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Unprecedented mining boom around Mont Tremblant and in southern Quebec: Call for moratorium

PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Montreal, August 18, 2022 - In new map released today, a coalition of environmental organizations reveals a boom of mining claims varying from 49.1 % to 408 % in four tourist regions of southern Quebec. Faced with this boom unprecedented, the coalition is urging Quebec to establish a moratorium, as long as the rules dictated by the Mining Act have not been modified. 

This boom of mining claims is consistent with an increase in global demand for so-called “future” minerals and the launch of Quebec plan for the valorization of critical and strategic minerals, in fall 2020. Among the highlights noted by the organizations, we note:

  • An increase 4.9 times faster than in the rest of Quebec – It is in Lanaudière that we have observed the largest increase in mining titles since January 2021 (408 %), followed by Outaouais (211%), Laurentides (71.2 %) and Mauricie (49.1 % ). This is an average increase of 129%, or 4.9 times higher than the increase observed throughout Quebec during the same period.
  • Around parks and in large wildlife reserves – Today there are more than 15,413 mining titles in Outaouais (4,359), Laurentides (3,160), Lanaudière (3,827) and Mauricie (4,067). Hundreds of claims are attached to large national and regional parks (Mont Tremblant, Lac Taureau, etc.), while others are found directly within major wildlife reserves (Papineau-Labelle, La Vérendrye, etc.).
  • An increase 4 times greater than that of protected territories – Across Quebec, the increase in the area covered by mining titles since January 2021 (8.7 to 11.3 million hectares or +29.9 %) is 4 times greater than the increase in territories protected from mining activity (45.8 to 49.2 million hectares or +7.4 %) established during the same period.
  • As big as Belgium, Denmark and Switzerland combined Quebec is vast and although the surface area of its territory today covered by mining titles seems small (6.8% of the territory or 11.3 million hectares), this is in fact equivalent to 20.4 million football fields or the total area of Belgium, Denmark and Switzerland combined. 
  • Populations not informed, not consulted Nothing in the Mining Act currently requires mining companies to inform or consult citizens, municipalities and Indigenous communities. Before to acquire new mining claims in their territories. With a simple click online, anyone can acquire a claim with less than 40 $. Once acquired, the claim confers an “exclusive right” to its holder who can then renew it indefinitely at little cost, thereby preventing the creation of protected areas or integrated land development.

Faced with this wave of mining claims sweeping across southern Quebec in a chaotic manner, without planning and without consulting local populations, organizations are urging Quebec to establish a moratorium. In a letter sent to the government, they ask in particular to review the Mining Act and the rules for applying “territories incompatible with mining activity” (TIAM) in order to better protect tourist areas and valued natural environments. 

This call echoes some 25 municipalities currently mobilized in southern Quebec, as well as in another asked made earlier this year regarding the need to protect drinking water eskers in Abitibi-Témiscamingue.

Recall that a recent Light survey underlines that 3 out of 4 people in Quebec (78 %) say they are in favor of “requiring the consent of local populations (e.g.: municipalities, Indigenous Nations) before authorizing any mining activity on their territory”. A similar proportion (75 %) asks “to prohibit all mining projects in tourist or resort areas”. Almost all (89 %) of respondents want to “prohibit the discharge of mining waste into any lake, river or sensitive ecological environment”.

- 30 -

Source :
Quebec Better Look Coalition

For information :

  • Ugo Lapointe, Quebec Better Look Coalition: 514-708-0134
  • Alice de Swarte, Society for Nature and Parks – SNAP Quebec: 514 575 4941
  • Rébecca Pétrin, Eau Secours: 514-246-9075
  • Louis St-Hilaire, Group for the protection of the lakes of the Petite-Nation: 514-591-9167
  • André Bélanger, Fondation Rivières, 514-272-2666, 301
  • Martin Vaillancourt, National grouping of regional environmental councils, (418) 265-7545
  • Daniel Tokatéloff, Association for the Protection of Lake Taureau (514-973-5187, 514-212-2112)

