Février 2014    Print this article

The Act to amend the Mining Act: Assent at last!

Gladys Chamberland, Ministère des Ressources naturelles.

The Preamble to the new Mining Act

AS mineral resources are present throughout Québec and constitute social wealth for present and future generations;

AS mining has helped forge Québec’s identity and should continue to be a source of pride;

AS it is necessary to promote the optimal use of mineral resources in order to create as much wealth as possible for the people of Québec;

AS it is necessary to engage in mineral development in a manner respectful of the environment;

AS it is necessary to promote development that is associated with Québec communities and integrated into their environment;

AS it is necessary to pursue sustainable diversification of the regions’ economies.

After four bills and three public consultations over a four-year period, the Québec Government’s last parliamentary work period ended on December 10, 2013, with the adoption and coming into force of the Act to amend the Mining Act (Bill 70).

The purpose of the new Act is to promote mining activity with a view to achieving transparency and sustainable development. Among other things, its provisions ensure that the people of Québec will receive a fair share of the wealth created by mining operations, taking into account other potential land uses; that mining operations will benefit future generations; that natural resource exploration, extraction and processing expertise is developed in Québec; that more information is obtained from mining companies, and made public; and that the rights and interests of Aboriginal communities are taken into account.

The main changes introduced by the new Act are presented below, according to whether they affect the economic, environmental or social aspects of sustainable mine development.

Economic Aspects

The measures affecting the economic aspect of sustainable development will help maximize the economic spinoffs from mining activity in Québec, and stimulate mine exploration and operations.

Maximizing the economic impacts

Stimulating mine exploration and operations

Environmental Aspects

The new Act contains several measures that will help protect the environment. Among other things, a mining lease cannot be granted until public consultations have been held, and until a rehabilitation and restoration plan has been approved for the site.

Public consultations required for all mining projects

Mining leases now subject to approval of rehabilitation and restoration plans

A mining lease cannot now be granted until a rehabilitation and restoration plan for the site has been approved by the Minister of Natural Resources, and until the certificate of authorization required in the Environment Quality Act has been issued.

Higher fines

The Act updates the system of penal sanctions by significantly increasing certain fines, among other things to bring them into line with those stipulated in the Environment Quality Act.

Social Aspects

The new Act innovates by introducing a host of measures designed to promote better communications with citizens affected by mining activities, and to ensure that mining projects are integrated smoothly into their environment. 

Reconciling different land uses

Promoting dialogue with the communities

Transparency

Introducing measures to ensure greater transparency

To see the full text of the Act to amend the Mining Act, assented to on December 10, 2013, click here.

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© Gouvernement du Québec, 2013