NEWS RELEASE: Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) Announces Construction of a New Mineral Processing Pilot Plant

​The Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) today announced construction of a new mineral processing pilot plant. The new pilot plant, coupled with SRC’s existing mineral processing expertise, laboratory and testing facilities, will allow mining companies in Western Canada and beyond to access a full range of applied research, development, process design, scale-up, and pilot-scale demonstration, plus new and improved processes for recovering valuable metals and minerals.

Member of the Legislative Assembly for Saskatoon Fairview Jennifer Campeau on behalf of Economy Minister and Minister responsible for SRC Bill Boyd was in attendance today to announce construction.

Located in Saskatoon, the pilot plant will enable SRC to provide services and expertise previously unavailable in Saskatchewan, and will allow mining companies to increase productivity and competitiveness in an environmentally sustainable manner.

The new pilot plant will support the development and demonstration of new and improved methods for processing minerals such as potash, gold, base metals, coal, oil sand, oil shale and especially rare earth minerals. It will enable the pilot-scale demonstration of new technologies that will be able to increase mining yields and decrease costs.

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Ottawa unveils new coal-fired plant emission rules – by Shawn McCarthy (Globe and Mail – September 6, 2012)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

OTTAWA – The federal government has released final regulations for coal-fired power plants that eases the expected burden on utilities by allowing them to run their plants longer before having to replace them with lower-emission alternatives, and to average emission reductions among their plants.

The new regulations may force the closing of at least two coal-fired plants in Alberta by 2020 and prevent construction of one planned by Maxim Power Corp., unless the provincial government can reach an agreement with Ottawa to impose its own regulations while meeting overall federal targets.

Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia are both working with Ottawa to reach such a deal. In Saskatoon Thursday, Environment Minister Peter Kent unveiled the long-anticipated regulations which the government describes as being among the most stringent in the world, but are significantly weakened from what was first proposed two years ago.

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[Saskatchewan] Potash news not all negative – by Murray Mandryk (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – August 24, 2012)

Contrary to Premier Brad Wall’s spin, BHP Billiton’s decision to delay making a final go-ahead decision on the massive Jansen potash mine should not be somehow misconstrued as good news.
When the globe’s biggest mining company is suddenly struggling and putting on hold its decision to build a $13 billion mine in your jurisdiction, it’s anything but good news. If anything, the Billiton announcement adds credence to the notion that Saskatchewan’s eight-year boom might be done.
That said, Wall did provide a few compelling points as to why this isn’t necessarily the worst news. The premier’s Grant Devinesque optimism came in reaction to news emerging from Billiton’s six-month financial report, which showed a 58 per cent drop (or about $5.5 billion decline) in profits, largely due to weak prices for the copper, iron ore, coal, nickel, aluminum and natural gas it produces. As a result, the mining giant announced it was cancelling expansions to Australian iron ore and copper operations, pegged at a combined $50 billion, and would delay final approval of Jansen until next year, at the earliest.

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Vale announces ‘unfortunate, but not surprising’ delay in [Saskatchewan potash] $3-billion mine – by Richard Blackwell (Globe and Mail – August 17, 2012)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

Brazilian mining giant Vale SA is postponing a $3-billion potash project in Saskatchewan, but the province says this is just a minor setback in the huge runup in potash investment that will continue to flow in the coming years.

The huge mine was to be developed near Kronau, a town of about 200 people, 30 kilometres southeast of Regina. It would have employed more than 1,000 workers during construction, and hundreds would have been needed to operate it once it was opened. The mine was expected to produce 2.9 million metric tonnes of potash a year.

But the mine, set to be built over the next three years, will not go ahead as planned because of global economic uncertainly, Vale chief executive officer Murilo Ferreira told reporters in Rio de Janeiro Thursday. Vale is committed to austerity, and may delay other investments as well, he said.

The mine was expected to be a boon to the region, not just in terms of employment, but in sectors that traditionally spring up around big projects, including housing and retail.

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Natural resource battle only beginning – by Jason Fekete (Saskatoon Star Phoenix – August 4, 2012)

British Columbia’s brawl with Alberta over the Northern Gateway pipeline and refusal to sign a national energy strategy may be harbingers of battles to come over natural resource developments that are driving the Canadian economy but drawing unprecedented criticism for their environmental impacts.
The petroleum, forestry, mining and electricity sectors are expected to generate hundreds of billions of dollars of investment and hundreds of thousands of direct and indirect jobs across Canada over the next few decades.
The northern Alberta oilsands, British Columbia’s lucrative shale gas plays, petroleum and potash in Saskatchewan, the Ring of Fire mineral deposit in Northern Ontario, Quebec’s massive Plan Nord resource project and offshore petroleum riches in the Arctic and Atlantic Canada — all are part of the country’s eye popping resource bounty.
The Harper government has already identified natural resource development as a priority, and recently announced sweeping changes to expedite approvals and allow it to make final decisions on pipeline projects deemed in the national interest.

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Shore Gold to build Saskatchewan’s first diamond mine – by Marilyn Scales (Canadian Mining Journal – August 2, 2012)

Marilyn Scales is a field editor for the Canadian Mining Journal, Canada’s first mining publication. She is one of Canada’s most senior mining commentators.

