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Leader-Post P O S T M E D• A S A S K AT C H EAdvertising WA N S P EFeature C I A L F E AT U R E

WHAT’S INSIDE... • Emergency workers hone skills • Uranium market expected to soar

Mine safety competition . ............................................................................................. H06 ............................................................................................. AA4

• Educators tour mines caribou • Study examines woodland

SMA’s Geo Venture Program . ............................................................................................. H10

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• Mining in Saskatchewan helps • Ministry encourages investment feed the world MInister of Energy and Resources Bill Boyd

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• Exploration leads the way Companies seek new reserves

• Safety............................................................................................. competition BB5 showcases skills • Partnership serves industry . ............................................................................................. H16 Northern Resource Trucking

........................................................................................ BB6, 7 • Diamonds in Saskatchewan • SMA is pleased with changes . ............................................................................................. H18

Regulatory reform ............................................................................................. BB9

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S aturd ay, M ay 2 4 , 20 14

Q & A with Tim McMillan

Minister responsible for Energy and Resources

L-P/SP Specialty Products askatchewan is home to a very large and diversified mining industry. To ensure growth, the provincial government continues to encourage investment and development in Saskatchewan’s mining sector. Tim McMillan, Minister responsible for Energy and Resources, discussed the bright future of mining in Saskatchewan.


How has the provincial government encouraged investment in Saskatchewan’s mining sector? Saskatchewan always had world class resources, but since 2007, our government has worked hard to make Saskatchewan competitive nationally and internationally. We are keeping taxes low, offering stable and competitive resource royalties and continuing to invest in needed infrastructure. We instituted a new uranium royalty system that was more competitive and would accurately reflect the investments companies were making in our province. The previous uranium royalty structure had grown out of date, grossly under represented actual industry costs, and was acting as a disincentive to investment. In December 2012, our government launched the Mineral Administration Registry Saskatchewan (MARS) system, which is used by the industry to acquire and manage mineral claims on-line. Money the industry used to spend on claim staking costs can now be reinvested directly into exploration and development activities. We have also taken a very aggressive approach to highlighting our vast mineral wealth to potential investors. This includes participation at the world’s largest mining conferences, including the British Columbia Mineral Roundup in Vancouver, the Prospectors and Developers Association Conference in Toronto and the China Mining Conference in Tianjin, China. How has the ministry worked with the Saskatchewan Mining Association (SMA) to attract new investment? The Saskatchewan Mining Association has been a great leader and advocate for our mining industry. Ministry of the Economy officials and I meet regularly with SMA representatives to discuss issues from infrastructure, labour, geoscience, land-use planning and taxation. The SMA is also consulted on all legislative and regulatory changes that may impact the mining industry. What makes Saskatchewan so appealing for investors? Clearly one of the most appealing aspects of our province is our world-class resources. We are the world’s leading producer of potash, with the world’s largest high-grade deposits. At current levels of production, Saskatchewan could supply the world with potash for several hundreds of years. We have the world’s highest grade uranium deposits and are the world’s second largest producer. There are currently several deposits at various stages of evaluation that could become operating mines in the future. It is possible to see development of some these deposits over the next decade. In addition to our world-class resources,

Saskatchewan is internationally recognized for its policies and investment climate for mining. Saskatchewan was ranked second in Canada and fourth in the world according to the Current Practices Mineral Potential Index in the Fraser Institute’s 2013/2014 Survey of Mining Companies. This index measures a jurisdiction’s attractiveness for mineral potential, taking into account current policy issues such as regulations, land-use restrictions, taxation and political risk. How does the Saskatchewan government support our current mining sector and encourage continued growth? The Government of Saskatchewan works very closely with the mining industry to ensure that projects can move forward efficiently while still adhering to our robust environmental regulations. This includes timely environmental reviews, efficient and transparent regulations, stable and competitive royalties and taxes, and ensuring that the infrastructure is in place as it is required by industry. In the Saskatchewan Plan for Growth: Vision 2020 and Beyond, we outlined our goals to support the continued growth of our mining sector, including: investing in infrastructure, training and developing our workforce, increasing trade; and keeping taxes low. Discuss the future targets or goals the ministry has for attracting new investment to Saskatchewan’s mining sector. The Saskatchewan Mining Association (SMA) estimates that between 2008 and 2028, the Saskatchewan mining industry will invest $50 billion to expand capacity and build new mines. The Government of Saskatchewan is committed to enabling the growing mining industry. Saskatchewan’s uranium production is expected to increase by nearly 80 per cent over the next five years as Cigar Lake, the world’s second largest high-grade uranium deposit, ramps up production. Many other projects are at various stages of evaluation and development and will likely become producing mines in the future. Potash production is also expected to increase significantly as the expansions of existing mines are completed and new potash production begins at K+S Potash Canada’s new Legacy mine near Bethune. Over a dozen other potash projects are currently under evaluation, including projects controlled by BHP Billiton, Vale and Rio Tinto, the world’s three largest mining companies. The Saskatchewan mining industry is in a position to capture new demand for uranium and potash as the world’s demand for energy and food increases. What is the economic spinoff from Saskatchewan’s mining sector and how does it help grow our positive economy? The mining industry provides over 30,000 direct and indirect jobs. From the American border to the far north, the spending the mining industry undertakes in support of its day-to-day operations has positive economic benefits throughout the province. The over $20 billion committed by

the potash industry for expansions and new developments are helping grow the economies of many cities and towns in the south. In the north, the uranium industry has supported the creation of many new businesses and employs northern residents in over 50 per cent of its mine site workforce. The SMA has stated that mining is a major contributor to Saskatchewan’s economy, directly contributing, on average, over $1.5 billion in revenue to the provincial government. These revenues support government programs and services such as health care, education and infrastructure development.” Our mining companies are well-established corporate citizens in Saskatchewan and continue to leave a lasting impression on the communities they support and, in turn, rely on. What is the future outlook for mining in Saskatchewan? The Government of Saskatchewan has a goal of continued growth in the mining industry. The existing potash industry has committed $13.9 billion for expansions in our potash industry. These expansions will nearly double industry capacity from 2006. K+S, a German company, is building the first new potash mine in Saskatchewan in over 40 years, at a cost of over $4 billion. In addition, many other major mining companies are evaluating potash projects including BHP Billiton, which has committed over $3 billion to develop its Jansen project. Other potential potash projects could mean tens of billions in investment and thousands of jobs to provincial residents. Our uranium industry, which is centred on the Athabasca Basin of Northern Saskatchewan, is also growing, with Cigar Lake, the world’s second largest highgrade uranium mine, beginning production in March 2014. This alone will increase provincial uranium production by nearly 80 per cent. There are dozens of uranium projects at different stages of evaluation, some of which we are confident will become producing uranium mines. There’s also great potential for new uranium discoveries as highlighted by the recent discovery at the Patterson Lake South Project of Fission Uranium. One of the major issues related to uranium investment in the province is the federal government’s Non-Resident Ownership Policy (NROP) which restricts foreign owners from operating a uranium mine in the province. The Government of Saskatchewan has worked extensively with the federal government and the uranium industry to modernize this policy. In 2013, as part of the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement between Canada and Europe, restrictions on NROP were relaxed for European companies, which is expected to bring new investment in exploration and development into the Saskatchewan uranium industry. We are also optimistic that new industries will develop in Saskatchewan. There are many other commodities, such as gold and base metals, diamonds and rare earth elements. The future is very bright for the Saskatchewan mining industry.

Saskatchewan’s diverse resource sector A diverse resource sector is important to Saskatchewan’s mining industry and its economy. “As with all commodities, the potash industry has periods where demand wanes and prices decline,” said Tim McMillan, Minister responsible for Energy and Resources. “This highlights how diversity is very important to ensuring a strong provincial mining sector moving forward. In addition to the world class uranium and potash deposits, the province also mines many other minerals and has the potential for many more.” Saskatchewan’s mineral resources include: • Gold o Claude Resources continues to expand reserves at its Seabee Gold Operation where the company recently reached a milestone by pouring its millionth ounce of gold. Other companies are continuing to explore for and evaluate gold prospects at various locations across the north. • Base metals o Base metals have been mined in Saskatchewan for over 60 years in the Creighton area, where some production of silver, zinc and nickel still occurs. Saskatchewan has the potential for more world-class base-metal deposits, and companies are continuing to explore for and evaluate properties from the Creighton area along the Manitoba border and to the west. o Despite a prolonged cycle of depressed base metal prices, companies are planning to invest approximately $3.6 million on Saskatchewan-based base metal projects in 2014. • Diamonds o Saskatchewan has some of the world’s largest diamond-bearing kimberlites in the Fort a la Corne Forest near Prince Albert. o Shore Gold continues to advance this project, while looking for a partner to help fund construction. o A new discovery of diamonds north of Deschambault Lake last summer by North Arrow Minerals has incited a lot of excitement and staking activity from the industry. • Coal/clean coal o Saskatchewan has hundreds of years’ worth of coal resources at current production rates. o Activated carbon from coal, used primarily to capture mercury emissions from coal power plants, started production in 2011. The Government of Saskatchewan hopes for future investments in this value-added usage of coal, and for clean coal power plants, like the $1.24 billion BD Unit 3 carbon capture and storage project near Estevan. • Rare earth elements o Saskatchewan has excellent potential for rare earths, both north of Uranium City at Great West Minerals’ Hoidas Lake project and several other, earlier-stage projects in that area as well as in the Athabasca Basin. • Other minerals o In addition to the above, there is always potential for new discoveries and new developments from additional minerals.

Potash and uranium are not the only precious resources in Saskatchewan. The Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety is working with Saskatchewan mines to ensure the health and safety of all workers. To help make this happen, our Mines Safety Unit inspects, regulates and offers advice and training for both employees and employers. Zero injuries. Zero fatalities. Zero suffering. |



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S aturd ay, M ay 2 4 , 20 14

Q & A with Pam Schwann

executive director of the Saskatchewan Mining Association

By Robyn Tocker For L-P/SP Specialty Products askatchewan’s mining industry is an important part of the province’s economy. Pam Schwann, executive director of the Saskatchewan Mining Association (SMA), answered what everyone wants to know about the province’s mining industry.


What does Saskatchewan’s mining industry produce? Saskatchewan produces a diversity of minerals that ultimately help feed and fuel the world. Potash is produced from the Prairie Evaporite Formation at ten mines in central and southern Saskatchewan, including eight conventional underground operations and two solution mines. In 2013, uranium was produced from two underground mines in the Athabasca Basin of northern Saskatchewan with a third, the Cigar Lake mine, coming into production in the 1Q of 2014. Gold was produced from two mining operations in the Precambrian Shield of northern Saskatchewan in 2013, although currently, only one gold mine is in production. Coal is mined from three open pit mines in southern Saskatchewan. Other minerals including salt, sodium sulphate, silica sand, bentonite and clay are also produced in Saskatchewan. Deposits of diamonds and rare earth elements have been identified, but have not yet been developed. Historically, Saskatchewan has also produced copper, zinc, platinum, palladium, nickel and silver. How much does Saskatchewan contribute to Canada’s mining industry? Saskatchewan ranked as Canada’s thirdleading mineral producing jurisdiction in 2013, with production valued at $7.2 billion. Saskatchewan continues to be the only Canadian jurisdiction to be a worldleading producer in two commodities – potash and uranium. Saskatchewan’s potash mines produce more than 90 per cent of Canada’s potash, with Saskatchewan producers providing approximately 30 per cent of global potash production. For the fourth consecutive year, potash was the top-ranked mineral commodity produced in Canada by value of sales, at $6.1 billion. Saskatchewan uranium mines produce 100 per cent of Canada’s uranium production, accounting for almost 17

per cent of global uranium production. Cameco’s McArthur River mine is the world’s highest grade uranium mine as well as the world’s largest uranium producing mine, accounting for 13 per cent of the world’s primary uranium supply. Uranium rounded out the top ten minerals produced in Canada in 2013, with a value of $770 million. The total value of mineral production in Canada was $43.6 billion. In 2013, four provinces produced 75 per cent of Canadian mineral production by value. Ontario was the leading mineral producing jurisdiction in Canada ($9.8 billion) followed by Quebec ($8.2 billion), Saskatchewan ($7.2 billion) and B.C. ($7 billion).

How does Saskatchewan help educate miners or soonto-be miners? Saskatchewan has a responsive post-secondary educational framework, including SIAST, the Regional Colleges, universities, SIIT and the Saskatchewan Apprenticeship and Trade Certification Commission (SATCC) that strive to align post-secondary training to industry needs. The provincial government has increased funding to the SATCC to address the growing demand for training in key trades. As an example of how the SMA partners with the postWhat are Saskatchewan’s mining secondary sector, the SMA advantages, compared to other was recently awarded the provinces? SIAST President Partnership Saskatchewan’s foremost mining Award for their collaboration advantage relates to its geological with SIAST in developing framework that hosts world class deposits a new Mining Engineering of potash, uranium and diamonds. These Technologist program. SMA deposits pose unique technical challenges, member companies identified Pam Schwann which has required the Saskatchewan curriculum needs for both the Executive Director of the Saskatchewan Mining Association industry to be innovative in developing hard rock (metallic) and soft “strongly supportive.” While the large mining technologies to safely mine these rock (potash) mining industry majority (84 per cent) of Saskatchewan deposits. This innovation also extends in Saskatchewan, members have been residents have a positive perception of the to the very strong, homegrown mining guest lectures in the program and mining sector as a career choice, only 22 service sector that has worked with the provided field trips, and they also sit on per cent of Saskatchewan residents have mining companies to identify and create the Program Advisory Committee. The considered a career in the mining industry. solutions to safely and cost-efficiently SMA also provides annual scholarships mine these challenging deposits. for environmental engineering at What do you see for the future of In the 2012-13 Survey of Mining the University of Saskatchewan and Saskatchewan’s mining industry? companies, the Fraser Institute ranked University of Regina, and for Power The Saskatchewan mining industry Saskatchewan fifth out of 96 mining Engineers at SIAST. The establishment produces products that ultimately jurisdictions around the world for mineral of the International Mining Innovation feed and fuel the world’s growing potential, assuming current regulations Institute is further working to align postand land-use restrictions. Saskatchewan secondary training programs and research population. The recent Canada-Europe Trade Agreement and Canada-Korea also ranked fourth-best for the quality and with industry needs. Trade Agreement, which have also been ease of access to its geological databases, supported by the provincial government, and the province was acknowledged for its What is the support like for mining improve market access for Saskatchewan progressive mining-friendly government. in Saskatchewan from the public? mineral resources. In the next 25 years, Mining companies in northern The most recent public awareness it is projected that as many minerals and Saskatchewan have long been Canadian survey the SMA carried out in 2012 metals will be consumed worldwide as in leaders in training and employment of indicated that, of the 1,000 Saskatchewan all of history to date. To meet the needs of First Nation and Metis peoples and in residents surveyed, almost all think a growing global population that requires cultivating the development of Aboriginal- the mining industry is important to more food and energy, potash produced owned businesses. These successes the province, and the vast majority (84 in Saskatchewan will help increase are increasingly gaining traction in the per cent) think it is “very important.” productivity of the decreasing amount of southern mining industry. While there Over a third (36 per cent) of residents available arable lands. Uranium produced remains more to do, the inclusion of think the mining industry is important in Saskatchewan will help provide clean First Nations and Métis people in the because it generates revenue/economic energy to meet increasing global energy mining sector as employees and business development and a quarter (25 per cent) demands. So, while cycles are part of the owners, and the related sharing of because it generates jobs. Additionally, resource industry, the long-term global wealth generated by the mining sector, is nine out of ten (90 per cent) of residents fundamentals point to continued strength another advantage that Saskatchewan has are supportive of the province’s mining of the mineral industry in Saskatchewan. compared to other provinces. industry — including 50 per cent who are




