Quebec mining investment at an all-time high, up 43% from 2009

The mining industry in Quebec is roaring, with $2.92 billion in investment in 2010, up from 43% in 2009.

The Institut de la statistique du Québec, which released the findings on Wednesday, said that this was the seventh straight year mining investment increased, and in each of the last three years investment was greater than $2 billion.

In March the Fraser Institute warned that changes to the province's tax code would harm business investment, and Quebec slid from first to fourth in the institute's list of mining-friendly jurisdictions. If the changes don't weigh on province, 2011 could be a banner year.

"If mining investment keeps up in 2011, exploration spending could rocket according to the revised intentions of mining exploration companies. Exploration and deposit appraisal work should be up 40% from 2010, increasing to $718 million in constant dollars, which would be a new all-time high for Québec," wrote the authors of the report.

Digging into the data from last year, the institute found that mining and exploration companies are spending nearly equal amounts, $1.16 billion invested by the majors versus $1.12 billion by the juniors.

"Despite a decline from its level in 2009, gold remains the most sought after commodity by Québec mining companies, accounting for 54% of the mineral exploration and deposit appraisal expenses or $277 million. Tagging far behind were common metals – copper, nickel, zinc (17%; $87 million), uranium (8%; $41 million), and ferrous metals (6%; $32 million)."

"The mining triangle formed by the regions of Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Côte-Nord and Nord-du-Québec continues to reap the lion’s share with 95% of total investment. However, Abitibi-Témiscamingue remains the primary mining region, the only region having broken the barrier of $1 billion in 2010 ($1.42 billion), i.e. 48.6% of the overall amount."