THE QUÉBEC MINERAL EXPLORATION ASSOCIATION (AEMQ) PUSHES FOR LEGISLATION SUPPORTING VIABLE CO-OPERATION BETWEEN ALL PARTIES IN QUÉBEC MINERAL RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT

THE AEMQ PRESENTS ITS POSITIONS AND INVITES LOCAL AND REGIONAL PARTNERS TO DIALOGUE

ROUYN-NORANDA, QC, June 29, 2011 /CNW Telbec/ - The Québec Mineral Exploration Association (AEMQ) is urging the Québec government to establish viable means of communication and co-operation in order to develop a sustainable framework for mineral exploration in Québec and to ensure all stakeholders are represented.

After the introduction on May 12, 2011 of Bill 14 (Act respecting the development of mineral resources in keeping with the principles of sustainable development) by Serge Simard, Minister for Natural Resources and Wildlife and Minister responsible for the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean region and the Côte-Nord region, the AEMQ is concerned that the bill will not achieve the objectives set with regard to "keeping with the principles of sustainable development."

"The Québec government established in a framework law passed in 2006 that sustainable development represents a balance between economic prosperity and efficiency, social progress and environmental protection. Now, under the pressure of a few elected officials and activist groups, the government is about to throw away decades of concerted efforts by thousands of Québec citizens and workers to make our mineral industry one of the most attractive in the world," said Valérie Fillion, Executive Director of the Québec Mineral Exploration Association.

The Association is careful not to be seen as anti-bill or anti-reform or as wanting to hinder the government, as has recently been reported in the media. Through a resolution drafted and approved by its board of directors on June 9, the AEMQ seeks to build relationships with all serious stakeholders involved in responsible mineral resource development in Québec.

The AEMQ laments the absence in our society of frank and open discussions on the exploration of our mineral resources. It recognizes the lack of awareness about the nature of its professional and corporate members' activities. "This is why we have recently invited our municipal partners to come to the table with us to discuss ways to move forward and bring all parties together," said Ms. Fillion.

The Association also deplores the fact that although the mineral sector is one of the largest contributors to Québec's economic prosperity, ideological groups attack the sector, saying that mineral exploration is a malicious and harmful activity.

"Unfortunately, within Québec, our discussions increasingly turn into ideological debates. We also attack our builders, contractors, workers and researchers, whom we happily disparage in any way possible. It is untrue to say that the mineral sector does not pay attention to the needs of towns and their populations. It is untrue to say that we are against the responsible development of our resources," added Valérie Fillion, Executive Director of the Association.

The Association points out that some activists consider the mineral sector a 19th-century relic. However, what has brought this sector of Québec activity international renown today is its leading-edge technology and responsible practices.

AN UNDENIABLE CONTRIBUTION TO OUR COLLECTIVE WEALTH

The AEMQ wishes to remind everyone in Québec that the province's mining industry consists of over 54,000 of our society's best paid jobs. The sector's average wage is more than 40% greater than the general average wage. The mineral industry contributes over $7 billion annually to Québec's gross domestic product (GDP) and has exports of more than $8 billion each year, making it a positive contributor to our trade balance.

In addition, the mining industry contributes tax revenues of over $300 million annually to the public treasury. It also injects more than $900 million into local and regional community activities.

The mining sector comprises over 3,800 suppliers and equipment manufacturers. Of these, more than 1,800 are small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) located in the Montréal region, and 250 are SMEs in the Québec region. In turn, these SMEs export over $200 million in products and services each year.

Mineral exploration is first and foremost a science. The industry employs geologists, geophysicists, chemists, engineers, and professional prospectors who are constantly scouring the land to find evidence of mineral resources in Québec whose quality is sufficient to sustain future mining industry activities.

Exploration is a high-risk activity: over 5,000 mineral occurrences have to be investigated before a viable occurrence is found, and such work involves huge investments. Our mining companies were prepared to invest over $575 million in their research work before Bill 14 was introduced, and more than $4 billion in development investments are expected in the next three years.

Québec has about 250 mining companies that represent approximately $5 billion in market capitalization and are currently leading around 300 exploration projects.

