Negotiations have been launched between the General Motors Corporation and the provincial government of Quebec, in Canada, that could result in transforming the region into a world leader for the production of lightweight metals used to make automobile components.

The goal of the project, that is expected to require funding from both parties, will be to take advantage of Quebec's natural resources of magnesium and aluminium, as well as its existing expertise and large engineering base, to develop pre-cast materials for the auto industry.

These talks were revealed in the Toronto Globe and Mail, which claimed that GM has already offered CAN $10 million for research and development and in the long term, will bring between 5,000 and 10,000 jobs to the region.

The news of the possible "centre of excellence" has been welcomed, given that General Motors recently announced it will close its assembly plant near Montreal next year, a move that would see more than 1,500 jobs eliminated.

By Monica Dobie

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