Quebec Polls Show Little Public Support for Mining Industry - Canadian Boreal Initiative Calls for Substantive Reform of Mining Practices

OTTAWA, March 5, 2013 /CNW/ - In the midst of the annual convention of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) and just in advance of a third attempt at reforming the Quebec's mining law in the National Assembly, polls by Léger Marketing released today by the Canadian Boreal Initiative (CBI) show that:

  • the overwhelming majority of Quebec voters disagree with current laws that give the rights of mining companies precedence over rights of private landowners, Aboriginal communities and municipalities,

  • Quebecers feel that protection of the environment, and community and property rights should be prioritized in the mining reform legislation,

  • a large proportion of voters believe that mining royalties are inadequate; and that

  • a province-wide independent evaluation of the economic, health and environmental impacts of uranium mining should be completed before the province approves any uranium mining proposals.

Suzann Méthot, CBI's Regional Director in Quebec, said: "These surveys clearly show that that the mining industry needs to take immediate action to bring itself into the 21st century.  It can start by ending their defense of the outdated idea that the rights of mining companies should supersede those of individuals, communities, and the environment."

Poll Highlights  

Private Property and Community Rights: 

A majority of respondents (82%) do not think that mining companies should be granted claims on private land without obtaining the consent of the landowner, as is currently permitted in Quebec. 

A majority of respondents (82%) believe that municipalities should be given the right to exclude certain sensitive areas of their territory from mining.

A majority of respondents do not think that the rights of prospectors and mining companies should take precedence over the rights of communities and nations (71%), municipalities (73%), and private owners (77%), as is currently the case in Quebec.

Uranium:  

Although opinion is split (39% against 35% favourable) regarding the desirability of uranium mining in Quebec, more than 78% of Quebec voters agree that the government should commission a province-wide independent review of the environmental and social impacts of uranium mining before authorizing any projects.

In Northern Quebec, where Strateco Resources Inc has been seeking approval of the Matoush uranium mine the results were similar. A little more than half (55%) of the respondents oppose uranium mining in Northern Quebec, and just over a third (35%) support it; however, a full 86% agreed that the government should commission a province-wide independent review of the environmental and the social sector impacts of uranium mining before authorizing any projects.

Finally, the majority of northern respondents (77%), including non-Crees (63%), says Strateco Resources Inc. should respect the decision of the Crees to not pursue its uranium exploration project in their territory.

Mining reform priorities: 

Hight on the list of priorities in the reform of the mining laws were, better protection off the environment (52%), better protection of the rights of individuals and affected communities (51%), and in third, raising taxes or royalties on mining (34%).

Mining royalties:  

More than half of Quebecers (55%) believe that mining royalties are too low, versus 11% who find that they are fair and 6% who think they are too high. 

A majority of Quebecers (60%) support additional royalties on revenue (instead of on declared profits), compared with 11% who believe that there should be no change in current royalty regime. More than half of Quebecers (54%) felt that between 10% and 60% of the overall value of mineral extracted in Quebec should remain in Quebec in forms of royalties, taxes or reinvestments.  The current amount is about 4.5%.

Both surveys were conducted by the polling firm Léger Marketing for the Canadian Boreal Initiative (CBI). The first, an online survey, had a representative sample of 1,000 respondents across Quebec, taken between February 11-13 (a random sample of 1,000 would yield a maximum margin of error of +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20). The second, with a sample group of 300 respondents in Northern Quebec, was conducted February 12-19, and has a(maximum margin of error of +/- 5.66%, 19 times out of 20).

Both surveys can be viewed online at www.borealcanada.ca

SOURCE: Canadian Boreal Initiative

For further information:

Suzanne Fraser, Director of communications, CBI sfraser@borealcanada.ca (613) 552-7277

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