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Saskatchewan Research Council rare earth minerals in Saskatchewan and the world By Sheila Bautz For L-P/SP Specialty Products he Saskatoon-based Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) focuses on key sectors of the province’s economy, including mining and minerals, in its world-renowned potash, uranium and diamond laboratories. Recently, SRC made an expansion into a rare earth minerals laboratory that supports mineral development here and abroad. “Within our division — devoted to mining and minerals consulting and research — we provide services from exploration to mineral extraction, processing, tailings management, mine closure and site mediation,” said Craig Murray, vice-president of SRC. SRC has been working for a while on rare earth minerals processes in their labs in Saskatoon and, this past winter, it opened a Rare Earth Mineral processing pilot plant on 51st Street. Historically, China has been the location for rare earth mineral processing. “We’re developing rare earth mineral separation processes in our lab. In our new mineral processing pilot plant, we will verify those processing designs before having them applied in the field,” said Murray. Rare earth minerals are becoming increasingly important in high tech applications like batteries, flat screen TVs and smart phones. Currently, 90 per cent of those minerals are also mined in China. However, locating areas where rare earth minerals are situated is ongoing and finds have been made in Saskatchewan. “There is an interest around the world to develop other deposits of these rare earth minerals. Canada has many,” said Murray. “Dysprosium, cerium, neodymium and lanthanum are examples of rare earth


minerals found in Saskatchewan.” SRC has been in business for over 60 years, growing their expertise over time. The council has worked closely with key clients and well-known companies to assist them with locating and developing various mineral deposits through geo-science work. As a result, SRC has developed methodologies over the years that provide invaluable information while developing specific assay methods, processes and technologies, enabling SRC to provide quality information. “Over time, our teams of geoscientists, engineers and other scientists have worked together to develop new methods with the client. Usually, our clients have a specific need or challenge and we’ll develop a new system,” said Murray. Mineral processing begins with exploration. SRC predominantly provides geo-analytical assay to exploration companies that drill and send their samples to SRC for analysis. SRC can tell them what type of minerals they have, and information regarding the concentrations and quality of the minerals. The processing aspects involve removing minerals from the ground and separating them from surrounding rock. SRC works with clients to develop processes and equipment to extract and separate the mineral. There are many types of equipment used in the separation process: crushing and grinding; floatation valves; magnetic separation; cyclotronic, which involves spinning the samples; and chemical separations, where the mineral is leeched out of rock that has been crushed. “Often there is a recipe that works particularly well for a given geology or mineralogy. We work with our clients to find that method and develop it. We do so through many ways, including really

advanced analytical tools in our Advanced Microanalysis Centre,” said Murray. Not only does SRC work with exploration and separation processes, but the council also works with mining companies to develop specialized mining tools and equipment. Saskatchewan has unique geological challenges that require the development of specialized mining methods for the province. “Saskatchewan has an abundant resource of uranium and potash with a mature industry, which is still expanding. We’ve developed methodologies and tests here that are used as standards around the world,” said Murray. SRC has two locations in Saskatoon: Innovation Place and 51st Street. For more information, visit

Top: SRC’s Development Engineering team works on a wide range of projects with clients from across Canada and around the globe. Photo courtesy of Saskatchewan Research Council Bottom: The Saskatchewan Research Council’s Advanced Microanalysis Centre™ electron probe micro-analyzer, also referred to as an electron microprobe, can be used to perform highly sensitive chemical analyses of microvolumes of samples. Photo courtesy of Saskatchewan Research Council


Brandt – Committed to Mining F

or over 80 years, Brandt has provided powerful value to their customers through a solid commitment to strong core values. Quality, Innovation, Commitment and Customer Focus have been at the heart of their business. Brandt is known worldwide as a growing, dynamic and diverse group of companies that has strong roots in Saskatchewan. The key to Brandt’s reputation is their focus on creating and maintaining the great relationships they have built with employees, customers and the communities they have invested in. One of Brandt’s key strengths is that their team of professionals finds solutions for clients, with a focus on designing and manufacturing the most innovative equipment to meet customers’ needs. Brandt also understands the importance of mining in Saskatchewan. With a long and successful history of serving this industry, Brandt is committed to helping the industry grow through outstanding service and support. From surface to underground mining, Brandt has a selection of equipment to fit their customers’ wants and needs. With a commitment and track record in high-quality, innovative, customer-focused products and services, no other company is more committed to provide the mining sector with better solutions, more reliable products or smarter technology. For the last four years, Brandt has focused on creating solutions for companies in the underground mining industry. The highly talented and experienced design team takes pleasure in working closely with customers to achieve productive solutions for all their mining needs. “Mining is an exciting and unique industry. All mining companies are faced with unique challenges and we are committed to listening to the customer to develop solutions to overcome these challenges,” said Andy Semple, business manager of mining and custom projects. “We create custom equipment and develop solutions with a focus on quality and overall value for their operation.” According to Semple, the key to Brandt’s success has been customer service and responsiveness to their development needs. From that point, Semple and his team evaluate the next steps by mapping out the challenges and creating a plan of action. This includes researching what is currently being used, then investigating ways to optimize the process by utilizing leading-edge technology. “Our team works with the customer to develop a solution,” said Semple. “We also offer support and stand by the products we develop.” A great example of Brandt’s commitment to their customers is the relationship and investment they have with Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan (PotashCorp). With a focus on employee safety, both organizations worked together to develop a new version of ground-penetrating radar. Mining professionals use ground-penetrating radar to

PotashCorp’s Darren Cuthill with Jim Thompson and Gilda Valenzuela from Brandt.

“Mining is an exciting and unique industry. All mining companies are faced with unique challenges and we are committed to listening to the customer to develop solutions to overcome these challenges.” Andy Semple Brandt Business Manager of Mining and Custom Projects

accurately locate underground anomalies while mining. The ground-penetrating radar is instrumental in helping to identify overhead separations in order to identify the potential for ground collapses. With employee safety being a priority, Michael Pletz, Brandt’s mining platform team lead, helped develop the ground-penetrating arm that effectively positions the ground-penetrating radar for a real-time, accurate visual of ground conditions. The one-of-a-kind product, which is eight feet long and has about four feet of travel, was developed concurrently with PotashCorp. “By maintaining constant contact with the back (ceiling) of the mine, it allows for an opportunity to identify any potential danger areas. By identifying these areas, the necessary precautions can be taken to mitigate any potential

risk,” said Pletz. “Together we created this innovative new customized equipment.” PotashCorp brought their safety needs to Brandt and together they created a solution to ensure optimum safety for their miners. “With a strong design team and the manufacturing capabilities to support it, we design and create equipment for the specific application instead of force-fitting something that already exists,” said Pletz. “We are confident in the fact that our customers benefit from our solutions but creating what is needed to help them succeed” The new equipment assists in making sure the cut is safe. The radar arm can project a live readout that detects whether the geology above the cut is safe or if precautions need to be taken before advancing forward. “Successful collaboration means that the end product lives up to PotashCorp’s requirements for safety, reliability and efficiency. The added bonus is that we are both based in Saskatchewan,” said Darren Cuthill, PotashCorp Rocanville’s chief mine maintenance engineer. The new ground-penetrating radar highlights the Brandt philosophy of creating working relationships with customers that lead to solutions that reduce costs, improve productivity, enhance safety and increase operational efficiencies. Over the years, other manufacturers attempted to develop a similar product that would work. Together, Brandt and PotashCorp found the solution in less than seven weeks. It’s Brandt’s company-wide promise to help their customers succeed by empowering them with the outstanding performance of their people and the uncompromising quality of their products and services. REG26204502_1_1



S aturd ay, M ay 2 4 , 20 14

Uranium market expected to soar with renewed global commitment to nuclear energy By Andrew Livingstone For L-P/SP Specialty Products emand for uranium, the fuel of the nuclear industry, is influenced by global perceptions regarding nuclear power. Recent reassessments of the merits of nuclear energy production have resulted in a greater interest in the technology by nations across the globe, a demand that will quickly encounter a uranium production deficit and raise the price of the commodity. When a disastrous tsunami shut down the backup generators at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and damaged several of its reactors, the resulting panic deflated the world market for uranium. “The whole nuclear industry around the world has been in a period of uncertainty following the incident at Fukushima in 2011,” said Gord Struthers, director, communications at Cameco. “There’s been a lot of uncertainty in markets for the products and services needed to create fuel for nuclear reactors. “Following the incident, the Japanese wanted to slow down their nuclear generation program in order to review it and assess the safety of it under some considerable public pressure. As a result, the reactors there — I believe there’s about 54 of them — stopped producing, a surplus of uranium built up on the market, and that’s really what caused the period of uncertainty that we’re in.” Japan was not the only country to question the value of nuclear power in the wake of the accident in Fukushima. “It did cause a pause in countries like South Korea and China,” Struthers said. “They slowed down and rethought their position.” Unlike in previous generations, that


analysis occurred while the world was also seriously examining the sustainability of other sources of electricity and power, including the tendency of fossil fuels to endanger human survival in both the short and long terms. In March of 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO), citing air pollution as the killer of 7,000,000 people annually, even identified the increasingly toxic atmosphere as the world’s largest single environmental health risk. A greater understanding of the future of the world’s atmosphere has led back to nuclear power as a solution to humanity’s physical and economic needs. “Really, the advantages of nuclear are primarily that it’s clean — that it’s a non-greenhouse-gas-emitting source of electricity,” said Struthers, “and the world values that now, and it will value that increasingly in the future as climate change becomes a more and more acute problem. “It’s also reliable. It generates what they call a steady baseload of electricity, which means that, once a nuclear power plant is on, it’s generating that electricity. You don’t turn it on and turn it off according to demand as you do with some other types of generation, such as gas-fired plants. Nuclear provides the foundation of your electricity system, day in and day out, for 90 per cent of the time. Typically, nuclear stations are producing very large amounts of electricity, and, even accounting for their capital cost, they are very, very efficient and economic sources of baseload electricity.” The re-examination of the record of nuclear power generation has also revealed that, high-profile incidents to the contrary, nuclear power is safer not only for the environment, but also for those working in

Top: Headframes at Cigar Lake mine in March 2014 Bottom: A production tunnel beneath the ore body at the Cigar lake mine the industry. Since the Fukushima incident, when some of the major users of nuclear power reconsidered their nuclear policies, “They’ve all come back, and they’ve fully recognized the environmental advantages of nuclear energy,” said Struthers. “When you look at the safety record of the industry over time, you see that it is actually exceptionally safe compared to other generation forms, so they’ve restored it.” As a result, there are currently efforts to restart and expand nuclear power production in major industrialized nations. “The big thing is the aggressive reactor-building programs that are underway in China, India, South Korea and Russia — these are greatly increasing the number of reactors around the world,” Struthers said. “We can be quite confident that the increase in the number of reactors that has been projected by countries like those are going to happen as they say. “So, it’s clear that there is going to be a very significant increase in demand for uranium in the future — and not in the distant future either. We’re talking about over the next

decade.” Furthermore, the advantages of nuclear energy are spurring economies that have traditionally relied on fossil fuels to make the switch. “There’s quite a few countries that don’t have nuclear now that are considering it as an option,” said Struthers. According to the World Nuclear Association, that list includes over 45 nations, some of which have already signed contracts or even begun construction on their new facilities. “One of them is the United Arab Emirates,” said Struthers. “It’s not like they’re short of energy there — they recognize that it would be far more efficient for them to export the hydrocarbon fuel and generate their electricity using nuclear.” Even Japan, whose recent disaster prompted the global pause, has recognized that nuclear power generation is essential for its future. “Japan doesn’t have a lot of energy resources on its own land mass and they were running unsustainable trade deficits buying the fuel to provide their electricity,” Continued on Page H7

ConHnental Mine & Industrial Supply Ltd. 1702 Alexandra Avenue Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7K 3C5 Phone: (306) 975-1944 Fax: (306) 975-3998 Website :

ConHnental Mine & Industrial Supply is an applicaHon focused business based in Saskatchewan. We specialize in solving tough problems with pracHcal soluHons. Our mission is to provide 100% Customer SaHsfacHon for all requirements relaHng to the Mining, ConstrucHon and Industrial Business Sectors. This will be achieved by partnering with our customers and suppliers to ensure the most cost effecHve soluHon ranging from retail supply of equipment and components to opHmizing standard equipment and ulHmately providing a custom designed soluHon to meet their unique operaHonal requirements.



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Uranium market expected to soar Continued from Page H6

said Struthers. “While there was a pretty intense political debate going on in the country, I think it’s become clear to them that nuclear really was the best alternative for them. “At the same time, they’ve instituted a new regulatory authority to oversee the nuclear industry and apply a lot of new standards that are improvements to a large number of the reactors that are in the country. I think we’re getting to the end of that process, and several of these reactors should go back online starting in August.” It would, however, be inaccurate to say that all of the world’s nuclear powers have publically recommitted to the technology. “The only one that announced that it would be pulling back and did so was Germany, which still seems to be on that path,” Struthers said. “Though I think the jury’s still out on that due to the uncertainty of their natural gas supplies, brought into focus by events that are happening in Russian and the Ukraine right now.” Germany’s uncertain future will do little to affect the global situation. “Currently there’s 433 operable reactors around the world. By 2023, we expect that to increase to 526,” said Struthers. “As you might expect, that’s going to require a lot more uranium, so, if the supply-demand picture is positive for the commodity now, once all of these new reactors are brought online, it’s going to improve dramatically. We expect consumption to increase to about 240 million pounds annually by 2023, which reflects a growth rate of about four per cent per year.” “Once you get past the short-term uncertainty that relates to the accident at Fukushima, the way that the market stands is that consumption is about 170 million pounds of uranium a year to fuel these nuclear plants, and the mines only produce about 160,” said Struthers. “So, we are, have been for some time, and will be into the

Mine workers observe the first shipment of Cigar Lake ore leaving the mine for the mill at McClean Lake on March 13, 2014. future in a sort of supply deficit position.” In the past, that deficit was mitigated by an agreement between Russia and the United States. “The difference has been made up by what are called ‘secondary supplies,’ and those are inventories that are held by various entities within the industry: utilities and enrichers and converters,” Struthers said. “A big source of it has been highly-enriched uranium [HEU] from surplus Russian nuclear weapons, which has been recycled to produce reactor fuel, primarily for U.S. reactors. This agreement has been running for more than a decade, and it has brought a large amount of uranium to the market.” When that agreement came to a conclusion at the end of 2013, the supply deficit returned in full force. “We’re at a point now where these secondary supplies are running out,” said Struthers. “As these secondary supplies become exhausted, it

will result in upward pressure on the price, so the supply-demand fundamentals of the market are very positive for uranium.” As a uranium-rich province, Saskatchewan stands to gain a great deal from a healthy uranium market. “We’re one of the world’s largest uranium producers,” Struthers said. “Given the quality of the resources here, when the market fundamentals are reflected in the prices, that opportunity for the uranium industry around the world is going to boom in Saskatchewan in the same way.” Many of Saskatchewan’s highlyconcentrated uranium assets are already having an impact on the world market. “The mine at McArthur River is the world’s largest uranium mine by production, and they’re also the world’s highest grade mines,” said Struthers. “The mines at McArthur River and Cigar Lake have ore grades ranging from 15 to 18 per cent uranium, whereas the world average for a

uranium mine is probably 0.1 to 0.2 per cent uranium.” “With that, in the long term, when the fundamentals are reflected by prices, you can expect that there’ll be quite a bit of exploration activity and potentially mine development going on in Saskatchewan as a result,” Struthers said. The Cigar Lake mine just started ore production in early 2014, proposed mining of the Millennium deposit is currently undergoing environmental assessment and Cameco is proposing increased production for its mines at both McArthur River and Key Lake. “We have been investing very heavily in our facilities in Saskatchewan for the past decade, and we are very confident that the markets for our product will be very strong in the future. We’re just working through this period of short- to mid-term uncertainty and we believe after that it’s going to be very strong growth.”




