BHP to spend $7.5-billion on Saskatchewan potash mine as it quits oil – by Andrew Willis (Globe and Mail – August 18, 2021)

The world’s largest mining company, BHP Group Ltd., signalled its future is focused on sustainable industries by committing $7.5-billion to a massive Saskatchewan potash project while exiting the oil and gas business.

On Tuesday, Melbourne, Australia-based BHP announced it is moving forward with the Jansen mine, mothballed for several years after more than $5-billion of development spending, and it will begin shipping potash in 2027. The project will create 3,500 construction jobs and permanent work for 600 employees.

BHP also announced it will spin out its energy business to Australia’s Woodside Petroleum Ltd., creating one of the world’s largest independent oil and gas companies. BHP shareholders will receive Woodside shares that give them a 48-per-cent stake in the energy company.

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Uranium demand rising while supply remains uncertain: Cameco – by Andrea Jennetta (S&P Global – July 29, 2021)

Demand for uranium is growing at the same time supply is becoming less certain, said Cameco President and CEO Tim Gitzel July 28.

“Since 2011, about 1.6 billion pounds of uranium have been consumed in reactors, and only about half of that or 800 million pounds have been placed under long-term [utility] contracts,” Gitzel said in a second-quarter earnings call. “This has led to a growing wedge of uncovered uranium requirements,” he said.

“We’re also seeing increased demand for uranium from financial funds and junior uranium companies,” Gitzel said.

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BHP pushing for tax concessions from Saskatchewan government ahead of construction decision on Jansen mine – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – July 23, 2021)

BHP Group Ltd. is in discussions with the Saskatchewan government about possible tax breaks as it nears a construction decision on the giant Jansen potash mine, two sources familiar with the talks said.

Australia’s BHP has already sunk US$4-billion into building mine shafts at the site, 140 kilometres east of Saskatoon, and as much as US$5.7-billion is needed to bring Jansen into production. The company is expected to decide as early as next month whether it will proceed with Jansen.

The Globe and Mail and Bloomberg reported in May that BHP was negotiating with Saskatoon-based Nutrien Ltd. on a possible joint venture agreement for Jansen. But the Melbourne-based miner is now facing the prospect of going it alone on Jansen, as talks with Nutrien have fizzled without an agreement in place, one of the sources said.

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Northern Sask. First Nation erects security checkpoint in response to uranium exploration and COVID-19 (CBC News Saskatchewan – May 31, 2021)

The Clearwater River Dene Nation (CRDN) in northern Saskatchewan has erected a security checkpoint on a highway that runs through its land in response to uranium mining exploration in the area and worries about the spread of COVID-19.

In a news release issued Monday, Clearwater Chief Teddy Clarke said the Saskatchewan government has repeatedly approved mining exploration without any meaningful consultation with local trappers, elders or community leaders.

“The Government of Saskatchewan ran roughshod over the rights of the Dene People in this region for decades.

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BHP is in talks with Nutrien on giant potash mine – by Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – May 26, 2021)

BHP Group is in talks with Nutrien Ltd. about a potential partnership in its massive Canadian potash venture as the world’s biggest mining company moves closer to a final decision on the project.

The two companies are discussing multiple options, including Nutrien becoming the operator and selling the potash through its existing channels, or the Canadian company taking a stake in the Jansen mine, according to people familiar with the matter.

There is no guarantee the talks will lead to a deal, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the discussions are private.

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Saskatchewan Indigenous companies to explore SMR investments – by David Giles (Global News – May 12, 2021)

Three Saskatchewan Indigenous-owned companies have signed an agreement to pursue small modular reactor (SMR) investments.

Kitsaki Management, Athabasca Basin Development and Des Nedhe Group say they are in a position to support this emerging technology from construction to operation and maintenance.

Sean Willy, CEO of Des Nedhe Group, said their companies have supported uranium mining in northern Saskatchewan since the 1980s and they want to make sure their voices are heard in this “new and exciting technology.”

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Analyst confident massive Sask. [BHP] potash mine will be approved as deadline approaches – by David Shield (CBC News Saskatoon – April 28, 2021)

While a final decision has not been given on a proposed large potash mine project in Saskatchewan, one financial analyst says he is quite confident it will be approved in the next few months.

Originally announced in 2010, BHP’s Jansen mine was once hailed as the largest potash project in the world. The site is located about 140 kilometres east of Saskatoon.

Low potash prices meant the company never gave the mine final approval. While production and service shafts have been dug, and are almost fully completed, BHP has yet to produce any mineral from the site.

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Nutrien CEO Chuck Magro stepping down as head of Saskatoon-based fertilizer giant – by Jeffrey Jones (Globe and Mail – April 20, 2021)

Chuck Magro is stepping down as chief executive officer of Nutrien Ltd. and will be replaced by Mayo Schmidt, who is currently chairman of the Saskatoon-based fertilizer giant, the company said on Sunday.

As part of the executive shuffle, Russ Girling, Nutrien director and the former CEO of TC Energy Corp., will become board chairman. There is no indication of any controversy or pressure behind the executive changes. Nutrien said Mr. Magro, who has been its only CEO, is leaving to pursue other opportunities. It did not offer details.

Mr. Magro had been president and CEO of Calgary-based Agrium Inc. when it merged with Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan in 2018 to cement its place as the world’s largest producer of fertilizer. He will help with the leadership transition until May 16, the company said.

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Uranium production to resume in Canada (Nuclear Engineering International – April 13, 2021)

Canada’s Cameco and Orano Canada on 9 April both announced plans to resume uranium production. Cameco said that it plans to restart production at its Cigar Lake uranium mine located in northern Saskatchewan. Production at Cigar Lake was temporarily suspended in December 2020 due to increasing risks posed by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

At that time, the availability of workers in critical areas was shrinking due to the pandemic, with more individuals screening out or residing in communities with pandemic-related travel restrictions.

“The safety of our workers, their families and communities is always our top priority,” said Cameco president and CEO Tim Gitzel. “In recent months we have implemented several enhanced safety protocols for Cigar Lake, including increased distancing between passengers on flights, mandatory medical-grade masks for all workers and increased sanitisation and physical barriers in our eating areas.

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Cigar Lake uranium mine to restart this month ( – April 10, 2021)

Canadian uranium major Cameco on Friday announced that the Cigar Lake mine, in northern Saskatchewan, would be reopened this month, but that the timing would depend on how quickly the workforce could be remobilised.

Operations at the high-grade uranium mine were halted in December. At the time, the company said it had difficulty in accessing qualified operational personnel to operate Cigar Lake.

CEO Tim Gitzel said that, in recent months, Cameco had implemented several enhanced safety protocols for Cigar Lake, including increased distancing between passengers on flights, mandatory medical-grade masks for all workers and increased sanitisation and physical barriers in the eating areas.

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‘It’s been a tough 10 years’: Saskatchewan uranium industry reflects on Fukushima disaster a decade later – by Alex MacPherson (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – March 11, 2021)

The March 11, 2011 disaster had a profound effect on Saskatchewan’s uranium industry. No one expected the difficult times would last so long.

Leigh Curyer was about to board a flight home to Australia when he heard the news. For Tim Gitzel, it came during a meeting with his company’s senior executives.

Jim Corman was across town in his own office, planning a development project in Nunavut. It was March 11, 2011, and disaster had struck Japan. It was a catastrophe of epic proportions that — beyond the immense loss of life and humanitarian toll — would directly affect Saskatchewan for years to come.

At the time, few in the province’s uranium industry sensed how bad it would be, or for how long. “I don’t think anyone really estimated that every reactor (in Japan), all 54, would be shut down, and they’d be down for a number of years,” recalled Gitzel, who was at the time months away from becoming Cameco Corp.’s CEO.

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Prof says rare earth elements facility in Saskatoon could stabilize supply chain in North America – by Scott Larson (CBC News Saskatoon – March 4, 2021)

A new processing facility being built in Saskatoon could be part of the solution to a recent global shortage of computer chips and semiconductors for vehicles and electronics.

There are 17 rare earth elements: cerium, dysprosium, erbium, europium, gadolinium, holmium, lanthanum, lutetium, neodymium, praseodymium, promethium, samarium, scandium, terbium, thulium, ytterbium and yttrium.

These naturally occurring minerals are key components in modern electronics. They are used in making everything from electric cars to cell phones and wind turbines.

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‘Stay off our lands unless given consent’: FSIN, mining firm at odds over exploration on Sask. First Nation (CTV News Saskatoon – February 24, 2021)

SASKATOON — The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) is asserting that resource exploration permits from the Government of Saskatchewan have no authority on First Nations’ lands.

This comes after a Toronto-based uranium resource exploration company was found twice on the Birch Narrows Dene Nation without the consent of their band council.

“Resource developers must understand that provincial permits don’t give them the green light to run roughshod over our inherent and treaty rights,” said Birch Narrows Dene Nation Chief Jonathan Sylvestre.

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Cameco’s legal victory seen as rebuke to CRA’s costly pursuit – by Patrick Brethour (Globe and Mail – February 19, 2021)

For every day of his 10-year tenure at the head of Cameco Corp., Tim Gitzel has been saddled with a sprawling, costly and potentially ruinous tax dispute with the Canada Revenue Agency over how the uranium producer dealt with its overseas profits.

That dispute was punctuated, if not yet quite ended, on Thursday when the Supreme Court of Canada declined to hear the CRA’s appeal of lower-court decisions that had sided with the company.

The heart of the long-running dispute is transfer pricing, or how multinational companies such as Cameco determine what prices their subsidiaries charge each other for goods and services, with those decisions influencing how much tax is paid in various jurisdictions.

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Uranium Royalty buys royalty interests on two world’s biggest uranium mines – by Vladimir Basov Vladimir (Kitco News – February 11, 2021)

(Kitco News) – Uranium Royalty (TSX-V: URC, US: URCCF) announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire existing royalty interests on the McArthur River and Cigar Lake uranium mines in Saskatchewan, Canada.

McArthur River and Cigar Lake mines rank as the two largest high-grade uranium mines in the world, with ore grade 100 times world averages as disclosed by Cameco.

Based on disclosed production capacities, the mines have the combined capacity equal to 21% of global forecasted uranium demand (2021).

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