Restoration obligations of mineral exploration companies under the Québec Mining Act
In order to assist in the rehabilitation of abandoned mineral exploration sites in Nunavik, dating as far back as several decades, the mining industry recognized the need for action and in 2007, created the Fonds Restor-Action Nunavik. Since 2007, a partnership with the Kativik Regional Government, Makivik Corporation and the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources was developed, as well as the Inuit and other Firsts Nations living on the territory to initiate and implement a successful restoration program in Nunavik. As a result of this partnership, 18 abandoned mineral exploration sites requiring major cleanup, 45 sites requiring intermediate cleanup and 19 sites requiring minor cleanup have been completely restored.
However, since the beginning of this project, 38 sites not identified and/or verified in the original inventory have been located throughout the region: 18 are located on expired claims, 12 are located on active claims and 8 are not associated with any historical claims. In 2018, the restoration project’s Steering Committee made the decision to use the provided funding to proceed with rehabilitation activities on newly identified sites on a case by case basis. And presently, 14 of these sites have been restored.
Due to the surge in newly identified sites, the Fonds Restor-Action Nunavik would like to take this opportunity to remind mineral exploration companies active in the Nunavik region that Article 216 of the current Québec Mining Act (June 2018) states that “Within 30 days after the abandonment, revocation or expiry of his right, the holder of a claim shall remove all his property from the parcel of land that was subject to his right”. Furthermore, “Once the time is expired, the property and mineral substances remaining on land of the domain of the State shall, of right, form part of the domain of the State and may be removed by the Minister at the expense of the holder of the mining right”.
Currently, the Kativik Regional Government are collaborating with the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources to inform claim proprietors of their legal obligations under the Mining Act in an effort to reduce the number of abandoned sites in the region. Should you have any questions regarding your obligations or undertaking restoration activities on your claims in Nunavik, you can contact Nancy Dea, Project Coordinator for the Fonds Restor-Action Nunavik at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can consult the Nanavik abandoned mineral exploration sites rehabilitation project report at https://aemq.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/AMS-report-2019-2020eng.pdf
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