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Critical Minerals

Saskatchewan – A Critical Minerals Powerhouse

Saskatchewan ranks first in Canada for mining investment attractiveness, according to the Fraser Institute's Annual Survey of Mining Companies: 2022. The province is home to occurrences of 23 of the 31 critical minerals on Canada’s list and the world’s largest deposits of potash and high-grade uranium.

Saskatchewan’s rich and diverse mineral endowment, backed by a strong regulatory environment, competitive royalty and investment incentives, and world-class public geoscience information, has attracted most of the major global mining companies to the province.

Saskatchewan’s mining industry posted the highest value of sales on record in 2022 – eclipsing the previous record by more than double. Mineral sales for fiscal 2022 were over $19.4 billion with exploration expenditures of $291.6 million and the survey exploration spending intentions of more than $300 million for 2023.

Saskatchewan’s Critical Minerals Strategy

In March 2023, the Government of Saskatchewan launched Securing the Future: Saskatchewan’s Critical Minerals Strategy to drive growth and development of the sector in the province.

The critical minerals strategy supports the objectives set out in the Saskatchewan Growth Plan.

Four goals for the sector:

  1. Increase Saskatchewan’s share of Canadian mineral exploration spending to 15 per cent by 2030;
  2. Double the number of critical minerals being produced in Saskatchewan by 2030;
  3. Grow Saskatchewan’s production of potash, uranium and helium and
  4. Establish Saskatchewan as a rare earth element hub.

Another record year for Saskatchewan potash sales and production

The province has the largest potash industry in the world, accounting for 37 per cent of global production in 2022. The potash industry achieved record value of sales and production in the year, stepping up to alleviate global food insecurity concerns due to geopolitical instability that continues to impact global supply. Saskatchewan’s potash industry has committed to additional investments to increase production and meet global demand.

Saskatchewan uranium industry returns to second largest global producer in 2022

Northern Saskatchewan is home to the world's largest high-grade uranium deposits. Saskatchewan was the world’s second-largest producer in 2022, according to World Nuclear Association data, with total sales reaching nearly $1 billion. The province accounted for 15 per cent of the world’s primary uranium production in the year and employed 2,381 people.

2022 a record year for Saskatchewan gold production

Gold exploration activity in Saskatchewan has traditionally focused on the Glennie and La Ronge greenstone belts and areas north and east of Lake Athabasca but there are areas with high gold potential that remain under-explored. Saskatchewan saw the highest production numbers in nearly 30 years in 2022 with a record 136,000 ounces of gold extracted from the Seabee mine.

Investment Attraction Incentives for the Saskatchewan Mineral Sector

  1. Saskatchewan Mineral Exploration Tax Credit (SMETC)
    • A non-refundable 30 per cent tax credit to Saskatchewan taxpayers who invest in eligible flow-through shares issued by mining or exploration companies.
    • The most competitive rate in Canada.
  2. Targeted Mineral Exploration Incentive (TMEI)
    • Explorers are eligible to receive a grant equal to 25% of direct drilling costs of up to $150,000 ($50,000 for uranium)
    • The program has been expanded to apply to exploration drilling of all hard-rock minerals anywhere in the province.
    • Program funding has been increased from $750,000 to $4 million.
  3. 10-year royalty holiday for new hard rock mines
    • The 10-year royalty holiday applies to all types of hard rock mineral production (excluding uranium and diamonds).
  4. Oil and Gas Processing Investment Incentive (OGPII)
    • OGPII offers transferable oil and gas royalty/freehold production tax credits for qualified greenfield or brownfield value-added projects at a rate of 15 per cent of eligible program costs.
    • Open to value-added projects across all segments of Saskatchewan's oil, gas, helium, and lithium sectors as well as chemical fertilizer facilities.
  5. Saskatchewan Petroleum Innovation Incentive (SPII)
    • SPII offers transferable oil and gas royalty/freehold production tax credits for qualified innovation commercialization projects at a rate of 25 per cent of eligible project costs.
    • The program targets a broad range of innovations deployed across all segments of Saskatchewan's oil, gas, helium or lithium industry.

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.

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