Mining is the third largest industry in Saskatchewan. