On the 10th of May 2023, the UK’s Critical Minerals Association hosted a webinar with the Government of Saskatchewan, to build on the UK-Canada MOU on critical minerals, signed at the global mining conference PDAC earlier this year. The webinar aimed to showcase the critical mineral opportunities in Saskatchewan, and encourage cooperation between the UK and Canada.
The work that the Government of Saskatchewan is doing to attract investment and promote their industry is impressive. The webinar welcomed four senior, experienced representatives from the Government of Saskatchewan, including two investment specialists and their lead on indigenous community engagement. One of the panelists likened government’s work in helping industry to attract investment to a ‘concierge service’ – an unusual yet pertinent description of the important work of government officials in promoting industry.
We were pleased to welcome both Andrew Smith, Minister-Counsellor (Commercial and Economic) from the Canadian Government, and Greg Quinn OBE, Acting British Consul General Calgary at the High Commission of Canada in the United Kingdom. Andrew highlighted the significant economic value of the trade relationship between Canada and the UK, and Greg outlined the UK’s ongoing work on implementing its critical minerals strategy.
At the CMA, we hope that the UK will promote its critical minerals sectors for trade and investment opportunities in a similar way, and we would be happy to support the UK government in any initiatives to do so. Cornwall Council’s Critical Minerals Strategy could be coming up next!
If you missed it, you can watch the webinar and read about Saskatchewan's critical minerals opportunities below.
Watch the webinar here
Kirsty Benham, Co-founder, Critical Minerals Association
Ranissah Samah, Agent-General, Saskatchewan Office in the UK
Introductions from the Governments of the UK and Canada - Government of the UK
Greg Quinn OBE, Acting British Consul General Calgary
Andrew Smith, Minister-Counsellor (Commercial and Economic), High Commission of Canada in the United Kingdom
Saskatchewan (SK) Critical Minerals Strategy & Opportunities for Investors/Partners
Kirk Brecht, Executive Director, Mineral Policy, Ministry of Energy and Resources
Robin Speer, Director, Investment Relations, Ministry of Trade & Export Development
Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) - Applied R&D, Demonstration, and Technology Commercialization - Critical Minerals
Dr. Muhammad Imran, VP, Rare Earth Element Division, Saskatchewan Research Council
Indigenous Engagement: Best Practices and Partnership Opportunities Government of Saskatchewan Approach to Indigenous Economic Development
Jackie Demerse-Abbasi, Director, Indigenous Economic Development, Ministry of Trade and Export Development
Sheldon Wuttunee, President & CEO, Saskatchewan First Nations Natural Resource Centre of Excellence
Saskatchewan is a province in Canada that covers 651,036 km2. It is the world’s largest potash producer, a leader in uranium production, and home to the largest high-grade uranium deposits in the world. It has significant untapped potential for a variety of critical minerals, including lithium, copper, zinc, cobalt, nickel, and rare earth elements. By 2030, the Saskatchewan government’s goal is to double the number of critical minerals produced in Saskatchewan.
The Government of Saskatchewan released its critical minerals strategy in March 2023 -
It outlines the province’s priorities for critical minerals from an economic development standpoint, and lays out four main goals:
Increase Saskatchewan’s share of Canadian mineral exploration spending to 15 per cent by 2030;
Double the number of critical minerals being produced in Saskatchewan by 2030;
Grow Saskatchewan production of potash, uranium and helium; and,
Establish Saskatchewan as a rare earth element hub.
Saskatchewan is Canada's top-rated jurisdiction for mining investment based on a combination of geologic attractiveness and government policies. (Fraser Institute Annual Survey of Mining Companies, May 2023).
Strengths for investment in critical minerals that were highlighted in the webinar include:
High-quality and easily accessible geoscience and mineral resource information.
Attractive exploration incentives and tax credits; highly competitive royalty systems for base, precious, and emerging critical minerals.
Competitive utility rates.
Another strength is the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC), whose rare earth element processing facility will be the world’s most environmentally sustainable Rare Earth Processing Facility with zero water or chemical emissions, and will be fully commissioned by 2024.
The importance of early and meaningful engagement with indigenous communities was raised as a key topic. There are 74 First Nations in Saskatchewan, and 5 linguistic groups of these First Nations (Cree, Dakota, Dene (Chipewyan), Nakota (Assiniboine), Saulteaux). Saskatchewan is also the homeland of the Métis, where the Michifanother Indigenous language is spoken.
Best practices of engagement include knowing the history and understanding the context, engaging early and consistently, understanding that the needs of communities can differ, and continuing emphasis on economic reconciliation.
These points were raised at a UK government event in March 2023, where 6 Canadian indigenous leaders met with mining companies and investors to share their perspectives on engaging with indigenous communities.
The webinar was well attended, with over 80 people from Canada and the UK listening in and learning about Saskatchewan's opportunities. Thank you to our speakers for joining and to Ranissah for helping to organise this webinar. We look forward to continuing UK and Canada collaborations on critical minerals.
To find out more about Saskatchewan, contact Ranissah Samah, Agent-General, Saskatchewan UK Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To discuss UK-Canada collaborations on critical minerals, contact Kirsty Benham, Founder, Critical Minerals Association.
Article by Kirsty Benham, Founder, Critical Minerals Association