TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – The Quebec Mining Exploration Association (AEMQ) on Tuesday expressed disappointment over measures taken by the Quebec government to change the mining royalty policy.
The AEMQ said it believed the Quebec government was not ready to seriously listen to the sound analysis produced by several economic and fiscal research groups, which was unanimously supported by the whole of Quebec's economic sector.
"The Quebec mining sector is already suffering from severe a financial crisis, and in the last few years, we have had to deal with significant mining taxes. Any changes to the mining tax system threaten our ability to withstand this crisis and especially to regain momentum.
“Consequently, this new change hinders the progress of our mining sector. It is an incomprehensible move on the part of a government that claims to want to encourage investment in natural resources," AEMQ president Philippe Cloutier said.
AEMQ said it would undertake to measure the impact on investment projects to come, on ongoing projects and on the viability of small- and medium enterprises’ operations.
However, it had already estimated that the new policy would have a dissuasive effect on the province's potential to attract investment and create wealth in the its resource regions and Quebec as a whole.
"Quebec has already slipped to number 39 in world rankings for taxation, far behind mining jurisdictions such as Botswana, Guyana and Burkina Faso. By implementing an electoral promise without economic justification, to the detriment of job creation, the government is contributing to the erosion of Quebec's international competitiveness and to the perception that we are no longer a stable jurisdiction," AEMQ executive director Valérie Fillion added.
The AEMQ said it considered that, far from lifting the veil on the uncertainty of this plan, by announcing these changes at a press conference, the Quebec Finance Minister Nicolas Marceau should nonetheless proceed in validating his propositions through legislation before modifying the Mining Tax Act.
The AEMQ said nothing had indicated that the announcement made on Tuesday would be the same one to appear in the future Act or that it would ultimately be passed. As such, the AEMQ was encouraging members to contact their legal advisers and to assess the impact this announcement may have on their projects.