(Quebec) It would be “dangerous” to impose a moratorium on mining claims as demanded by Quebec solidaire (QS), according to the Minister of Natural Resources and Forests, Maïté Blanchette Vézina.
It would send the wrong message to the international community, which expects Quebec to participate in the decarbonization of the economy, she said Friday during an arrest at the Blue Room.
QS spokesperson for natural resources, Alejandra Zaga Mendez, had just pointed out that the number of claims in Quebec exploded between January 2021 and June 2022.
It increased by 408% in Lanaudière, 211% in Outaouais and 71% in the Laurentians region, said the MP. Claims allow a company to have the exclusive right to explore the ground.
“These claims are in tourist areas that are near lakes, rivers, resorts, where people go to vacation,” she said, adding that “people are very worried.” .
The vast majority of claims do not end up at the mining stage, replied the minister. “One can hardly speak of a mining boom,” she said.
It is also important, according to Ms. Blanchette Vézina, to continue to search the ground, “to go and lift the grass”, in search of traces of interesting minerals.
The Minister gave some concrete examples: with gallium, LED lamps are made, with lithium, batteries for electric vehicles and bicycles, and with tellurium, solar panels.
“It would be dangerous to make a moratorium, because it would send a message that Quebec is slowing down the decarbonization of the economy,” she said.
Quebec would seem to no longer want to “be part of the governments that want to put forward decarbonization and engage in this process with the entire global community,” she added.
Mrs. Blanchette Vézina indicated that she was aware that the mining claims aroused fear. She argued that mining exploration was well regulated in Quebec.
Moreover, in 2022 the government introduced a new requirement for companies, which must obtain authorization before carrying out exploration work with impacts.
The Minister also launched a consultation “in order to renew the dialogue with local communities” and identify the “winning conditions” for the “harmonious” development of mining activity.
There are currently 280,000 active mining claims in Quebec.