The Abitibi-Témiscamingue region is one of the largest in Québec, covering a total of 65 000 km2. However, it has a population of only 145,000, or 2% of the total Québec population. Almost 85% of the land in the region is publicly-owned and the region is one of the main reserves of natural resources in Québec, making resource development a major factor in its economic development.
Forests of various kinds are found throughout the region. Boreal forests predominate around Abitibi, while mixed forests and hardwood stands are found in the Témiscamingue area. Half of all the trees in public forests are under 60 years old, but the region also has the oldest trees in eastern North America, including cedars over 900 years old. The Abitibi-Témiscamingue region ranks second in Québec for the annual production of roundwood, and sixth for forest sector jobs. The region has 88 primary and secondary wood processing mills.
Fishermen in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region are spoiled for choice, given the large number of lakes teeming with walleye and lake charr. Each year, sports fishing generates economic benefits of $69 million.
Moose and black bear hunting also attract a large number of hunters each year, and hunting plays an important economic and social role in the region. In the south, the main game is white-tailed deer. Forest caribou is also found, but is protected as a vulnerable species. Small game hunting is a widespread activity in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region, as are wildlife observation and interpretation. Overall, hunting and fishing and other nature-related activities generated $111.5 million per year.
Cottage development, recreation and tourism
The region has over 4 000 kilometres of canoeable rivers that each year attract numerous canoeing and kayaking enthusiasts. In addition to hunting and fishing, snowmobiling generates around $38 million in economic activity each year. Because of its large number of lakes and easily accessible territory, the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region contains 8 000 cottages and rough forest shelters.
The mining industry in the region is thriving. It generates massive investments that account for almost one-third of all the mining investment in Québec, ranking the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region first with the Nord-du-Québec region. Several gold mines are found in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue, which also produces copper, zinc and silver.
The rehabilitation of mine sites is a key concern in the region, and it has developed innovative approaches and world-renowned expertise in this area.
Hydroelectricity and water
With eight hydroelectric generating stations and three thermal power stations, the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region makes an important contribution to energy production in Québec.
Water of remarkable quality is found in the region’s many eskers, representing a world-class resource for bottling. The demand for bottled water is growing constantly on world markets.
The Abitibi-Témiscamingue region is rich in mineral deposits, and is one of the leading mining regions in Québec. There is potential for exporting mining technology, and this possibility should be explored.
With various lumber products already available, the region should develop the timber construction system niche to build a presence on outside markets.
Last, thanks to a wide range of other resources, public land in the region could be used more to develop sectors of activity such as organic farming, water bottling and recreation and tourism.
Regional Plan for Public Land Development (PDF Format, 1,02 Mb)