Investment in Quebec mining drops 10%, still second best year

Quebec mining investment

Quebec city | Image by Nicolas Goulet

The mining industry has been pumping more and more cash into Quebec over the past decade. Each year the number grew, reaching a record $5.3 billion in 2012 – a 30% rise on 2011. But the glory days may be over: This year, for the first time in 10 years, mining investment is expected to decline.

Quebec's Institute for Statistics expects investment to drop to $4.63 billion in 2013. Although this represents a 10% decline on last year, this year will still be the province's second best ever in terms of mining investment.

Also, despite this year's decline, Quebec still ranks as one of the highest in Canada in terms of mining investment.

The story for exploration isn't as bright. According to the Institutes's Mining by the Numbers 2012 report (in French), this sector has seen a 28% drop on last year's numbers and 46% compared to 2011.

The study also shows that a huge majority of projects are owned by foreign companies. Quebec-based miners only account for 8.5%.

Three regions, Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Côte-Nord and Nord-du-Québec, soaked up 95% of the cash. For the second year in a row, each region exceeded $1 billion in investments. Iron ore projects in Côte-Nord accounted for 40% of the total.

As for exploration, "gold remained the most sought-after commodity by Québec mining companies, but its share plummeted below 50% for the first time since 2007," a news release from the Institute reads.

Major companies investing in the region include GoldCorp,  Xstrata Nickel, ArcelorMittal and Canada Lithium.