Mining Activites and Other Land Uses
While the Mining Act promotes prospecting, exploration and extraction of mineral substances in Québec with a view to achieving sustainable development, it also allows the Ministère de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles (MERN) to take other potential land uses into account.
The MERN may reserve to the State or withdraw from prospecting, exploration and mining operations any mineral substance forming part of the domain of the State and required for any purpose that the Minister considers to be in the public interest. The Act also reserves some portions of watercourses and adjacent strips for use by the State, and stipulates that 5% of an area covered by a mining lease, a mining concession or a lease to mine surface mineral substances and located on land in the domain of the State must be set aside for the State to use for public development purposes.
The regional county municipalities (RCMs), in their land use and development plans, may delimit mining-incompatible territories in accordance with the Act respecting land use planning and development and with Government orientations on land development. The Mining Act provides for transitional measures in respect of urban area perimeters, until the mining-incompatible territories have been identified by the RCM in question.
Before the provisions concerning reservation to the State, withdrawal from mining activities, mining-incompatible territories and classification as an outstanding geological site come into force, the Department may temporarily suspend staking and map designation rights.
Other Acts, including the Natural Heritage Conservation Act, also contain provisions that prohibit mine exploration or operations in specific areas of Québec’s territory.