Archive | Saskatchewan Mining

Opinion: Small modular reactors would be a worthy investment for Sask. – by Sarath Peiris (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – November 27, 2019)

https://thestarphoenix.com/

Premier Scott Moe is taking a page from his predecessor Brad Wall’s book and proposing nuclear power as part of Saskatchewan’s base load energy mix — a welcome departure from his ranting against the federal carbon tax even as his government delays action to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.

Moe is pondering the adoption of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs), which can be designed to generate as little as three megawatts of electricity or as much as 300 MW — approximately the capacity of the Shand coal-fired power station — whereas a conventional reactor produces 1,000 MW to 1,600 MW.

With one-third of SaskPower’s electricity generated via three coal-fired plants that burn low-heat lignite coal — an engineer at the utility once described the fuel as “only a little better than burning dirt” — and another 40 per cent produced from burning natural gas, Saskatchewan certainly can benefit from an alternative power source that is GHG-free. Continue Reading →

Nutrien forced to shut down largest mine due to CN strike – by Eric Atkins (Globe and Mail – November 25, 2019)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

The week-long strike by 3,200 Canadian National Railway Co. train conductors has forced the shutdown of Nutrien Ltd.’s potash mine in Rocanville, Sask.

Nutrien, the world’s largest fertilizer company, said on Monday it will halt output at its largest mine for two weeks beginning Dec. 2., as the impact of the strike at Canada’s largest rail company widens.

“It is extremely disappointing that in a year when the agricultural sector has been severely impacted by poor weather and trade disputes, the CN strike will add further hardship to the Canadian agriculture industry,” said Chuck Magro, Nutrien’s chief executive officer. “Any further disruption will be harmful to our business, the Canadian economy, and Canada’s competitive position and reputation as a reliable supplier of fertilizer and food.” Continue Reading →

Mining for the future: Saskatchewan Research Council R&D fosters innovation and sustainability – by Greg Klein (Resource Clips – November 21, 2019)

http://resourceclips.com/

Predictably for a jurisdiction so rich in potash and uranium, mining plays a prominent role in the Saskatchewan Growth Plan, a 10-year economic program announced last week. Skeptics, however, might question the goal to extract lithium and rare earths locally and even set a near-precedent in non-Chinese commercial REE separation.

But it turns out that some of that work has been underway for years, while other targets have already been in the planning stage. That’s just part of a wide range of mining expertise developed and applied by the Saskatchewan Research Council.

SRC figures strongly in the province’s new agenda, whose mining-related initiatives include a continuation of the PST exception on drilling, streamlining permitting, creating a Geoscience Data Management System, boosting annual uranium and potash sales, upgrading and building road, rail, pipeline and power infrastructure, and developing nuclear energy. Continue Reading →

First Nations near proposed Sask. diamond mine cautiously optimistic about future (CBC News Saskatoon – November 18, 2019)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon/

Mining giant Rio Tinto announced plans to exercise options in Star-Orion South Project, buy majority stake

Three First Nations in central Saskatchewan say they’ve begun informal talks with a large multinational mining company planning a large diamond mine project in the area.

On Friday, Rio Tinto Exploration Canada (RTEC) gave notice it would be exercising its options to enter into a joint venture agreement with the project’s current owner on the Star Orion South diamond project. If successful, the move would eventually leave Rio Tinto with a majority stake.

The potential change in ownership would be welcome, according to the James Smith Cree Nation. For years, the First Nation has been battling with the mine’s current owner, Star Diamond Corporation (formerly Shore Gold). Continue Reading →

World’s biggest miner names Canadian as new CEO, raises intrigue about potash ambitions – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – November 14, 2019)

https://business.financialpost.com/

Decision could have consequences on whether BHP pushes forward with a massive potash project in Saskatchewan in the coming years

Canadian Mike Henry will be the next chief executive of giant Australian miner BHP Group, a decision that could have consequences on whether it pushes forward with a massive potash project in Saskatchewan in the coming years.

Henry, 53, takes the helm in January, leaving a month or so for him to transition from his current role as head of BHP’s Australian mining operations, where the company’s iron ore mines that account for nearly half its revenue are located.

