December 20, 2018

Saskatchewan Holds Inaugural Subsurface Mineral Public Offering

The Government of Saskatchewan held its inaugural subsurface mineral public offering on Tuesday, raising $505,000 in revenue for the province.

Subsurface mineral public offerings—which will be held April, August and December every year—use an open and competitive bidding system similar to the existing process for issuing oil and gas dispositions in Saskatchewan.  Subsurface mineral dispositions grant the holder the right to explore for all natural mineral salts and their compounds occurring more than 60 metres below the land surface.

“This process allows for a fair, orderly and transparent dispositioning of subsurface mineral rights, which, in turn, drives exploration by Saskatchewan’s mining industry,” Energy and Resources Minister Bronwyn Eyre said.  “This is a key economic sector, and Saskatchewan is considered one of the most favourable jurisdictions in the world for mining investment.  The introduction of subsurface mineral public offerings makes doing business in Saskatchewan even more efficient, consistent and competitive.”

Subsurface minerals include boron, calcium, lithium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, bromine, chlorine, fluorine, iodine, nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfur, and their compounds; potash is a potassium compound.  Subsurface minerals dissolved in subsurface geological formation waters are commonly referred to as brine minerals.

In addition to potash used in fertilizer, lithium is attracting interest as it is used in the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries for the electric car industry, as well as for certain medical treatments.

A single subsurface mineral permit block totalling 8,376 hectares was posted in Tuesday’s public offering and received a bonus bid of $505,000.  The permit block is located north of the town of Francis, approximately 50 kilometres southeast of Regina, in an area that is prospective for potash solution mining in the Prairie Evaporite Formation.

CanPacific Potash Inc. was the successful bidder; this permit block is adjacent to two subsurface mineral dispositions also held by CanPacific Potash Inc.

The next scheduled date for a subsurface mineral public offering in Saskatchewan is April 23, 2019, which will be the first subsurface mineral public offering of the 2019-20 fiscal year.