Canada: Plan Nord – Parti Québécois Advances Reform Of Québec’s Mining Act

On May 29, 2013, after eight months of work and two reform attempts by the former Liberal government, the Parti Québécois (the PQ) tabled Bill 43, proposing reform to the Mining Act.  

Bill 43 follows the reform on mining royalties tabled by the PQ on May 6, 2013 (see Osler Update Plan Nord – Québec's New Mining Royalty Regime), whereby the government stated its intention to introduce new legislative measures aimed at better protecting the environment, improving the transparency of mining activities and encouraging the transformation in Québec of minerals extracted in the province.

Bill 43 proposes a new Mining Act (the New Mining Act) that incorporates certain measures that were already proposed in 2011 when the previous government tabled Bill 14 (see article on this topic); however, the bill also includes additional measures that, if adopted, would have a significant impact on mining operations in Québec, particularly regarding matters relating to disclosure, expropriation, transformation and ore mining.

Proposed Modifications to the Mining Act

If Bill 43 is adopted in the Québec National Assembly and the New Mining Act enters into force, the following new measures will be imposed:

  • All projects relating to the development and operation of mines, as well as projects regarding the construction and operation of mineral processing plants, will be subject to an environmental assessment by the Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement (BAPE).
  • A committee will be established by all holders of mining rights for the duration of the lifespan of the mine, whose objective will be to maximize job creation, contracts and other economic benefits to local communities.
  • The government will be able to auction off certain claims, including those for which it has completed the exploration work and has acquired geological value-added data.
  • The granting of mining leases will become subject to the following conditions:
    • the mining company's filing of a feasibility study on the transformation of minerals in Québec;
    • the Minister of Natural Resources' discretion to impose a transformation agreement before granting or renewing a mining lease;
    • compliance with all obligations contained in the Mining Tax Act (Québec).
  • Municipalities will have increased powers to prepare their development plans and delineate their territory into three categories of compatibility with mining operations: (i) compatible, (ii) compatible under certain conditions and (iii) incompatible. Although the extent of this power has yet to be determined, the municipalities' development plans would prevail over the New Mining Act, subject to the Minister of Natural Resources' discretion on the matter, which would be based on necessity.
  • Mining rights holders' power of expropriation may be exercised only at the extraction stage, and mining companies will have to compensate landowners for professional services related to negotiations for the sale of a family residence.
  • The public disclosure obligations of mining companies will be increased and will require, among other things, disclosure of their levels of extraction as well as their annual mining taxes.

In addition, the New Mining Act includes measures that had already been proposed by the previous Liberal party:

  • A declaration must be made to the relevant municipalities of any prospecting and discovery of uranium and there will be an obligation to perform a hydrogeological study before making boreholes.
  • A prior public consultation must be held in cases of exploitation of surface mineral peat required for an industrial activity or commercial export activity.
  • The relevant provisions relating to claims will be modified as follows:
    • Each licence holder will have to submit a report to the Minister of Natural Resources for all exploitation-related activities in the 48 months following the date of the claim listing.
    • Work credits will be carried forward over 12 years, rather than the 20 years that were originally proposed in Bill 14 by the former Liberal government.
  • The granting of mining leases will be subject to
    • the Minister of Natural Resources' approval of the rehabilitation and restoration plan of the mining company following the end of mining activities;
    • the receipt of a certificate of authorization established by Québec's Environmental Quality Act (Québec), following a public consultation before the BAPE.
  • Mining companies must provide a guarantee sufficient to cover the anticipated costs of the rehabilitation and remediation plan approved by the Minister of Natural Resources, a plan that is to follow at the end of the mining activities at a mining site. The guarantee will be increased to 100%, from 70%, of the remediation costs. In the case of exploration, the guarantee must be provided in full before the work begins. In other cases, the guarantee will consist of three annual instalments of 50%, 25% and 25%.
  • The Minister of Natural Resources will have the discretion to refuse the granting of or to put an end to mining leases for the extraction of surface minerals for reasons of public interest.

Petroleum and Natural Gas

Finally, Bill 43 would maintain the provisions of the current Mining Act (Québec) relating to petroleum, natural gas, brine and underground reservoirs, which would be named the Mining Act (Petroleum, Natural Gas, Brine and Underground Reservoirs) (Québec).

Conclusion

The PQ's objective in proposing a New Mining Act is to modernize the regulatory structure of mining exploitation in the province by promoting the responsible and transparent development of resources while favouring the local transformation of mineral resources, the involvement of local communities in mining projects and respect for the environment.

Various industry stakeholders question the additional burden that the New Mining Act would impose on mining operations, especially on the ability of mining companies to remain internationally competitive and on the province's appeal for mining investments. Several stakeholders, such as the Association minière du Québec (Québec Mining Association) and the Union des municipalités du Québec (Québec Municipalities Association), have expressed concerns about the potential benefits of Bill 43. These concerns demonstrate a lack of consensus on the proposals. The Liberal opposition, on the other hand, has criticized the uncertainty created by the New Mining Act and has indicated its intention to propose amendments following the consultations on the proposed legislative changes.

Consultations regarding Bill 43 will be conducted on August 22, 23, 26, as well as September 3 to 6 and 10. Its adoption would take place at the earliest in the fall of 2013, but in light of the government's minority status, it might very well be delayed.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions