Mining & Exploration

Rights and Powers over Category I Lands

Mineral Rights

The Land Regime and the JBNQA stipulate, as a principle, that ownership of the mineral rights
and subsurface rights remains in the hands of the provincial government. Consequently, it
is the Province of Québec who is the owner of all minerals and subsurface rights within
Category I lands and not the landholding corporations.

That rule suffers one exception, namely for soapstone or other similar mineral used for
traditional arts and crafts. Deposits of steatite (soapstone) or other similar materials within
Category I lands belong in full ownership to the respective landholding corporation.

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This does not means that mining rights can be exercised in Category I lands without the
authorization of the concerned landholding corporation. In fact, section 145 of the Land regime
Act clearly specifies that no mining right can be exercised within Category I lands without the
formal consent of the corporation and without the payment of compensation for the use of
Category I lands.

Also, it is important to underline the fact that the use of gravel (for construction projects)
constitutes the exercise of a mining right. In fact, gravel is the most common mineral extracted
in Category I lands. As a consequence the formal and written consent of the landholding is
always required for the use and operation of a gravel pit and a quarry and the landholding
corporations are entitled to negotiate a compensation for the use of Category I lands where that
pit or quarry is located.

Rights and Powers over Category 2 Lands


The Land Regime Act and the Chapter 7 of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement
are providing more information on the subject of development. Consultation with concerned
landholding corporations is preliminary to any development on Category II lands, and said
development may open the door to compensation or replacement of land.