Mineral Exploration

Spring 2014

Mineral Exploration is the official publication of the Association of Mineral Exploration British Columbia.

Issue link: http://digital.canadawide.com/i/264766

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Page 25 of 51

26 s p r i n g 2 0 1 4 photograph : government of s a skatchewan C huck Downie, president and CEO of Athabasca Nuclear Corp. in Cranbrook, B.C., has worked in British Columbia for many years, but circumstances and opportunity combined to lead him to take on a uranium exploration pro- ject in the Athabasca Basin in northern Saskatchewan. "We have a gold property in B.C., but it's hard to finance gold projects now because the price of gold is down," Downie says. "However, there's some market interest in uranium, and since there is a moratorium on uranium explo- ration in B.C., we decided to focus our efforts on Saskatchewan." Downie says he is very familiar with the exploration scene in the Wheat Prov i nce. Th rough Eagle Pla i ns Resources Ltd., the parent company of Athabasca Nuclear, Downie has been working there for years, and he says it's an excellent jurisdiction for a B.C. junior to explore in. "Recently, Saskatchewan went to map staking from ground staking, which makes it easier to acquire new properties," he says. "And there's an excellent geosci- ence database." Downie says Saskatchewan is very friendly to the mineral exploration and mining industries, too. saskatChewan exploration oVerView M i neral ex plorat ion spend i ng i n Saskatchewan continues to be well above historic levels. In the past decade, over $2.7 billion has been spent on exploration and evaluation programs – a big increase over the total $674.5 million spent in the previous 20 years. According to the latest fi gures com- piled by the Saskatchewan Ministry of the Economy (fall 2013), expenditures on mineral exploration and evaluation projects in Saskatchewan totalled $324 million in 2012, topping the $293 mil- lion spent in 2011 and the $321 million spent in 2010. According to preliminar y est i- mates, mineral exploration companies plan to spend about $297 million in Saskatchewan in 2013. Although most of the spending will be on potash and uranium projects, the Ministry says there will also be significant expendi- tures on gold, base metal, diamond, coal, platinum group metals and rare earth element projects. Tim McMillan, Saskatchewan's minister responsible for energy and resources, says exploration will lead to new investments. "And, it is to be hoped, to new produc- ing mines," he says. The Ministry of the Economy says that, as of September 2013, the amount of Saskatchewan land under disposition for mineral exploration totalled 7.5 mil- lion hectares, which is 25 per cent higher than in September 2012. The increase is due mainly to staking around the recent discoveries of uranium at Patterson Lake South and of kimberlite north of Deschambault Lake. The Ministry says the increase was facilitated by Mineral Administration Registry Saskatchewan ( MARS), the province's new electronic registry for issuing mineral claims. Since the introduction of MARS in late 2012, the area disposed for min- eral exploration in Saskatchewan has B.C. JUNIORS ARE HEADING EAST TO EXPLORE FOR MINERALS IN THE WHEAT PROVINCE BY PETER CAULFIELD Rich Rich Saskatchewan soil Saskatchewan soil Expanding horizons: Mineral exploration spending in Saskatchewan is well above historic levels – over $2.7 billion has been spent on exploration and evaluation programs in the past decade. p26-35_Saskatchewan.indd 26 14-02-14 3:07 PM

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