One item on his eventual to-do list, though not necessarily at the top, will be whether the company will allocate $5 billion to construct the first phase of its Jansen potash project in Saskatchewan. The project would initially add four million tons of potash to the market and as much as four times that over time, which could drastically alter the supply and demand dynamics for existing producers such as Saskatoon-based Nutrien Ltd. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto eyes copper deposit north of La Ronge – by Alex MacPherson (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – November 12, 2019)

https://thestarphoenix.com/

One of the world’s largest mining companies is spending millions of dollars to look for copper in northern Saskatchewan — and could commit tens of millions more if its engineers and geologists like what the drill rigs uncover.

Rio Tinto Exploration Canada Inc. spent the summer taking core samples at the Janice Lake copper deposit north of La Ronge after signing an option agreement with Forum Energy Metals Corp., which acquired the property in 2017.

Under the terms of the agreement, Rio Tinto can spend up to $30 million over seven years to acquire an 81 per cent stake in the property, which was staked in the 1960s and bounced between companies before ending up in Forum’s portfolio. Continue Reading →

Nutrien CEO: 2020 will see strong recovery from this year’s soft fertilizer demand – by Canadian Press (Toronto Star – November 6, 2019)

https://www.thestar.com/

SASKATOON – Nutrien Ltd. says global demand for fertilizer is weaker than anticipated this year due to poor weather in North America and offshore buyers that have chosen to draw down their inventories.

As a result, the Saskatoon-based company has lowered key estimates for 2019, including a further reduction on potash sales volume following an earlier downward revision issued in September.

Nutrien’s potash sales for this year are now estimated at between 11.6 million and 12 million tonnes, down 300,000 tonnes from September, and one million tonnes lower than its estimate in July. Continue Reading →

‘It’s time to get back that hungry, competitive spirit’: Nutrien CEO pushes Ottawa to get serious about revving up economy – by Barrie McKenna (Globe and Mail – November 4, 2019)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Chuck Magro’s parents came to Canada from Malta in 1965 seeking a better life. “It’s the classic immigrant story,” says Mr. Magro, president and chief executive of Canadian fertilizer giant Nutrien Ltd.

They could have gone to Australia. They chose Canada. But Mr. Magro worries that Canada in 2019 is not the same dynamic country his parents found in the 1960s. It has become too complacent, ceding ground in global trade to more aggressive and determined adversaries, he says.

“When my mom and dad decided to come to Canada … they saw this country that was young and vibrant and building things,” he explains in an interview. “It’s time to get back that hungry, competitive spirit.” Continue Reading →

Nutrien and other rivals get nervous as BHP Billiton eyes $17-billion potash project in Saskatchewan – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – October 18, 2019)

https://business.financialpost.com/

Chuck Magro, chief executive of Saskatoon-based Nutrien Ltd., remained quiet on Thursday after the Australian-based mining giant BHP Billiton Ltd. disclosed its latest plans to build a giant potash mine in his company’s backyard.

BHP announced it would commit an additional US$345 million, on top of roughly $3 billion already spent, to de-risk Jansen, a proposed potash mine east of Saskatoon that could upend the market; and it gave itself until February 2021 to make a final decision on the estimated $17-billion project.

If constructed, Jansen would add about 4.4 million tonnes of potash per year, roughly 7 per cent of the current market, and potentially enough to drive down potash prices and deal a blow to Nutrien, the largest producer in the world. The Saskatoon-based firm’s stock price fell just under a per cent to $64.64 on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Continue Reading →

BHP to decide fate of Jansen potash mine in early 2021 – by Cecilia Jamasmie (Mining.com – October 17, 2019)

https://www.mining.com/

BHP (ASX, NYSE: BHP), the world’s largest miner, will decide whether to go ahead with its long-delayed $17 billion Jansen potash project in Canada by February 2021, when it reaches 10 years since completing the feasibility study for the operation.

The company has been mulling a final decision on the asset for at least six years, during which it has spent almost $3 billion laying the ground for crop nutrient-producing project.

