Sept-Îles, March 16, 2015 – Pierre Arcand, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Minister responsible for the Northern Plan, and Minister responsible for the Côte-Nord Region, David Heurtel, Minister of Sustainable Development, the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change, and Luc Blanchette, Minister for Mines, announced today that the Québec government has authorized the Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques to issue a certificate of authorization to Mine Arnaud for its project to exploit an apatite deposit.
“In concrete terms, this announcement means that the company has done its homework and met the necessary requirements to pursue this major mining project. It is excellent news for Sept-Îles residents, and I’m delighted,” Arcand said. “This is a great example of the kind of project we want to see happen with the Northern Plan—promising projects that create wealth and jobs for local communities, but also for Québec as a whole.” The Minister added that he hopes to make the Northern Plan an exemplary sustainable development project that strikes a balance between economic, environmental and social factors. Joint action among the various partners—local populations, Aboriginal communities and private-sector representatives—is the key to the process, he said.
The Mine Arnaud project, which developed out of a partnership between Investissement Québec and Yara International ASA, is valued at several hundred million dollars. The aim is to mine an apatite deposit located in Arnaud, a township in the municipality of Sept-Îles. The project will create 330 permanent jobs for a period of 28 years, as well as almost 1,000 jobs during the two years of construction.
During 2015, the Mine Arnaud team will start the detail engineering phase. As part of this process, fieldwork will be done to gather information, particularly regarding the characteristics of local soils, Clet Creek and its outlet in the Bay of Sept-Îles. In addition, clearing work must be done so that certain components of the project can be surveyed and a temporary access road to the site can be set up. The construction phase is planned for spring 2016.
“The Mine Arnaud project has just completed a crucial step in developing its apatite mine. Within two years, it will provide good-quality jobs for about 330 workers in the region. Sept-Îles has a large pool of qualified mine workers,” Blanchette said. “A project like Mine Arnaud has what it takes to mobilize local citizens. Imagine the spinoffs it will create for Sept-Îles and the Côte-Nord region.” He also stressed the exceptional quality of the ore in the deposit.
“We can conclude that this mining project is acceptable given the planned mitigation measures, the 17 additional commitments Mine Arnaud has made specifically in response to BAPE recommendations, and the 11 specific conditions added to the government authorization, some of which were included in an order-in-council for the first time,” Heurtel said. “In addition to ensuring that the promoter meets its commitments, we will make sure that this project follows the best environmental practices and respects the local population. Finally, we will continue to work together with the promoter and citizens to ensure that our environmental principles and laws are complied with.”
“In the last few months, the Mine Arnaud team has worked tirelessly to ensure that the project meets, or exceeds, the environmental conditions set out by the Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques,” said Pierre Gabriel Côté, President and CEO of Investissement Québec. “Thanks to the certificate of authorization, Mine Arnaud is one step closer to seeing its apatite mine become a reality.”
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