Montréal, December 8, 2014 – The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal held its third Strategic Forum on Natural Resources today, with Pierre Arcand, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources and Minister responsible for the Plan Nord, in attendance. Over 350 decision makers gathered to discuss significant issues and major projects in natural resources, identify market opportunities and consolidate the city’s expertise.
“Clearly the context has changed significantly since the first draft of the Plan Nord was issued, particularly with the drop in prices,” said Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal. “But the potential benefits of sustainably exploiting our natural resources remain paramount for the economy of Quebec and Montréal. The analyses presented in our 2012 study showed that this sector would likely generate spinoffs of $51.8 billion over 25 years for Greater Montréal. Today’s Forum was a chance to discuss the sector’s opportunities and issues and make industry players aware of the importance of staying the course in spite of volatility in the price of resources.”
“The mining sector remains dynamic, and there are promising projects under way,” Michel Leblanc said. “The Royal Nickel Corporation’s Dumont project alone will generate investments of $3.1 billion over the next 33 years ― 41% of which will be made in Quebec — and tax benefits of $3.7 billion. However, stakeholders emphasized the importance of having a stable, predictable business environment that supports the development of internationally competitive projects. Problems of access to natural gas and transportation infrastructures on the Côte-Nord are a roadblock to the competitiveness of mining companies and checks on investment. So building and providing access to new infrastructures needs to happen quickly to strengthen our competitive position.”
“Given the energy revolution we are seeing across North America, the city’s businesses also need to have an energy mix that includes hydroelectricity, natural gas and oil to be competitive,” Mr. Leblanc said. “”While oil remains an essential energy resource, green energy is central to solutions to climate change, while allowing us to differentiate our metals competitively around the world. Plus, the upcoming opening of the Enerkem plant, which could produce up to 150 million litres of biofuel annually, shows how energy innovation can create jobs and generate substantial economic spinoffs for the metropolitan area.”
“To remain competitive, the natural resources sector has to innovate and bank on partnerships,” Michel Leblanc said. “With the example of forestry, Génome Québec showed how collaborating with universities helped identify concrete, innovative solutions to the challenges businesses are facing when it comes to environmental protection, productivity and social acceptance.”
“By relaunching the Plan Nord, Minister Pierre Arcand confirmed the government’s commitment,” Michel Leblanc said. “We support the proposed efforts to improve the business environment, particularly those related to developing the transportation infrastructure and the natural gas supply. We also support consultations for a new energy policy and the implementation of a policy project on social acceptance. The upcoming creation of the Société du Plan Nord and a commercialization office is still relevant and will support the efforts of Montréal businesses that want to offer their services on projects in the regions. We mustn’t forget that 1800 of the 3800 suppliers in the mining industry are in the metropolitan area.”
About the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal has over 7,000 members. Its mission is to be the voice of Montréal’s business community and to promote the city’s prosperity. It is involved in key areas of economic development, advocating a philosophy of action based on engagement, credibility, proactivity, collaboration and innovation. The Board of Trade also offers a range of specialized services to individuals and to business of all sizes to support them in their growth at home and abroad.
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Michelle LLambias Meunier
Advisor, Media Relations
Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
Tel.: 514 871-4000, ext. 4042
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