Grenville-sur-la-Rouge has made yet another call for better consultation on land use for mining, and the Québec government is planning to do just that.

On February 14, municipal council approved a resolution circulated by the Union des municipalités du Québec (UMQ) requesting the Québec government to make a series of changes regarding the regulation of mining and local governments.

Mining is of particular concern in Grenville-sur-la-Rouge, due continued objections to a proposed graphite mine and marble quarry at a site near chemin Scotch.

The UMQ resolution asks the Government of Québec to update the municipal framework for mining activities to take into account the evolution of the context of mining in Québec by making changes to provincial legislation and procedures involving municipal planning related to mining. It requests that municipalities be allowed to specifically recognize the economic, social and cultural value of resorts by ensuring they can harmoniously coexist with mining, that the sustainability of groundwater or surface water for human consumption is ensured, that the law be amended to allow municipalities to differentiate resource extraction surface minerals, such as quarries, gravel pits and sandpits, other mining activities in the classification of lands where mining activity is permitted, that the social acceptability of mining by local communities and by municipalities be considered a fundamental element for any mining project, and that a technical committee made up of specialists in land use planning of all levels of government and specialists in the mining sector be established with the mandate to propose improvements to the regulatory framework for mining activities by territory planning.

Government announces consultations

Three days after Grenville-sur-la-Rouge adopted the UMQ resolution, on February 17 the Québec government indicated it is willing to consult with communities on mining. Natural Resources Minister Maïté Blanchette Vézina announced the launch of a participatory approach with citizens and regional stakeholders about the supervision of mining activity. The consultations will aim to hear from the population about the mechanisms for granting claims, but also to hear constructive and innovative proposals.

According to the Ministry of Natural Resources, it wants to determine the “winning conditions” for mining development in Québec by holding participatory workshops with participants and organizations from all regions of Québec, beginning in April 2023. These workshops will make it possible to renew the dialogue with the public, stakeholders, regional groups, Indigenous communities, groups representing municipalities, environmental interests, and the mining industry.

Citizens will also be able to submit briefs and participate online through a web-based platform. Information about that platform is available at .

The participatory approach the government intends to take also includes consultations carried out within the framework of its process of revising government guidelines for land use planning related to mining activities. Further information about that process is available at .

A victory

Councillor Denis Fillion described the government’s announcement as a victory following successive calls for expanded consultation on land use for mining.

Grenville-sur-la-Rouge council, and the citizen group S.O.S. Grenville-sur-la-Rouge have regularly requested the Québec government allow for greater involvement of municipalities and citizen groups to determine the social acceptability and compatibility of mining with other land uses. Before the UMQ resolution was approved in February 2023, council had adopted a similar resolution in September 2022.