Bill 43, which aimed at reforming Quebec's Mining Act, RSQ,
c. M-13.1, was defeated in the Quebec National Assembly, thus
marking the third defeat since 2009 of an attempt to proceed with a
long-awaited reform of Quebec's mining law.
In fact, during the session it held on October 30, 2013, the
National Assembly was asked to vote on the adoption in principle of
Bill 43. In the event that the members of the National Assembly
approved the Bill in principle, the Bill would have then moved
forward to the subsequent steps in the legislative process,
including the committee stage, which allows for the
section-by-section examination, and if necessary, amendment, of a
bill. However, Bill 43 was defeated at the National Assembly with
57 votes against its adoption, 51 votes in favour and 2
abstentions, and as a consequence, dropped from the Order
Since its introduction in May 2013, Bill 43 has been the subject
of a considerable amount of commentaries and criticism from
interested parties, which include the mining industry, the
municipalities and aboriginal communities, all of whom would have
been directly affected by the anticipated reform. (Please refer our
article entitled "
A New Bill to Reform Quebec's Mining Act: Bill 43" for
a more detailed analysis of Bill 43.)
The industry and the opposition's criticism with regard to
Bill 43 concerned, among other things, the arbitrary power that
Bill 43 gave to Quebec's Minister of Natural Resources (the
"Minister") to revise a municipality's designation of
mining zones. In fact, Bill 43 amended the Act Respecting Land Use
Planning and Development, RSQ, c. A-19.1, to allow municipalities
to intervene in the delimitation of mining zones on their
territories by designating parts of their territory as "mining
incompatible" or "conditionally mining compatible"
in their land use and development plans. The Minister would then
have the right to revise these designations.
Another one of the criticized novelties in Bill 43 was the
requirement that any application for a mining lease be accompanied
by a feasibility study on ore processing in Québec. Once the
study would be submitted, the Minister would have the discretion to
require the mine operator to enter an agreement "for the
purposes of maximizing economic spinoffs within
Québec". Moreover, Bill 43 required that any agreement
between a holder of a mining lease and a community be made public,
a provision that was strongly opposed by aboriginal
Given its minority status, the Parti Québécois
Government required the support of members of the opposition in
order for Bill 43 to pass. The Quebec Liberal Party, which
constitutes the official opposition at the National Assembly,
rendered its approval of Bill 43 conditional to the inclusion of a
number of amendments to its content.
The Quebec Liberal Party required, among other things, for the
Minister to set aside her right to revise a municipality's
designation of mining zones, to disclose, prior to the
adoption in principle of the Bill, the criteria that the
municipalities would need to consider in making such designations,
and to alleviate the obligation for mine operators to perform a
feasibility study on ore processing in Quebec. Nonetheless, the
concessions that the Minister was ready to make were not sufficient
to ensure the support of the opposition for Bill 43.
The defeat of Bill 43 and the debates preceding it highlight the
controversial nature of the novelties introduced by the Bill and
the fears expressed with regard to the possible effects of its
adoption on the Quebec mining industry. It also means that mine
operators in Quebec will continue to be subject to the present
Mining Act, which came into force in 1988 and has been amended over
the years. It remains to be seen whether Quebec politicians will
opt for the legislative status quo in this field or whether they
will choose to adopt a new approach towards eventual reform of
Quebec's mining law.
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guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
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