Québec, November 22, 2011 – The mining industry is soaring from one all-time high to the next. It had a record investment of $2.92 billion in 2010, up an unheard of 43% from 2009. This was the seventh straight year of increase in total mining investment with each of the last three years crossing the threshold of $2 billion.
The same level of investment by Québec mining companies is forecast for 2011. This was revealed in the newsletter Mines en chiffres 2010 released today by the Institut de la statistique du Québec.
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.
Parity has almost been achieved between the large mining companies and small exploration companies in the distribution of mine complex development work: $1.16 billion invested by the majors versus $1.12 billion by the juniors.
Meanwhile, mineral exploration spending again surpassed the $500 million dollar mark, already reached in 2008. Up 35% from 2009, it rose to $512 million in 2010. Adding the $127 million incurred off-mine-site in capital and repair costs, total mining investment in Québec stood at $639 million.
Exploration and deposit appraisal activities (39%) were mostly carried out by the majors, leaving only 58% to juniors and 2% to public companies.
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).
2011 an exceptional year for mineral exploration
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.
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