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MATAGAMI, QC, May 26, 2021 – The Government of Quebec is granting $5 million to upgrade the road that will facilitate access to the Sunday Lake geological fault, which has a high mining potential, from Matagami. This is the first action under the Memorandum of Understanding that aims to create a development hub in Matagami for mining and northern transportation and to ensure the vitality of the Eeyou Istchee Baie–James region.
The Minister of Energy and Natural Resources and Minister Responsible for the Côte–Nord and Gaspésie–Îles–de–la–Madeleine regions , Mr. Jonatan Julien, made the announcement today during an online press conference, along with Abel Bosum, Grand Chief of the Grand Council of the Crees and Chair of the Cree Nation Government, Denis Lamothe, Member of Parliament for Ungava and Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister Responsible for Indigenous Affairs, René Dubé, Mayor of the Town of Matagami, and François Demers, Vice President of Mining and Projects at Wallbridge, which is developing a project in the Sunday Lake Fault.
The $6.5 million project consists of upgrading the N–810 paved road and an existing logging road that provide access to the Sunday Lake geological fault from Highway 109 for a total distance of 55.54 km. The Société du Plan Nord (SPN) will contribute $3 million and the Société de développement de la Baie–James (SDBJ) will contribute $2 million. The Wallbridge mining company will complete the financing of the project by investing up to $1.5 million.
The Memorandum of Understanding, signed last December by the James Bay Native Development Corporation/Cree Development Corporation, the SDBJ, the SPN and the Town of Matagami, aims to implement strategic infrastructure in a sustainable development perspective.
This partnership is in line with the philosophy of La Grande Alliance concluded between the Cree Nation Government and the Government of Quebec in February 2020. It aims to develop the territory’s infrastructure in an integrated vision of sustainable socio–economic development, compatible with Cree traditional values to connect, develop and protect the northern territory.
“The rehabilitation of this road is a first tangible and concrete action to propel the economic plan of the Town of Matagami in the context of the announced closure of the Matagami Mine. Our government is proud to mobilize for the implementation of this structuring project for the development of natural resources, in partnership with the local players. Together, we will develop infrastructure to support the responsible and sustainable development of minerals in Quebec.”
Mr. Jonatan Julien, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources and Minister Responsible for the Côte–Nord Nord Region and for the Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine Region
“This road upgrade project and the agreement from which it was derived are excellent examples of cooperation between our government and the Cree. They are also in keeping with the spirit of La Grande Alliance and the Northern Action Plan. We can thus ensure that the development of the territory will be done in a manner that respects the cultural and social particularities of all the communities that inhabit it while promoting the economic vitality of the Eeyou Istchee Baie James region.”
Mr. Ian Lafrenière, Minister Responsible for Indigenous Affairs
“The purpose of the upgrade of this road is to benefit and ensure the future of the Town of Matagami and it means a lot to me because it symbolizes so much more. The original plan was to build a new road which would encroach upon sensitive woodland caribou areas, so the leadership of Matagami adapted their plans to take into account environmental and wildlife issues. This is what reconciliation should look like, reusing existing infrastructure to lift each other up without harming the environment, wildlife in the spirit of co-existence.”
Mr. Abel Bosum, Grand Chief of the Grand Council of the Crees and Chairman of the Cree Nation Government
“This announcement is an important first step in the Memorandum of Understanding between the James Bay Native Development Corporation, the Town of Matagami and the Government of Quebec. The close collaboration between the Cree Nation, the Town of Matagami and our government has made possible this structuring project that is essential to the economic development of Matagami and the entire region.”
Mr. Denis Lamothe, Member for Ungava and Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister Responsible for Indigenous Affairs
“The mining industry has always occupied an important place in the history of Matagami and will continue to do so for many years to come thanks to the implementation of strategic infrastructure that will allow local people to pursue their careers in the mining field and our local businesses to offer services to the entire region. Today we are taking a very important step towards what will be the Matagami of tomorrow, a prosperous city where it feels good to live!”
Mr. René Dubé, Mayor of the Town of Matagami
“We are very pleased to support the Government of Quebec as well as the regional and Indigenous communities in this economic development project that will facilitate access to the Detour – Fenelon gold region from Matagami. For Wallbridge, the road upgrade will improve regional access to the Fenelon Gold Project, including better access to Matagami and its infrastructure, local labour force and businesses.”
Mr. François Demers, Vice–President of Mining and Projects at Wallbridge
About the Société du Plan Nord
The Société du Plan Nord contributes to the integrated and coherent planning and development of the Quebec territory located north of the 49th parallel. It does so from a sustainable development perspective, in consultation with representatives of the regions and Indigenous Nations concerned, as well as the private sector.
About the Société de développement de la Baie–James
Created in 1971 by the James Bay Region Development Act, the mission of the Société de développement de la Baie–James is to promote, in a sustainable development perspective, the economic development, the enhancement and the exploitation of the natural resources, other than the hydroelectric resources under the mandate of Hydro Quebec, of the James Bay Territory. In particular, it may initiate, support and participate in the realization of projects to these ends.
The Société du Plan Nord website: plannord.gouv.qc.ca/en/.
The Société de développement de la Baie–James website: www.sdbj.gouv.qc.ca/en/home/
For further information: Elizabeth Lemay, Press Attaché, Office of the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources and Minister Responsible for the Côte Nord and Gaspésie Îles de la Madeleine regions, Tel: 418 643 7295, [email protected]; Andréanne Séguin, Société du Plan Nord, Tel: 418 643 1874, ext. 66409, [email protected]
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