Global market conditions are currently ideal for investment in mineral exploration. In fact, 2004 was by far the most active year for Qubec since the late 1980s. Preliminary data show that mineral exploration and development spending hit an all-time high of $204 million, up $70 million (52%) from 2003. This is great news for those of us in Qubec!
Currently, the Abitibi-Tmiscamingue and Nord-du-Qubec regions are the most active. Nickel exploration continues in the Ungava Trough, and new indicators have been discovered. A significant gold deposit discovered in the James Bay region has piqued the interest of a number of regional firms. And the Otish Mountains continue to reveal their cache of diamonds. Results from the most recent exploration projects are highly promising (see Qubec exploration highlights on page 19).
Obviously, Qubec’s outstanding mineral potential could not be fully tapped without a vibrant and flourishing mining industry, which the government encourages with some of the most generous and attractive tax incentives to be found anywhere in the world. These include a flow-through-shares tax deduction–made permanent in the 2004-05 Qubec Budget Speech–under which up to 150% of eligible exploration expenses may be deducted. Other incentives include the resource tax credit of up to 45% of eligible exploration expenses, and a 12% refundable loss credit. These positive measures not only are a direct response to industry needs, but also have enabled companies to discover promising new mineral exploration plays. They are part of the reason Qubec has become a hub for exploration, with net costs among the lowest in the world.
As minister of natural resources and wildlife, I am aware that the future of mining will depend on the exploration conducted in the coming years. The Government of Qubec will seek to maintain a high level of exploration, keep existing mines in operation, and promote the opening of new mines. We therefore plan to continue building on geoscientific knowledge, the essential foundation in order to maximize mineral exploration investments. In 2005-06, we will identify a hundred new exploration targets and release reports describing new exploration plays.
Qubec has many more secrets to reveal. Its hidden riches include the gold and copper potential of the Abitibi-Tmiscamingue region, as well as the nickel and diamond potential of the Nord-du-Qubec region–sources of great hope for the mining industry. Exploration currently underway points to a highly promising future, and current forecasts predict a banner 2005 for mineral exploration in Qubec.
I would like to invite you to the Qubec Exploration 2005 conference, which will be held from November 21 to 24, 2005, at Le Chteau Frontenac in Qubec City. The event will promote synergy, vitality, and continued dialogue among mineral exploration stakeholders. Come meet key the players in Qubec and the rest of Canada, and discover today’s most promising projects. For more details visit www.QuebecExploration.qc.ca.
Hon. Pierre Corbeil is Minister of Natural Resources and Wildlife for Quebec. He can be reached at [email protected].