Exploration Activity Leads To Gold Rush In Saskatchewan, World's First Carbon Neutral Copper Mine
The Government of Saskatchewan's Targeted Mineral Exploration Incentive (TMEI) program reached an all-time high in 2020-21, attracting $9.8 million of investment in 113 new drill holes for base and precious metals.
The TMEI supported significant exploration for gold, in particular. In 2020, overall exploration expenditures for gold were $14.4 million, double what they were in 2017. The price of gold has increased by more than 55 percent over the last five years.
"Saskatchewan's strong investment climate continues to attract mining exploration, and our TMEI program further enhances our province's competitiveness," Energy and Resources Minister Bronwyn Eyre said. "The growing number of exploration companies taking part in this program is creating jobs and diversifying our province's mining sector."
A total of 12 exploration companies took part in TMEI in 2020, more than double the number of companies that participated in 2019, completing drill programs for gold, silver, copper, nickel, cobalt, zinc and platinum group elements.
"The TMEI program introduced by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Energy and Resources has been beneficial to Taiga Gold and its partners in helping to unlock the mineral potential of our projects in the under-explored Trans Hudson Corridor," Taiga Gold Corp. President and CEO Tim J. Termuende said. "The funding has accelerated our exploration activity in the area and underscores the commitment and support of the current Saskatchewan government."
The 2020 Fraser Institute Annual Survey of Mining Companies Investment Attractiveness Index ranked Saskatchewan as the top-rated jurisdiction in Canada, and third in the world, for mining investment.
"Working in Saskatchewan has been a great experience for Foran, and we are now embarking on the development of our McIlvenna Bay project, destined to be the first carbon-neutral copper mine in the world," Foran Mining Corporation CEO Dan Myerson said. "The assistance of the TMEI program has helped us continue to move our exploration programs forward during the turbulent market conditions of the last few years which has allowed us to advance the McIlvenna Bay project to this point."
The TMEI program was first introduced in 2018 and provides a 25 percent rebate, up to a maximum of $50,000 per year, to encourage drilling activity in support of exploration for base metals, precious metals and diamonds in a defined geographic region of the province. The program is part of the Government of Saskatchewan's Mineral Development Strategy, which was designed to diversify the province's mineral sector. Other components of the strategy include the provision of new airborne geophysical data and complementary ground-based geoscience investigations.