The Québec Mining Association reviews 2019 – some progress… and some reverses for Québec’s mining industry

Québec City, December 18, 2019 – No major changes for the mining industry occurred in 2019 and the Québec Mining Association (QMA) considers that the outcome is generally positive, although it has some reservations for coming years.

Gold shines once again

With gold prices hitting CAN$2,000 in September, gold once again performed strongly in 2019. This resulted in more exploration, and gold retained its place as Québec’s most sought-after mineral.

Also in connection with the precious metal, Eldorado Gold’s Lamaque mine was the only mine to open and begin commercial production in 2019.

The iron sector also performed well in 2019. For example, Québec Iron Ore continued its development and announced a project to extend the Lac Bloom mine in the Côte-Nord region.

On the plus side

By moving from 6th to 4th place, Québec improved its ranking in the Fraser Institute’s 2019 survey of the most attractive destinations for mining investment worldwide. Despite the strong overall result, the survey shows that to attract more mining sector investors, Québec needs to offer a strong regulatory framework combined with competitive fiscal policies, two demands that the QMA has repeatedly presented to the government.

2019 also confirmed the trend towards increased mining investment in Québec, with a total of $3.26 billion. Although the increase is smaller than expected, it confirms that mining companies remain active in Québec and continue to contribute to the socio-economic prosperity of the regions and of Québec as a whole.

In terms of competitiveness, the QMA welcomes the government’s plan to reduce the administrative delays involved in obtaining various permits and authorizations to develop and operate mines. A clear signal has been sent by elected representatives and senior civil servants, creating a hope that concrete results will emerge over the medium term.

The Legault government’s focus on the development of the critical and strategic minerals sector is also welcomed by the QMA. Québec has strong potential for the critical and strategic minerals needed for the worldwide energy transition in particular, and it is clear for the QMA that Québec must quickly join the movement in order to become a world leader in this sector.

On the minus side

The financing of certain mine facilities was a prominent issue for 2019 in the mining industry, and acted as a brake on the development of several strategic sectors.

The decline in exploration expenditure, confirmed in 2019 by the Institut de la statistique du Québec, was unwelcome news because exploration is the first step in the process leading to the discovery of new deposits. The QMA is also worried about the small number of mines under construction which, in its view, heralds a future slowdown. The announcement that production at Nyrstar’s Langlois mine will cease also darkened the outlook for 2020.

Upcoming events in 2020

In 2020, the QMA will release its third study of the economic benefits generated by the mining industry in Québec, quantifying the impact of mining company activities in outlying regions and also for the whole of Québec.

The QMA will continue to monitor the development of several advanced mining projects, including Osisko Mining’s Lac Windfall project (gold), Nouveau Monde Graphite’s Matawinie project (graphite), Nemaska Lithium’s Whabouchi project (lithium), Sayona Québec’s Authier project (lithium), Falco Resources’ Horne 5 project (gold), and Arianne Phosphate’s Lac à Paul project (apatite).

« The Québec Mining Association’s survey of 2019 is generally positive, with several encouraging signs for the future, such as the government’s clearly reiterated goal of reducing administrative barriers to mineral development. It is true that few new projects are being planned, and that only one new mine entered production this year, but by laying the groundwork for investment we will stimulate mineral development and encourage investors to consider Québec. »

« 2020 will be an interesting year, as various mine projects advance quickly. We will continue to monitor fluctuations in metal prices, which have a major influence over the mining industry’s performance. We hope that the expected increase in mining investment will materialize and that the decline in exploration spending will not be as dramatic as forecast. »

– Josée Méthot, QMA president and CEO

About the Québec Mining Association
The Québec Mining Association (QMA) was founded in 1936 and speaks proactively for mining companies involved in exploration, extraction and processing, mining contractors and junior mining companies, along with suppliers, institutions, non-profit organizations and other mining sector partners. It is proud of the 40,540 jobs and total expenditure of $8.5 billion generated by Québec’s mining industry over the last year. The QMA’s mission is to promote, support and proactively develop a responsible, committed and innovative mining industry in Québec.