The Gouvernement du Québec launches a new plan for a greener Québec
2 November 2020
The Minister of Energy and Natural Resources and Minister responsible for the Côte-Nord region, Mr. Jonatan Julien, accompanied by the Minister of Economy and Innovation, Mr. Pierre Fitzgibbon, the Minister of the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change, Mr. Benoit Charette, and the Minister of International Relations and La Francophonie and Minister of Immigration, Francization and Integration, Ms. Nadine Girault, unveiled the Québec Plan for the Development of Critical and Strategic Minerals 2020-2025 (QPDCSM), which results from the Government’s intention to promote the prosperity of Québec’s regions and the transition to a lower-carbon economy. This Plan will allow the deployment in Québec of value chains of critical and strategic minerals (CSMs) in respect for the principles of sustainable development, social acceptability and wealth creation for the regions, including local and Aboriginal communities.
The implementation of this Plan is based on a financial framework of $90 M, announced in the 2020-2021 Budget Plan last March. This Plan will be deployed in close cooperation with the departments, bodies and partners concerned.
Essential minerals in high demand: potential to exploit
Critical minerals are defined as essential substances for key sectors of the economy, present a high supply risk, and have no commercially-available substitutes. Strategic minerals are mineral substances necessary for the implementation of key government policies. Québec has established a list of 22 minerals considered critical and strategic (see appendix). Among these minerals are lithium, graphite and nickel, to name only a few. CSMs are used in several spheres of everyday life and provide significant leverage for our economy and our autonomy.
Telecommunications, aerospace, renewable energy production, energy storage, the medical sector and transportation electrification are all high-growth sectors in which the CSM supply is vital. In the current context of transition to a lower-carbon economy and economic upheavals accentuated by the COVID-19 pandemic, several countries are also looking to secure their CSM supply. It is also projected that the demand for CSMs will continue to rise.
A global vision and government orientations
The vision proposed in the Plan is to make Québec a leader in CSM production, transformation, reclamation and recycling, recognized internationally for its ethical approach respectful of sustainable development principles. This ambitious vision will allow Québec not only to benefit fully from its mineral potential and its expertise by attracting investors to Québec, but also to encourage local companies to become involved in the different phases of mineral transformation and recycling.
The Plan breaks down into four orientations:
- Increase knowledge and expertise on critical and strategic minerals
- Deploy or optimize integrated sectors in partnership with the CSM-producing regions
- Contribute to the transition to a sustainable economy
- Raise awareness, guide and promote
These orientations include a total of 11 objectives and 22 actions that will encourage the expansion of CSM value chains. For example, let us mention the following actions: acquire new geoscientific knowledge, sustain the creation of a CSM-specific scientific network, support R&D on CSM extraction, transformation, reclamation and recycling, and support the circular economy projects applied to the CSM sectors.
“It is with pride and great enthusiasm that we today unveil the Québec Plan for the Development of CSMs. As a reliable and ethical partner, Québec will contribute actively to the global energy and technological transitions, by wealth creation in a greener economy. Today, we are launching this future-oriented project, which will allow us together to create more value here at home, while responsibly developing our natural resources and our expertise. We have everything we need to succeed in this innovative sector with growing demand.”
– Jonatan Julien, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Minister responsible for the Côte-Nord region
“Thanks to our resources and the Plan for the Development of CSMs, we have a solid foundation to develop the battery sector. This Plan will ensure the development of the components of our batteries while generating concrete benefits for Québec: quality jobs and business opportunities for our Québec companies to prosper here and internationally.”
– Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of Economy and Innovation
“The Plan launched today is part of our government’s integrated approach to electrify the Québec economy and fight climate change. Thus, the Québec Plan for the Development of Critical and Strategic Minerals is excellent news. The circular economy concept, which includes recycling of products containing minerals, for example, is at the core of this Plan.”
– Benoit Charette, Minister of the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change and Minister responsible for the Laval region
“This is an opportunity for Québec to extend its outreach internationally and attract quality investors. As the gateway to the North American market, Québec positions itself as a partner of choice in the development of sectors requiring strategic minerals in their development. This ambitious Plan will contribute to worldwide recognition of Québec’s strength in this strategic sector.”
– Nadine Girault, Minister of International Relations and La Francophonie and Minister of Immigration, Francization and Integration and Minister responsible for the Laurentides region
- Critical and strategic minerals are part of everyday life and are found in many kinds of equipment and objects, such as medical imaging devices, batteries, laptop computers, cell phones and electric vehicles.
- Québec already contributes to supply strategic minerals as a nickel, niobium and graphite producer. Mining projects are in progress for lithium, vanadium and rare earth elements.
- Conducted in winter 2019-2020, the Review of Québec’s Role in Development of Critical and Strategic Minerals collected different points of view, contributing to the drafting of this Plan.
- The Ministère de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles will publish an annual report of the results of the actions set out in the Plan. In light of these results, the Plan may be updated over the next five years.
- The mining sector plays a leading role in Québec’s economy, with over 30,000 direct and indirect jobs and 22 active mines, primarily in the Côte-Nord, Nord-du-Québec and Abitibi-Témiscamingue regions.
For more information concerning the Québec Plan for the Development of Critical and Strategic Minerals, go to the Web page on this subject: Québec.ca/critical-strategic-minerals . The complete plan can be accessed there, among other information.
For information on the Ministère de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles and to learn more about its activities and achievements, go to mern.gouv.qc.ca.