The government of the Canadian province of Quebec plans to tap into the resources in its unexplored territories with the launch of its Northern Plan. An economic development strategy covering more than 1,200,000 square kilometres, the plan has been described by Quebec's government as the region's most ambitious project of the past 50 years. It has been designed to develop the natural resources extraction sector in the province's north, and is expected to attract more than $80bn in energy, mining and forestry investments as well as creating or consolidating 20,000 jobs per year over a 25-year period.
The plan is made up of a series of five, five-year plans, with a total of $1.6bn set to be invested by Quebec's government in the first five years. The plan includes projects aimed at increasing the region's hydroelectric capacity, with the development of further large-scale hydroelectric facilities. The area outlined by the Northern Plan currently accounts for more than three-quarters of Quebec’s installed hydroelectric power generation capacity, and is also the site of most of Quebec’s metal and mineral resources.
So far, the plan has received full support from the mining industry as well as some indigenous representatives. However, it has faced opposition from environmentalists, many of whom are concerned that the government will not adhere to its promise of protecting 50% of the Northern Plan's outlined land from industrial development. Opponents argue that there are no controls in place to ensure this.
The predominantly French-speaking province hopes to attract corporate investment and public-private partnerships to build infrastructure including roads, railways and ports to serve local communities and international markets. The strategic location of the territory combined with its abundance of natural resources provides a solid ground for global export opportunities.