Driven by diamonds

The idea of finding diamonds in Saskatchewan was met with scepticism in the 1980s. A Russian geophysicist, Dr. J.G. Strnad, predicted the existence of diamondiferous kimberlites, noting the large geophysical anomalies in the province’s sedimentary basin. Knowledgeable diamond miners thought the anomalies too large to be kimberlites. The targets in Saskatchewan certainly were outside (and outsized) their experience in South Africa.
But Strnad was right. The first kimberlite in the Fort à la Corne area was drilled by De Beers in 1988. The next year a venture of Cameco and Uranerz drilled another. The properties were combined as the Fort à la Corne (FALC) joint venture in 1992. Ten years later the JV had a large number of targets, and prioritizing them was difficult.
Not so for Shore Gold of Saskatoon. The company drilled the Star kimberlite in 1996. With one good target, drilling expanded, and eventually in 2002 a bulk sample program was begun.

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Canada’s pink gold rush [Saskatchewan Potash] – Marc Davis (National Post – June 25, 2012)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

With the precious cargo slung over his shoulder, Vikram Singh strides through his field spreading the white granular stuff where it matters most. “I can’t afford to waste any … I had to buy it on the black market,” says the 38-year-old farmer from Dostpur Mangroli village in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

For the past two decades, Mr. Singh has toiled his field for wheat and rice to feed his family of six, using the white stuff to stimulate the crops and his livelihood in India’s once-fertile Gangetic Plain.

“I have to use more and more because the land is not as good as it once was … This is not only expensive, it’s very hard to get,” says Mr. Singh, who paid twice the retail amount of 1,200 rupees (about $23) for a bootleg 50-kilogram bag of the white stuff – potash-based fertilizer.

Like Mr. Singh, farmers around the world are demanding better access and prices to the indispensable and irreplaceable pink salt known as potash, which optimizes the delivery of nutrients to plants.

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K+S turns sod on first new potash mine in Saskatchewan in 40 years – by Bruce Johnstone (Saskatoon Star Phoenix – June 19, 2012)

The company that’s building the first new potash mine in Saskatchewan in 40 years is the same company that helped build the last new potash mine in the province in the 1970s, before it was taken over by the then-NDP government to become Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan’s Lanigan mine.
But Nobert Steiner, CEO of K+S Group of Kassel, Germany, which is building the $3.25-billion solution potash mine near Bethune, 80 km northwest of Regina, says there are no hard feelings about the forced sale of the former Alwinsal mine to the Blakeney government for $76.5 million in 1977.
“Even more than a generation later, you can hardly believe that such an act could happen in a country belonging to the western world,’’ Steiner told participants at a sod-turning ceremony at the Legacy project site Tuesday. “However, after so many years, we are not looking back in anger anymore.’’
In fact, Steiner said K+S, which first came to Saskatchewan in the 1960s and started producing potash in 1968, was welcomed back to the province by none other than Premier Brad Wall. (Steiner said the K in K+S stands for Kali or potash in German, while the S stands for Salz or salt.)

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BHP Billiton hints at Jansen potash mine delay – by Carrie Tait (Globe and Mail – May 31, 2012)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

CALGARY— BHP Billiton Ltd.’s (BHP-N60.84-0.72-1.17%) move to reconsider major spending plans may delay the construction of a promised potash mine in Saskatchewan, another sign the commodity “supercycle” is gearing down as slower global growth cools demand.
The Jansen project, estimated to cost as much as $12-billion, has the potential to become the largest potash mine in the world and is one of three major projects BHP was slated to consider for approval later this year. But comments by the global mining giant’s chief executive officer, Marius Kloppers, suggest the company could postpone such developments.
“You should not expect in the next six months any new major approval of projects,” Mr. Kloppers said in an interview with Caixin Media Co. “The economics of some of these projects has changed,” he said. “I think for the next two years, 18 months perhaps, we will just wait and see how things develop.”

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Q & A with Saskatchewan’s Energy and Resources Minister Bill Boyd – (Regina Leader-Post – May 19, 2012)

According to the Saskatchewan Mining Association, the province currently has more than 25 operating mines producing minerals such as potash, uranium, coal and gold. During the next two decades, mining companies in Saskatchewan will invest more than $50 billion in new projects. To ensure the continued success of the mining sector and its contribution to the economic growth of the province, the Ministry of Energy and Resources has taken several steps to encourage further investment. Energy and Resources Minister Bill Boyd was recently questioned about the Ministry’s endeavours.
Q: In last 4½ years, how has your ministry encouraged investment in Saskatchewan’s mining sector?
A: The ministry has been very active in promoting our rich and diverse mineral resources and encouraging investment in our mineral sector.
Key aspects include: the provision of high quality geoscience information; meeting regularly with companies that are active or interested in becoming active in Saskatchewan’s mineral sector; and participation in national and international conferences and mineral investment attraction missions in partnership with other government agencies such as Enterprise Saskatchewan.

