Last update:

Nouveau Monde’s Matawinie graphite mine in Quebec, Canada

In Matawinie in Quebec, a graphite mining project proposed by Nouveau Monde Graphite has sparked opposition from local citizen organizations and the Atikamekw First Nation for the socio-environmental impacts it could cause.


Five kilometers southwest of the municipality of Saint-Michel-des-Saints (SMDS), located in the MRC de la Matawinie in Lanaudière, in the province of Quebec, the Canadian company Nouveau Monde Graphite (NMG) is claiming to develop the largest open-pit graphite mine on the continent. The mine is located within highly valued recreational and tourism areas.

See more
Basic Data
Name of conflict:Nouveau Monde’s Matawinie graphite mine in Quebec, Canada
State or province:Quebec
Location of conflict:Municipality of Saint-Michel-des-Saints in Matawinie MRC
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Mineral ore exploration
Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Tailings from mines
Mineral processing
Specific commodities:Rare metals
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The project includes 319 mining concessions (claims) for a total area of ​​17,585 ha.

See more
Project area:17585 ha
Level of Investment for the conflictive project350,000,000
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:01/01/2017
Company names or state enterprises:Nouveau Monde Graphite (NMG) from Canada
Relevant government actors:- Gouvernement du Québec
- Ministère de l’Economie du Québec
- Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE) du Québec
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:- Association pour la protection du Lac Taureau:
- Coalition des opposants à un projet minier en Haute-Matawinie (COPH):
- Mobilisation Matawinie Ekoni Aci:
- Conseil des Atikamekw de Manawan:
- Mining Watch Canadá:
- Coalition Pour que le Québec ait meilleure mine:
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Recreational users
Atikamekw First Nation
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Air pollution, Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Mine tailing spills
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Occupational disease and accidents, Infectious diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Violations of human rights
Potential: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Specific impacts on women, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusUnder construction
Conflict outcome / response:Strengthening of participation
Proposal and development of alternatives:The coalition "Pour que le Québec ait meilleure mine" proposes 5 conditions to limit the impacts of the transport electrification process:

1. Reduction at source: prioritize investments in recycling and the circular economy, modes of transport and consumption that are both low in carbon and in materials, public transport, carpooling, fuel-efficient vehicles; real bonus / penalty measures to discourage large fuel-guzzling vehicles; change the way municipalities are financed to stop urban sprawl.

2. Environmental protection: subject all new mines to an environmental assessment and BAPE consultations — the equivalent is already being done for northern Quebec; prohibit all mining operations near sensitive ecological environments, including drinking water eskers, and prioritize the achievement of protected area objectives throughout Quebec - there is a long delay in southern Quebec.

3. Land use planning and respect for local communities: review the current laws and frameworks in order to give more powers to municipalities, MR and Indigenous Nations to protect the sensitive environments of their territories, in particular resorts, recreational tourism, ecotourism, sustainable forestry (eg: Mining Law, Land Use Planning and Development Law, Government guidelines for “territories incompatible with mining activity”).

4. Polluter-pays principle: demand solid financial guarantees for the clean-up of contaminated mining sites at the expense of companies and not of Quebecers, including a fund financed in part by the industry for abandoned sites with a debt of 1.2 billion; strengthen the capacity of ministries and penal sanctions for environmental offenses.

5. Critère d’investissement responsable : revoir et renforcer les critères sociaux, environnementaux et économiques d’Investissement Québec et la Caisse de dépôt et placement, notamment dans le secteur minier, en collaboration d’experts indépendants et diverses parties prenantes.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

[click to view]

[click to view]

[18] Nouveau Monde Graphite ; DÉVELOPPEMENT DURABLE
[click to view]

[20] Rapport du BAPE – page 195 du texte
[click to view]

[22] Gouvernement du Québec; GAZETTE OFFICIELLE DU QUÉBEC, 10 février 2021, 153e année, no 6
[click to view]

