The Nord-du-Québec region covers 862,000 km2 but is home to 0.5% of Québec’s population, or 39,785 people. The three main communities are the inhabitants of Baie-James, the Crees and the Inuits, respectively making up 35%, 37,3% and 27,2% of the total population in the region.
The region is Québec’s largest producer of hydroelectricity, with 49% of total production. Eight power stations are operated on La Grande river by Hydro-Québec. A major project, the power station Eastmain-1-A-Sarcelle-Rupert, is expected to generate $2.4 billion dollars in economic benefits for Québec as a whole, including $211.6 in the region. Around 27,000 jobs could be created in Québec, including 2,241 in the region.
The Nord-du-Québec region also has 87% of Québec’s wind energy potential.
The Nord-du-Québec region ranks first in Québec for mining development. Exploration has focused on a multitude of mineral substances including gold, copper, silver, zinc, nickel, platinum, palladium, chromium, diamond, molybdenum, uranium and lithium. Thanks to $601 million in mining investment and $265.6 million in exploration and development investment, the region has a workforce of several thousand people in the mining sector. Over 1,000 new mining jobs will be created over the next five to ten years.
The region’s forests are omnipresent, with a productive forest area of 47,478 km2. The annual allowable cut is huge, representing around 16% of the annual allowable cut for the whole of Québec. The timber harvest supplies 18 mills, of which 6 are located in the region. The royalties paid on the volumes harvested amount to $15 million each year. The forest sector makes an important contribution to the regional economy by providing over 1,600 jobs, including 1,400 jobs in the forest.
The region’s immense size provides a wide range of wildlife habitats for various species. In the region as a whole, there are
- 36 species of fish;
- 19 species of fur-bearing mammals;
- 7 species of small game;
- 4 species of big game, including caribou which is unique in the region.
Moose, black bear, polar bear, muskox and arctic fox are also found in the region, whose wide expanses offer a unique experience for sports hunters from around the world. One hundred outfitting operations in the Nord-du-Québec, along with all the other wildlife-related activities, support 1,400 direct jobs and generate annual benefits of $30 million.
Cottage development, recreation and tourism
Thousands of lakes and rivers are suitable for fishing in the Nord-du-Québec region, and world calibre expeditions are available. In all, over 37,000 sports fishers and 12,000 hunters visit the region each year. On average, the region also attracts 30,000 outdoor and wilderness enthusiasts.
The Nord-du-Québec region has exceptional development potential. Its mineral, energy, wildlife resources, tourism potential and opportunities in the forest and bio-food sectors are all major assets. Forestry activities and the resulting waste provide the region with the raw material for energy production from biomass. To encourage the diversification and consolidation of forest sector activities, the region must maximize the added value of lumber by secondary and even tertiary processing. There are also many opportunities for development of the region’s mineral potential and the many mineral exploration projects are very promising; for instance, the region is likely to host Québec’s first diamond mine.
Territorial Profile (PDF Format, 23,4 Mb)