Rosetown-Elrose MLA and Energy and Resources Minister Jim Reiter has had a busy 2023. We caught up with him to talk about the great year for critical minerals in the province and the importance of it for the future.
“We unveiled a critical mineral strategy last March, and it looks like it's paying dividends already. It's geared very much towards exploration. It's the first few months of it, right. So, we don't have any actual numbers yet, but it looks like it's going to be significant. It's really important for the future, I mean already the mining sector employs over 12,000 people in the province and it's just going to continue expanding. Potash and uranium, of course, are the big ones, but they generate a lot of income for the province. That's what helps to pay for schools and hospitals and highways. So yeah, the future looks bright for that industry.”
The latest mineral public offering was held recently, and Reiter explains just how much money was made for the province.
“It was just shy of $1.5 million. That's the fifth highest bonus bid total we've had since we started doing this in 2018. So, it's significant and it continues to increase.”
Mr. Reiter then discussed just how many critical minerals Saskatchewan has, proving there is a good chance of development down the road.
“In Canada, there's 31 minerals that are in the critical minerals list. We have 23 of them in Saskatchewan to varying degrees, so the ones I mentioned earlier, potash and uranium, those are obviously the big ones. They've been developed for a long time and are very significant, but the other ones like helium and lithium are showing a ton of potential. We've also got a copper mine going in in northern Saskatchewan. We've got incidents of nickel and zinc, and the list goes on. So, we're optimistic you'll be seeing more development down the road.”
Mr. Reiter then gave a reaction about the federal government’s proposed 75 percent reduction of methane emissions on Saskatchewan’s oil and gas sector.
“The oil and gas industry doesn't get enough credit for what they've done already. The reductions they've made so far from 2015 levels on greenhouse gases, they've lowered emissions by 64% on methane, it's about 70% lower emissions, and yet we've got a federal government that just keeps targeting that industry, So, in my view, this is just another example of federal government overreach into areas that aren't their jurisdiction. It's incredibly frustrating. In the meantime, though, we're doing everything we can to support that industry. They employ a lot of people; they bring a lot of revenue into the province to provide services for us all. So, I think that kind of summarizes where I'm at with that.”
The Rosetown-Elrose MLA and Energy and Resources Minister also gave a special holiday greeting to everyone in the west central region.
“I would love to say Merry Christmas to everyone in our area, and best wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.”