Archive | Saskatchewan Mining

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. Continue Reading →

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. Continue Reading →

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. Continue Reading →

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. Continue Reading →

‘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. Continue Reading →

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. Continue Reading →

‘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. Continue Reading →

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. Continue Reading →

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). Continue Reading →

Nutrien, Cameco CEOs again among highest-paid in Canada – by Alex MacPherson (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – January 4, 2021)

The heads of two publicly-traded corporations with significant mining operations in Saskatchewan were again among the country’s highest-paid executives in 2019.

Nutrien Ltd. CEO Chuck Magro’s $16.4-million pay package made him Canada’s 11th-highest-paid CEO, according to new data compiled by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

Cameco Corp. CEO Tim Gitzel, meanwhile, was paid a total of $7 million, good for 84th place on the list, which the self-described “progressive” think tank has published annually since 2006. Continue Reading →

Uranium poised for price jump after 2nd Cigar Lake closure, analysts say – by Jacob Holzman ( – December 2020)

The largest operational uranium mine in the world is shutting down for the second time in 2020 due to the spread of COVID-19, presenting fertile ground for another rise in prices linked to the pandemic.

Saskatchewan-based Cameco Corp. announced Dec. 14 the suspension of production at its 50%-owned Cigar Lake uranium mine in the province after three employees at the site tested positive for the coronavirus.

It was the second temporary closure of the mine due to COVID-19. Orano SA, which has a 37% interest in Cigar Lake, announced the same day that it was suspending production at the nearby McClean Lake uranium processing mill. Continue Reading →

Cameco suspends Cigar Lake operations again amid climbing COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – December 15, 2020)

Cameco Corp. is suspending operations at its Cigar Lake uranium mine in Saskatchewan for the second time this year to reduce the threat of further spread of COVID-19 into vulnerable northern communities as the province’s coronavirus caseload soars.

The province on Monday reported 267 new cases of the coronavirus and two more deaths. A total of 12,238 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Saskatchewan and 91 have died from the disease since the pandemic began.

Located about 650 kilometres north of Saskatoon, Cigar Lake is the world’s biggest uranium mine, accounting for about 14 per cent of global output. Continue Reading →

A huge rally in food prices is stoking record fertilizer demand – by Marcy Nicholson and Justina Vasquez (Bloomberg News – December 9, 2020)

Fertilizer producers are next in line to benefit from rising crop prices, with farmers poised to plant more acres in 2021.

For the world’s handful of companies that produce potash — a potassium-rich fertilizer mined underground from evaporated sea beds — it is the light at the end of the tunnel following several volatile years. Bloomberg’s Green Markets pegs global potash demand at a record in 2021, while Morningstar Inc. says it will likely set a new “high watermark.”

Farmers’ incomes in the U.S. and Canada are up from a year earlier, boosted by crop prices that surged to multi-year highs on the back of strong demand from China and by pandemic-related government stimulus. Continue Reading →

‘Basically, we’re mining the centre of the Earth’: Sask. company says it’s cracked code on geothermal power – by Staff (Saskatoon CTV News – December 9, 2020)

SASKATOON — What could be a renewable energy breakthrough has emerged from the depths of the Saskatchewan landscape. Deep Earth Energy President and CEO Kirsten Marcia spoke with CTV News at Noon host Jeff Rogstad about the company’s promising foray into geothermal power. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Before we talk about the big news, let’s talk a little bit about an overview. For people who haven’t heard about Deep Earth, what exactly are you doing?

There is a very, very deep, hot aquifer in Williston Basin – so below our potash resources, below our oil and gas resources. Three and a half kilometres down there’s this big, hot pancake. We’re talking 120C to 130C, hot enough that we can produce that geothermal brine, bring it to the surface, harvest the heat out of it and generate power. Continue Reading →

The 100-Day War: An oral history of BHP’s hostile takeover bid of PotashCorp – by Alex MacPherson (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – November 13, 2020)

Ten years after it happened, the Saskatoon StarPhoenix spoke with key players in what was at the time the biggest business story in the world.

It was ten years ago that BHP Billiton tried to buy Saskatchewan’s most iconic company. The Anglo-Australian mining giant’s hostile takeover bid for Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. in the late summer and fall of 2010 was the biggest business story in the world at the time.

Tens of billions of dollars were at stake, not to mention a former Crown corporation at the heart of an industry that has long been considered the backbone of Saskatchewan’s identity, history and economy.

PotashCorp owned five of the nine potash mines then operating in the province, and employed thousands of people. It was also a global success, with operations around the world. And it was not for sale. Continue Reading →