(Montreal /Papineauville) The Lake Associations of the Petite-Nation River Watershed announces that all of the municipalities of the Papineau Regional County Municipality (RCM) have passed resolutions urging Quebec to protect their environment in light of a graphite mining boom in the region.
Louis St-Hilaire, spokesperson for the group, said, "We are very happy that our local and regional elected officials have heard the call of citizens and organizations in the area. It is now up to Quebec to listen to this call and not impose an industry for which there is no social licence.”
Mr. Benoît Lauzon, warden for Papineau RCM, said, "We hear the call of our citizens and the business community, who say that above all, our future depends on nature-based economies, including tourism and sustainable forestry.” According to the RCM, the current rules do not adequately protect the region's populations and exceptional environment. "This is why we have submitted a brief requesting changes to the regulations of the Mining Act,” said Mr. Lauzon. “Already, several RCMs, organizations, as well as the Chamber of Commerce, support us.”
This announcement follows more than two years of citizen-led mobilizations, notably by the Lake Associations of Petite-Nation’s River Watershed. "The entire northern part of our regional county, over 50%, is barely protected from mining,” said Mr. St-Hilaire. “Even the lakes, rivers and other bodies of water that are inhabited are not fully protected. The entire territory is practically being offered to the mining companies on a silver platter. For citizens here, this is absurd.”
The Legault government is redoubling its efforts to develop so-called "critical and strategic" minerals, particularly for use in batteries and in the electrification of the transportation sector. "There can be no 'green transportation' if the mines destroy our communities’ habitat and the fragile zones of our environment. Quebec must act,” said Mr. St-Hilaire.
The announcement comes as the mining company Lomiko Metals, which holds dozens of mining claims and the most advanced mining project in the RCM, holds its annual shareholders' meeting today.