The Association also wishes to point out that in addition to supporting many of our resource regions economically (Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Nord-du-Québec, Côte Nord), our mining companies pay nearly 30% of citizens' wages in dozens of local and regional municipalities where mining activities are carried out.

Our six largest mining companies financially support over 1,000 civil society non-governmental organizations dedicated to citizens' social and economic development. The industry also supports more than six consortiums and university research chairs, including INRS, Polytechnique Montréal, Université Laval, McGill University, the Université du Québec à Montréal , the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières and the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi.

THE WORDING OF BILL 14 DOES NOT REFLECT ITS PURPOSE

The AEMQ recognizes that numerous principles addressed in the bill are drawn from the Québec government's position as it was stated in the 2009 Mineral Strategy. However, the Association has concluded that the presence of such principles in the title, explanatory notes and preamble are quite simply contradicted by the bill's provisions.

The Association criticizes the government for introducing the bill in a hasty and improvised manner, in a way that potentially weakens Québec's economic recovery by generating doubt, raising objections and injecting uncertainty into the economic future of mineral exploration.

"The AEMQ would like an open and democratic debate on all the issues raised by the bill. We fully support debate as part of the public process to discuss and exchange ideas that may lead to a consensus among stakeholders on a standardized approach throughout Québec. This is why our board of directors wishes to make public our concerns with regard to the bill and inform everyone of the resolution aimed at encouraging the debates that we need," said Ms. Fillion.

About the Québec Mineral Exploration Association (AEMQ)

The Québec Mineral Exploration Association (AEMQ) is a non-profit professional and industry association incorporated under Part III of the Companies Act. The AEMQ represents the key stakeholders involved in the field of mineral exploration in Québec. The AEMQ was founded in 1975 to reflect the will of mineral explorationists in Québec (prospectors, geologists, geophysicists, contractors, developers, exploration managers) to stimulate exploration and foster the development of mining entrepreneurship in Québec. The AEMQ brings together more than 1,500 individual members (prospectors, geologists, geophysicists, brokers, tax experts, lawyers, etc.) and over 190 corporate members (junior and major mining exploration companies, engineering firms specializing in geology and geophysics, drilling companies, services companies, equipment manufacturers, etc.). It is headed by a board of twenty directors, each representing a different segment of the mineral exploration industry.

The Association's President is Ghislain Poirier (Stornoway Diamond Corporation), who is supported by François Bouchard (Osisko Mining Corporation), Tony Brisson (Cogitore Resources Inc.), Martin Demers (Aurizon Mines Ltd.), Mélissa Desrochers (TMR Communications), Pierre-Philippe Dupont (Royal Nickel Corporation), Marco Gagnon (Adventure Gold), Robert Gagnon (ExploLab), Jean Girard (Alexis Minerals Corporation), Guy Gosselin (Agnico-Eagle Mines Ltd.), Gérard Houle (Les Pierres du Nord), Marcel H. Jolicoeur (GENIVAR), Robert Kitchen (Cree Nation of Nemaska), Marc L'Heureux (Vior), Jean-Marc Lulin (Azimut Exploration Inc.), Frank Mariage (Miller Thomson Pouliot SENCRL/LLP), Jean-François Ouellette (Services Techniques Géonordic), Gino Roger (Midland Exploration), Mathieu Savard (Virginia Mines) and André Vachon (Roche).

The AEMQ's head office is located at 132 Lac Avenue, Suite 203, Rouyn-Noranda, Québec, J9X 4N5
For more information, visit the AEMQ website at http://www.aemq.org/english/index.asp

SOURCE QUEBEC MINERAL EXPLORATION ASSOCIATION (AEMQ)

For further information:

RELATIONS AVEC LES MÉDIAS
Mme Valérie Fillion, Directrice Générale
Tel : (819) 762-1599     Courriel: dg@aemq.org
  RELATIONS AVEC LES MEMBRES
M. Alain Poirier, Directeur de projet
Tel : (819) 762-1599     Courriel: alainpoirier@aemq.org

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QUEBEC MINERAL EXPLORATION ASSOCIATION (AEMQ)

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