The Québec Government has given approval for Canada’s controversial $750m open pit Arnaud mining project in Sept-Îles following a three-year debate.
In 2014, environmental review board Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE) expressed concerns over the project, saying in a report that the project was ‘unacceptable’ in its existing form.
The agency gave a negative review of the mine and cited concerns about water contamination.
Located in Québec’s north-eastern territories, the project will extract the mineral apatite used for fertiliser.
The consortium behind the project, Mine Arnaud, submitted an additional study to the government in 2014, which the current decision is based on.
Provincial Environment Minister David Heurtel said that in order to reduce environmental concerns among the public, the mining consortium has agreed to eleven conditions.
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Québec Natural Resources Minister Pierre Arcand said the project reflects the province’s provincially funded strategy ‘Plan Nord’, which was launched in 2011 to develop natural resources in northern Québec.
Mine construction is expected to begin in January 2016 and may take until late 2018. The build work is expected to create between 800 and 1,000 jobs, then regular operation will require about 300 people, cbcnews reported.