The mining industry in Saskatchewan, led by potash and uranium, will continue to be a strong sector, says Gary Delaney, chief geologist with the province.
“We are very optimistic about potash and uranium,” said Delaney while speaking to an audience at the third annual Saskatchewan Mining Forum.
“Our mineral sector is well positioned for growth. The roots are strong and we are seeing vigorous exploration. There is more opportunities, there is more potential, and we hope going forward that will be realized and our sector will continue to grow.”
There are 10 producing potash mines in the province and at least nine potential greenfield projects have been identified. Pam Schwann, executive director with the Saskatchewan Mining Association, agreed those two sectors will lead the way. “I don’t see any big changes there.”
She said world population growth, increased industrialization, energy and food needs mean potash and uranium will continue to be high in demand.
Schwann cited recent uranium agreements between Canada and China and India to allow export of Canadian uranium into those countries as a positive step.
“Despite the fact there is uncertainties in world uranium markets – the Japan situation and others – the Athabasca Basin is recognized for its large, high-grade deposits and potential can still attract significant interest.”
Delaney said new uranium discoveries have spurred a lot of activity in the north as companies stake land claims.
“Several new uranium discoveries, particularly Patterson Lake South (a joint venture between Alpha Minerals and Fission Energy), which is reigniting a lot of interest in our uranium sector,” he said. “Six or seven companies that are brand new to Saskatchewan have come in and acquired dispositions (in that area).”
And while many major projects around the world have been halted, many projects continue in Saskatchewan.
“(It shows) the level of commitment of the various mining and exploration companies to Saskatchewan, and also their belief that investing in Saskatchewan is a good long-term investment,” Schwann said.
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