Québec, March 28, 2017. – The prospect of an upswing in mining investment in Québec had increased following a steep decline between 2012 ($5.13 billion) and 2015 ($2.49 billion) to a level similar to that for 2009 ($2.04 billion). Preliminary data for 2016 indicated a 2.5% increase in mining investment (to $2.56 billion) compared with 2015. According to the intentions expressed by mining companies for 2017, investment should continue to rise to $2.64 billion, a 6.0% increase from 2015.
These findings were drawn from the Survey on Mining Investment in Québec, the preliminary data for which were published today on the website of the Institut de la statistique du Québec.
Main mining regions in Québec
In 2016, Nord-du-Québec ($972 million), Abitibi-Témiscamingue ($885 million) and Côte-Nord ($611 million) received 96.5% of mining investment in Québec. The Abitibi-Témiscamingue region, where most mining activity is in gold, experienced a moderate investment decline of 5.6% in 2015, followed by a 24.3% increase in 2016.The Côte Nord and Nord-du-Québec regions were both particularly affected by the drop in iron and base metal prices. Mining investment in both regions was down, respectively, 22.0% and 17.0% in 2015. This decline continued the following year, though it was not as significant, attaining 6.5% in Côte-Nord and 7.1% in Nord-du-Québec.
Investment in mine complex development in 2016
Mine complex development investment was up 1.3% from 2015. In 2016, mine complex development expenditures totalled $2.26 billion, broken down as follows: $856 million in general rock work, $714 million in capital costs (non-residential construction, machinery and equipment) and $691 million in repair and maintenance expenditures. The greatest investment in mine complex development was in Nord-du-Québec, with $840 million (– 7.0%). This was followed by Abitibi-Témiscamingue with $752 million (+19.2%), and Côte-Nord, with $594 million (– 6.8%).
Gold mines figured prominently in Québec, accounting for 47.9% ($1.08 billion) of mine complex development expenditures. Iron and iron-titanium mines ranked second with 26.3% ($594 million), while base metal mines came in third with 11.8% ($266 million).
Exploration expenditures in 2016
Exploration expenditures, including deposit appraisal costs, stood at $280 million in 2016, up 7.8% when compared with 2015. The Abitibi-Témiscamingue region recorded the highest exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures in the province; the $131 million spent accounted for 46.8% of all such expenditures in Québec in 2016. Abitibi-Témiscamingue experienced a 65.0% increase in exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures last year. In Nord-du-Québec, these expenditures attained $129 million (46.0% of the Québec total), a decline of 10.5%. The $7 million invested in Côte-Nord in 2016 (2.4% of the Québec total) represented a drop of 56.7% from the previous year.
Precious metals were the most sought-after commodity in Québec, accounting for 68.5% of exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures. The total value of precious metal expenditures in this area was $191 million, of which $189 million was for gold. The next highest was base metals, with 15.8% ($44 million) in exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures.
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Senior mining statistic analyst
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