Did you know? One fifth of Canada’s mining output comes from Québec. The resources exploited there are the most diverse in Canada: 15 metals and 13 minerals are produced and upgraded there, including lithium, rare earths and apatite.
In 2016, minerals extracted in Québec came from 27 active mines and close to 530 surface mining sites (Institut de la statistique du Québec).The value of mineral shipments reached $8.11 billion, a 7.8% increase over 2015. The main metals mined are, in decreasing order of shipment value, gold, iron, nickel, titanium, niobium, copper and zinc.
In addition to its huge mineral potential, Québec is highly attractive for resource exploration and exploitation, and its business environment is very favourable to mining investments
The Québec government granted $185 million to BlackRock Metals to support the construction of an open pit iron, vanadium and titanium mine near Chibougamau, in the Nord du Québec region. This financial assistance will also enable the company to open a secondary processing plant in Saguenay, where the ore will be processed and refined before being shipped to international markets. The project represents total investments of almost $1.3 billion. In addition to the jobs created during the construction phase, 200 permanent high-quality jobs will be created for the operation of this mine.
Nemaska Lithium has completed a $1.1-billion financing package for its project to develop a rich lithium spodumene deposit at the Whabouchi mine, in the Nord-du-Québec region. The mine should be commissioned by the end of 2019. The ore extracted from it will be processed in the company’s new electrochemical plant in Shawinigan, which will produce lithium hydroxide and carbonate. Investissement Québec has invested $80 million in this project, through its subsidiary Ressources Québec.
Québec junior mining company Nouveau Monde Graphite (NMG) commissioned its demonstration plant in Saint-Michel-des-Saints in summer 2018. It will produce 2,000 tonnes of graphite concentrate over a two-year period. NMG has entered into an R&D partnership with Hydro-Québec, which should enable it to challenge the Asian monopoly on the worldwide production of spherical graphite and anode materials for lithium-ion batteries.
Acquired in 2016 by Champion Iron, with the financial support of the Québec government, the Bloom Lake Iron Ore Mine resumed operations in March 2018. With mineral reserves estimated at 411.7 million tonnes, this mine has the potential to become one of Nord-du-Québec’s leading long-life iron mines.
ArcelorMittal, the world’s leading steelmaker, is set to invest close to $500 million over the next four years to upgrade its facilities in Québec’s Côte-Nord region. The investment will enable the company to increase production at its Fire Lake mine, maintain current operations at the Mont Wright mining complex in Port-Cartier and consolidate its iron ore supply for related industries, including steelmaking.
Royal Nickel Corporation’s Dumont Nickel Project is one of the world’s largest undeveloped, permitted and shovel-ready nickel sulphide deposits. Dumont is a mammoth deposit located near the town of Amos, Québec. When in production, it is expected to rank as the fifth-largest nickel sulphide operation in the world by annual production.
Launched in 2011, the Plan Nord is a vast project that opens up an incredibly resource-rich territory extending over 1.2 million km². The goal is to ensure sustainable, integrated development of the region’s economic potential—particularly its mineral resources—all with the greatest respect for First Nations and local communities.