and phosphate, which are used in batteries, especially those needed to power electric vehicles. According to mining industry watchdog Mining Watch, there are approximately 338,000 active mining claims in Quebec, nearly 140,000 of which were approved in the last two years.

Similar situations to Low have happened in other more populated areas of Quebec. Last year, Gatineau residents were informed that an exploration company had acquired mining claims for land surrounding the city. Taking a similar route to Gatineau, Low plans to apply for a TIAM (Territory Incompatible with Mining Activity). This is an exemption that can be granted by Quebec’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forests, banning mining development from the area.

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