A mining and exploration retrospect for November 17 to 23, 2012
by Greg Klein
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Quebec’s new royalty regimen “in a matter of months”
The new Parti Quebecois government unveiled its first budget this week without changing the royalty or tax code for miners. But, the Globe and Mail reported Wednesday, that could change early next year. The PQ wants to extract another $388 million from the industry. “We started working on a new framework and this regime will come into force in a matter of months,” the G&M quoted Finance Minister Nicolas Marceau.
During last summer’s election campaign, Marceau’s party talked of imposing a 5% royalty on all minerals extracted, regardless of a company’s profit. The PQ also proposed a 30% tax on all mining profits above 8%, to rake in the $388 million over five years.
Jean-Marc Lulin, president/CEO of Azimut Exploration TSXV:AZM and outgoing president of the Quebec Mineral Exploration Association, told the G&M, “Our competitive advantage in the world lies in our legal, political and fiscal regime. You can’t toy with that without putting investments at risk.”
The government said it will consult with the industry prior to implementing changes.
The PQ also campaigned on revisions to the previous Liberal government’s Plan Nord infrastructure program. Last week’s news about how the government and Stornoway Diamond TSX:SWY will divide costs to built a road to the company’s Renard project, however, shows no real change to the plan so far.
“More people die from coal pollution each day than have been killed by 50 years of nuclear power operations—and that’s just from lung disease. If you include future deaths from global warming due to burning fossil fuels, closing down nuclear power stations is sheer madness.”
So concluded Gwynne Dyer’s column in Wednesday’s Georgia Straight, a left-wing Vancouver weekly. Nuclear energy, he said, “is a kind of witchcraft” that scares people “at least in the developed countries. [The Greens’ anti-nuclear campaign] cannot be logically reconciled with their concern for the environment, given that abandoning nuclear will lead to a big rise in fossil fuel use, but they have never managed to make a clear distinction between the nuclear weapons they feared and the peaceful use of nuclear power…. Fortunately, their superstitious fears are largely absent in more sophisticated parts of the world. Only four new nuclear reactors are under construction in the European Union, and only one in the United States, but there are 61 being built elsewhere. Over two-thirds of them are being built in the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China), where economies are growing fast and governments are increasingly concerned about both pollution and climate change.”
Read more about nuclear energy, and uranium supply and demand, here.
Yet coal continues its breathtaking expansion
Nearly 1,200 new coal plants worldwide are in the planning stages, MarketWatch reported on Wednesday. China and India account for about 76%. The global top five coal burners are China, U.S., India, Germany and Japan.
MarketWatch cited a report from the World Resources Institute that listed Japan, China and South Korea as the world’s biggest importers. “In Japan, as pressure mounts to phase out nuclear power after the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi disaster, coal imports are likely to continue to grow.”
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