The mining industry has had a strong presence in Quebec for many years, with some of the first operations dating back to the mid-19th century. Although initially concentrated in the southern parts of the province, exploration and mining activities gradually developed and spread to northern Quebec. A large variety of minerals are mined in the province, including gold, iron, nickel, niobium, copper, zinc, and several others.
According to the Institut de la statistique du Québec, in 2019, the total value of products mined and delivered stood at over $10 billion and the sector provided approximately 20,000 jobs. The industry is particularly important in the regions of Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Côte-Nord and Nord-du-Québec.
Like other sectors involving the exploitation of natural resources, the mining industry will have to review some of its practices in order to adapt to a changing climate that is increasingly affecting the various phases of its activities. Climate issues in the mining sector vary from one phase to another given that these phases differ both in the nature of their activities and their duration.
The life cycle of a mine can be divided into three phases: (1) The exploration phase, which consists of identifying the site and assessing whether or not it can be developed. (2) The operations phase, during which the minerals are extracted from the ground. (3) The site restoration phase, which aims to manage the site in such a way as to re-establish its ecosystem.