Archive | Saskatchewan Mining

Cameco suspends Cigar Lake uranium operations to reduce threat of COVID-19 spread – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – March 25, 2020)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Cameco Corp. has suspended operations at its massive Cigar Lake uranium mine in Saskatchewan to reduce the threat of spreading the novel coronavirus into remote communities in northern parts of the province.

One of the biggest uranium mines in the world, Cigar Lake is located about 650 kilometers north of Saskatoon, and is a fly-in/fly-out operation.

In a statement, Cameco said the decision to idle Cigar Lake for four weeks was motivated by the “restrictions enacted by the federal and provincial governments, the significant degree of concern among leaders in remote isolated communities of northern Saskatchewan, and the increased challenges of maintaining the recommended physical distancing.” Continue Reading →

How COVID-19 is affecting the bottom line in Sask.’s biggest industries – by Chelsea Laskowski (CBC News Saskatchewan – March 17, 2020)

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

Saskatchewan’s biggest industries are forging ahead with limited impact in the face of COVID-19, but are paying keen attention to its long-term effects. Potash and uranium mines are taking precautions with staff, but spokespeople with Nutrien and Cameco, the biggest players in both industries in the province, say there have been no disruptions to production.

Spring seeding hasn’t started in agriculture yet, but there are long-term repercussions that could hit next month. In the short term, oil has been the hardest hit.

Oil

Oil prices plummeted early last week. There were other factors causing the dip that were unrelated to coronavirus, but as the disease has spread there are new major pressures on the industry. Continue Reading →

ALX encouraged by nickel, copper mineralization at Falcon project in Saskatchewan – by Valentina Ruiz Leotaud (Mining.com – March 17, 2020)

https://www.mining.com/

ALX Resources (TSXV: AL) intersected nickel and copper mineralization in the second hole of the 2020 drilling program at its Falcon nickel project located in the northern Athabasca region of Saskatchewan, Canada.

In a media statement, ALX explained that its second drill hole on the V-1 conductive target proximal to the historical Currie Lake deposit area completed to a depth of 108 metres intersected sulphide mineralization beginning at a depth of 47.03 metres continuing to 67.89 metres.

“The presence of nickel and copper mineralization in hole FN20-002 has been confirmed by the use of a portable X-ray fluorescence device on the drill core, which is currently being logged and sampled,” the media brief reads. Continue Reading →

Feds bullish on nuclear: Minister visits Sask. north – by Glenn Hicks (LaRongeNow.com – March 10, 2020)

https://larongenow.com/

“Show me a credible plan that doesn’t involve nuclear.” That’s the strong endorsement for Saskatchewan’s uranium sector from federal Minister of Natural Resources Seamus O’Regan who has just wrapped a visit to the North.

O’Regan, who has been minister for a few months, said he wanted to acquaint himself with the world’s richest uranium mine at Cigar Lake and also visit the various northern communities who rely on mining jobs, such as Hatchet Lake, Black Lake and Fond du Lac. But he also carried with him an unequivocal message about Ottawa’s stance on nuclear as part of the route toward net-zero emissions by 2050.

“There is no way that we can reach net-zero without nuclear energy, and there is no way we can reach net-zero without the mining industry,” he told paNOW. “When we talk of a carbon-free future we often point to things like electric cars. Well, they’re built of something: they’re built with metals and minerals.” Continue Reading →

Northern mine cleanups continue; province, feds still divided on cost – by Alex MacPherson (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – February 24, 2020)

https://thestarphoenix.com/

Crews are expected to start assessing Saskatchewan’s first uranium mine, which was staked 100 years ago, this summer.

Saskatchewan’s first uranium discovery was staked a century ago, but it took almost three decades before prospectors gave up attempting to extract iron, copper and gold from the site and turned their attention to its last remaining mineral resource.

Named for the former Royal North-West Mounted Police officer who re-staked the site on the north shore of Lake Athabasca in 1929, the Nicholson mine underwent development in 1949 and sent out its first uranium shipments five years later.

Production halted in 1956 after Consolidated Nicholson Mines Ltd.’s supply contract ended in the face of falling prices. Subsequent efforts to resume mining failed and the remote site was abandoned with little cleanup effort a few years later. Continue Reading →

Toronto mining company eyes rare earths near Uranium City – by Alex MacPherson (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – January 20, 2020)

https://thestarphoenix.com/

James Sykes said he needed just a few seconds with a hammer and a pry bar to knock a 60-kilogram hunk of rock from an outcrop just south of Saskatchewan’s border with the Northwest Territories a couple of years ago.

The veteran prospector liked what he found. “We have surface showings. That (rock) was 40 per cent rare earth oxide,” said Sykes, who has spent his career exploring for uranium and, along the way, helped discover several major deposits in northern Saskatchewan.

Today, Sykes is the vice-president of exploration and development at Appia Energy Corp., a Toronto-based junior mining company aiming to capitalize on a growing interest in developing a new supply of rare earth elements in Saskatchewan. Continue Reading →

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 →