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Exploration leads the way for mining’s future – by Tobie Hainstock (Regina Leader-Post – May 19, 2012)

 As Saskatchewan moves forward into more of a leadership role in the mining industry, exploration is rapidly becoming an important expenditure.
Why is exploration such a crucial step in mining? The purpose of exploration is to locate large reserves of high-grade minerals while disturbing the environment as little as possible.
This is being made possible through the implementation of new technologies such as GPS surveying, down-hole seismic imaging and airborne technologies. These tools allow exploration companies to find new deposits that would probably not be found by using traditional methods. As with research and development, exploration is a field that requires strong investment levels in order to achieve long-term success.
According to a 2011 report by the Mining Association of Canada, without sustainable and effective exploration, Canadian mineral production will outstrip reserve additions. This would mean that smelters and refiners across the country would be forced to rely on imported raw materials, placing the domestic mining industry at risk, both competitively and strategically.

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Mining drives million-dollar [mine supply and service] manufacturing industry in Saskatoon – by Jeannie Armstrong (Regina Leader-Post – May 19, 2012)

Saskatoon has evolved into a major manufacturing centre, with 364 companies employing a workforce of 9,900 people, or 6.7 per cent of the region’s total employment.
The largest three sub-groups within the manufacturing centre are machinery manufacturing, fabricated metal product manufacturing and food manufacturing.
“It’s a big driver in the economy, contributing approximately $1 billion to Saskatoon’s GDP, and $2.8 billion to the provincial GDP,” said Tim LeClair, executive director of the Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Authority (SREDA).
Saskatoon has been identified as one of the world’s most competitive manufacturing centres, in a recent competitive analysis by KPMG. These advantages include access to a highly-trained workforce, a highly competitive provincial and federal taxation regime with special consideration for manufacturers, a City of Saskatoon incentive policy, proximity to resource sectors in Western Canada and a strong transportation network including rail access to two ocean ports.

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Mining the future of Saskatchewan – by Nadine Olson (Regina Leader-Post – May 19, 2012)

The Saskatchewan mining industry is recognized as one of the most prolific in the world. According to Natural Resources Canada, Saskatchewan was Canada’s second leading mineral producer in 2011, with sales reaching $9.2 billion. Ontario was ranked as number one with sales of $10.7 billion and B.C. was third with $8.2 billion.
“In 2011, potash was the most valuable commodity with over $8 billion in sales. Uranium was also one of the top Canadian commodities,” said Pam Schwann, executive director, Saskatchewan Mining Association.  “The mineral industry will invest over $50 billion in expansion and new mines between 2008 and 2028.”
Potash prices and values have followed a turbulent path in recent years due to the global recession. However, in 2011, potash was once again Canada’s top rated commodity with shipments totalling $8 billion. Production volumes reached a new historical level, up 13.5 per cent compared to 2010 as a result of a growing global demand for potash.
“Saskatchewan is the only jurisdiction in Canada to be the world-leading producer of potash and second leading producer of uranium.

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[Saskatchewan] Gold mining set to increase – by Trilby Henderson (Regina Leader-Post – May 19, 2012)

With its massive production potential, northern Saskatchewan is securing its seat as one of the best locations in the world to mine gold. For the province’s gold production companies, this fact comes as no surprise as they find themselves on pace to achieve major production milestones in 2012.
Neil McMillan, president and CEO of Claude Resources, said the company is on track to draw its one millionth ounce of gold from its Seabee Gold Operation by August this year.
“A one-million-ounce ore body is considered a world-class ore body,” McMillan said. “But in many respects, we think we’re just getting started because we have the potential to expand that producing asset from 50,000 ounces per year, probably into the 100,000 ounces per year range in the next three to four years.”
Claude first began commercial production at the Seabee Gold Mine, located about 125 kilometres northeast of La Ronge, in late 1991 and has been in constant operation since then, churning out about 50,000 ounces of gold each year.

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Potash fails to fertilize the Canadian economy – by Colby Cosh (Maclean’s Magazine – May 21, 2012)

 Maclean’s is the largest circulation weekly news magazine in Canada, reporting on Canadian issues such as politics, pop culture, and current events.

The Tories’ decision to protect the ‘strategic’ asset in 2010 has backfired on shareholders.

Stock analysts who are bullish on potash have two powerful arguments in their corner: people have to eat, and land is something that nobody’s making any more of. As billions in Asia adopt middle-class habits to go with their rising affluence, their food needs will need to be met by global agriculture—somehow. The Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan (PCS) sees its product, used as a yield-enhancing fertilizer component, as part of the solution; it’s a tale told as often in PCS investor documents as the Christmas story is in December.
“Each year, the global population grows by about 75 million,” says the company’s 2011 online overview. “It is a simple reality that more people mean more food must be produced.” Most of the growth, the slide show adds, is in urban areas—and “urban consumers tend to eat higher-quality diets that include meat, fruits and vegetables.”
But while people have to eat, there’s nothing that says they have to eat the most land-intensive agricultural products—which means, basically, beef. (In Simon Fairlie’s meat-friendly 2010 sustainability book Meat: A Benign Extravagance, he estimates that it takes about 10 lb. of feed grain to produce a pound of beef.)

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