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Nuclear energy remedies single largest environmental health risk By Andrew Livingstone For L-P/SP Specialty Products n early 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) examined medical and environmental data from across the globe and made a bold declaration, estimating that, in 2012, seven million people died due to air pollution. The WHO named atmospheric contaminants the world’s largest single environmental health risk, a danger that could be drastically reduced through the widespread adoption of nuclear energy. In its statement on March 25, the WHO revised its previous estimates of the number of deaths caused by air pollution. The connection between the development of respiratory diseases, such as acute respiratory infections and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, was long established, but a stronger link had been identified between atmospheric contaminants and both cancer and cardiovascular diseases, such as strokes and ischaemic heart disease. Although some of the disease discussed in the announcement was caused by indoor contaminants, such as poorly-sealed coal- or wood-burning stoves, the WHO estimated that 3.7 million deaths could be attributable to outdoor air pollution alone. Combined with the existing threat of climate change, the report reinforced the need to phase out the irresponsible use of fossil fuels in favour of cleaner sources of energy. “This report was written by more than 400 experts and reviewers from 57 countries around the world and prepared over the last four years,” said Gord Struthers, director, communications for Cameco Corporation. “It identifies nuclear as one of the technologies that must be engaged if there’s any hope of reversing the effects of climate change, which they say that we’re just on the edge of seeing dramatic consequences from. They’re saying that there’s just a few decades left if the world wants to head off the most catastrophic effects of global warming.” Nuclear power generation presents such a valuable and timely opportunity because of the near total elimination of emissions when fossil fuel combustion is replaced by nuclear fission. “Nuclear energy creates almost no greenhouse gas emissions compared with other sources, so it prevents a significant amount of greenhouse gases,” said Jarret Adams, spokesperson for AREVA Resources Canada. “During the transport, mining and development of nuclear fuel, there are various greenhouse gas emissions [GHG], but, when a nuclear power plant is in operation, it produces no greenhouse gases.” John Barrett, president and CEO of the Canadian Nuclear Association, agrees: “That compares extremely favourably, certainly, with coal, which stands well, well up on the graph. Natural gas is, by rule of thumb, about half that of coal in its GHG emissions as a source of electricity.” In addition, Barrett notes that wind turbines, although impressive alone, must fall


McArthur River Located in northern Saskatchewan, the McArthur River mine has an annual uranium production capacity of 18.7 million pounds U308. back on other fuels to support the demands of a continuously-operating power grid. “Wind is lower, but often wind is generated in connection with natural gas because they have to work together,” he said. “Wind power is quite intermittent, and there’s still some problems with developing the storage, so one looks quite often at natural gas as a sort of ‘backstop’ that helps it keep a steady, reliable supply. That, for utilities, ratepayers and users of electricity, is absolutely fundamental.” Ontario has adopted nuclear energy to maintain its baseload requirements to dramatic effect. “That function is performed by nuclear in Ontario, yet people overlook that quite often,” Barrett said. “They don’t always seem to take into account that enables, in addition to providing that fundamental baseload, the introduction of some other [more renewable] sources, because you don’t have to worry about the gap between needs and supply.” The solid performance of nuclear energy in Ontario is matched by its reduction in atmospheric contaminants. Said Barrett, “We look at it in an inverse way: you can legitimately say that, thanks to nuclear power, there’s annually 90 million tons of CO2 which is not generated — it doesn’t go into the atmosphere — because we use nuclear. It has the additional advantage of not producing not only greenhouse gases, but also the particulates in the air and the other types of noxious stuff that is put into the air by burning fossil fuels. “When you start to look at air pollution and its impact on health, you start to see that that eases those noxious emissions that are really one of the key things that strike people that are susceptible to lung and asthmatic problems.” Struthers said that many national governments, such as that of China, are proceeding as Ontario has and investing heavily in conversion to nuclear power generation. “Google ‘China’ and ‘environment’ and take a look at the air quality there,” he said. “You can see pretty clearly why they’re embracing nuclear technology.”


Unfortunately, the adoption of nuclear technology is not without its obstacles. First, it requires a larger initial investment to construct a nuclear power facility than many other forms of electrical generation stations do. “One of the issues it has to deal with is cost,” said Adams. “Nuclear energy is competitive with other sources of low-carbon energy, but there are other ones that, over the short term, are less expensive.” It is in the long-term that nuclear technology becomes fiscally more practical. “Nuclear energy has high upfront costs, but, over the course of the lifetime of a nuclear

power plant, it’s very competitive with other sources,” Adams said. The greatest obstacle to widespread adoption, however, is not financial shortsightedness but irrational cultural attitudes. “It’s safe, it’s clean, it’s reliable and it’s really mesmerizing that the world hasn’t recognized this and made better use of it,” said Struthers. “In logical terms, it’s pretty obvious and it’s surprising that emotional arguments and deep-seated prejudices against this technology have impaired the ability of people to engage it to solve problems.” Barrett agrees that prejudice continues to prevent a responsible approach to nuclear technology: “People don’t like to engage in a long and thoughtful discussion about nuclear power. I think they get a bit fearful because they make associations that are not warranted with the Fukushima accident. The comparisons are not at all accurate or relevant with Ontario or Canada’s power generation.” However, with ever more frightening empirical data, like that presented by the WHO and environmental scientists, it is possible that more populations and their governments will abandon their misconceptions and begin the transition to nuclear energy. As Struthers said, “The more intense that the whole environmental/climate change issue becomes, the more it forces a reconsideration of nuclear power.”

Clean coal generation Traditional methods of generating electricity through the combustion of coal are increasingly recognized as problematic, but Saskatchewan currently produces 47 per cent of its electricity from coal and still retains a wealth of the controversial fuel. Consequently, efforts are underway to rehabilitate coal generating facilities through more advanced technology that reduces emissions of both carbon dioxide and the particulate matter that concerns the WHO. Without major precautions, coal-burning power plants emit significant quantities of CO2, which is considered a greenhouse gas. In order to avoid contributing to climate change, carbon capture technology aims to collect that CO2, which is then either sequestered indefinitely in subterranean cavities or sold to industries that can use it. “The federal government has eliminated coal without carbon capture as an option in the longer term,” said Robert Watson, president and CEO of SaskPower. “The challenge we have is finding a replacement for our baseload conventional coal units. That’s why our carbon capture and storage project at Boundary Dam is so important.” The Boundary Dam Carbon Capture Project is an unprecedented realization of the carbon capture concept. “Once complete, the project will produce 110 MW of baseload electricity and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by one million tonnes of CO2 each

year,” Watson said. “The addition of carbon capture and storage represents the largest environmental upgrade ever contemplated for a coal-fired power station in Canada.” An arrangement has already been made to sell one million tonnes of the captured CO2 to Cenovus Inc., which will be pumped to Weyburn. There, it will be injected into mature oil wells to extract more petroleum. Elsewhere, SaskPower is addressing some of the particulate matter that the WHO identifies as a leading cause of premature mortality. “Fly ash, a by-product collected at Shand and Boundary Dam coal-fired power stations, is collected and sold for use in building materials,” Watson said. “By reducing the amount of cement that needs to be produced in each building, fly ash helps reduce CO2 emissions.” Sales of the byproduct have proven brisk. “In 2013, SaskPower collected and sold enough fly ash to prevent 170,000 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere,” said Watson. Maintaining an electrical system that is sustainable both economically and environmentally will, however, require further upgrades and innovations. Said Watson, “In the longer term, we are evaluating all available options as part of our plan to secure the province’s electricity future and manage greenhouse gas emissions.”

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Hello Athabasca! By Carol Todoruk For L-P/SP Specialty Products ack in 1997, Geoff Gay and family said a fond farewell to Nova Scotia and bid a warm hello to the Athabasca Basin region of northern Saskatchewan. The move was initially intended to allow for wife Lori’s work as a teacher, but Geoff soon found his own calling with the economic needs of the region. “In the late 1990s, Athabasca communities were focused on economic development. There was a seasonal road and the economic opportunities were there,” he said. While some communities had entered into agreements with mining companies, the Athabasca community leaders saw the need for an integrated approach. “They felt that, if they organized themselves commercially, they could take advantage of the opportunities,” he said Athabasca Basin Development was established in 2002 to maximize local community participation in the opportunities presented by the mining industry. “The seven communities putting up a united front makes it easier for mining companies and others to work with us,” Gay, who became the company’s CEO, said. “There is only one person to come and see. It is a lot easier, and more efficient,” he said. The company is owned by the seven mainly Dene First Nations communities in the Athabasca Basin, including Fond du Lac, Stony Rapids, Black Lake, Hatchet Lake, Wollaston Lake, Camsell Portage and Uranium City. The Athabasca Basin is the source of the world’s richest high-grade uranium deposits. The area covers almost a quarter of Saskatchewan and a small portion of Alberta, and currently supplies about 20 per cent of the world’s uranium. Athabasca Basin Development is an Aboriginalowned investment company committed to building and investing in successful businesses. It has grown to include complete or partial ownership in 10 companies providing a wide range of services. Current investments are focused on the mining and exploration sector, and include partial or complete ownership in construction, underground mining, industrial security, electrical, diamond drilling, logistics, road maintenance and aviation. While most of the company’s current investments are established companies, Gay said that some were start-ups and some grew out of a single project. For example, Team Drilling began as a start-up in 2008 — Athabasca Basin Development worked with the management team, resulting in a strong, and growing, enterprise. Athabasca Basin Development started out small itself. “We had no money to begin with,” Gay said. “We were fortunate enough to get a road-building contract and built from that,” he said, adding the company reinvested all its profits for the first seven


Team Drilling began as a start-up in 2008, and Athabasca Basin Development worked to help it become a strong and growing enterprise.

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years. Since then, it has grown exponentially, with recent consolidated revenues exceeding $145 million, and its investments employing more than 1,200 Saskatchewan people. Recently, Gay said the company has focused on investing in established businesses looking for an exit strategy. “That’s a strong market. There are a lot of businesspeople who will be retiring in the next number of years. They have second level management in place, and they value the company and the contracts they’ve established over time,” he said. “If they are looking at selling their business, Athabasca is an established company, and we know how to work with them on that exit strategy.” The recent slowdown in the mining industry and sound financial planning mean the company is looking to those retirees and other sources to diversify its portfolio in the coming year. “Things have been going very good; we’ve seen record revenues the last couple of years,” Gay said. “We see that capital construction is slowing down. We’re still focusing on the resource sector, but will focus more on operations,” he said, adding that future investment doesn’t have to be in mining or even in the North. The future for the company and its owner communities looks “bright,” according to Gay, who can say ‘farewell’ to the East Coast permanently.

Thank you! Long-time Athabasca Basin Development employee Terri Daniels is being heralded as a major driving force behind the company’s success. Daniels retired at the end of March after almost 40 years of working on behalf of Athabasca communities, and more than a decade with Athabasca Basin Development. “She was our second employee, and has done outstanding work for the company,” said Athabasca Basin Development CEO Geoff Gay. “You will never find a more resilient, hardworking and committed person [than Daniels],” he added. Her involvement with the Athabasca communities began in 1974 when she was elected to the Local Advisory Council and later began working for the Northern settlement of Wollaston Lake. Over the years, she has served on countless committees and sat on numerous boards, including the Athabasca Working Group, the Northern Municipal Trust Account and the Athabasca Land Use Planning Committee. Daniels is well known for her dedication, perseverance and commitment to the Athabasca region, and she has been recognized with the Queen’s Jubilee Medal

and the Saskatchewan Centennial Medal for her regional and community work through the years. Gay said the company is pleased that Daniels will continue to work on behalf of the company and the Athabasca region in her new role as a member of the Athabasca Basin Development Board of Directors. “We wish Terri all the best in her retirement from full time employment, and we look forward to her wisdom, expertise and dedication as a member of our Board,” he said.

