LEVIS, Que. - An ambitious plan to develop Quebec's north is being hailed by Premier Jean Charest as an effort that will be key to the province's future.

The Plan Nord -- or "Northern Plan" -- would touch on energy development, mining, infrastructure, tourism and conservation in a sweeping set of projects.

The province says those projects would receive $80 billion in public and private investment over the next 25 years.

Besides eventually generating $14 billion dollars for provincial coffers and creating an expected 20,000 jobs, the plan seeks to exploit mineral deposits in the area.

The plan foresees 11 new mining projects during the next few years, but also sets aside a vast territory that would be exempt from industrial development.

The conservation efforts will include the planting of 100 million trees to ensure the reforestation of the area.

Mathew Jacobson, of the Pew Environment Group's International Boreal Conservation Campaign in Quebec, calls the plan "the largest land conservation policy in history."

The mining industry also lauded the plan.

But not everyone is pleased.

The chief of the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador boycotted yesterday's announcement because he says the plan doesn't adequately meet the needs of First Nations people.