BHP speeds up Jansen project in Saskatchewan despite falling potash prices – by Colin McClelland (Mining.com – August 31, 2023)

https://www.mining.com/

BHP, the world’s largest miner by market valuation, is increasing its capital spending this year on the Jansen potash project in Saskatchewan by 55% even as potash prices dropped by more than a third this year.

Construction outlays at the site 180 km north of Regina are planned to rise to $1 billion from $647 million as crews work to start the mine in late 2026 instead of in 2027 as earlier planned, the company’s Calgary-based potash unit said. Jansen’s $5.7 billion stage one is 26% complete and would produce 4.4 million tonnes a year when finished, it said.

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Is potash a critical mineral? It is in Canada, and could soon be one in the U.S. too – by Leslie Hook (Financial Times/Financial Post – August 22, 2023)

https://financialpost.com/

The Ukraine war thrust fertilizer minerals to the centre of the food security debate

The vital role of fertilizer minerals in food production has propelled a niche corner of the mining industry to the centre of a global debate about the security of supplies. Potash and phosphate rock surged in price after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year. In June, United States lawmakers even proposed adding them to the country’s list of critical minerals in new legislation in Congress.

“Our food security is our national security, so when we’re dependent on Russian and Chinese minerals for the fertilizer that grows our crops, we are putting ourselves at risk,” said Democrat congresswoman Elissa Slotkin, one of the sponsors of the bill.

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How the coup in Niger could give uranium-rich Canada its moment to shine on the global stage – by David Olive – August 10, 2023)

https://www.thestar.com/

As nations move away from Russia’s civilian nuclear power supply chain Canada can easily step in as the 4th largest producer of uranium in the world, writes David Olive

The July 26 coup d’état in Niger could eventually spur dynamic growth in Canada’s uranium industry. The degree of Kremlin involvement in the military ouster late last month of Niger President Mohamed Bazoum is unclear.

But pro-coup demonstrators in the streets of Niamey, the Nigerien capital, wave Russian flags to express their anti-American and anti-French sentiment. That sentiment has been stoked for years in the former French colony by Russian propaganda.

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Cameco hikes outlook despite earnings hit as demand for nuclear energy powers up – by Naimul Karim (Financial Post – August 2, 2023)

https://financialpost.com/

British regulator probes deal to buy Westinghouse Electric

Uranium miner Cameco Corp. has raised its consolidated revenue outlook for 2023 as demand for nuclear power grows in the transition away from fossil fuels, even as the company reported a 14 per cent drop in revenue in its second quarter. The Saskatoon-based company on Aug. 2 said it expects to sell higher volumes of uranium this year, and also reported higher long-term contracting numbers.

Cameco said that as of June 30, its long-term commitments require an average annual delivery of 28 million pounds of uranium over the next five years as opposed to the 26 million pounds reported at the end of March. The company also said it hopes to deliver between 31 million and 33 million pounds of uranium this year, a boost from previous expectations of 29 to 31 million.

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OPINION: How a mining standoff in Saskatchewan can be a boon to both reconciliation and the economy – by Ken Coates (Globe and Mail – August 8, 2023)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Ken Coates is a senior fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute and a faculty member at Yukon University.

Mining has become one of Canada’s frontlines in terms of reconciliation. After feeling excluded from earlier resource booms, First Nations and Métis want in on the modern-day gold rush that is the quest for lithium, cobalt, uranium and other critical minerals, and are rightly demanding hard equity from lucrative resource projects on their traditional lands.

And the potential rewards are high. Globally, Chinese-based interests own or control many of these resources essential for manufacturing EV batteries, solar panels, smartphones and other products in a world hooked on technology.

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Nutrien’s woes mount, as fertilizer giant slashes capital expenditures, slashes profit forecast again – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – August 3, 2023)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Nutrien Ltd. is indefinitely suspending plans to ramp up its potash production, cutting its capital expenditure and reducing its profit forecast yet again, as a prolonged slump in the global fertilizer market takes its toll on the Canadian giant.

Saskatoon-based Nutrien announced late Wednesday that it is reducing its 2023 adjusted net earnings per share guidance to roughly US$4.72 a share, compared with around US$6.50 a share in May – a figure that had already been revised downward from February.

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First Nations won’t be excluded from critical minerals ‘gold rush,’ say leaders – by Jason Warick (CBC News Saskatoon – July 13, 2023)

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

Sask. chief delivering message Friday in Washington to senior White House, corporate officials

Some are calling it Saskatchewan’s third “gold rush” — the frenzy to stake claims for lithium and other critical minerals. First Nations say they were pushed to the sidelines during previous waves of development and that won’t happen again. They’re set to deliver that message to a powerful international audience on Friday.

“We are willing partners, willing to do business. We aren’t the boogeyman,” Thunderchild First Nation Chief Delbert Wapass said. “But we won’t sit back. This new gold rush will not happen without us.”

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Vancouver port strike hitting potash exports at crunch time for overseas farmers – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – July 6, 2023)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

The strike at four British Columbia ports is putting more pressure on an already-stressed international potash shipping network, with overseas farmers potentially caught in the crosshair. Nutrien Ltd, The Mosaic Company and K+S Potash Canada operate large potash mines in Saskatchewan, and all rely heavily on shipping the agricultural commodity overseas from the West Coast.

Canpotex Ltd., which handles potash shipments for Saskatoon-based Nutrien Ltd. and Tampa-based Mosaic, sends 70 per cent of its international shipments through the Port of Vancouver, one of four facilities affected by the strike.

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Mining companies betting on autonomous technology to make dangerous jobs safer – by Amanda Stephenson (CBC News Calgary/Canadian Press – June 25, 2023)

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

Powerful tech allowing companies to remove human labour from underground work

Forget about the canary in the coal mine — experts say the day is coming when there won’t even be a need for a human. The global mining industry has come a long way since the days when coal-blackened miners would carry a bird underground with them in hopes its distress would alert them to the presence of toxic gases.

Today, companies are employing everything from driverless haul trucks to remote-controlled and robotic drilling machines to remove human labour from some of their most hazardous operations.

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NexGen, Metis Nations sign IBA for Rook 1 uranium project in Saskatchewan – by Staff (Mining.com – June 15, 2023)

https://www.mining.com/

NexGen Energy (TSX, NYSE: NXE; ASX: NXG) has signed an impact benefit agreement IBA) with two Metis Nations in northern Saskatchewan covering all phases of the Rook 1 uranium project.

The project is located within an area to which the Metis Nation-Saskatchewan Northern Region 2 (MS-S NR2), as represented by the Metis Nation-Saskatchewan (MN-S), assert constitutionally protected Indigenous right and interests, including title on which is project sits.

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[Saskatchewan] Cameco seeks to re-licence mines in the North – by Dan Jones (MBC Radio – June 7, 2023)

https://www.mbcradio.com/

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) is recommending that Cameco be issued licences for it’s Key Lake McArthur River and Rabbit Lake operations in northern Saskatchewan. The Commission is conducting public hearings in Saskatoon Wednesday and Thursday.

The Commission suggests a 20-year licence for Key Lake and McArthur River and a 15-year licence for Rabbit Lake. Technicians within the Commission said that there is operational uncertainty with Rabbit Lake as it is currently under care and maintenance, since 2016 and is expected to stay within that status for the near future.

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Saskatchewan: ‘Come get me’: Premier Moe responds to federal minister on running coal plants past 2030 – by Adam Hunter (CBC News Saskatchewan – May 18, 2023)

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

Premier Scott Moe said “come get me” on Thursday when asked about the potential legal ramifications of running coal-fired power plants past 2030 in violation of federal regulations. On Wednesday, Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada Steven Guilbeault said Saskatchewan would be breaking the law if it ran coal-fired electricity after 2030, unless they were equipped with carbon capture technology.

“We’ve regulated the ban on coal through CEPA (Canadian Environmental Protection Act) which is a criminal tool that the federal government has. So not complying with this regulation would be a violation of Canada’s Criminal Code.”

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Saskatchewan’s rich resource revenue ride may be ending – by Phil Tank (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – May 17, 2023)

https://thestarphoenix.com/

With the price of oil and potash dropping, the boom that fuelled Saskatchewan’s budget surplus after Russia invaded Ukraine could be ending.

The party might be ending. The surge in resource prices that bestowed a windfall of so much unexpected resource revenue money on our province that even the Saskatchewan Party managed to balance the budget shows signs of declining.

The price of potash, the main driver of the sudden Saskatchewan surplus, has been dropping since November. Last week, the CEO of Saskatoon-based Nutrien Ltd., Ken Seitz, indicated the company is reconsidering its plans to ramp up potash production after disappointing first-quarter results due to dropping prices and reduced sales.

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Indigenous leaders say Saskatchewan ‘woke up a sleeping giant’ by overstepping on critical minerals – by Kevin Philipupillai (Hill Times – April 20, 2023)

https://www.hilltimes.com/

Indigenous leaders are looking to the courts and to the federal government to uphold their rights over critical minerals following recent provincial assertions of control, but a former Liberal staffer says this is not a fight the federal government should be wading into.

The Biden administration’s April 12 vehicle emissions standards announcement, which put a U.S. government-sized thumb on the scale in favour of electric vehicle production, added to the existing pressure to approve and launch critical minerals mines in Canada to supply key materials for electric vehicle batteries. But the race to develop these resources has exacerbated tensions between provinces and the Indigenous nations on whose traditional territory the resources are located.

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N.W.T. rare earth mine owner halts construction of processing plant citing depressed market Social Sharing – by Francis Tessier-Burns (CBC News North – April 20, 2023)

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

The final cost of the plant has grown from $20 million to $60 million

Mere months after a visit from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promoting the importance of critical minerals, Canada’s only rare earth mineral mining project is stopping the construction of its processing plant in Saskatchewan.

In a recent news release, Vital Metals, owner of the N.W.T.’s Nechalacho mine project, said the current scale of operations at its North T pit “will not achieve positive cash flow from the project.” Now the company is looking for new funding sources and partners “to potentially build a sustainable business model for the Saskatoon business.”

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