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Study examines woodland caribou population dynamics in northern Saskatchewan’s fire dominated landscape By Andrew Livingstone For L-P/SP Specialty Products uch of Saskatchewan’s untapped mineral wealth lies in areas that are remote and relatively untouched by human activity. In order to extract those resources, developers must be careful not to disturb woodland caribou, which are classified as “threatened” under the Species At Risk Act. This task is a difficult one when the species in question has never been properly studied. “Under the Species at Risk Act, Environment Canada is required to assess threatened and endangered species and put together a recovery strategy to provide direction on how to conserve species,” said Philip McLoughlin, associate professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Saskatchewan. “In 2011, there were some rumblings of woodland caribou being subject to a federal recovery strategy because they were classified as threatened.” The boreal shield in which woodland caribou live stretches across Canada, which made Woodland caribou being net-captured to be fitted with GPS tracking collars. assessing the state of the species in the country a significant and complicated undertaking. The government’s recovery strategy “Right now, any company, any community years,” he said. “You could expect 100 per identified what was considered to be an or any organization that has a need for cent of the area burned in 80 years — you acceptable caribou population and then infrastructure in caribou range is kind of in have to get there somehow. Next to nothing used satellite imagery to estimate the a tricky spot right now,” McLoughlin said. in terms of fire suppression by the province threat posed by both natural fire damage has allowed for that, but that’s not to say that “They’re operating within the range of a and anthropogenic activity, like roads and species that’s been assessed as threatened by it’s not natural. transmission lines, to the survival of that “There are some really important questions the Committee on the Status of Endangered population. Wildlife in Canada, subject to a recovery about climate change and whether or not we Saskatchewan’s boreal forests, however, strategy by Environment Canada, but have greater fire because of that, but a lot of proved to be a particularly challenging and there’s really no data on how to go about these big fires didn’t happen yesterday — distinct case. “Saskatchewan was special implementing best practices, how to develop they aren’t immediately recent. We’ve had in that analysis, and a bit of work was a rational range plan that allows for further some really large fires, but I think a lot of it done there to show that the far north of development in a way that is acceptable in has to do with the lack of fire suppression to Saskatchewan is quite different from other terms of caribou conservation.” allow for the natural fire regime to present parts of Canada,” said McLoughlin. “We have itself.” “We have to develop a range plan in some very, very little anthropogenic disturbance — way, but, without data, how do you do it?” Nevertheless, as far as the federal somewhere around three per cent compared In order to provide that data, McLoughlin government could determine, Saskatchewan to the average, which is somewhere on the might require a unique approach. “We didn’t has become a leading researcher in a new order of 33 per cent of an area for caribou boreal caribou population dynamics study. quite fit into this model that Environment range across the country. Canada had to project the sustainability of the “We have 10 research milestones we’re trying “At the same time, we have much larger caribou population because we’re so different to tackle, but, broadly defined, there are two areas that have been burned compared to basic aspects to the study,” said McLoughlin. from the ranges in which the model was the rest of Canada: somewhere close to 55 developed,” said McLoughlin. “Environment “The one that I’m taking the lead on is the per cent of the area has burned in the last 40 Canada eventually assessed that the northern dynamics of caribou populations and how years, compared to the average in Canada, they interact with their predators.” Saskatchewan range, called the SK1 caribou which is around 17 per cent.” The study has already begun. “We just range, out of 51 caribou ranges in Canada, McLoughlin does not consider northern deployed 94 collars on woodland caribou in is the only one that is deemed to be dataSaskatchewan’s high incidence of fire to be March,” McLoughlin said. “These are GPS deficient and is an outlier in terms of fitting a sign of more troubling trends. “The area tracking collars, basically very similar to the in with the recovery strategy.” naturally has a high fire return interval, GPS in your car except it communicates with The lack of information is a problem around 80 years or so for a complete fire a satellite and we get the locations here in not only for all levels of government, but cycle, so it’s not surprising to me that 55 Saskatoon every couple of hours or so.” also for industries that hope to have a per cent of the area has burned in the last 40 For the next four years, those collars will presence in the province’s northern reaches.


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be tracked all day, every day, and the animals wearing them periodically located and visually examined via airplane. “We can see them and then assess whether they’ve produced a calf or not, or if the calf that they produced the year previous has survived or not,” said McLoughlin. “We can get at the productivity of the caribou population that way, and we can do something similar for the predators as well. We’re amassing a database of locations now, and we’ll be able to look at cow/calf surveys and assess calf productivity in the future.” In order to learn the full situation, other species that interact with caribou will also be tracked. “Coupled to that is an analysis where we’re doing essentially the same thing for predators, starting with wolves,” McLoughlin said. “We have 26 active wolf collars right now deployed at the same time as the caribou.” McLoughlin will not be the only researcher participating in the study. “Another branch of the study is how caribou habitat is responding to fire,” he said. “This will be led by Jill Johnstone, also here in the Department of Biology, starting this summer. It will be three years of vegetation surveys throughout the boreal shield, developing new maps of disturbance across the range and some detailed studies of how caribou habitat — including lichen, which is a major food type of caribou — recovers after forest fires of different types and different sizes.” Funding for the effort is being provided by the Saskatchewan Mining Association through a grant from Western Economic Diversification Canada, alongside other research partners from the mining sector and the federal and provincial governments. It is the Saskatchewan government that will be incorporating the study’s results into a range plan for caribou. The opportunity appeals to McLoughlin as a biologist. “Scientifically, I’m interested in it because it’s a population that’s never been studied before, and, in terms of caribou conservation, the way that the landscape is right now, it’s going to fill some holes that are not filled across the caribou range in Canada,” he said. “We’re going to be able to see caribou populations in their habitats, and the dynamics between caribou and the other species that they interact with, including their predators.” “I view it as presenting baseline data for the rest of the country of what we should expect in an area with high fire and low human activity.”


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The return of Cluff Lake

today’s mine decommissioning practice

L-P/SP Specialty Products n the Athabasca Basin approximately 700 km north of Saskatoon, AREVA Resources Canada owned and operated a uranium mine at Cluff Lake during the latter decades of the 20th century. Cluff Lake was the first project in Saskatchewan for AREVA, which this year marks 50 years of operations in Canada. The Cluff Lake mine was productive and profitable, but the deposit was eventually exhausted, and the site has been restored to a state in which it would be safe for traditional land uses. “The Cluff Lake mine operated from 1980 to 2002,” said Jarret Adams, spokesperson for AREVA. During that 22-year period, the mine and associated mill produced over 62 million pounds of uranium concentrate, A fox blends in with the grasses near the former site of the Cluff Lake mine. also called yellowcake. By the time that Cluff began operation. The decommissioning “We completed the majority of the Lake reached the end of its of Cluff Lake is a really good example of physical decommissioning work between operational life, the facility included open modern decommissioning work in practice.” 2004 and 2006,” Adams said. “That included pit and underground mines, a mill, a tailings Even with the heavy lifting completed, demolishing buildings, backfilling the Claude management area with a two-stage liquid however, AREVA’s work continued. “After pit, covering the tailings management area effluent treatment system, a camp featuring that, we had a small monitoring staff and re-contouring the waste rock pile.” residential and recreational areas, and other since 2006, and they’ve done a number of These efforts reflect the current dedication minor support infrastructure, all of which environmental activities,” Adams said. of both industry and government to AREVA was committed to dismantling and “Basically, they’re monitoring all sorts of minimizing the long-term effects of mining decommissioning. operations. “It’s fairly simple work, but Cluff environmental aspects to ensure the site is To minimize any long-term adverse safe and stable. Lake was the first modern uranium mine to effects from mining, AREVA has employed In September of last year, we moved to be decommissioned in this way,” said Adams. stable, self-sustaining landforms to contain what they call ‘campaign monitoring,’ which “The work that we did to decommission contaminants, so there are minimal means that we no longer have employees the site targeted adherence to the new constraints on the future use of the land and on-site at Cluff Lake, and we’ve turned the requirements for environmental compliance, the traditional uses of the land will not be site over for people to use it for traditional guidelines that didn’t exist when Cluff Lake restricted.


purposes, so the public can go onto the site and hunt, or hike or whatever they did before the mine existed. Then, we have environmental specialists that go in and will do campaign monitoring, which means that they’ll go four times a year and continue to monitor the environment to make sure that the site is up to the required standards.” AREVA’s environmental specialists are collecting various kinds of data to create a full understanding of the nowdecommissioned site. “They’re testing to ensure that the water, the flora and the fauna is all safe and meets the provincial and federal guidelines for these sites,” said Adams. “Since the mining waste has been managed on site, we’re monitoring for any potential impacts these materials may have on the ecosystem. Our environmental monitoring shows that the site is safe for people to use.” Monitoring will continue into the future, but, barring unforeseen developments, there is little left to accomplish to restore the site. Further reclamation work would be considered site maintenance or continual improvement. “Already, it’s accessible to the public for traditional use and, at some point, will be turned over to the province,” Adams said. Overall, Adams considers the decommissioning of the Cluff Lake mine to be a success. “It’s gone to quite an advanced state, and so we’re pleased with the process,” he said. “That’s the commitment that companies make: mining is a temporary use of the land.”

Abandoned mines remediated by Project CLEANS By Andrew Livingstone For L-P/SP Specialty Products lthough modern regulations require that any new mining project financially account for and plan for its eventual decommissioning and return to nature, many projects were started in Saskatchewan in the mid-20th century, before such regulations existed. Those operations were abandoned until this century, when the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) was tasked to ensure that potentially dangerous and contaminated sites are made safe for human proximity and the environment. “It’s called Project CLEANS,” said Ian Wilson, remediation manager for the SRC. “Project CLEANS is an acronym for the Cleanup of Abandoned Northern Sites, and it was started in 2006. The Saskatchewan Research Council is the project manager, and we’re funded by the provincial government (through the Ministry of Economy) and the federal government.” The project was initiated after the Ministry of Environment conducted an Assessment of Abandoned Mines in Northern Saskatchewan over a three-year period


beginning in 2000. These early assessments were undertaken to investigate public safety risks and potential environmental impacts. “There’s 35 derelict sites — 33 of them are mine sites and two of them are former mill or mine and mill sites — and these sites were closed down in the ‘50s and ‘60s, so there’s not a lot of information culminated from when they were closed down,” Wilson said. That said, the culture of the time demonstrated little awareness of the negative legacy of some of their actions. “There was really no effort made in that regard. A lot of the mines sites were just walked away from.” First, the sites must be explored and examined by provincial and Project CLEANS inspectors. “We assess to see what the level of contamination or physical hazard may be and determine what level of environmental legacy these sites may have on the land,” said Wilson. “That’s the first stage, and these remediations, if you can picture, are like a 1000-piece puzzle, and, at the assessment stage, you might get 50 to 100 pieces of the puzzle. As long as you pick those pieces that sort of frame the picture, you can fill out the remainder doing some of the engineering

design work to lead to remediation or doing the remediation itself.” Much of the impetus driving the project and defining what level of remediation is necessary comes from the communities near the abandoned mines and mills. “The communities that live close to where the mine sites are, but also any of the communities that are located along the Athabasca, are concerned about mine sites being left and the effect of radiation and any pollutants in the water,” said Mark Calette, senior advisor for community and aboriginal engagement for SRC. “They’re all concerned that the mines were left the way they were.” “These are places where they’ve lived their entire lives, their ancestors have lived there for as long as they can remember, and some of the elders even remember before there were mines, and they can remember the landscape before all of these things happened,” Calette said. “They’re very happy that we’re cleaning them up, they’ve actively participated in our processes, and in our meetings and in how we design the methods that we’re going to use.” “The communities told us loud and clear that they didn’t want us digging a bunch of

stuff up and mucking with the tailings, and we heard that loud and clear, and some of the methods and the processes that we’re going to use are based on that feedback,” said Calette. “We’re going to follow their suggestions, and we’re going to leave the tailings in place, and some of the covers and the different ways of remediating the sites are really done in tune with what the community wanted.” The project presents significant logistical challenges. “We’re still very much in the midst of doing both the assessment and clean-up work,” Wilson said. “Because we have 35 of these sites, we’re at various stages at each of them. Some of the very isolated mine sites we haven’t even gotten to yet … We have a lot of ground to cover in these mines, and some of them are two, three or four hour hikes in. A lot of the trails that were used previously to access these mines are overgrown or very hard to get to in some cases.” As a result, it will take time for Project CLEANS to complete the difficult task that it has assumed. Said Wilson, “We’re looking at maybe 10-15 years based on some of the assessments.”

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Environmental regulations for mining in Saskatchewan Submitted by the Ministry of Environment he Ministry of Environment is responsible for regulating various stages of a mining project’s lifecycle including exploration, environmental assessment (EA), construction, operation, decommissioning and reclamation. Ensuring regulatory compliance in the mining industry helps to safeguard the environment, as well as the health and safety of Saskatchewan residents. Other provincial ministries and agencies, such as the Ministry of the Economy and the Water Security Agency, also play a role in regulatory oversight for many mining and milling operations in the areas of mineral leases and extraction, water allocation, surface water management and sub-surface disposal/injection. Saskatchewan’s EA mandate ensures that economic development in the province proceeds with adequate environmental safeguards and in a manner understood and broadly acceptable to the public. Companies that propose mines are required to conduct an environmental impact assessment and prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) for review by government


officials and the public. Should the project have the potential to adversely impact Treaty or Aboriginal rights or the traditional use of lands and resources, the province has a duty to consult with First Nations and Métis communities. Decisions under The Environmental Assessment Act consider the EIS, the technical review, duty to consult information and public comments. Ministerial approval is required before the project may proceed, and will also be required if any proposed changes do not conform to the approval. Once EA approval is granted, the project proceeds to construction and permitting details. Mining and milling operations in Saskatchewan are regulated primarily by The Mineral Industry Environmental Protection Regulations, 1996, which require that any person who wishes to construct, install, alter, extend, operate or temporarily close a pollutant control facility, or decommission and reclaim a mining site must have approval from the ministry to proceed. Construction approvals typically reference approved plans found in the EIS. These

approvals also include additional construction plans identifying the location and design features of critical components such as containment of wastes, emission controls, location of mine waste storage areas, installation of mill process building and equipment, injection and withdrawal systems. Operating approvals, which are issued by the ministry, cover all areas of a pollutant control facility. These approvals can include general conditions around management of wastes, discharges and air emission controls and limits, and monitoring and reporting of effectiveness of the pollutant control facilities. Development of operating approvals and monitoring plans is a collaborative process between the ministry and the company. This ensures that there is a mutual understanding of the contents of the approval and that appropriate monitoring and controls are in place. Wherever possible, the duplication of efforts with other agencies is minimized. The ministry regularly inspects mining and milling operations and reviews monitoring reports and other reports required to ensure that the company is in

compliance with regulations and its operating approval. Prior to receiving approval to operate, the company must have an approved decommissioning and reclamation plan in place. A proposal for an assurance fund to guarantee the completion of the decommissioning reclamation for the mining site must be approved by the Minister of Environment. Until such time as the company is granted release from further decommissioning and reclamation requirements, it is responsible for carrying out any reclamation or post closure monitoring and to maintain adequate financial assurances. Depending on the location and nature of the operation, other ministry interests or requirements such as surface leases or fire protection plans may also be required. The Ministry of Environment recognizes the balance between economic development and environmental priorities and strives to ensure the application of sound, science-based analysis to help support greater certainty for Saskatchewan communities, and a better quality of life for Saskatchewan residents.

