To develop the North’s economic potential, the gouvernment has target six objectives:
- Promote the responsible development of natural resources in the North.
- Count on the diversity of natural resources, especially in the mineral sector.
- Promote private investment.
- Increase the processing of resources from the North within Québec.
- Promote the diversification of the local and regional economy.
- Maximize economic benefits in the area covered by the Plan Nord and throughout Québec.
North’s Energy Development
The extraction and processing of natural resources is a particularly energy-intensive sector. The availability of competitively-priced energy is therefore a prime factor in the attraction of investors and the implementation of economically-viable projects.
The government intends to support the development of clean, innovative energy sources to supply isolated communities in the area covered by the Plan Nord. It count on a broadening of energy supplies to ensure the retention, development and economic diversification of enterprises in the North.
The potential of liquified natural gas, wind energy and biomass generation creates an advantage for the regions that have access to them, especially if different energy sources can be combined.
- Draft the 2016-2025 Québec Energy Policy in cooperation with the stakeholders concerned.
- Ensure a competitively-priced power supply for mine development.
- Ensure a competitively-priced natural gas supply to improve mine profitability, reduce GHG emissions and attract new investment and supply liquefied natural gas to the North.
- Support the projects of off-grid communities and enterprises to replace fossil fuels by renewable energy sources in order to generate power.
- Secure the electric power supply by extending the power transmission grid where possible and cost-effective.
- Ensure a stable supply of fossil fuels for municipalities on the Moyenne and Basse-Côte-Nord.
Mineral Resources Diversification
The area covered by the Plan Nord contains numerous mineral deposits. It currently accounts for all the nickel, cobalt, platinum group elements, zinc, iron ore and ilmenite produced in Québec. It is also the source of a large part of Québec’s precious metal production, mainly in the form of gold. The area covered by the Plan Nord also has enormous undeveloped potential for apatite, lithium, vanadium, diamond, graphite (and graphene) and rare earth elements.
- Gather basic knowledge about the area covered by the Plan Nord to ensure the responsible development of mineral resources for current and future generations.
- Continue clean-up operations on mineral exploration sites.
- Use the communication platform provided by Québec Mines to inform, consult, and promote discussions between the mining industry, the government, regional decision-makers and the general public.
- Support projects to develop minerals such as diamond, apatite, ilmenite, graphite and rare earths.
- Take a stake in companies mining mineral substances on public land, or processing such substances in Québec, via the capital fund for mining and fossil fuels (Fonds Capital Mines Hydrocarbures).
Diversify and promote
The annual allowable cut in the area covered by the Plan Nord is 11.8 million cubic metres of timber, representing 39% of the allowable cut in all of Québec’s public forests. A total of 36 mills holding supply guarantees from public forests harvest timber in the area covered by the Plan Nord, and 9 are located in the area. These activities support around 12,500 jobs.
Sustainable Forest Management
Since the coming into force of the Sustainable Forest Development Act3 in April 2013, Québec has applied a modern, world-class forestry regime. It is based on a management strategy that meets the highest standards for sustainable forest management and fits perfectly into a large-scale sustainable development project such as the Plan Nord.
- Promote the use of forest biomass in energy generation for the mining industry, isolated communities and cogeneration plants.
- Develop the potential for biorefining through the extraction of components from wood substances.
- Establish a cooperative system for the management of f orest resources in the area covered by the “Peace of the Brave” agreement.
- Promote the development of a high-performance, competitive wood products industry on the Côte-Nord.
The wildlife resources found in the area are a fundamental element in Québec’s biodiversity. They are especially important in the culture, traditions and diet of the aboriginal nations.
Wildlife resources are also important for sports activities such as hunting, fishing and trapping, in addition to wildlife observation. These activities generate significant economic benefits for local and aboriginal communities, and for Québec as a whole.
However, northern wildlife resources are highly vulnerable to harvesting and to habitat disturbance. As a result, development of the area and its resources must be adequately supervised to ensure the integrity and viability of the wildlife population.
- Implement a five-year financial assistance program to support knowledge acquisition, the development and enhancement of wildlife resources, and the involvement of local and aboriginal communities.
- Identify wildlife potential and wildlife issues through applied research projects.
- Support the development and implementation of training programs in the field of wildlife protection tailored to the needs of aboriginal communities.
The Area’s Distinctive Character
The Québec Tourism Strategy North of the 49th parallel aimed to make northern Québec a world-class destination providing an authentic, exceptional and safe tourism experience that aligned the coexistence of northern peoples and respect for nature in a perspective of entrepreneurial development and collective wealth.
- Support the development of structural tourism projects north of the 49th parallel.
- Help tourism enterprise managers upgrade their skills and those of their workers.
- Design marketing tools compatible with Québec’s brand image.
- Gather strategic knowledge about Nordic tourism.
- Promote the establishment of multi-purpose regional tourist centres.
- Diversify the activities of outfitting operations in the North.
A sustainable northern bio-food model
The economy and jobs in several coastal communities in the North have, for many years, been based on the exploitation of a small number of marine species such as cod and other bottomfish. These communities now face the challenge of finding outlets for other less intensively exploited marine species, adopting more eco-responsible fishing methods, and using their infrastructures for bio-food production.
Furthermore, the high cost of food in the North resulting from transportation costs, along with certain deficiencies in quality, diversity, wholesomeness and nutritional value, has repercussions on the health and life expectancy of northern populations. This points to the need to develop a locally-based food production, processing and distribution industry.
- Provide support for isolated local and aboriginal communities that invest in order to increase local food production, reduce their level of dependency and lower food costs.
- Support the development of the northern berry sector and non-timber forest products sector.
- Provide local and aboriginal communities with the tools they need to implement and supervise the application of wholesome food initiatives at all levels (production, processing, restaurant services and retail sales).