Exploration Incentive Boosts Mining Investment and Activity in Saskatchewan
The Targeted Mineral Exploration Incentive (TMEI) is leading to increased drilling activity for base metals, precious metals and minerals in a defined target area near Creighton and creating tangible opportunities for future mining investment in Saskatchewan.
Developed in consultation with industry, TMEI is part of the Government of Saskatchewan’s Mineral Development Strategy announced in 2017.
The 2019-20 Budget continues to support this strategy by providing the overall funding level for the TMEI program, which is established on an annual basis, to a maximum of $750,000 per year. Seven successful applications were received for the 2018-19 incentive program, indicating a total of 110 new drill holes and proposed expenditures of more than $6.5 million in the eligibility area. Some examples of metals and minerals being explored for include: copper, gold, nickel and zinc. Eligible companies will receive a grant of up to $50,000 per year for drilling in the target area.
“The Mineral Development Strategy is about diversification and increasing our province’s competitiveness in the mineral resources sector,” Energy and Resources Minister Bronwyn Eyre said. “This exploration incentive will promote the discovery of new mineral resource opportunities, which in turn can generate jobs and economic benefits in northern Saskatchewan. Resource investors continue to find some of the world’s best prospects for development right here in Saskatchewan.”
The program has had other measurable impacts, including a net increase of more than 628,000 hectares of new mineral dispositions acquired and more than 600 downloads of raw data and maps of provincially-funded geophysical surveys, since its initial public release.
“New mineral discoveries are made by drilling,” Saskatchewan Mining Association President Pam Schwann said. “By incentivizing on-the-ground investment for under-explored commodities, companies will progress Saskatchewan’s rich and diverse mineral prospects into tomorrow’s mines. The targeted incentive program has already demonstrated an excellent return on investment and we are appreciative of the government’s initiative to increase exploration investments for base and precious metals and diamonds.”
“It has been difficult for junior exploration companies to raise capital for some time now,” Forum Energy Metals Corp President and CEO Rick Mazur said. “The TMEI was a significant factor in our decision to drill our Janice Lake copper project. We knew in the long run the TMEI grant would reduce shareholder dilution. Our drill results confirmed our belief in the project, and successfully revived a base metal project that was dormant for 15 years. Hats off to the government’s Mineral Development Strategy for implementing this program.”
“MAS Gold Corp. is focused on gold exploration in the La Ronge Green Belt,” MAS Gold Corp. Vice President of Exploration David Tupper said. “Thanks to Saskatchewan's proactive support of the mining industry, MAS Gold has been able to develop a strong exploration strategy built upon not only great geology, but also the very positive attitude and support of the government. It is good for both the company and our shareholders to be working with motivated experts, both government and private, excellent service companies and a supportive local workforce on our exploration programs.”
The Mineral Development Strategy includes three components. In addition to the TMEI, the strategy increases the number of airborne geophysical surveys targeting an area of base metal potential west and southwest of Creighton/Flin Flon and Denare Beach and ground-based geological investigations in northeastern Saskatchewan by the Saskatchewan Geological Survey. Some of these are set to take place this summer. More information can be found at www.saskatchewan.ca/mineral-exploration-incentive.
More than $3 billion has been spent on exploration in Saskatchewan since 2003. Exploration expenditures in the province in 2018 were $228 million and are estimated to increase to $280 million in 2019. Saskatchewan’s mining industry generated $7 billion in sales in 2018 and more than 30,000 people in the province owe their livelihoods, directly or indirectly, to the industry.