Demand increases for Saskatchewan’s silica sand

By Robyn Tocker For L-P/SP Specialty Products askatchewan’s mining industry is growing. There are many ways to gather the resources that lie below the earth’s surface, one of them being fracking. One of the important ingredients when fracking is sand. In order to understand how sand is used while fracking, it’s important to know what, exactly, fracking is. Fracking goes by many different names, as Rasool Mohammad, CEO of La Ronge Gold Corporation explained. Fracking, hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking is “the most efficient method used to access oilbearing shales and lime stones for the purpose of extracting oil and natural gas.” Mohammad said it is an unconventional method where oil and gas are released from rocks. A vertical well is drilled for more than a kilometre and then continues horizontally once


it reaches the source rock oil or gas bearing formation. The well is then drilled laterally for about 3,000 to 5,000 feet. This creates a large enough surface area for oil or gas to flow in large quantities. Sand proves to be a critical ingredient in the fracking process. “Water, sand and lubricant are pumped into the well at a very high pressure. The high-pressure fluid creates additional smaller fractures or channels in the shale through which oil and natural gas reserves flow more easily,” said Mohammad. The pressure is then released and the sand is left lodged in the fractures, providing a way for fluid from the reservoir to flow to the wellbore. Mohammad said the American Petroleum Institute (API) has certain standards when it comes to frac sand or silica sand, as it is often called. These standards include being highly spherical, having a high crush resistance, being

high in silicon dioxide content, and being consistent in size. It also must be well sorted into specific mesh sizes in order to be effective. Depending on the way the sand is used, the mesh size range changes. “Size 20/40 is typically used in hydraulic fracturing processes targeting oil and liquids-rich gas recovery — i.e., larger fluid molecules — whereas finer sand grains, such as 40/70 and higher meshes, are typically used primarily in dry gas applications — i.e., smaller fluid molecules,” said Mohammad. La Ronge Gold continues to explore the prairie landscape in hopes of finding sources of frac sand and, on March 13, it announced that it has signed a Letter of Intent to acquire a producing frac sand asset in the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin, which covers southwestern Manitoba, southern Saskatchewan, Alberta, northeastern British Columbia and the

southwest corner of the Northwest Territories. La Ronge Gold is not the only Saskatchewan company producing silica sand in Saskatchewan. Preferred Sands of Canada, which has been in operation since 2007, also produces the sand that is used in hydraulic fracturing across North America. Preferred Sand has reserves of over 44 million tons, extracting the sand from its mine at Hanson Lake. In 2012, the company bought the operations of Winn Bay Sand LP which include locations in Blair, Wis., and Hanson Lake, Saskatchewan. The demand for frac sand is high in Canada, with an estimated 3.5 million tonnes of sand being used per year. Mohammad said that as the demand continues to rise, including the worldwide quest for cheaper natural gas, it creates opportunities for development of more silica sand deposits in Saskatchewan.

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Mining in Saskatchewan helps feed the world


• Emergency workers hone skills

Mine safety competition otash mining in Saskatchewan AA4 is more............................................................................................. than a proud tradition. It fuels Saskatchewan and • Educators tour mines Canada’s economic engine and provides SMA’s Geo Venture Program thousands of career opportunities in ............................................................................................. AA9 science and technology. Perhaps most • Ministry encourages importantly, potash fertilizers help investment grow crops toMInister feed families the Bill Boyd of Energyall andover Resources world. While ............................................................................................. recent market conditions BB1 have resulted in reduced global demand for potash, the investments made in both expansion (brownfield) and new start-up (greenfield) projects by mining companies in Saskatchewan will ensure that these operations are able to respond quickly to future market demands.

• Exploration leads the way

Companies seek new reserves ............................................................................................. BB5

project. In addition to potash mining and production, Agrium has distribution and storage facilities throughout Saskatchewan. By diversifying and expanding, Agrium is ensuring increase in production, growth in construction and project-based employment, and continued success in marketing product for both agricultural and industrial use.

• Partnership serves industry Northern Resource Trucking ........................................................................................BB6, 7

• SMA is pleased with changes

Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. (PotashCorp)

Regulatory reform ............................................................................................. BB9 K+S Potash Canada

K+S Potash Canada is part of K+S Group, one of the world’s leading suppliers of fertilizers and the world’s leading salt producer. K+S is bringing its experience and expertise to work on the Legacy Project potash mine and production facility near Moose Jaw. The Legacy project will be the first new greenfield potash mine built in Saskatchewan in nearly 40 years. The Legacy Project means new job opportunities for Saskatchewan workers, and new business opportunities for Saskatchewan companies supplying goods and services to this major economic development. K+S is growing Saskatchewan, while providing the potash that is needed to help feed a growing world population. “Recruitment for the Legacy Project is a high priority for the human resources team. At the peak of construction, there will be approximately 1,700 people working on the site, taking into account operations, contractors and partners. In 2014, K+S Potash Canada was recognized as one of Saskatchewan’s Top Employers,” said Maeghan Dubois, communications specialist at K+S Potash Canada.

g n i n i M Investing in

In 2003, PotashCorp embarked on a major expansion initiative that includes projects at each of their operating mines. By its anticipated 2015 completion, this approximately $8.3 billion expansion program is expected to increase PotashCorps’s sustained output capacity to 18.1 million tonnes. All but one of PotashCorp’s Canadian operations are in PotashCorp Allan’s new 10-storey high storage structure, located nearly one kilometer underground. Saskatchewan. The Rocanville expansion is the compaction expansion project focused on the site’s mill operations, the development of largest of all PotashCorp projects and, refurbishing a mill that had been idle since additional mining units and the creation of because of its close proximity to the US the 1980s and was completed in 2008. This increased underground storage. border, it will play an instrumental role project included the construction of new mill The largest of Mosaic’s expansion is at in serving PotashCorp’s North American structures and equipment, upgrading of mine Esterhazy. Stage 1 of the Esterhazy expansion customers’ needs. This expansion will add a hoists and skips and the addition of other saw the existing K2 operation receive a new shaft at Scissor’s Creek, approximately underground equipment to support increased $600 million facelift that included expanded 15 km from the existing site as well as a production. mine and mill capacity, upgraded hoisting new mill to process the additional ore. A At Patience Lake, PotashCorp’s only capability and additional product storage. 500,000 tonne storage warehouse — one of solution mine, the expansion added 20 This project was completed in 2012, adding the largest buildings by square footage in injection wells and the pumping and piping over .8 million tonnes/year capacity to the the world — in addition to improvements to systems required to serve them, enabling site. Mosaic’s K3 Project (Esterhazy Stage 2) the site’s rail loading system, is part of this more brine to be brought to surface. represents the current and largest of Mosaic’s expansion. Upon completion of ramp-up in expansion project — a $1.5 billion projected 2015, operational capability is expected to Mosaic investment that includes two shafts and increase to approximately 5.7 million tonnes Mosaic is one of the world’s leading crop surface facilities. The project is scheduled for annually, making it one of the largest potash nutrition companies with a focus on potash completion in 2017 and is expected to add 0.9 production facilities in the world. and phosphate production. It is the secondmillion tonnes/year capacity. At the Allan Mine, the expansion largest potash producer in Saskatchewan projects reintroduced 400,000 tonnes of previously idled potash capability, expanded with the capacity to produce over 10 million Agrium tonnes of potash annually. Mosaic’s potash compaction ability, improved product loadAgrium has a solid foundation in the expansion program is a multi-year effort out capabilities and increased operational potash market and also produces nitrogen consisting of several distinct projects at each capability to approximately 2.7 million and phospate. Since its inception in 1931, tonnes. The latter project involved modifying of its operating mine sites. The current and Agrium has become a major wholesaler completed expansion projects are expected the production headframe, including larger for agricultural products as well as a retail to increase annual potash capacity by almost hoists, skips and conveyers and expanding supplier for both agricultural and industrial three million tonnes. the mill to include new process control products. Mosaic operates three potash mines in equipment and construction of a new Agrium operates one potash mine, the Saskatchewan; the Belle Plaine, Colonsay and substation and power supply system. Vanscoy operation, which is currently Esterhazy operations. At Cory, the two-phase project includes undergoing an expansion that will increase The Belle Plaine solution mine was the first construction of a new mill that will enable production capacity from 1.8 to 2.8 million of Mosaic’s current expansions, expected to the facility to produce red potash products tonnes/year. Named the VAULT project, this add 0.6 million tonnes of capacity/year with in addition to its current white products. expansion encompasses three general areas $500 million investment. The project included The project also included a new production including: mine, shaft, hoist and headframe; expansion of its refinery and storage facilities, headframe complete with higher capacity ore handling, compaction, mill, loadout as well as increased minefield development. hoists, skips, bins and conveyors as well and product storage; and infrastructure, The Colonsay project was completed as improvements to load-out and storage utilities and off-sites. Activities in these in 2013 and is expected to add 0.5 million infrastructure, and the addition of a new areas are being completed in conjunction tonnes/year capacity at a cost of $700 million. electrical substation and several new mining with three enabling projects: a 138 kV power The expansion included a variety of pivotal machines. system project; a tailings-management area projects, including expanding and upgrading At Lanigan, the debottlenecking and reconfiguration; and new slimes thickener

Saskatchewan’s Growth

World-class project


BHP Billiton In 2010, BHP Billiton celebrated its 150th anniversary. As the merger of two successful mining companies from Indonesia and Australia, BHP Billiton has been mining a wide array of resources on a global scale, and has had exploration rights to thousands of kilometers of highly prospective ground in the Saskatchewan potash basin. Currently, the company’s efforts are focused on the Jansen project, located about 140 kilometres from Saskatoon. The Jansen investment to date in Saskatchewan has been significant. After the current work is completed, BHP Billiton will have invested over $4 billion in potash development in Saskatchewan. Approval has already been given to invest in two shafts that will reach the potash layer, an investment that will also set up a permanent headframe on one of the shafts and install a construction camp of approximately 2,500 workers. “We believe that Jansen is the world’s best undeveloped potash resource and is likely to be one of the lowest cost sources of supply once fully developed. Investment in Jansen could provide the opportunity to develop a multi-decade, multi-mine basin in Saskatchewan,” said Chris Ryder, VP of Corporate Affairs BHP Billiton Potash.

Close to home

K+S lets me stay in Saskatchewan and do what I love. Curtis, Cavern Development Engineer It’s not k+s unless it’s you + us |



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Education Outreach 2014:


rock’n, dig’n and skype’n the classroom

askatchewan Mining Association’s Education Outreach program continues to develop Saskatchewanspecific, curriculum-correlated resources and programs to support the teaching of Saskatchewan’s geology and mineral deposits and to make these relevant to students. With the introduction of the new science curriculum, students now have more opportunities than ever before to explore and learn about the many facets of the province’s minerals industry and potential careers in it. In 2013, the SMA developed a potash kit to accompany its potash lesson plans. The kit contains samples for each student and the teacher in a classroom. The lesson plans are available to download from a new Education Outreach website, Over 675 kits, requested by school divisions, were shipped during the summer and are now in the classrooms. Professional development workshops explaining the potash solution mining activities were presented to several school divisions and teacher professional development workshops including Sciematics, ASSIST and the NATA Conference. Workshops not only inform teachers about the SMA’s resources; they also provide important feedback from educators for refinement of the current classroom resources and for development of future educational materials. Other new initiatives in 2013 included creation of an Education Outreach website ( and a Pinterest page (http://www.pinterest.

com/educationsma/) to host lesson plans and provide information for teachers and students on geoscience, Saskatchewan’s mining industry and careers in the mining industry. An ongoing goal is to develop new resources to help support new secondary school science courses, including Earth Science 30, Physical Science 20 and Environmental Science 20, in addition to current courses. All the new SMA resources have been developed to correlate with the Ministry of Education’s Science curriculum. They can also be integrated into the Practical and Applied Arts (Energy and Mines 10, 20, 30) Social Studies, English and Math curricula. By developing curriculum-relevant lessons around a common theme, such as potash solubility, and expanding these lesson plans to introduce more complex ideas as a student progresses from Grade 4 to Grade 12, the student’s prior knowledge about the mineral resources most relevant to Saskatchewan is continually built upon. Skype’n the Classroom is a new program for 2014 that connects educators, students and members of Saskatchewan’s mining community. Teachers can submit a request for a conversation related to a mining topic they are studying, and SMA will try to match a company volunteer with that classroom. How does mining benefit you, your community and the province? The Digging Deeper Challenge, open to students in Grades 4 to 12, asks the students to consider the day-to-day use of minerals in their lives, and the role Saskatchewan’s mining companies play in the communities and the province. Students are challenged to create

a two-minute-long PowerPoint or video presentation explaining the benefits of mining to themselves, their community and their province. Students and classrooms could win one of 10 prizes for their PowerPoint or video. Winners will be announced during Mining Week (May 24 to 31) and will have their entry posted on the SMA Education Outreach website ( Next year’s Digging Deeper Challenge will start in September and run until May 1, 2015. SMA support for the classroom helps to build students’ awareness of the importance of mining in the province, and the career opportunities available. SMA is developing sets of career profile cards that highlight various careers in the mining industry. On these, members of Saskatchewan’s mining work force will outline what a day on the job is like, some of the reasons why they chose their career and why it is such a great one. Look for the Explore for More Saskatchewan Career Portfolio in the schools next September. The SMA is one of several stakeholders who are working in collaboration with the Saskatoon Industry Education Council (SIEC) to develop a career development website for all Saskatchewan youth, parents, employers and educators/ career practitioners. The website will be a “Saskatchewan-specific, comprehensive career development website that connects job seekers, youth, parents and educators/

career practitioners with the right information about current and emerging occupations and career paths in the Saskatchewan economy,” according to Janet Uchacz-Hart, SIEC. The SMA and member companies will be contributing content material for the various mining careers available in Saskatchewan. The careers profiled in the Explore for More Cards will complement the website and be supported by resources provided on it. A mainstay of the SMA Education Outreach Program continues to be the Rock’n the Classroom GeoVenture Program that was initiated in 1977. See the story on Page 15 about this action-packed, week-long professional development adventure for educators. If you would like more information about the SMA’s Education Outreach resources or would like to arrange a workshop for your teachers, please contact SMA at: education@ Supplied by Saskatchewan Mining Association

SIMSA aims to promote Saskatchewan industry By Rachele Odnokon For L-P/SP Specialty Products he Saskatchewan Industrial & Mining Suppliers Association Inc. (SIMSA) is a non-profit organization consisting of Saskatchewan-based companies in the industrial and mining sectors. Founded one year ago by a small group of companies in response to opportunities arising from the province’s boom, SIMSA has been working tirelessly to promote Saskatchewan to potential investors. As SIMSA president and general manager Tom Foster explained, the organization was created with the hopes of representing the diverse interests of the various individual companies within the sector, as well as promoting industry in Saskatchewan as a whole. “A small group of companies were concerned about the new international companies and engineering firms coming to Saskatchewan and not being aware of or appreciating the capabilities of


Saskatchewan’s design, manufacturing and construction support infrastructure. Saskatchewan has developed a worldclass manufacturing base that supports the broad industry requirements ranging from forestry, mining, oil and gas to power and steel production, and Saskatchewan-based companies have the ability to not only compete for these projects, but also partner with each other when the scope is too large for an individual company,” Foster said. SIMSA is made up of eight founding companies and their representatives. The board, led by Tom Foster of Industrial Machine & MFG Inc., consists of Ken Cenaiko of Croatia Industries Ltd., Jim Thompson of Brandt Engineered products Ltd., Dwayne Howatt of Continental Mine & Industrial Supply Ltd., Jim Nowakowski

of JNE Welding, Bruce Lyle of GMR Electric Motors Ltd., Dwaine Friesen of AJ Machine and Manufacturing Ltd., and Francis Nagy of Deca Industries Ltd. “The members of SIMSA and the board want not only to help educate potential international customers investing in Saskatchewan, but also to direct future development of the infrastructure or fabric of the province, by ensuring we influence procurement policies to look at the net benefit to both our potential customers as well as the people of Saskatchewan, rather than just low tender on bid day,” Foster said. Last year, at the Saskatchewan Mining Supply Chain Forum, SIMSA celebrated its first anniversary and unveiled a new logo. According to Foster, the logo has special significance reflecting SIMSA’s passion and commitment to its members and to

the province. “The eight blocks above the letter ‘M’ in SIMSA represent the eight companies that have come together to get the association started. It is also symbolic of a flock of geese, with each member taking turns to advance the ‘flock,’” Foster said. He explained that the blocks, which are green and gold, are also meant to be a symbol of the province of Saskatchewan. SIMSA has accomplished a lot in its first year, and is looking forward to an even more prosperous future for the province. The year has been very busy, planning events such as an Oil & Gas breakfast and Oil & Gas 101 Training, and supporting a number of conferences, such as the 2014 Mining Supply Chain Forum. Foster said, “With the downturn in the Saskatchewan mining industry over the last year, the need for SIMSA is even more important to communicate our abilities and ensure we try to maximize the Saskatchewan content of the projects throughout the province.”



