The Centre-du-Québec region is a recent administrative creation. It has a population of 230,000 and covers an area of 7,332 km2 , mostly (94%) rural. The region comprises the regional county municipalities of Arthabaska, Bécancour, Drummond, De L’Érable and Nicolet-Yamaska, and the native communities of Odanak and Wölinak, part of the Abenaki nation.
The Centre-du-Québec region provides 3% of all the electricity generated in Québec. Some of this production comes from the Gentilly-2 nuclear power station and the Bécancour oil-fired power station. The region also has a hydrogen production plant (also in Bécancour), and 18 exploration permits for oil and natural gas have been issued, covering an area of 295,274 hectares.
Mining in the Centre-du-Québec region mainly involves peat, stone, sand and gravel extraction. Although mining is not one of the most extensive activities in the region, it generates key economic benefits.
Most of the forests in the region are under private ownership. Around 9,500 woodlot owners manage 3,432,432 km² of productive, accessible woodlands. The primary processing industry includes 23 sawmills and one veneer and plywood plant, while other facilities are involved in the secondary and tertiary processing of wood products. The region has many maple stands, and around 825 maple syrup producers. Thanks to their efforts, maple cultivation and sugar production are a major activity in the Centre-du-Québec region.
The Centre-du-Québec region shares with the Mauricie region the largest spring migration site on the St. Lawrence, at Lac Saint-Pierre. Year after year, many different species of birds, including a phenomenal number of snow geese, gather at the site. This floodplain and its vast expanse of water constitute a wetland of outstanding biological richness. Lac Saint-Pierre has been designated as a UNESCO world biosphere reserve, and offers habitat for numerous species including yellow perch, sauger, walleye and lake sturgeon. It also supports a commercial fishery. The region has several large rivers that provide opportunities for sports fishing. Each year, 20,000 sports fishers and 12,000 hunters congregate in the region, mainly to hunt white-tailed deer, a big-game species.
Natural resources offer strong economic potential in the Centre-du-Québec region, in the form of forest development, the biological wealth of Lac Saint-Pierre, sports fishing and tourism. By focusing on promising niche sectors such as furniture production, wood carving and specialized papers, the region will be able to continue its economic development.