Sept 23, 2015
In his article, “Québec’s Incentive” for Lexpert Special Edition – Mining, Brian Burton compares Québec’s Plan Nord to the folk tale where the preparation of stone soup convinces townspeople to contribute ingredients for a hearty soup the community can share and enjoy together. He says Premier Couillard has started Plan Nord with $2.7 billion of infrastructure funding, iron ore and other minerals in the hopes that the private sector will contribute another $50 billion in mining and energy projects.
If successful, Plan Nord will bring electricity, roads, railways, mining jobs and more to northern Québec and generate billions in royalties and taxes. Positives for Plan Nord include reduced project costs thanks to the weak Canadian dollar, low energy prices and leveraging the provincial electric utility, Hydro Québec, to build new hydroelectric generating sites. Challenges include the low prices for commodities, high transportation costs in remote areas and the current lack of electric power infrastructure.
Eric Levy, a partner in Osler’s business law department, told Lexpert, “now is the time to develop infrastructure to ensure the long-term competitiveness of existing and new projects.” But he cautioned that Québec must “not get too far ahead” of a private sector that is closely tied to commodity prices.
To read more about the opportunities Plan Nord creates and the challenges it faces, read Brian Burton’s full article “Québec’s Incentive” online at Lexpert, September 23, 2015.