[1] May Dagher & Dmitri Kharitidi (COPH) ; La réalité d’un projet minier dédié au marché des voitures électriques:Est-ce le prix juste ? webinaire: Transition Juste, Énergie Propre, Mines Vertes ? de MiningWatch Canada ; 5 mai 2021
[click to view]

[4] Radio Canada ; Un projet minier divise la communauté de Saint-Michel-des-Saints ; 3 mars 2021
[click to view]

[5] World Bank ; Minerals for Climate Action: The Mineral Intensity of the Clean Energy Transition ; 2020
[click to view]

[6] United States Geological Survey (USGS) ; Graphite Statistics and Information ; 2021
[click to view]

[7] Le Devoir ; Projet minier: des craintes de pollution de l’eau demeurent à Saint-Michel-des-Saints ; 29 juin 2020
[click to view]

[8] ASSOCIATION POUR LA PROTECTION DU LAC TAUREAU inc. (APLT ; Bulletin n° 30 NUMÉRO SPÉCIAL Mine de graphite ; Hiver 2016-2017
[click to view]

[9] ASSOCIATION POUR LA PROTECTION DU LAC TAUREAU inc. (APLT) ; Bulletin n° 31 NUMÉRO SPÉCIAL Encore la mine…; Hiver 2017-2018
[click to view]

[10] ASSOCIATION POUR LA PROTECTION DU LAC TAUREAU inc. (APLT) ; Bulletin n° 32 Une mine contre nature; Printemps 2019
[click to view]

[11] ASSOCIATION POUR LA PROTECTION DU LAC TAUREAU inc. (APLT ); Une mine à ciel ouvert à Saint-Michel-des-Saints menace les eaux du lac Taureau - Une association de citoyens dénonce les contradictions du promoteur ; Avril 2018
[click to view]

[12] Coalition des opposants à un projet minier en Haute-Matawinie (COPH) ; Préoccupations de la Coalition en lien avec le projet minier
[click to view]

[13] Radio Canada ; Projet minier Matawinie : « un pas en arrière dans la réconciliation », dit Manawan ; Février 2021
[click to view]

[14] Le Devoir ; Avec la mine au Nitaskinan, la réconciliation peut attendre ; Mars 2021
[click to view]

[15] Radio Canada ; Les Atikamekw, spectateurs de l’exploitation de leur territoire ; Janvier 2021
[click to view]

[16] La Presse ; Nitaskinan, le pays des Atikamekw ; Mars 2021
[click to view]

[17] Radio Canada ; Les Atikamekw déclarent leur souveraineté
[click to view]

[19] Projet de Nouveau Monde Graphite: La Nation de Manawan Dénonce l'Autorisation de Québec
[click to view]

[21] Radio Canada ; Projet minier Matawinie : « des bonifications sont nécessaires », conclut le BAPE ; 27 juin 2020
[click to view]

[23] Laction ; Projet minier en Haute-Matawinie : Une coalition dénonce la décision de Québec ; 10 février 2021
[click to view]

[24] Radio Canada ; Des militants autochtones bloquent une route pour s’opposer à un projet minier ; Mars 2021
[click to view]

[25] La COPH; Lettre ouverte (22 octobre 2020) Des mines aux véhicules électriques: 3 conditions pour que l’électrification ait meilleure mine
[click to view]

[26] Mining Watch Canada; L’environnement des mines aux batteries : Québec a besoin d’un électrochoc; 29 octobre 2020
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

[27] Nouveau Monde Graphite
[click to view]

COPH; Destruction durable
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Coalition des opposants à un projet minier en Haute-Matawinie (COPH) et Association pour la protection du lac Taureau
Last update13/08/2021
Conflict ID:5599
Legal notice / Aviso legal
We use cookies for statistical purposes and to improve our services. By clicking "Accept cookies" you consent to place cookies when visiting the website. For more information, and to find out how to change the configuration of cookies, please read our cookie policy. Utilizamos cookies para realizar el análisis de la navegación de los usuarios y mejorar nuestros servicios. Al pulsar "Accept cookies" consiente dichas cookies. Puede obtener más información, o bien conocer cómo cambiar la configuración, pulsando en más información.