Barely 2 of the 22 Quebec mines belong to local companies, reveals a review carried out by Le Journal. In Ontario, however, local companies own nearly half of the province's mines.
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Until 2009, Quebec companies held three of the five most promising mining projects on our territory: Canadian Malartic (gold), Canadian Royalties (nickel) and Lac Bloom (iron). Today, these projects have become mines that all belong to companies outside Quebec.
“It is certainly worrying. It's a shame to see that we are developing mining projects in Quebec and that at some point, we lose them. But whether we like it or not, globalization has an effect,” notes Éric Lemieux, a former mining analyst at the Laurentian Bank who is now a consultant in the sector.
ONTARIO, CHINA, AUSTRALIA...
Canadian Malartic, which is now the largest gold mine in Canada, has been owned since 2014 by Toronto-based gold companies Agnico Eagle and Yamana Gold. Canadian Royalties has been owned by Chinese interests since 2009, while the Bloom Lake mine has successively belonged to an American group, then to an Australian company.
Currently, the only two mines in operation in Quebec that belong to local companies are the small Elder gold mine in Abitibi, owned by Abcourt Mines, and the Renard diamond mine owned by Stornoway, controlled by the Caisse de depot and Investissement Québec after experiencing serious financial difficulties.
The Beaufor gold mine, owned by Montreal-based Monarch, is due to resume operations later this year.
In Ontario, the picture is quite different. No less than 17 of the province's 35 mines belong in whole or in part to companies that have their head office there.
The situation is largely explained by the fact that several of the world's largest gold producers are established in Toronto and that they operate mines in Ontario.
“The Toronto Stock Exchange is a global player in the mining sector. There are a lot of transactions taking place there, so that definitely makes it a hub [business center] of choice for large companies," notes Maxime Guilbault, partner at the accounting firm PwC and specialist in mining industry.