Two shafts have already been sunk, but BHP will have to invest another $5.3–$5.7 billion to finish phase one construction of the mine, which the company said would take fewer than 5 years to complete. BHP has in the past said it would consider selling a stake in the project to share capital and risk. Continue Reading →

Abandoned mine cleanup federal, provincial responsibility: Cook-Searson – by Alex MacPherson (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – September 18, 2019)

https://thestarphoenix.com/

Liberal candidate Tammy Cook-Searson says both levels of government should help clean up the abandoned Gunnar mine.

The Liberal candidate in Saskatchewan’s vast northern riding says both the federal and provincial governments should be responsible for cleaning up the abandoned Gunnar uranium mine and other, similar sites in the region.

That aligns with the view of many Saskatchewan politicians, but breaks with the federal Liberals’ position that the province should put up virtually all of the cash for the massively over-budget project, which is currently estimated to cost $280 million.

“I think that both levels of government need to sit down and figure out what the fair share is. Negotiate it,” Tammy Cook-Searson said of the largest environmental remediation project in Saskatchewan history, which was originally expected to cost just $24.6 million. Continue Reading →

Potash downturn forces tough decisions, expert says after Nutrien layoff announcment – by Bridget Yard (CBC News Saskatoon – September 12, 2019)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon/

The resource economy in Saskatchewan felt the pain of downturns in the potash market and resulting cost-saving measures Wednesday, when Potash giant Nutrien announced that up to 750 employees at three of its Saskatchewan mines will be affected by temporary layoffs.

It’s the latest move in an industry that has seen over-supply issues for years — and while marginal gains have Nutrien projecting a positive outlook, one Saskatchewan expert predicts the market will continue to suffer, at least for a few more years.

One of the goals of the merger of PotashCorp and Agrium that formed Nutrien was to produce $500 million in savings each year, but “you don’t pull that out of the air,” said University of Saskatchewan professor Brooke Dobni, who specializes in analysis of the province’s potash industry. Continue Reading →

Nutrien to temporarily shut down three Saskatchewan potash mines – by Alex MacPherson (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – September 12, 2019)

https://thestarphoenix.com/

The eight-week shutdowns are expected to affect between 600 and 700 miners.

The world’s largest fertilizer company says it will temporarily shutter three of its Saskatchewan potash mines to address what it calls a “short-term slowdown” in global potash markets.

Nutrien Ltd. said late Wednesday afternoon that its Allan, Lanigan and Vanscoy mines will be “proactively” shut down for eight weeks in the fourth quarter of the year.

The shutdowns are expected to affect between 600 and 700 miners across the three sites beginning in November, Nutrien spokesman Will Tigley said in a telephone interview. Continue Reading →

Cameco may cut uranium output further as demand stalls – by Geert De Clercq (Reuters U.K. – September 5, 2019)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LONDON, Sept 5 (Reuters) – Canadian miner Cameco said it will hold down output until uranium prices recover and it could cut production further, although nuclear reactor life extensions in France and newbuilds in China, the UAE and Britain bring some hope.

Since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, Japan, Germany and other countries have closed dozens of reactors, which has depressed demand for nuclear fuel and forced miners to close or mothball mines as uranium prices plunged.

From a $140/pound high in 2007 and about $70 just before Fukushima, uranium fell to a low of $18/lb in 2016 and has since recovered slightly to $25 today as miners cut output. Continue Reading →

Nutrien aims for ‘mine of the future’ as Cory operation marks 50 years of potash – by Alex MacPherson (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – August 13, 2019)

https://leaderpost.com/

The visible portion of a Saskatchewan potash mine is dwarfed by what lies beneath the sun-baked prairie.

The gate clangs shut, blotting out most of the summer light filtering into the headframe. Gloved hands reach up to switch on headlamps; the beams jitter across the walls, echoing the nervous energy inside the cage as it descends into the blackness below.

For all the size and complexity of its surface operations — a vast network of mills, conveyors, warehouses and loading facilities — the visible portion of a Saskatchewan potash mine is dwarfed by what lies beneath the sun-baked prairie.

It’s like a small city, mine general manager Leon Boehm said as he drove an electric vehicle through the sweltering underground air toward one of the Cory mine’s active faces, the business end of Saskatchewan’s most iconic natural resource extraction industry. Continue Reading →