(Montreal/Quebec - Tuesday, March 22, 2022) The members of the Coalition Québec meilleure mine denounce an absence of concrete measures in the provincial budget to promote a circular economy and the recycling of Quebec’s minerals, including funds to support recycling electric vehicle batteries.
"While Quebec provides tens of millions of dollars in support to the mining sector and billions more for the electrification of the transportation sector, nothing is outlined in the 2022 budget to accelerate recycling or the advancement of a circular economy for the minerals used in energy transition technologies,” said Ugo Lapointe, spokesperson for the Coalition Québec meilleure mine.
The Coalition also objects to the lack of concrete measures aimed at strengthening the capacity of the Ministry of the Environment to fulfill its mission to protect Quebec’s water, air, and natural resources as it oversees the mine-to-market chain of production for mineral resources in the province.
Highlights of the 2022 budget related to the mineral resources sector:
- Added $15 million to critical minerals extraction and processing, bringing the total to $127.4 million since the 2020 provincial budget. In contrast, no money ($0) is allocated to the recycling or circular economy sectors, compared with the $6 million announced as part of the 2021 budget and $18 million allocated in the 2020 budget for battery recycling.
- The word "mining" appears 29 times in the 2022 budget, compared with 17 times in the 2021 Budget and 4 times in the 2020 budget. In contrast, the words "recycling" or "circular economy" appeared 26 times in the 2020 budget, 9 times in the 2021 budget and only once in the 2022 budget.
- Added $38.5 million for an “Asbestos and Asbestos Residue Management Plan,” of which 38% ($14.5 million) is for “accompanying and guiding partners,” without specifying the objectives of this accompaniment, nor how the funds will be spent.
- Added $27.7 million for "Reducing Air and Noise Pollution," including a program to support "the achievement of air quality standards, particularly with respect to nickel, and should address the current issues posed by the extraction, storage and transportation of this mineral." While this objective is commendable, its implementation runs counter to the polluter pays principle and is completely inconsistent with the Quebec government’s previously-stated intention of relaxing air pollution standards for nickel. The government is acting as both arsonist and firefighter.
- There is no money ($0) to modernize the current frameworks and strengthen the capacity of municipalities, MRCs and First Nations to establish "Territories Incompatible with Mining Activity" under the Quebec Mining Act.
The coalition points out that the Quebec government has already committed close to $1 billion to mining projects in recent years, notably through the Ministry of the Economy and Innovation and Investissement Québec.
For more information:
- Ugo Lapointe, la Coalition Québec meilleure mine, c.514-708-0134
- Rodrigue Turgeon, MiningWatch Canada, 819-444-9226
- Rébecca Pétrin, Eau Secours, 514-246-9075
- (Laurentians) Tom Arnold, Mayor of Grenville-sur-la-Rouge, 613-677-1001
- (Outaouais) Louis St-Hilaire, Regroupement pour la protection des lacs de la Petite Nation, 514-591-9167
- (Lanaudière) Gilles Cartier and Daniel Tokatélof, Association pour la protection du Lac Taureau, 514-212-2112, or May Dagher, Coalition des opposants à un projet minier en Haute-Matawinie, 438-820-5800
- (Abitibi-T.) Marc Nantel, Regroupement vigilance mines de l'Abitibi-Témiscamingue, 819-737-8620, 819-734-7981, or Henri Jacob of Action boréale, 819-738-5261