Bill 14: creating a foundation for an innovative mining development model
Last May, the Minister for Natural Resources and Wildlife and Minister responsible for the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region and Côte-Nord region, Serge Simard, tabled Bill 14, An Act respecting the development of mineral resources in keeping with the principles of sustainable development.
The Bill amends the existing Mining Act and introduces a major change of legislative direction. It is based on the three key principles of sustainable development, to ensure that mining projects are better integrated into the community and to optimize mineral potential in Québec’s regions:
An in-depth review of the Mining Act was essential in order to provide a better response to the concerns of partners, regional stakeholders, environmental groups, government departments, associations, mining companies and Québec citizens. As a result, the Bill includes several amendments to eliminate out-of-date practices and reflect current values. The main changes introduced by the Bill are as follows:
The Bill also emphasizes the importance of social acceptability. All mining projects will be submitted for public consultation, in order to achieve as broad a consensus as possible. Several provisions in the Bill make dialogue necessary, at an early stage in the process, between the promoter, on the one hand, and citizens and their municipal representatives, on the other. The Bill imposes this extra step to ensure that the concerns of individuals and municipalities are taken into account.
Also for social reasons, the Bill gives the Minister the power to prohibit or restrict mining activities in certain sectors, including areas within an urbanization perimeter or land dedicated to vacationing. This provision will be retroactive to the date on which the Bill was tabled, and will be in force until the Bill is finalized. In addition, the holders of claims within the perimeters indicated will have to comply with the provision to avoid placing themselves in a situation of non-compliance.
Québec Mineral Strategy
The Bill implements the approach set out in the Québec Mineral Strategy, released in June 2009. The Strategy, for the first time, coordinates the management of the mining sector and targets three objectives: