Archive | Saskatchewan Mining

Investors frustrated as diamond mine talks between province, First Nation stall – by Alex MacPherson (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – October 15, 2018)

Investors in a proposed diamond mine east of Prince Albert are growing increasingly frustrated as environmental consultations between the provincial government and the nearby James Smith Cree Nation appear to have stalled.

The federal government approved Star Diamond Corp.’s plan to build the mine in the Fort à la Corne forest in 2014. More than four years after receiving the company’s final environmental impact statement, the province has yet to give its blessing.

That is likely because a fresh round of talks with James Smith Cree Nation, launched last winter and originally expected to last six months, appear to have reached an impasse over various concerns, including access to land and natural resource royalties. Continue Reading →

With the CRA tax case now behind it, is it finally time for a bet on Cameco and the future of uranium? – by David Berman (Globe and Mail – September 27, 2018)

A court ruling in favour of Cameco Corp. in its long-simmering tax dispute with Canada Revenue Agency has lifted a concern that had weighed on the uranium producer’s share price for several years, sending its stock soaring on Thursday.

The share price jumped 15.7 per cent, to $14.80 in Toronto, for its biggest gain in nearly 10 years, and executives beamed.

“I do not think it could have been more clear on any of the issues,” Tim Gitzel, Cameco’s chief executive officer, said during a conference call. “So we’re absolutely delighted with the decision.” The Tax Court of Canada ruling released on Wednesday said Cameco had not violated Canadian law by selling uranium through a European subsidiary to reduce its tax bill. Continue Reading →

Nutrien’s new head of potash optimistic as industry enters ‘mode of recovery’ – by Alex MacPherson (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – September 24, 2018)

Sitting in her office on the 11th floor of the Scotia Centre, her back to a wrap-around view of autumn bursting along the banks of the South Saskatchewan River, Susan Jones contemplates her new position as head of the world’s largest supply of potash.

It’s a big job: Jones is responsible for six of the 10 potash mines currently operating in Saskatchewan, as well as a supply chain that carries the pink-hued fertilizer from the Canadian prairies to India, China and 40 or so other countries around the world.

But Nutrien Ltd.’s new president of potash — a lawyer from Calgary who spent 13 years with Agrium Inc. before its blockbuster merger with Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. earlier this year — seems more interested in the people who actually use potash. Continue Reading →

SASKATCHEWAN’S FIRST COLD WAR URANIUM MINE – by Dr. Laurie Schramm (Saskatchewan Research Council – September 18, 2018)

This blog post is based on the book, “The Nicholson Mine. Saskatchewan’s First Cold War Uranium Mine” co-written by Dr. Laurier Schramm and Patty Ogilvie-Evans.

In the early 1930s, prospectors discovered mineable deposits of Canadian uranium minerals in the Beaverlodge region near Lake Athabasca in northern Saskatchewan. Uranium wasn’t much more than a curiosity at that time, but it became instantly valuable when the 1939 discovery of nuclear fission and its massive energy-producing potential led to an international atomic energy race.

The worldwide search for uranium caused a resurgence in northern Canadian mineral exploration through the 1940s. In the early 1950s, many uranium mines were developed in northern Saskatchewan.

This era is rich in stories, involving a high-stakes treasure hunt in a remote, northern wilderness, and the secrecy, intrigue, and urgency of the Cold War, plus adventures and hardships of all kinds. Although there were many failures, a few remarkable successes were born out of a combination of hard work, good fortune, creativity, and dogged persistence. The results made Canada one of the world’s largest sources of uranium. Continue Reading →

Meeting held in Bienfait regarding the future of coal-fired electricity in Saskatchewan – by Brady Bateman (Estevan Mercury – September 19, 2018)

A public discussion was held in the town of Bienfait on Thursday regarding the future of coal-fired power in Saskatchewan, and the rest of the country.

The meeting was hosted by Souris-Moose Mountain MP Robert Kitchen, who stated that the purpose of the evening was not for him to speak to the attendees, but to have the attendees speak to him, and to suggest ideas that could be useful in the argument of the importance of coal power in Canada.

“Why I’m here is that I, with a couple of my colleagues from Alberta that have coal mining in their ridings, as well as coal energy in their ridings, we obviously have some big concerns, for you, for the communities and the big impact that this will have on this part of Saskatchewan as well as Alberta,” said Kitchen. Continue Reading →

The Riches Beneath the Plains: Mineral Exploration and Mining in Saskatchewan is Still World Class (Investng News Network – September 17, 2018)

Investing News Network

This INNspired article is sponsored by Canadian Platinum

Mineral exploration and mining in Saskatchewan have consistently been recognized as the best examples for the industry in Canada, and the province is considered one of the greatest places in the world to conduct mining operations.

The latest Fraser Institute report places the flat province at number two in their worldwide rankings, just below Finland. As the third largest source of employment in the province, the mining industry is vitally important to Saskatchewan. This has led its provincial government to go out of its way to make sure mining in Saskatchewan is as attractive to mining firms as possible.

That’s not to say that Saskatchewan needs much help. Proudly boasting a rich and diverse mineral wealth, a skilled workforce and a strong mining history, Saskatchewan’s mining industry provides enormous opportunity and excellent stability for the mining firms conducting operations within its borders. Continue Reading →

Potash prices are perking up, but Canada’s big fertilizer giant isn’t the best way for investors to cash in – by David Milstead (Globe and Mail – August 31, 2018)

Perky potash prices have prompted more investor interest in the moribund sector this year, but Nutrien Ltd. is not poised to benefit as much as its international peers, because it has ceded its status as the best pure-play choice for fertilizer investors.

The news over the weekend that an Indian potash-supply contract came in US$50 a tonne higher than before and roughly US$10 a tonne above expectations, caused a pop in Nutrien shares this week. They’ve risen just more than 2.9 per cent through Thursday’s trading.

Mosaic Co. Inc. however, has jumped 5.7 per cent this week on the news. That underscores that Nutrien, formed by the merger of Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. and Agrium Inc., no longer offers the best upside when prices are rising, as they are today. Continue Reading →

Sun Dogs and Yellowcake: Gunnar Mines – A Canadian Story – Book Review by Jonathan Buchanan (Mineral Exploration Magazine – Summer 2018)

To order a copy of Sun Dogs and Yellowcake: Gunnar Mines – A Canadian Story, click here:

Patricia Sandberg was formerly a partner at DuMoulin Black, a Vancouver law firm acting for mining companies listed on Canadian and international stock exchanges. Her clients had mining operations in Canada, the United States, China, and Latin America. Three generations of her family, including Patricia as a child, lived at Gunnar and her grandfather spent thirty years working at mines run by Gilbert LaBine, Canada’s “Father of Uranium.”

Book Review by Jonathan Buchanan

In the 1950s, the Cold War had a profound effect on Canada’s landscape – from the building of Distant Early Warning stations scattered across Canada’s North to the creation of uranium mining towns on the Canadian Shield. One of these towns, Gunnar, lasted for just over a decade, but its indelible impact on its residents, as Patricia Sandberg writes in Sun Dogs and Yellowcake.

The result is a very rich, often humorous, sometimes tragic and always engaging account of how one community rose to meet the demands of the Atomic Age. As the title suggests, it bridges the natural wonders of the North with those of the industrial world.

Continue Reading →

Massive filing in Cameco case may signal ‘trench warfare’ in Canada’s tax court – by Julius Melnitzer (Financial Post – August 8, 2018)

The 700 pages of concluding arguments filed with the Tax Court of Canada (TCC) in Cameco Corporation’s $2.1 billion transfer pricing dispute with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) marks a new era of complexity for corporate tax litigation in Canada.

“That type of filing is unheard of and may signal the evolution of a kind of trench warfare in the Tax Court,” said a veteran tax litigator who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the lawyer’s connection to the ongoing case.

After 65 days of trial, the parties made their closing arguments in September 2017. Justice John Owen reserved his decision, which, by some accounts, may not be issued until 2019 owing to its legal and factual intricacies and the implications for business. Continue Reading →

Cameco cutbacks are a boon for uranium sector, but bane for company’s outlook – by David Milstead (Globe and Mail – August 2, 2018)

You’re the pre-eminent producer of a key commodity, and the price outlook for your product is so poor that you shut down your best plants indefinitely, putting hundreds of people out of work. And this is good news?

Perhaps so, argue some of the analysts who follow uranium giant Cameco Corp. The company’s announcement last week that it would continue the shutdown of McArthur River, the world’s largest uranium plant, was seen as a bullish signal by some analysts, who raised expectations for uranium prices and for Cameco stock. In the first day’s trading on the news, the company’s shares jumped and pushed within a few cents of their 52-week high of $15.95.