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On May 7, the world of mining was presented to the future workforce. Minerals and Products (MAP) is a oneday, Saskatchewan Mining Association (SMA) sponsored exhibition that showcases six main stages of the mining cycle (exploration, mining, processing, products, sustainability and safety), their Searching for diamonds at the Processing Pavilion. roles in mineral resource development and the diversity of career opportunities Saskatchewan Ministry of Education’s Grade each stage offers. Over 360 Grade 7 students from 12 schools 7 Science (Earth’s Crust and Resources and Mixtures and Solutions units) as well as in the Saskatoon Public School Division, the Social Studies (Resources and Wealth Greater Saskatoon Catholic School Division, unit and the Careers unit, Connections to Prairie Spirit School Division and Saskatoon Community). Tribal Council, attended the MAP event at SIAST’s Kelsey Campus. MAP featured six interactive, themed Pavilions: pavilions offering a wide array of Exploration imaginative and engaging activities and Products displays. Mining Many of the activities presented have been Sustainability developed as mini lessons that correlate Processing with the outcomes and indicators in the Safety

Mining for chocolate chips at the Mining Pavilion. Students had their own field books containing information and questions related to each theme as they toured the pavilions. MAP was developed by the Saskatchewan Mining Association’s member companies in partnership with the Saskatoon Industry Education Council, SIAST, Saskatchewan Research Council and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. Students from the Saskatoon Business College, Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technology and the University of Saskatchewan College

of Engineering and the Department of Geological Science volunteered at the event. MAP Saskatoon 2014 was a pilot project with the pavilion-based centres designed so they are portable and able to travel to smaller communities where the event can be hosted at communitities throughout the province. For more information about the MAP event or if you would like to host an event in your part of the province, please contact SMA at

Rock’n the Classroom!

Annual GeoVenture teachers’ tour of Saskatchewan mines Testimonial Deb deCaux, principal of Dinsmore School and a former teacher at La Loche Community School, said, “I lived and taught in Northern Saskatchewan for 16 years and it was not until I was in the SMA teachers’ tour that I gained a real understanding of all the opportunities available for Saskatchewan students. I continually recommend it to my colleagues.” and milling operations in central and southern Saskatchewan, and a coal mine in southern Saskatchewan. Stops at the T-Rex Discovery Centre, the Potash Interpretative Centre, Grasslands National Park and a visit to a clay mining operation and pottery studio rounded out the week-long program. Are you a teacher interested in this year’s Rock’n the Classroom GeoVenture, August 16 to 22, 2014? Due to the high level of interest and limited enrolment, interested educators are encouraged to apply as early as possible. Letters of application should indicate your interest, teaching background (years of experience, grade level, subject areas) and personal and school contact information including telephone, fax and email. Please send your application via email or post to: Saskatchewan Mining Association GeoVenture Program, 1500 – 2002 Victoria Avenue, Regina, SK S4P 0R7, or email: Application deadline for the 2014 tour is May 31, 2014. Check out past GeoVenture Programs at: http://www.smageoventure.blogspot. ca/2012/08/august-18-2012-day-1of-sma-geoventure.html and http:// Submitted by Saskatchewan Mining Association

The 2013 GeoVenture tour for educators included site visits at operating mines such as Cameco Corporations Eagle Point uranium mine and Westmoreland Coal Company, Poplar River mine.



he SMA’s annual summer Rock’n the Classroom GeoVenture tour for educators presents a truly in-depth experience in a classroom as big as the province. Every summer, enthusiastic teachers from across Saskatchewan get together to experience the diversity of our province’s mineral resources. The SMA Rock’n the Classroom GeoVenture teachers’ tour is a six-day adventure that includes a mix of formal and informal presentations along with field trips to mine sites. The SMA launched the annual GeoVenture Teachers’ Tour program in 1977 with the initial goal of providing teachers with a better understanding of mining operations in the province. The program has evolved over time to identify how information on mining and earth science can be incorporated into the classroom curriculum as well as mining-related career paths for students. Key mining and geological concepts are presented, with discussions on how the curriculum relates to what the participants experience through the GeoVenture program. Participants also receive free curriculum teaching resources. As one teacher put it, “This was, by far, the most enjoyable, most educational and most rewarding professional development activity I have ever been part of!” The SMA sponsors all participant costs for the Rock’n the Classroom GeoVenture program once it starts, including flights, bus transport, meals and accommodation. Participants are charged a nominal fee of $50 to secure their place in the program. Travelling literally from top to bottom across the province by plane and tour bus, last year’s GeoVenture included a halfday introductory workshop, followed by day-long site visits to a uranium mine and mill operation in northern Saskatchewan, underground and surface potash mining




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Safety competition showcases excellence in emergency response, mine rescue skills By Mike Shiplack For L-P/SP Specialty Products ining is one of the safest industries there is. We don’t have a whole lot of time when there’s an emergency response, but if that bell ever does ring, we know we’re ready,” said Doug Poole, event coordinator, and chair for the annual Emergency Response/Mine Rescue Skills Competition (ERMRSC). The 2014, 46th annual ERMRSC will be held on May 31 at Saskatoon’s Prairieland Park. Seventeen six-person teams will compete this year in either surface or underground competitions. The teams represent several mining companies from across Saskatchewan, including PotashCorp, Agrium, Mosaic, Cameco, AREVA, and Sherritt Coal. The first competition was in 1969, and it looked a lot different back then. Today’s competition includes current safety regulation requirements as well as industry best practices as part of the practical demonstration, but it also tests the knowledge of these requirements through a written exam. The first team to win this annual competition was Potash Company of America. Last year’s winners were Mosaic Potash Belle Plaine for the surface competition, and Cameco McArthur River won the underground competition. “First and foremost, it’s the best training you can give your teams to simulate pressure,” said Poole, who has worked with Potash Allen Division for the last 37 years. “We can’t throw them into real life scenarios for practice or fun. The only way to simulate that kind of pressure — for quick decisions, to think of the safety of your team and those around you — is if you’re in scenarios like this. Second fold is that it’s a place for them to showcase their talents. They train hard all year round.” Each surface and underground teams compete in five events. The day before the event, all teams write a proficiency bench test and exam. On May 31, the competition really heats up. Spectators get to sit back and watch the teams demonstrate their skills in: firefighting, first aid scenarios designed by St. John’s Ambulance, practical skills, and a problem for both surface and underground teams to solve. Judges will then evaluate each team’s ability to follow regulatory requirements and work quickly and efficiently as a team. According to Poole, the most exciting event is firefighting. “You want to approach the fire with the wind at your back to assist you. You have to be aware of your partner. Some of these fires can sneak under the lip of the pan. You have to be sure it’s out and, Continued on Page H17


Participants in the 2013 Emergency Response Mine Rescue Competition compete in the Firefighting Event.

This year’s competition The Saskatchewan Mining Association Emergency Response & Mine Rescue Skills Competition Saturday, May 31, 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Prairieland Park, Saskatoon



Water and mine waste challenges can arise at any point during a mine’s lifecycle. Trust Golder to develop integrated engineering and environmental management plans to mitigate water and mine waste challenges to help achieve pragmatic solutions, accountability and effective regulatory risk management. Through reliable site characterization and environmental effects monitoring, Golder can provide a solid foundation of credible information that decision makers and stakeholders can rely on. So when it comes to thinking about your mine’s future and ultimate legacy, just ask Golder. Engineering Earth’s Development, Preserving Earth’s Integrity.

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Keeping uranium a safely regulated resource


Environmental protection is key area of CNSC regulatory oversight.

ranium mining and milling is the only type of mining that is licensed, regulated and monitored by the federal government. As Canada’s nuclear regulator, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) licenses and verifies that uranium mines and mills are operated safely to protect the health of workers, the public and the environment. The organization strives to keep Canadian nuclear activities among the safest and most secure in the world. The CNSC inspects and monitors all aspects of uranium mining and milling — including radiation protection, environmental monitoring, worker health and safety, waste management, emergency preparedness and the safe transport of uranium. The findings of the commission’s inspections and compliance programs are provided in annual performance reports. Overall, verification activities confirm that uranium mines and mills are operating safely. The CNSC’s annual performance report showed that no member of the public or worker received

a radiation dose that exceeded the regulatory limit, no serious workplace injuries or accidents occurred and that environmental protection programs continue to be effective. The CNSC is committed to keeping the public informed of its activities and the regulatory process. Visit to read the annual performance reports and to learn more about the regulation of uranium mining and milling in Canada. If you have any questions or concerns, please call 1-800-668-5284, or visit the CNSC’s regional office at 101 - 22nd Street East, Suite 520, Saskatoon. The CNSC regulates the use of nuclear energy and materials to protect the health, safety and security of Canadians and the environment, and implements Canada’s international commitments on the peaceful use of nuclear energy and disseminates objective scientific, technical and regulatory information to the public. Submitted by Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

Safety competition

Continued from Page H16 if it’s not, you get demerits. There’s nothing more embarrassing than having to recharge your fire extinguisher.” Spectators will need to have some background knowledge to appreciate the complexities of the events. However, there will be lots of informational material on hand at Prairieland Park so everyone can follow along as the teams compete. The pressure is also on the event planning committee, which has spent the last year organizing and planning every last detail. “You can plan as best you can, but on the day of the event, there always seems to be some curve ball,” said James Ferstl, coordinator of the fire event for the last 10 years, and 2010 ERMRSC committee chairperson. “Nine times out of 10, the competitors or spectators don’t know something happened, but that speaks to the quality and organization of the committee. We work as a team and get the job done.” The committee gets together shortly after the competition is over to begin planning for the next year. Much like the competitors, the

committee members meet on a monthly basis to ensure everything will run smoothly. This is one of few events that require the collaboration of all the mining companies in the province to work together. Once safety becomes the forefront of the conversation, every mining organization takes off their company hats to work together and learn from each other. As for the competitors, all teams play to win, but when the fires are out and the dummies are saved, the knowledge and experience that comes from these competitions is the main priority. Another important factor that never goes unnoticed is the family support that really drives teams to succeed. “Everyone trains for a number of years for this competition,” said Rick Morrison manager — Safety, Health, Radiation, Environment, Quality, Compliance & Licensing McArthur River Operations, Cameco Corporation — his team won the 2013 underground competition. “They are studying at home and putting in lots of personal time. Some say the biggest supporter of the program is management, but Competitors react to real-life scenarios in the Underground First Aid Event at the 2013 Mine Rescue it’s really the wives and partners.” Competition. This year, 17 six-person teams will compete in surface and underground competitions.


When Paul took over his dad’s sales territory, he had big, muddy shoes to fill. We became a publicly traded company 25 years ago, but our customers still think we’re a family business. As a longtime potash salesman, Bill Whitworth was never afraid to walk the fields with his customers. And he followed one simple rule: “Always do what you say you’re going to do.” This worked pretty well for him over the years. Bill sowed dozens of successful customer relationships, not to mention lifelong friendships. He even inspired his son, Paul, to become a salesman at PotashCorp. Today, thanks to his father’s nourishing example, Paul is growing his own relationships. To see the video of Bill’s story, visit


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Diamonds in Saskatchewan — perseverance is essential By Michele Tyndall For L-P/SP Specialty Products t has been more than two decades since diamond deposits were discovered in Northern Saskatchewan, but patient companies in the mining industry are optimistic about creating a viable diamond industry in the province. “Diamond discoveries that have the potential to become mines really don’t happen very often. It truly is rare to satisfy all of the criteria required for a deposit to be economic and developed as a mine. The time it takes to bring a new discovery to the mining stage can be anywhere from eight to over 20 years, so they truly are rare as far as commodities go,” said Ken Armstrong, president and CEO of North Arrow Minerals. North Arrow Minerals Pikoo Project is one of the company’s main properties. In 2013, diamonds were discovered at the Pikoo Project, stimulating a lot of other diamond exploration in the area. Pikoo is still very much an exploration story, focusing on defining kimberlite targets, drilling, geophysical surveys and till sampling. Situated at the site of Canada’s newest kimberlite cluster, Pikoo is showing


North Arrow Minerals geologist collecting till samples for the diamond exploration program. exceptional potential and helping to establish Saskatchewan as a strong new diamond district. Shore Gold has been working on a large kimberlite deposit east of Prince Albert since

1995. The site, Fort-a-la-Corne, is considered to be one of the largest in the world. It has been home to the Star-Orion South Diamond Project since 2006. The area is close to major mining supply centres and a paved highway,

grid roads and network of forestry roads provide excellent year-round access to the property, enhancing its potential for longterm diamond mining and production. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a diamond explorer to work on a diamond-bearing kimberlite that has an extremely good probability of becoming a major diamond mine,” said George Read, vice-president of Exploration for Shore Gold. At this point in time, diamonds are not currently being mined or produced in Saskatchewan but exploration and evaluation is ongoing. As well, there is a diamond cutting and polishing facility, Embee Diamonds, located in Prince Albert, and the province has a world-class diamond recovery laboratory at the Saskatchewan Research Council in Saskatoon. The potential is definitely here for future diamond production with the work Shore Gold and others have done in the Fort-a-la-Corne area and North Arrow’s discovery of diamonds at the Pikoo Project. The Sask Craton that underlies Saskatchewan has shown that it hosts the right conditions for diamond formation and this will keep Saskatchewan on the map as far as exploration interest is concerned.