Supporting this request (alphabetical):

  • Association for the Protection of Lake Taureau (APLT)
  • Quebec Association of Physicians for the Environment (AQME)
  • Center for research in education and training relating to the environment and eco-citizenship (Centr’ERE)
  • Quebec Better Look Coalition
  • Emergency Water 
  • Fondation Rivières
  • Nature Quebec
  • National grouping of regional environmental councils (RNCREQ)
  • Group for the protection of the lakes of the Petite-Nation
  • Society for Nature and Parks – SNAP Quebec
  • SOS – Grenville-sur-la-Rouge

Quotes :

“What our map shows is much worse than we could have imagined. We are currently witnessing the appropriation of vast swathes of southern Quebec by the mining exploration industry. This is happening without citizens knowing it or having a say. At this rate, we will soon be faced with a fait accompli. Quebec will become the Alberta of minerals. » – Louis St-Hilaire, Group for the protection of the Petite-Nation lakes 

“Abitibi was built on a boom in mining claims 100 years ago, a boom which has continued to expand since, without consulting the population, in the total chaos of the Mining Act. Forty percent of the Abitibi territory is today “frozen” due to mining claims, preventing any other use of the territory. Southern Quebec should not be subjected to this archaic policy. » – Richard Desjardins, Action boréale

“The government and the mining industry advertise a lot about minerals of the future. But in this matter, it is also our future that is at stake and we would like to have a say on the subject. For the moment, we have no ear from the government and we fear becoming a sacrificed region. » – David Pharand, mayor of Duhamel

“Quebec cannot move forward with so-called “future” minerals with laws and practices from the past. We must put health and the environment at the heart of current mining laws and policies” – Ugo Lapointe, Coalition Québec Meilleur Mine 

“Environmental protection is the basis of a responsible and competitive mining industry. Quebec has many assets to position itself as a leader, but it must not give in to urgency. The government must achieve environmental objectives and also ensure the social acceptability of projects among host communities.” – Martin Vaillancourt, National grouping of regional environmental councils

“In 2022, it is high time to stop considering Quebec's natural environments as a simple reservoir of industrial resources to be exploited. Reserving large areas of untouched nature for our physical and spiritual well-being and that of our descendants is more than a necessity, it is an imperative.” – Normand Ethier, SOS Grenville-sur-la-Rouge

“We should not underestimate the current and future mining boom associated with American and European demand, in particular to supply the minerals necessary for the manufacture of batteries. The population is not ready to sacrifice its health and the environment in the name of saving the climate. It takes a real ecological transition which is much larger than the manufacture of batteries. – Daniel Tokatéloff – Association for the protection of Lake Taureau

“As Quebec prepares to host COP15 on biodiversity, it is urgent to review our planning practices and prioritize conservation and access to nature, for living and protected territories. It’s time for nature claims to replace mining claims! » – Alice de Swarte, Society for Nature and Parks of Quebec (SNAP Quebec) 

“Knowing the importance of wetlands and water environments for the quality of our lives but also as a vital water resource, it is completely reckless to let the mining industry have the leisure to explore wherever it wants. We must protect these environments; the quality of life of all and future generations depends on it. » – Rébecca Pétrin, Eau Secours

“Our citizens are very attached to our territory, dotted with exceptional lakes and rivers. We hear their message very clearly and we share it. Under current government rules, our MRC is incompatible with mining activity. » – Benoit Lauzon, prefect of the MRC of Papineau

Documentation :

About Coalition Québec Meilleur Mine

Coalition So that Quebec looks better! was created in the spring of 2008 and is today made up of around thirty organizations, including Fondation Rivières, representing more than 250,000 members in Quebec. The coalition's mission is to review the way in which the mining sector is managed and developed in Quebec, in order to harmonize its activities with the community and promote best practices on a social and environmental level.

Photo: Tobias Kleeb

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