Quebec shows tougher approach toward mining sector with access road deal

QUEBEC – Quebec’s new government is living up to its pledge to take a tougher stance with mining companies.

Finance Minister Nicolas Marceau announced today that Quebec has renegotiated a deal that will see Stornoway Diamond Corp. (TSX:SWY) assume a bigger share of the costs to build a controversial access road.

Marceau says the agreement on the 240-kilometre highway extension to the Renard diamond mine site will save Quebec taxpayers at least $124 million.

The Parti Quebecois minister says the era of Quebec offering golden roads to mining companies is over.

The PQ has criticized the previous Liberal government’s northern-development plan for being too generous to the mining sector.

PQ officials expressed concern last month that costs for the Route 167 project had exploded beyond the estimated budget.

Under the new deal, a portion of the mining access road will now be a more modest, single-lane route.

Stornoway says in a statement that the new deal will ensure construction of the mine will begin in 2013 as previously planned.

The Renard project, 350 kilometres north of Chibougamau, is Stornoway’s flagship project.