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McClean Lake mill prepares for processing of Cigar Lake ore L-P/SP Specialty Products n order to reach the market, even the most concentrated uranium must be extracted from its ore and packaged for transport. Fortunately, now that uranium is being produced by the Cigar Lake mine in northern Saskatchewan, it can be efficiently milled by AREVA’s nearby McClean Lake mill, which is expanding to receive ore from the massive, previously undeveloped deposit. “We’ve been a partner in Cigar Lake for a long time, and Cigar Lake has been in development for quite some time, so we’re obviously very excited to see the beginning of production right now,” said Jarret Adams, spokesperson for AREVA Resources Canada. Currently, ore deliveries from the mine to the mill are steady. “The trucks have been coming regularly [from Cigar Lake] since it started [production] in March,” Adams said. When it opened in 1995, McClean Lake was both a mine and processing operation, but the site has been on shutdown since the suspension of milling activities in 2010. Now that Cigar Lake is producing, the processing plant can be re-started to mill the Cigar Lake uranium ore. “It’s shipped in what they call a ‘slurry,’ which means that it’s almost like a mud, it’s ground to a fine sand and mixed with water and transported in specially engineered containment vessels by truck to McClean Lake,” Adams said. “At McClean Lake, we take the uranium and separate it from the other constituents in the ore, so what you’re left with is pure uranium concentrate, or what they call ‘yellowcake.’ ” “It’s largely a chemical process, separating the uranium from the ore, and so you’re left with pure uranium that’s packed into steel drums and then shipped off to our customers.”


The existing facility is already specially constructed to accommodate the high concentrations of uranium found in the Athabasca Basin. “The McClean Lake mill is unique in that it’s designed for processing the high-grade ore that you find in northern Saskatchewan, so we have special shielding and extensive ventilation systems to protect the workers from radiation,” said Adams. The McClean Lake complex will, however, have to expand to process all of the ore from Cigar Lake, as the new mine is the largest undeveloped high-grade uranium deposit in the world and, once fully underway, is expected to produce quantities of uranium that are second only to the nearby McArthur River mine. In addition, Cigar Lake and McArthur River produce uranium ore that is up to 100 times more concentrated than the world average for uranium mines. “Today, we’re working on a major expansion of the McClean Lake mill to essentially double its capacity to 24 million pounds per year, and we should have completed this upgrade by 2016,” Adams said. “We also needed to make some modifications to the mill’s leaching circuit to address some issues with hydrogen generation in the Cigar Lake ore.” “All of the other parts of the plant are ready to go so we’re looking forward to beginning processing the Cigar Lake ore this summer,” Adams said. Once the physical improvements have been made, McClean Lake will also require a larger workforce. “Currently, we have about 250 people working at the McClean Lake site in two shifts,” said Adams. “Their numbers are growing as we increase. In fact, we expect to hire 60 additional people at McClean Lake, bringing our total to over 300 employees by the end of the year.”

This hiring increase is expected to be a particular boon to northern communities. “Our priority is hiring residents of northern Saskatchewan,” Adams said. “That’s where we focus our efforts, and we go to great lengths to find and cultivate those employees. At present, about 49 per cent of our employees are northern residents, and we’re doing our best to improve those numbers.” Employment at the plant is tailored to allowing local residents to maintain contact with their home communities. “It’s a great working environment for someone who lives in a northern community,” said Adams. “You work for one week, and then, on your week off, you can go back to the community where you’re from and you can stay in the place where you grew up. A lot of people have to leave the place where they grew up to find work.” Beyond Saskatchewan, production of Cigar Lake ore through McClean Lake will even influence the global uranium market. “It will increase Canada’s share of the world production of uranium,” Adams said. “Today, Canada is the second largest producer behind Kazakhstan, and production from Cigar Lake won’t help the total surpass Kazakhstan, but it will significantly increase the proportion of the world’s uranium that comes from Canada.” Saskatchewan as a whole may be a significant beneficiary of that increase in Canada’s global market share. “It’s very important that Cigar Lake is moving forward,” said Adams. “We were delighted to see the beginning of production of ore, and we’re confident that the operation of both Cigar Lake and McClean Lake are going to have a major economic impact on not just northern Saskatchewan, but the province as a whole.”

Cutting-edge mining technology The process of extracting ore from a high-grade underground deposit is a complicated one, as Dylan Probert can attest. The Cameco employee has been at the Cigar Lake mine for five years, beginning work when the mine was still flooded. Today he operates a jet bore machine, which reflects the cutting-edge technology needed to mine uranium in Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Basin. Due to the peculiarities of the geology at Cigar Lake, mining the deposit requires speciallyengineered technology. “The jet bore drill is a machine that was designed for Cigar Lake because of our unique ground conditions and the ore body,” said Probert. The system drills into the ore body and removes ore with a jet of high-pressure water. A mixture of ore and water is piped away from the deposit to underground processing circuits, where it is ground and thickened, and then pumped to surface for transportation to the McClean Lake mill. Probert trained to use the jet bore technology onsite, where it continues to challenge its operators. “I’m still learning — it is quite a complicated process,” he said. Fortunately, Probert had earlier experience mining at Rabbit Lake, and he finds that operators of similar machinery do have transferrable skills. “We were able to get some people with diamond drill backgrounds, raisebore operator backgrounds who could apply their insight on the drilling part. But there’s also the jetting part with a lot of process-type stuff,” he said. “We’re learning how everything works because it’s new to everybody on-site.” Training on the job can be convenient for workers in the northern Saskatchewan facility, especially when studying unique mining equipment. Moreover, the location is particularly relevant to Probert, as it is to many of the employees who work at the mine. “I actually grew up on a trap line not too far from here,” he said. “My dad, he still lives up north by himself, trapping to keep busy.” Although Probert now lives in Prince Albert, he is able to work in a highly technical field without having to relocate too far from his roots.

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WESTMORELAND COAL COMPANY is proud to celebrate

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Saskatchewan Mining Week Think of all the things in your daily life that depend on the availability of reliable, stable sources of lights, computers, schools and hospitals. Now, consider where all that electricity comes from in Saskatchewan.

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Developing mines in Northern Saskatchewan requires strong partnerships L-P/SP Specialty Products n the past several years, more than 315 agreements have been signed across Canada between resource companies and First Nations and Métis people to provide secure benefits to the communities. According to Sean Willy, the director of corporate responsibility at Cameco, the partnerships in Northern Saskatchewan have been a benchmark for other companies across the country. “Saskatchewan has always been one of the leaders in Aboriginal engagement. Our model is emulated across the country and around the globe,” he said. The Saskatoon-based company is one of the world’s largest uranium producers. He said that signing an agreement with both the English River First Nation and the northern Village of Pinehouse in Northern Saskatchewan simply helped solidify an already-strong 25-year relationship. “They asked if we’d be interested in signing an agreement, and we said, ‘Sure, if you think it would be in the best interests of your communities,’” said Willy. “We wanted to recapture everything we were already doing as partners — basically, we just needed to codify the formal relationship.” The three-party agreements also include AREVA, a nuclear energy producer and growing presence in the renewable energies sector, also based in Saskatoon. For the First Nations communities, it was important to have the security of a contract that would define benefits for their members. Mike Natomagan, mayor of Pinehouse and president of Kineepik Métis Local Inc., said the community is striving to be a significant and growing participant in the economy of Northern Saskatchewan and stressed that a strong, mutually supportive relationship with Cameco and AREVA will deliver


development to benefits for many years to come, and ensure ensure they will that Pinehouse has an even stronger voice have a skilled, in terms of protecting the environment for trained workforce future generations. “This agreement will provide long-term benefits to our community they could tap into as their and gives us to ability to plan for the projects continue future,” said Natomagan. “It allows us to to grow. expand on our strong mining culture and According do it our way.” The potential value of the to Willy, agreement is estimated to be approximately these formal $200 million over the next decade, mainly partnerships through employment income and business work because development, but also through development they are in the community. The agreement also transparent and confirms an ongoing commitment to protect readily available the health and safety of Pinehouse residents. to the public. “I English River First Nation (ERFN), which really think the is comprised of seven reserves in Northern Metis Leader Gary Tinker, Pinehouse Mayor Mike Natomagan and Cameco mining industry, Saskatchewan (Cree Lake, Porter Island, president and CEO Tim Gitzel (left to right) at Pinehouse collaboration agreement the First Nations Elak Dase, Knee Lake, Dipper Rapids, signing ceremony. communities Wapachewunak and La Plonge), will also and the province benefit from their agreement with Cameco should take pride and even though there will always be critical and AREVA. Its 1,400 members will see an in what we’ve accomplished,” he said. “We conversations, the bottom line is that, in the economic benefit of $600 million in the first have great relationships with our partners, end, we are friends.” 10 years, along with commitments to keep the community strong and healthy. “It’s a business deal that we’ve been working on for a number of years in an effort to collaborate more with industry,” said Marie Black, ERFN vice-chief. “We believe we are setting a precedent in our work Specializing in: with other industries for • Urethane and Rubber flotation parts the future. We are moving forward.” • Material handling pump parts With these agreements, • Tank/Chute linings the mining companies Saskatoon/Lloydminster/Regina • Custom Urethane/Rubber parts were able to put an emphasis on workforce • Polyurea sprayable lining

Northern Career Quest

— providing career opportunities to Northern Saskatchewan residents L-P/SP Specialty Products orthern Career Quest is changing lives and creating employment opportunities for aboriginal students in Northern Saskatchewan. The mandate of the project is to provide training that leads directly to long-term, full-time employment in the mining sector for aboriginal people living in Northern Saskatchewan. Funded by both the provincial and federal governments, Northern Career Quest uses that funding for training allowances, income support and staffing. Northern Career Quest attempts to remove most barriers which generally impede success, and covers the cost of the program, tuition, books and training allowances for those individuals that cannot get funding from other sources. According to Steve Innes, CEO of Northern Career Quest, the program offers a variety of educational programs, such as apprenticeship training and a variety of certificate programs for specific mining positions such as radiation tech, geological tech, mill operator and mine engineering tech. “Major mining companies in the Northern region are required to fill 50 per cent of their positions with residents of Saskatchewan’s North through their human resource development agreements,” said Innes. “Our program helps ensure that the aboriginals they employ will be trained appropriately, as our industry partners do the final selections for all programs.” With the mining companies taking a hands-on role in determining which students are best-suited for each program, it helps ensure success, as the vast majority of the training occurs onsite. This way, the companies select and train the individuals they feel will be most employable when the educational session is complete. As well, the wage subsidy for apprentices is an important part of the programs’ success. Northern Career Quest commits to partial salary for one year. “Companies like Cameco commit in writing to keep the apprentices for the full four-year apprenticeship and full-time employment beyond,” said Innes. Innes also feels the current accomplishments of the Northern Career Quest program can be credited to the industry-driven board and the flexibility of both federal and provincial funders. Another key aspect to the program, which is scheduled to run until April 2015, is succession-plan training. “Northern Career Quest helps determine what skills an entry level employee requires in order to obtain higher level positions within a company,” said Innes. “This is new to some of the companies we work with, like Cameco and Areva, and they are taking advantage of this internal training in a variety of ways.” What makes this new program addition so appealing to the mining companies is that Northern Career Quest covers the cost of freeing up an existing supervisor from some of their regular duties to act as mentor for six months. Overall, the success Northern Career Quest has enjoyed can be attributed to the fact that training will not start unless a minimum of 50 per cent of the participants are guaranteed employment. “Generally, close to 100 per cent of our participants are guaranteed employment,” said Innes. “Our students know that if successful in the training, then they will get employment.” From May 2008 when the program started to May 2012, Northern Career Quest trained 1,800 students and found employment for 1,412 participants. That shattered their original goal of 750 jobs. “Since February 2013, we have had a 94 per cent success rate of students who complete their training and find employment,” said Innes. For more information on the Northern Career Quest educational programs, visit or call 306-425-4732.


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On-time delivery key to success in global marketplace By Mike Shiplack For L-P/SP Specialty Products he future of Saskatchewan depends on thinking and acting globally. Between potash, agriculture, manufacturing and oil, the demand for Saskatchewan’s exports in the global market are growing exponentially. The question is: can Saskatchewan deliver on a timely basis in order to stay competitive? In 1996, Saskatchewan Trade and Export Partnership (STEP) was created to work with both industry and government to ensure this province becomes a major player on the global stage. As a non-profit organization, STEP’s vision is “prosperity through trade,” and the association envisions remarkable growth for Saskatchewan’s future. “In the broad context, Saskatchewan is the only jurisdiction in Canada that’s talking about doubling its exports by 2020. That’s a very bold statement, and quite frankly it’s absolutely doable,” said Lionel LaBelle STEP president and CEO. One of the most important keys to reaching those lofty goals is how well the transportation/logistics corridor performs. Over the past months, there has been significant discussion on rail capacity and performance specifically in terms of grain shipments. The reality is, all sectors — potash, bulk grain, oil or containers — have underperformed, and this should come as no surprise. The reality from a Saskatchewan perspective is the major pillars of our export capacity are all in the midst of or on the verge of growth that we have never witnessed before. It isn’t as though the industry partners haven’t been planning for it. The construction of the Global Transportation Hub in Regina is a huge step forward. With the relocation of Regina’s CP Rail yard from the centre of the city to the site in January 2013, container traffic may now expand from 40,000 to 240,000 containers per year.


Lionel LaBelle President and CEO Saskatchewan Trade and Export Partnership

In the example of potash, “Canpotex has done an absolutely remarkable job of covering off all the issues related to their transportation needs,” said LaBelle. “They own the rail cars, and they’ve got the warehouse that maintains those cars. At the ports, they have made major investments in ships. The only thing they don’t have is a locomotive and a train track. So they are in the same position as everyone else.” Sometime the statistics are misleading. From 2008 to 2013, the biggest increases in rail use was petroleum products (up 17 per cent), food products (up 7.2 per cent), coal (up 4.8 per cent), and potash (up 4.7 per cent). Grains and oilseeds only had a 1.1 per cent increase in this time. With the 2013 crop being 50 per cent larger than 2012’s, it’s put even more pressure on the rail system. “Recently, under new leadership at one of

the railway companies, locomotive capacity, railcar capacity and employment numbers were all reduced. It is somewhat challenging when we talk to the railways, and talk about grain as an example, they’re talking about a nominal increase in production capacity of one and two per cent per year. However, we don’t believe that the 2013 harvest was an anomaly because emerging technologies have demonstrated that higher yields can and will be expected in the years to come,” argues LaBelle. What about potash? Russia may have made the market soft by reducing the global price point on potash, but Canpotex is capable of handling the increase once the market rebounds. Canpotex and its partnered companies have the ability to significantly increase current production capacities, said Labelle, “and new entrants into the market place like BHP and K + S will challenge rail capacity where solutions will require historic changes.” The test for Saskatchewan is compounded

when one considers recent announcements by the U.S. government regarding the Keystone XL pipeline. The reality is, rail traffic in oil railcars will expand even more. When you combine all of these factors relating to the export growth of Saskatchewan, the overall capacity of the system must be addressed. “Solutions must be found to ensure sectors are not competing with one another for rail capacity but rather all participants’ requirements must be dealt with. When the core of the deliverable is operated by a duopoly the solutions may have to be imposed,” said LaBelle. “Saskatchewan’s exports both nationally and internationally represent over 70 per cent of our GDP. No other jurisdiction in North America is more dependent on exports and our global reputation to deliver has been put to the test. Our ability to create a community and create wealth is absolutely dependent on our ability to be a trusted and reliable exporter of world class goods and services,” said LaBelle.

