Heurtel made the announcement Monday in Sept-Îles, alongside Natural Resources Minister Pierre Arcand and the minister responsible for mines, Luc Blanchette.
The construction of the mine is expected to create between 800 and 1,000 jobs.
After that, regular operation of the mine will employ about 300 people.
The project has the support of Quebec’s Metalworkers Union, local businesses and local politicians.
In a 2014 report that followed public hearings, the BAPE gave the open pit mine a negative review, citing concerns about water contamination and opposition from the community.
Heurtel says the project has “evolved” since then and he’s convinced the consortium running the project, made up of Norwegian mining company Yara International and Investment Quebec, will respond to all concerns outlined by the BAPE.
The opposition Parti Québécois is offering guarded support for the project, praising the jobs it will create but insisting the government deal with the BAPE’s concerns.
The developers will extract apatite from the mine, a key ingredient in fertilizer.
Construction is set to begin in January 2016 and take two years.