Quebec mining fund ready to pull trigger on $1bn investments

There were signs of life for mining M&A last year with a new SNL Mining and Metals report showing transactions for base metals and gold assets almost doubled last year.

A total of 73 acquisitions that were individually valued at over $10 million brought the value of deals last year to $21.6 billion, compared with $11.9 billion in 2013.

That said, despite the near doubled year-on-year increase, 2014's total was the third lowest in the past ten years, with only 2013 and 2009 (less than $15 billion) being lower.

Quebec is now ready to add jump in as well with the semi-autonomous Canadian region ready to pul the trigger on its Can$1 billion ($798 million) fund dedicated to buying equity stakes in mining and other natural resources projects reports Bloomberg.

The Economy Minister Jacques Daoust on Wednesday said Quebec's Capital Mines Hydrocarbures may  invest as much as C$200 million in a single project to bring projects into production:

“I have many things in the pipeline,” Daoust told reporters in Montreal. He declined to give details, other than to say talks with “certain mines” are under way.

While Finance Minister Carlos Leitao announced plans for the fund in June, Quebec’s legislature has yet to authorize its creation. Capital Mines Hydrocarbures should be able to support as many as 10 mining projects once it begins operating, Daoust said.

“The raison d’etre of that fund is to make sure that at the end of the day, if the funding is complicated for the last 10 or 20 percent of a project, we will be there,” the minister said. “We can go to C$200 million, but normally we should not invest more than 10 or 15 percent of a project.”

There won't be any money flowing into iron ore projects however says Daoust. Quebec's already produces 40% of Canada's output of the steelmaking raw material and the value of the commodity is down nearly a third this year after falling a 47% in 2014.

Quebec also presented Wednesday a less ambitious mining development plan that aims to attract about $40 billion (Can$50 billion) in investment for the northern region over the next 20 years, down from its 2011 budget of $64bn (Can$80bn).