Hundreds protest proposed Outaouais graphite mine

Hundreds of people gathered Sunday near a beach in Lac-des-Plages, a municipality in the Outaouais region of western Quebec, to express opposition to the proposed La Loutre mining project.

Proposed mining project is located about 30 kilometres southwest of Mont Tremblant

A crowd carries signs.
Brandishing signs, protesters gathered Sunday near the municipal beach in Lac-des-Plages, Que. (Rebecca Kwan/Radio-Canada)

Hundreds of people gathered Sunday morning in Lac-des-Plages, Que., to rally against a proposed graphite mine.

The proposed La Loutre mining project, led by B.C.-based company Lomiko Metals, is located about 30 kilometres southwest of Mont Tremblant.

The project would affect the municipalities of Lac-des-Plages and Duhamel, Que., in the northern Outaouais region.

One of the groups that organized the event, Association pour la protection de l'environnement du Lac-des-Plages, said hundreds of people from surrounding areas took part in a "solidarity march."

François Achim, a member of the group, said the mining project doesn't align with the interests of the communities it would affect.

"Our primary objective is to protect our lands, our lakes, our quality of lakes, the quality of living that we have here in Lac-des-Plages and all the other areas around," he said.

Several grassroots organizations and municipal governments have joined a coalition against the project as part of an ongoing effort to end mining projects in the Outaouais altogether.

Maïté Blanchette Vézina, Quebec's Minister of Natural Resources and Forests, was not available for an interview Sunday.

In a French statement sent by email, the Quebec government said mining projects must meet high standards to earn social acceptance from people who live nearby.

Lomiko Metals said in a French statement it supports conversation and transparency regarding the proposed project.

The company says the proposed mine would produce enough graphite concentrate, a key ingredient in electric vehicle batteries, to supply approximately 10 per cent of North America's current battery demand.

With files from Rebecca Kwan and Emmanuelle Poisson