Mining investment in Québec down by 30% in 2014

Québec, February 26, 2015 – After nine years of growth and record investment of $5.1 billion in 2012, mining investment declined for a second consecutive year in Québec. Preliminary results for 2014 indicate a 30.1% reduction to $3.2 billion in mining investment compared with the preceding year. The 2013 results showed a 10.8% reduction in mining investment. According to the intentions expressed by mining companies, the investment level should hold steady in 2015. Mining companies expect to invest $3.3 billion in 2015. These results are from the Enquête sur l’investissement minier du Québec, the preliminary data of which were published today on the website of the Institut de la statistique du Québec.

Québec’s three main mining regions, Nord-du-Québec ($1.6 billion), Côte-Nord ($0.8 billion) and Abitibi-Témiscamingue ($0.8 billion), received 97.6% of total mining investment in Québec. Compared with 2013, the level of investment remained relatively stable in the Nord-du-Québec and Abitibi-Témiscamingue regions, with respective variations of 3.0% and –6.4%, whereas in the Côte-Nord region, investment dropped 63.6%, owing particularly to the slump in the price of iron.

Investment in mine complex development declined in 2014

Investment in mine complex development dropped by 30.3% compared with 2013. In 2014, the cost of mine complex development work reached $2.9 billion, or $1.0 billion in general rock work, $1.2 billion in capital costs (non-residential construction, machinery and equipment) and $0.7 billion in non-capital repair and maintenance expenditures. Gold and ferrous metals figured prominently in the Québec mining sector, respectively accounting for 49.7% and 24.0% of mine complex development costs. However, investment in ferrous metal mine development fell 65.3% in 2014 compared with 2013.

Decline in exploration expenditures in 2014

Exploration expenditures, including deposit appraisal costs, stood at $272 million in 2014, down 28.7% compared with the preceding year, and down 67.3% from record exploration expenditures of $834 million recorded in 2011.

Gold remained the most sought-after commodity in Québec, with precious metals representing 38.1% ($104 million) of exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures. It was followed by base metals and ferrous metals, with respectively 22.1% ($60 million) and 14.1% ($38 million) of exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures. Phosphate, graphite and rare earth metals generated some interest, as they represented respectively 8.1% ($22 million), 4.8% ($13 million) and 4.2% ($12 million) of total exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures in Québec. Diamonds accounted for 1.6% ($4 million) of these expenditures.

Mining investment in 2015

According to the intentions expressed by mining companies for 2015, investment in exploration and deposit appraisal will reach $379 million, an increase of 39.2% compared with preliminary investment data for 2014. Mining complex development expenditures should remain stable at $2.9 billion in 2015.

Mineral shipments and employment in the mining sector

According to preliminary data, the value of Québec mining shipments stood at $8.7 billion in 2014, an increase of 8.1% compared with 2013 ($8.1 billion). According to the intentions expressed by mining companies and if the prices of metals and minerals remain the same as in 2014, the value of mineral shipments should total $8.3 billion in 2015, a reduction of 4.6% compared with the preceding year.

Mining-sector employment totalled 17 189 person-years in 2014, a decline of 4.1% compared with 2013. Mining-sector employment is concentrated in the regions of Côte-Nord (3 627 jobs), Abitibi-Témiscamingue (3 515 jobs), Montérégie (2 956 jobs) and Nord-du-Québec (2 885 jobs).

These results are from the Annual Survey of Mines, Quarries and Sand Pits, the data from which will be published on the Institut’s website on Friday, February 27.

The Institut de la statistique du Québec produces, analyses and disseminates official, objective and quality statistical information on various aspects of Québec society. It is the statistical coordinator for Québec and the relevance of its work makes it a strategic ally for decision makers and all those wishing to learn more about Québec.


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