Mining companies hoping to set up shop in Saskatchewan may soon get help through part of a new provincial economic plan.
The plan, given the name Saskatchewan’s Growth Plan, was released Oct. 23 by the provincial government. Part of the 65-page plan 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, including land around Creighton and Flin Flon. 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 uranium to $2 billion a year and potash to $9 billion a year, each by 2030. No targets were set for zinc, copper or gold sales.
Elsewhere in the plan, the province has set lofty goals for labour market and population growth over the next decade, aiming to grow Saskatchewan’s population from 1.17 million to 1.4 million by 2030, to add 100,000 more jobs to the provincial economy and see a 50 per cent increase in overall exports.
The province also announced the opening of three international trade and investment offices to encourage trade involving Saskatchewan, to be opened in India, Japan and Singapore, and announced a working partnership with consultancy group Harper and Associates.
The firm, created by former Prime Minister Stephen Harper after his ouster from office in 2015, signed a contract worth $240,000 to target economic opportunities for Saskatchewan in Asian markets.