Press Releases - 2010
Bill 79: The Canadian Boreal Initiative calls for reform of Québec’s Mining Act
MONTRÉAL, September 7, 2010 – In the wake of public consultations on Bill 79, An Act to amend the Mining Act, the Canadian Boreal Initiative (CBI) calls on Minister Simard to thoroughly review the proposed legislation so that it meets Québec’s Mineral Strategy objectives, including consultation of local populations, First Nations' rights and title, the creation of protected areas, and compliance with regional land use plans.
"It’s imperative that reformation of the Mining Act is a part of this legislation, similar to the recent reform of the forestry act and following the principles of the Sustainable Development Act," said Suzann Méthot, CBI’s regional director for Quebec. It would seem that, under the proposed legislation, the government would not be able to achieve the objectives established in its own mineral strategy. "Despite the nonrenewable nature of its primary resources, the mining industry offers great potential for economic development in places that really need it,” Ms. Méthot added. “We must ensure an effective, integrated planning that addresses, first and foremost, environmental and social imperatives, to preserve biodiversity and the ecological integrity of ecosystems. The bill must also include provisions recognizing First Nations' rights, title, and leadership over the territory.”
PROMOTING INTEGRATED LAND USE PLANNING
To allow for effective land use planning, mining rights cannot take precedence over land law and other possible uses. Mining development, like forestry development, land protection and conservation and other land uses, must be subjected to planning that engages all stakeholders, including First Nations. This principle of upstream planning, which is embodied in the integrated regional development land use plans, allows for the direct involvement of populations in the description and negotiation of land uses.
DEVELOPPING A PERMIT SYSTEM FOR EXPLORATION AND MINING TITLES
In order to increase the value of these plans, CBI suggests establishing a licensing system for exploration. This type of system is already in place in other provinces including Ontario and Alberta. It allows the government to ensure that projects are developed in accordance with the planning and that they receive public approval. "A graduated approach to the licensing process, which specifically addresses the various stages of mineral exploration and development is an essential element for the credibility of the new mining law,” said Alan Young, CBI’s Director of Corporate Programs. “Such reform would allow for the different levels of activity and the potential impacts of the disturbances to be guided by clear, fair, and predictable requirements by industry and stakeholders. Creating a more transparent and accountable system for managing exploration and development is in everyone’s best interest.”
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The Canadian Boreal Initiative