Why is Québec the mining industry’s favourite province?

Jamie Kneen

National Program Co-Lead

The Fraser Institute considers Québec to be the mining jurisdiction with the most favourable mineral and policy potential in the world.

  • In Québec all mineral rights are reserved to the State, and anyone can stake mineral claims on an internet-based map system on a first-come first served basis (Québec Mining Act, Section 3).
  • Québec has a free entry system for prospectors, allowing any prospector (someone who is 18 years old and pays the $30 fee), to enter on any lands and explore for minerals, with very few exceptions (Section 65). The only uncategorical exemption is for cemeteries, and some old patent lands where the mineral rights are still attached to the deed (pre-1911).
  • Section 235 sets out the provisions for access to claims by agreement (mutual consent) or expropriation. The Minister of Natural Resources and Wildlife has to give prior permission to the prospector to conduct exploration activities in urban areas, protected areas, Indian reserves, bird sanctuaries and “areas of significant geological interest” (section 32 and 304).
  • The “Paix des Braves” Agreement with the Grand Council of the Crees of Québec and the Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement also establish restrictions on mineral staking in parts of traditional territories.
  • The Minister also has the right to withdraw lands from staking for protected areas, and a few clearly restricted other purposes (section 304).
  • Québec also has a requirement for restoration and closure planning for mine sites (Section 232), but its regulations limit the amount required to a maximum of 70% of the total remediation cost.
  • Québec also has one of the most favourable tax regimes for mining in the country. The province offers a 45% tax credit for exploration directly to the mining company, as well as excellent mapping resources, low hydro rates and support for infrastructure development.