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Saskatchewan has the critical minerals to fuel and feed the world

Saskatchewan has 23 of the 31 critical minerals Canada has identified as essential for global economic security, a growing population and a low-carbon future

With growing demand for the metals and minerals needed to transition to a clean energy economy, and increased focus on sustainable supply chains, companies are increasing exploration for critical minerals. Environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations are increasingly on the minds of investors, who are seeking geopolitically safe jurisdictions that offer a skilled workforce and supportive governments.

Saskatchewan is already a producer of three critical minerals – potash, uranium, and helium. In fact, it is the world’s largest producer of potash, a leading global producer of uranium, and Canada’s largest producer of helium.

Cameco uranium mine in northern Saskatchewan

The province also holds significant potential to be a sustainable supplier of many other minerals essential for everyday life and modern technologies. The Canadian government has identified 31 critical minerals essential for global economic security, a growing population, and a low-carbon future. Saskatchewan is home to 23 of those minerals, which include lithium, cobalt, copper, nickel, zinc, and rare earth elements (REE) such as cerium, lanthanum, praseodymium and neodymium.

“These are exciting times for mineral exploration in our province, as our world-class mining sector continues to innovate, grow and diversify,” says Energy and Resources Minister Bronwyn Eyre.

North American Helium’s helium purification plant

Saskatchewan also has significant REE potential, with numerous under-explored occurrences, in a host of geological settings. One notable area of exploration is the Appia Rare Earths & Uranium Corp Alces Lake project. To bolster the industry, the province is funding a CA$31m first-of-its-kind REE processing facility in the city of Saskatoon. The facility will act as a catalyst to stimulate the resource sector across Canada and in the province, providing the early-stage supply chain needed to generate cash flow, investment and industrial growth of the sector.

Saskatchewan is also positioned to become a leading producer of lithium. Lithium production in Saskatchewan would be different than long-established producers elsewhere in the world, as commercial production uses new brine extraction processes. Prairie Lithium Corp. has developed specialised technology to extract lithium within minutes from Saskatchewan mineral brines. In September 2021, the company drilled a well dedicated to lithium extraction, the first targeted lithium well in provincial history.

German-owned K+S Group operates a potash mine in Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan is also incentivizing the development of helium. Canada currently has the world's fifth-largest helium resources with significant underground reserves found in the province. The Government of Saskatchewan released their Helium Action Plan in November 2021, which aims to secure 10 per cent of the global helium market by 2030. Saskatchewan is already home to North American Helium, Canada’s largest purification facility. The province's unique geology enables extraction of helium from dedicated wells that yield high concentrations while generating low greenhouse gas emissions. The next steps for the Government of Saskatchewan are to continue supporting upstream development, and work with companies and investors to create a fully integrated helium liquefaction hub in the province.

Saskatchewan continues to be one of the best jurisdictions in the world for resource development. The Fraser Institute ranks the province as the most attractive jurisdiction in Canada for mining investment and the third highest globally. In 2022, Saskatchewan opened an international trade and investment office in London to facilitate critical mineral exploration and development investment opportunities for companies based in the UK and other European countries.

Find out more about Sustainable Resource Development in Saskatchewan

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