The bill heralds significant reforms to the Mining Act. Here are some highlights that will be of great interest to WQCAMU and citizens in the West Quebec region:
- Notices of Claims and Notices for Exploration Work: Within
60 days of registration, claim holders must notify the
municipality and the surface rights owner or leaseholder of the fact
that they have obtained a claim.
Claim holders must inform the municipality at least 30
days prior to performing work.
- Expropriation Rights Limited: The power to expropriate private property previously held under the Mining Act can now only be exercised during the actual mining stage and mining companies will be required to compensate expropriated parties for certain costs related to expropriation.
- Powers of Regional County Municipalities: MRCs may declare parts of their territory as mining-incompatible territory in their land use and development plans. These new powers are somewhat constrained because the Minister may declare the mining-incompatible designation of a territory is inconsistent with government policy direction.
- Environmental Impact Assessments and Public Consultations: EIAs will be required for all mineral processing plant construction and operation projects and all mine development and operation projects, where the processing or production capacity of the plant or the mine is 2,000 tonnes per day or more. All rare earth processing projects are to be subject to an EIA process regardless of the processing or production capacity.
- Public Information: Documents and information obtained by the Minister from mining rights holders under the Act are considered to be public. The Minister can make these documents and information public in the manner the Minister sees fit.
To all who have supported the work of WQCAMU over the last six plus years many, many thanks. It goes to show that a few people working together as a coalition can in fact help make changes happen.
Special thanks to Ecojustice who did some heavy lifting on the legal side of mining act reform and to the coalition Quebec Meilleure Mine who did the heavy lifting on convincing the Quebec Government that change was long overdue.