Poor us, Quebecers! There is reason to be downcast when we learn that our mining resources are ultimately controlled by foreign companies.
My colleague Sylvain Larocque revealed to us this weekend in Le Journal that 20 of the 22 mines in Quebec belong to foreigners.
Let's agree that it's really sad to see foreigners controlling the fate of our mining basement in this way. All the more distressing since the five most promising mining projects in Quebec have even been handed over to foreigners.
How did we come to this?
Millions injected by the State
After all, the Quebec government has always been an active financial partner in the mining exploration sector.
Over the decades, Quebec has notably injected hundreds of millions of dollars in flow-through share tax credits to help our junior mines carry out exploration work.
This has led to many discoveries that have led to the development of several mining projects.
In mining exploration, there is no doubt that our Quebec companies have been effective. But at the stage of developing and starting the mines, astronomical sums had to be invested.
What have we done? We sold our promising projects to large foreign mining companies.
This is why today, as my colleague Sylvain Larocque points out, the extraction and exploitation of our mining basement are completely at the mercy of foreign companies.
This is perhaps what explains why Quebec, in the eyes of mining companies, is one of the most attractive territories in the world for mining investment!
According to the annual global survey of mining company executives, published by the Fraser Institute, Quebec ranks sixth in the world out of some 84 mining jurisdictions on the planet included in the survey.
But that does not make us a province that controls its mines.
We have to make do with minority positions in a multitude of mining companies through our major institutional investors, such as the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, the Fonds de solidarité de la FTQ or Investissement Québec.
Ontarians have been more brilliant than us Quebecers: of the 35 mines in operation in Ontario, there are 17, or half, which belong to companies whose head office is in the province.
According to its most recent study (2018) on the economic benefits of Quebec's mining industry, the number of jobs (direct, indirect) offered in Quebec's mining sector was estimated at 48,000 and the annual amount of expenditures made in the province by mining companies.
And as a consolation prize for the Quebec government: a total sum of $1.3 billion was paid to it in mining tax, taxes, personal income tax, etc.
We are not "masters" of our mining resources, but at least it pays!