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Québec City, March 28, 2017 – For the first time since 2012, mining investment has stopped its decline in Québec. The Institut de la statistique records a slight increase of $63.1 million in 2016 compared to 2015, with a total of $2.56 billion. In the view of the Québec Mining Association (QMA), this good news is tempered by the fact that mining investment in two key mining regions, Côte-Nord and Nord-du-Québec has continued to decline.

"Any sign of recovery is encouraging. However, this 2.5% increase is marginal and will not ensure the long-term viability of Québec's mining industry. We must continue to work to maintain and improve Québec’s competitive advantages compared to other jurisdictions worldwide, and to facilitate the development of new projects. The QMA hopes that the government will hear the concerns it has raised and that suitable measures will be included in the budget which will be tabled today," says Josée Méthot, the QMA's president and CEO.

Of the three main mining regions, only Abitibi-Témiscamingue ($884.8 million) saw an increase in investment, but in more good news the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region, which wants to diversify its economy through mining development, reported an increase compared to 2015, with investments rising from $47.8 to $59.3 million. Investments decreased in the Nord-du-Québec region (from $1 billion to $971.9 million), because several projects under development have now reached the production stage. There was also a drop in the Côte-Nord region (from $653.1 to $610.9 million), while iron prices remained low for much of 2016. "To see the level of investment observed in 2012 and 2013, we will have to put conditions in place to attract mining projects to Québec. The increase in metal prices is not enough to reverse the trend," says Ms. Méthot.

The QMA also emphasizes that prices for some minerals are stronger, while others are weaker, highlighting the importance of diversifying the mineral sector while supporting traditional sectors and exploration. Exploration investment increased slightly Québec-wide, but dropped in the Nord-du-Québec and Côte-Nord regions. Some promising projects are under development, as Québec begins to produce lithium, phosphate, apatite and rare earth elements, and maintains its gold production. "We still have a lot of work to do, but Québec's mining industry is determined to continue to support socio-economic prosperity in Québec and its regions and to continue to be a source of pride for all Quebecers," concludes Josée Méthot.

Québec's mining industry in figures:

- 45,550 direct, indirect and induced jobs created or maintained
- Total expenditure of $5.8 billion
- A network of 4,100 suppliers
- Over $1 billion paid each year to the Québec government

About the Québec Mining Association

The Québec Mining Association (QMA) was founded in 1936 and speaks proactively for mining companies involved in exploration, extraction and processing, mining contractors and junior mining companies, along with suppliers, institutions, non-profit organizations and other mining sector partners. It is proud of the 45,000 jobs and total expenditure of almost $6 billion generated by Québec's mining industry. The QMA’s mission is to promote, support and proactively develop a responsible, committed and innovative mining industry in Québec.