It was a big week for the mining industry. Yesterday the House of Commons defeated a Liberal private member’s bill that would have forced the government to come up with corporate accountability standards applicable to Canadian mining, oil or gas companies, with respect to social, health and safety and environmental standards.
And earlier this week, controversial amendments to Quebec’s Mining Act were adopted.
There is little question that Quebec has long had a reputation in Canada for being among the friendliest places for mining companies because the government asks for little in the way of royalties.
Then in last year’s Quebec budget, the Charest government decided to raise mining duties rate from 12 to 16 per cent. Quebec also introduced Bill 79 to tighten regulatory oversight in the Mining Act, notably regarding cleanup deposits. Quebec’s mining industry has responded in turn that it needs a stable legislative framework, adapted to current realities, if it is to produce benefits to Quebec’s regions and all Quebeckers.
The principle of Bill 79 to modernize the Mining Act has now been adopted but the law’s provision will still undergo further review. Still, critics worry that the changes don’t go far enough and are calling for a major overhaul of the law. Blakes has a thorough account of the stakes at play.