EAST CENTRAL — Mining companies hoping to set up shop in Saskatchewan may soon get help through part of a new provincial economic plan.
Part of the 65-page Saskatchewan Growth Plan, released by the provincial government, includes a series of measures designed to increase Saskatchewan’s mining industry.
Under the relevant section of the plan, the provincial government pledged to reinstate exemptions on provincial sales tax for exploratory and downhole drilling, promote the province’s mining industry to foreign investors and provide support for the Targeted Mineral Exploration Incentive (TMEI).
The TMEI, part of Saskatchewan’s existing mineral development strategy, provides grants to exploration companies performing exploration or drilling for base and precious metals in the northeast portion of the province. Currently, mining companies can receive up to $50,000 a year to offset drilling costs from the province, with a maximum of $750,000 allocated to the TMEI program each year.
The mineral portion of the provincial growth plan includes goals to increase sales of Saskatchewan potash to $9 billion a year and uranium to $2 billion a year, each by 2030. No targets were set for zinc, copper or gold sales.
Brent Fitzpatrick, the Humboldt Chamber of Commerce’s executive director, said that while local potash mines have seen layoffs and reductions in production, there needs to be a long-term plan in place.
“When you look at what's happening with BHP, with the decision that's coming in 2021, there really has to be a lot of government support and backing,” he said. “I’m assuming that all of it plays into the decision to go ahead with the mine so having the government in a positive frame is exactly what we need.”
Written with files by Devan C. Tasa