Saskatchewan ranks first in Canada for mining investment attractiveness, according to the Fraser Institute's Annual Survey of Mining Companies: 2020. Saskatchewan's rich mineral resources, efficient regulatory environment and strong investment opportunities, combined with high-quality geological database, has attracted most of the major global mining companies to the province.
In 2019, the value of Saskatchewan's mineral sales was $7.4 billion – the fourth highest in Canada. Exploration expenditures in 2019 were $264 million, and the survey, undertaken prior to the COVID-19 crisis, indicated exploration spending intentions of $242 million in 2020.
Saskatchewan has two of the most desirable minerals in the world – potash and uranium. The province has the largest potash industry in the world, accounting for about one-third of annual global production and hosting nearly half of the world's known reserves. The world's largest high-grade uranium deposits are located in northern Saskatchewan, which accounted for 13 per cent of the world's primary uranium production in 2019.
There is also significant unrealized potential for volcanogenic and sediment-hosted base metal deposits in supracrustal rocks of the Precambrian Shield of northern Saskatchewan. The Flin Flon mining camp, which straddles the Manitoba-Saskatchewan border, has been a substantial base metal producer for decades and is estimated to have the highest contained value of ore per square kilometre in Canada for this type of deposit.
There are areas with high gold potential that remain under-explored. In 2020, following six consecutive years of record breaking production, the Seabee operation produced 81,686 ounces of gold. Gold exploration activity in Saskatchewan has traditionally focused on the Glennie and La Ronge greenstone belts and areas north and east of Lake Athabasca.
Saskatchewan's Fort à la Corne area has one of the world's largest kimberlite fields, with the surface area of some kimberlites exceeding 200 hectares. Star Diamond Corp., in partnership with Rio Tinto, is currently evaluating the Star-Orion South project, which is estimated to contain more than 66 million carats. Recent discoveries in the northeast part of the province have highlighted Saskatchewan's potential for diamonds elsewhere.
The province also produces coal, salt, kaolin, clays, as well as sodium and potassium sulphates and has strong potential for economic deposits of copper, zinc, nickel and cobalt, as well as rare earth and platinum group elements.
In order to encourage and attract investment, Saskatchewan has established several incentive programs in the minerals sector, such as:
- The Targeted Mineral Exploration Incentive – a 25% rebate on eligible drilling costs in a region of high potential for base metals, precious metals and diamonds;
- The Saskatchewan Mineral Exploration Tax Credit – a non-refundable 10% tax credit to Saskatchewan taxpayers who invest in eligible flow-through shares issued by mining or exploration companies.
- A 10-year royalty holiday for new gold and base metal mines; and
- A 5-year incorporation tax rebate for mineral processing.
Opportunities for Servicing the Mining Industry
Information about opportunities to service Saskatchewan's mining industry can be found in a variety of available publications.
How to Successfully Access the Mining Supply Chain provides key information to Saskatchewan manufacturers to aid in understanding the Saskatchewan mining industry, with a focus on the potash and uranium industries. Manufacturers will get accurate, relevant information to help understand the opportunities and steps involved in becoming a successful preferred supplier.
The Uranium Mining Supply Chain Requirement Guide provides information on the quantity, value and scheduling of supplies and services purchased by typical Saskatchewan uranium mining project owners and/or operators to discover, develop, operate, maintain, decommission and close out projects.
The Potash Mining Supply Chain Requirement Guide provides businesses and communities with information about the kinds of goods and services required for the construction and operation of a conventional or solution potash mine.
Supply Chain Events
The Annual Mining Supply Chain Forum brings mining project and procurement people together with manufacturing and related service companies to discuss opportunities in the mining supply chain. The event is a partnership between the Ministry of Trade and Export Development, Saskatchewan Mining Association (SMA) and the Saskatchewan Industrial and Mining Suppliers Association (SIMSA).
Saskatchewan Supply Chain Week is proclaimed annually in recognition of the valuable contribution that Saskatchewan supply chain management professionals and suppliers make to the growth and success of our provincial economy. Find more information on the Supply Chain Management Association – Saskatchewan website.