Charest promotes Plan Nord in Japan

Japan is ”natural partner” for Plan Nord


Premier Jean Charest is touting Plan Nord and the resources of Nunavik during a trade visit to Japan where he’s met with top business leaders and officials.

At a breakfast organized by with collabortion of the Canada-Japan Chamber of Commerce, Charest’s message was that Japan is a ”natural partner” for Plan Nord, according to a Quebec government news release on Aug. 25.

“They have major needs,” Charest told an earlier briefing in Tokyo, reported on by Canadian Press. “It’s a prosperous country. They are leaders in technology, and, like other countries, they have a private sector that has accumulated a lot of money for investment.”

Japan particularly wants more access to rare earths, Charest said, which are found in Nunavik.

Azimut Exploration Inc. has reported “excellent results” from its search for rare earths on its Diana property, 40 kilometres northwest of Kuujjuaq.

Rare earths, also called REE’s or rare earth elements, are commonly used in flatscreen televisions, laptops, iPod earbuds and digital cameras, while so-called “heavy” rare earth metals, used to produce heat-resistant magnets found in wind turbines, computer hard drives, rechargeable batteries and electric motors are particularly in demand by industry.

China now produces most of the world’s rare earth supply.

But in recent years the Chinese government has imposed tariffs and export restrictions on rare earth buyers, like Japan.

So Japan has been looking for new sources of REEs— something which Quebec can offer, Charest noted.

“We’re presenting ourselves as a partner that offers solutions to countries such as Japan, France and Germany,” Charest said at the briefing in Tokyo. “We’re offering partnership opportunities in a world where demand for natural resources looks strong.”

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