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BUILDING THE FUTURE Tron has been a significant player in Saskatchewan’s mining industry for over 25 years, providing infrastructure and construction services to a variety of projects. Our management team is highly skilled and experienced, and deeply committed to investing in Aboriginal training and development. This combination ensures that Tron is well positioned to offer top-quality services to new mining and construction developments, First Nation communities and government projects across the province.

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Nurturing homegrown talent:

educational opportunities abound for Saskatchewan students

By Ryan L. Hall For L-P/SP Specialty Products ining. For many people, thoughts of this industry bring to mind tunnels and shafts filled with workers and machinery digging down into the depths of the earth. In these pictures, the skills and training need to become a mine worker appear to be things that can be learnt on the job, with only a select few individuals needing higher education in order to succeed in this field. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth as the mineral and extraction industry in Saskatchewan employs and seeks thousands of highly skilled and trained workers from all across the province, the country and the globe. Practically, this means that anyone who wants to get involved in this sector must receive the proper education in the area of mining they wish to pursue. Thankfully, for those who are interested in mining as a career, there are several post-secondary institutions that offer highquality courses while still retaining their commitment to putting students and their needs at the centre of education. One such institution is Northlands College, whose La Ronge campus currently offers four different certificate and diploma programs that are connected to the mineral and extraction industry. These courses range from training as a radiation or mining engineer technician to underground mining and drilling training — a diversity which allows students to pursue a wide range of interests. Plans are also in the works to develop three additional areas of study with chemical-assay technician, mine site and career exploration and exploration technician programs, which are set to launch in the next couple of years. These new courses reflect the changing nature of the mineral and extraction industry itself, and the creation of new opportunities for students is one way Northlands is making sure graduates have the best chance of success. “As mining continues to grow in Saskatchewan, so do the skills and technical requirements of workers, meaning specialized training is crucial,” said Randy Johns, director of the Mine Training and Research Institute at Northlands College. “These new areas of study will provide our students with the background they need to succeed here in northern mining, or anywhere in the province.” Another place where those interested in a career in the mineral and extraction industry can prepare for their future can be found further south at Parkland College in Melville, which is set to launch its first mining program: Introduction to Mining and Environmental Monitoring. The program is part of a Parkland commitment to Building Environmental Aboriginal Human Resources (BEAHR), and was developed due to an expressed interest in mining from First Nations peoples who wanted to enter this workforce, though all interested individuals are encouraged to enrol. One of the most exciting aspects of the new development taking place at Parkland is a partnership that has developed with Carlton Trail Regional College, which will allow each region to run two programs over the next two years. As a result, more students can gain an awareness of what work at a mine entails, as well as the expectations of industry, and environmental, employers. “The end result,” said Michael Cameron, director of Training and Business Development, “is that our graduates will be at the forefront of the industry, and will be the first employees in the new mines that are moving forward in our province.” While mining and extraction may appear to be well covered by these courses, the entire scope of the industry is actually much larger than it first appears, a fact not lost on Jamie Hilts, dean of Technology at SIAST. “When you stop and think about it, the amount of roles connected to mining goes far beyond what you typically imagine, and includes tradespeople, support staff, business and economists and safety experts,” said Hilts. “And they all require a large body of trained and skilled workers.” To ensure that there is a population of people ready to take up this challenge, SIAST offers over 55 different programs that can prepare students for a career in the mining industry, including a dedicated two-year Mining Engineering Program that has courses in safety, ventilation, geology, surveying and mining operation, as well as other related programs such as instrumentation, and power, mechanical and civil engineering. However, SIAST’s dedication to preparing students goes beyond basic skills and


Graduates of AREVA Resource Canada’s Mill Operator Training Program.

(University of Saskatchewan — Geology) schools to study and learn together via knowledge, as the institute also focuses or (College of distance education. “Such an approach on graduating well-rounded individuals Engineering, University of Saskatchewan). would be innovative and relatively unique that are able to think critically and tackle within Canada,” said Dr. Bergstrom, “and problems proactively. Even though it adds highlights just how confident we to an already challenging workload, this are in our students, the industry multi-focused approach is proof of SIAST’s and Saskatchewan as a whole.” dedication to supporting industry while still For more information on these putting students first. programs or the institutions that To further enforce this principle, SIAST A DIVISION OF Hydratec Industries Ltd. offer them, visit www.trainnorth. regularly partners with local employers ca (Northlands College), www. to provide co-op opportunities that allow (Parkland students to gain practical experience and College), preparation, and this has resulted in a 90 (SIAST), per cent or greater employment rate for HYDRAULIC & PNEUMATIC COMPONENTS & SERVICE science/geology (University graduates within six months of completing of Regina — Geology) www. their program — one of the highest marks in (University all of Canada. “Results like that prove how Phone 306-721-2630 P.O. Box 3324 of Regina – Engineering)www. important it is to us that our programs are Fax 306-721- 2495 85 Kress Street Regina, Sask. tailored to Saskatchewan learners’ unique S4P 3H1 situation,” said Hilts, “and indicate that we are on the right path going forward.” “We strive to meet the expectations For individuals of our clients in a safe manner.” interested in studying Electric Motors Alternators Starters geology, mining and DC to AC Redi-line Generators extraction within a university setting, there Serving Saskatchewan’s are options at both the mining industry University of Regina and the University of since 1985. Saskatchewan. Based on feedback from students and the XMD is working throughout the Potash needs of the industry, the mines in Saskatchewan. College of Engineering at the University of XMD also provides explosive demolition Saskatchewan is rolling throughout the world. out three new options that will allow students within the Bachelor of Xtreme Mining and Demolition Inc. Engineering program to OEM Authorized Distributors for: Box 45, Site 502, RR 5 focus on the geological, Saskatoon, SK S7K 3J8 mechanical or chemical aspects of Mining Office: 306-652-4168 Fax: 866-847-4815 Engineering. The college expects these options Call us for a quote! (306) 244 - 9818 Email: will contain six courses Saskatoon, SK each, and will be open to any student within the faculty, either as electives or as a dedicated field of study. Canada North “What we want to do is provide students the Environmental Services skills and knowledge SASKATCHEWAN OWNED & OPERATED Limited Partnership they are seeking,” said An aboriginal-owned environmental consulting Remediation Work | Geotextile Erosion Control Dr. Donald Bergstrom, Liners | Secondary Containment | HDPE Piping. etc firm providing cost effective professional services associate dean, Faculty for the mining industry in: Relations, “while still • Environmental Impact Assessments maintaining the high • Environmental Baseline Studies and Monitoring standard of education • Aquatic and Fish Studies that we pride ourselves • Aquatic Toxicology on.” • Water Quality Investigations 374200 71st Street St et W Westt To further facilitate this • Hydrology transition, the university Comp. 36, Site 207, RR #2 Saskatoon • Wildlife and Vegetation Assessments is currently recruiting • Habitat Evaluation, Compensation, and Phone: 306-931-8014 Fax: 306-931-8412 three new professors Restoration • Species-at-Risk Investigations that will be focused Cell: 306-260-9676 • Archaeology on developing and E-mail: delivering the courses 211 Wheeler Street within these planned La Ronge, SK Saskatoon, SK S7P 0A4 areas. Additionally, Tel: 652-4432 Phone: 306-425-3204 the university is also Fax: 652-4431 Toll-free: 1-866-931-8014 E-mail: exploring a partnership with Queen’s University Special thanks to our uranium, gold, copper, nickel, and potash mining clients. in Ontario that would allow students in both

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Building bridges to success: IMII and post-secondary education By Ryan L. Hall For L-P/SP Specialty Products here is no question that the mineral extraction industry is an integral part of Saskatchewan’s economy, with a variety of resources helping to fuel and drive the growth of the province. As the benefits of mining continue to be felt, there is also a growing awareness that the path forward includes preparing for the opportunities of the future. In order to achieve this goal and ensure Saskatchewan is ready, the International Minerals Innovation Institute (IMII) has been working hard to build bridges between industry, education, and research. Formed in 2012, IMII is a non-profit organization that was founded to help enhance innovation and research, attract and retain skilled people, serve as a catalyst for industrywide education and research, as well as deliver sustained capacity expansion through education and training, and research and development. Such lofty ambitions, particularly in regards to education, have resulted in IMII adopting a coordinating role that involves providing information, advice and, in some cases, funding to institutions that are interested in mineral field training or research. Practically, this can take on many different forms, but as Engin Ozberk, executive director and Senior Technical Advisor of IMII, said, “At its core, this is about a desire to help in bridging the gap that can exist between industry and education, and doing so in a way that is beneficial to both parties.” Overall, IMII works hard to align the interests and needs of the mineral and extraction industry with the realities faced by postsecondary institutions. Organizationally, this means providing representatives from the six-member large corporations (Agrium, BHP Billiton, Cameco Corporation, K+S Potash Canada GP, Mosaic Potash, and Potash Corp), and those from post-secondary institutions within Saskatchewan the chance to dialogue and communicate with each other — something that can lead to much larger partnerships. “What we want to do,” said Ozberk, “is help both sides realize the shared goals they have.” To that end, IMII also functions as a middleman that receives and presents research and development proposals. For their part, member organizations are free to pick and choose which projects they support using two different schemata: a majority-rules set-up for education and training projects or a “payto-play” where member companies who are interested in a research and development project are responsible for 75 per cent of the funding, though only those who provide funding are allowed a say in that particular project. In both cases, a share of the cost falls to IMII itself as it contributes 25 per cent of the funding in research and development projects, and full value for education and training initiatives. These systems provide a direct connection between industry leaders and educational or research centres, as well as fosters communication and cooperation among all the parties involved. One example of the way IMII is working to coordinate industry and education lies in their advocacy of expanding, or creating, programs that offer training for the mineral extraction industry. “In the past, Saskatchewan found itself crucially short of highly skilled workers when they were most needed” Ozberk explained “and that resulted in some missed opportunities.” To ensure that doesn’t happen again, IMII has been working with postsecondary schools to increase the number and


volume of programs that are offered all across the province. Even though casting such a wide net can be time consuming, Ozberk said that it is crucially important as “the need isn’t just for one program, or a certain degree; what we need is more training and education at all levels.” However, this approach is about far more than readying the province for an upswing in the mineral extraction market. Rather, by increasing the number, quality, and volume of educational programs available, people all across the province can have access to opportunities they might not otherwise have. “One of our main goals is to make sure that we include as many post-secondary institutes as possible Ozberk, “so that we can help them provide local options that can bring people from all over the province into this industry.” Despite this, budget concerns and limitations remain legitimate concerns for many institutions, and that is where the coordination aspect of IMII’s mandate comes into play. Often the money is simply not there to hire new staff members or purchase training equipment, unless outside help is provided. In these cases, IMII takes proposals from schools and presents them to its membership board with the hope that partnerships can be formed between the parties. When this succeeds, what follows is the creation of new programs that are tailored to meet the needs of both groups — programs that are focused on providing students with practical, useful and applicable education. Such a situation recently arose at the University of Saskatchewan, where a movement is underway to provide mineralsindustry-specific training within the Faculty of Engineering, actions which may result in the resurrection of the Bachelor of Mining Engineering degree. However, at least three new faculty members would be required and the cost of hiring them stood as a major obstacle to this goal. This prompted IMII and its members to step up to the plate with the dollars required. “Situations like this show just how important that partnership can be,” said Ozberk, “and how the industry and post-secondary institutions can work together.” Beyond funding though, Ozberk and IMII believe that growing educational programs is also beneficial to the post-secondary schools themselves, as it brings new people and ideas into the fold. Not only can this lead to increased enrollments but, in certain cases, it can also open up new opportunities for the institution itself as quality staff members can have a trickle-down effect on all facets of a program. “Once again, an example can be found within universities, where they are continually searching for the best faculty members possible, since these individuals provide top quality education, increase the prestige of the school, as well as attract new students at the undergrad, and graduate level,” said Ozberk. However, in order to attract these individuals, there is also the expectation that ample research opportunities will be provided, and that meshes well with another of IMII’s goals: to serve as a catalyst for industry-driven research and development. Once again, by using proposals and the pay-to-play method, industry and education are able to partner together to fund research initiative that meet the needs of both groups and produce new ideas and innovations that benefit the province as a whole. An example of this is a joint study by the University of Saskatchewan and SIAST on safety in the mining industry, which has

already received nearly $800,000 in funding for Phase 1 alone. This multi-step project, which is supported by all six IMII members, seeks to review safety programs of these organizations from a multi-disciplinary viewpoint, before continuing on to the next phase featuring recommendations for industry improvement. Remarkably, this project was originally conceived by a graduate student at the university, who wanted to ensure that her many family members and friends who work in the minerals extraction field would have the

best chance possible of coming home safely. “This just highlights how practical and locally flavoured IMII’s work is,” said Ozberk, “and how powerful these partnerships can be.” In the end, IMII believes that the way forward lies in continuing to build the connections between the mineral extraction industry and post-secondary institutions — to the betterment of both parties. “In the end, both sides are concerned with the same thing,” said Ozberk, “sustaining and expanding the growth of Saskatchewan.”

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FORGING NEW PATHS Driven by the entrepreneurial spirit of English River First Nation, Des Nedhe Development is expanding its portfolio to explore new opportunities in construction, mining, retail and real estate development and management. We invest in sustainable companies that serve the people of English River and all of our community and industry partners. Our accomplished and dedicated management team looks forward to exploring new prospects across Saskatchewan, in multiple sectors.

An English River First Nation Company

L to R: Trent Campbell, Community Liaison; Shane Shircliff, VP Corporate Development & Finance; Kathy Berg, VP Corporate Services; Gary Merasty, President and COO; Alfred Dawatsare, CEO; Rob Stanger, VP Construction & Mining; Jamie Dickson, VP Legal; Doug Reynolds, VP Corporate & Community Relations




P o s t m e d i a S a s k at c h e wa n Sp e c i a l F e at u r e

S aturd ay, M ay 2 4 , 20 14

Mosaic builds on its relationship with Saskatchewan’s Aboriginal community


three-month work term has translated into new career opportunities for two local Aboriginal students. Ashley Banks-Lavallee, pipefitter apprentice, and Burton Thomson, loadout operator, were offered full-time employment with Mosaic following the conclusion of their work terms earlier this year. Eight students from the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies’ Mining Industry Prep Program (MIPP) first came to Belle Plaine late last year to complete a four-day practicum. Talented, educated and well prepared, they hoped to gain job experience beyond the program’s

week-long requirement. Driven by their commitment to build a more representative workforce, Mosaic helped facilitate these needs by developing and coordinating a work term for those interested in remaining with the site. Five students accepted the opportunity and participated in three-month work terms in the areas of loadout, electrical, pipefitting, dredge and service rig operations. “By making this effort, we play an important role in exposing candidates to the safe, hands-on experience they need to pursue meaningful careers in our industry,” said Todd Standing, manager responsible for Aboriginal engagement.

Peter Jackson, vice-president of operations, and Nevin Maga, general manager, Belle Plaine, with Mining Industrial Prep Program students.

Mining 2014  

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