Mining the future of Saskatchewan – by Nadine Olson (Regina Leader-Post – May 19, 2012)

The Saskatchewan mining industry is recognized as one of the most prolific in the world. According to Natural Resources Canada, Saskatchewan was Canada’s second leading mineral producer in 2011, with sales reaching $9.2 billion. Ontario was ranked as number one with sales of $10.7 billion and B.C. was third with $8.2 billion.
“In 2011, potash was the most valuable commodity with over $8 billion in sales. Uranium was also one of the top Canadian commodities,” said Pam Schwann, executive director, Saskatchewan Mining Association.  “The mineral industry will invest over $50 billion in expansion and new mines between 2008 and 2028.”
Potash prices and values have followed a turbulent path in recent years due to the global recession. However, in 2011, potash was once again Canada’s top rated commodity with shipments totalling $8 billion. Production volumes reached a new historical level, up 13.5 per cent compared to 2010 as a result of a growing global demand for potash.
“Saskatchewan is the only jurisdiction in Canada to be the world-leading producer of potash and second leading producer of uranium. Saskatchewan companies control over 33 per cent of the existing global potash production,” said Schwann. “Three of the top 10 potash mining companies in the world are based in Saskatchewan – Potash Corp is ranked number one; Mosaic, three; and Agrium, nine.”
Canada remains a leading world uranium producer, accounting for 18 per cent of world’s primary production. All of the uranium production in Canada comes from Saskatchewan mines. Operating together, Cameco Corporations’ McArthur River and Key Lake operations are the world’s largest high-grade uranium producer.
Saskatchewan mines produce other commodities besides potash and uranium, such as coal, gold, salt, silica sands, sodium sulphate, clay and bentonite. Coal continues to provide over 50 per cent of Saskatchewan base-load power requirements and SaskPower’s Clean Coal project at Boundary Dam is testing how coal can continue to be a cost effective and environmentally sustainable part of Saskatchewan’s future power supply.

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