That was the first day, however. In subsequent sessions, the shares have given back all their gains and more, as investor focus has shifted back to the damage to be done to Cameco’s earnings by low uranium prices and lack of production. The stock closed Wednesday at $14.11. Continue Reading →

Nutrien to cut 80 jobs at Vanscoy potash operation, raises earnings forecast – by Ian Bickis (Canadian Press/Financial Post – August 1, 2018)

SASKATOON — Nutrien Ltd. increased its earnings forecast for the year Wednesday after announcing job cuts at its Vanscoy potash operation in Saskatchewan earlier in the day. The fertilizer giant said the job cuts will take place in the fourth quarter this year and include about 30 staff and 50 hourly positions.

The changes are meant to make the Vanscoy operations more efficient as it looks for synergies following the merger of Potash Corp. and Agrium Inc. to form Nutrien at the start of the year, the company said.

Nutrien said in its second-quarter results out Wednesday that it had achieved US$246 million in synergies as of the end of June, up from the US$150 million it said it had achieved as of March. Continue Reading →

Representative says Sask. mining sector not doomed after ‘significant’ Cameco layoffs – by Alex Soloducha (CBC News Saskatchewan – July 31, 2018)

Saskatchewan Mining Association argues problems isolated to uranium market

A representative for Saskatchewan’s mining sector says the industry is alive and well in the province, despite hundreds of layoffs. Pam Schwann, president of the Saskatchewan Mining Association, said last week’s layoffs at Cameco, where 700 workers were permanently laid off are “significant,” but don’t represent the entire industry.

Schwann argues that the issues that led to the indefinite shutdown of the company’s Key Lake and McArthur River uranium mine site are specific to the global uranium market.

“There’s just a surplus of uranium on the market and it’s cheaper for Cameco to purchase and draw down that existing inventory than it is for them to mine a world class deposit at reduced value,” Schwann explained. “The Cigar Lake mine is the highest grade uranium mine in the world, so it’s not like mining is leaving the province. Continue Reading →

Ripple effect of Cameco layoffs – by Adam MacVicar (Global News – July 26, 2018)

Following Cameco‘s announcement that the company is laying off 550 employees at its McArthur River and Key Lake mining operations, other businesses in Saskatchewan are beginning to feel the pinch.

Northern Resource Trucking (NRT) has been in business since 1986, and a large portion of its business is shipping chemicals and supplies to and from Cameco’s uranium operations in northern Saskatchewan.

“Cameco has always been somewhere in the neighbourhood of 80 per cent of our business,” NRT president Dave McIlmoyl said. The company said it was forced to lay off 22 drivers in January when Cameco announced temporary layoffs at the mines. The closures were only supposed to last 10 months, but markets haven’t shown signs of improvement. Continue Reading →

‘Paralysis in the market’: Cameco to layoff staff, indefinitely idle uranium plants in ‘confusing times’ – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – July 27, 2018)

Denis O’Hara, 61, has worked for Saskatchewan-based Cameco Corp. in its Key Lake uranium mill for eight years and had hoped to retire there.

Instead, he learned on Wednesday evening that he and about 500 other unionized workers face an uncertain future. In the face of rockbottom uranium prices, Cameco announced that what had been planned in January as a temporary 10-month shut down of its Key Lake mill and McArthur River mine will go on “indefinitely.”

The shutdown comes at a delicate moment in which the uranium market is being hit by conflicting forces. The long-term global outlook for the industry remains positive with 57 new nuclear reactors planned, including 14 expected to come online this year, Cameco chief executive Tim Gitzel told investors on Thursday. Continue Reading →

Fortune Minerals considers putting Saskatoon-area refinery plans on ice – by David Shield (CBC News Saskatoon – July 18, 2018)

Mining company says businesses are talking about buying ore concentrate straight from proposed mine in N.W.T.

Plans for a controversial refinery project in the RM of Corman Park may be deferred by Fortune Minerals.

For years, the company has been talking about building a mine in the Northwest Territories that could produce ore containing cobalt, gold, bismuth and copper suplhate. The concentrated ore would then be refined at a facility near Langham, Sask., 30 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon.

However, Fortune has now said those plans might be changing. “We’ve been approached by large mining and refining companies with interest in directly purchasing the concentrate that we’d produce in the Northwest Territories,” said spokesperson Troy Nazarewicz. If that happens, the refinery wouldn’t be immediately needed. Continue Reading →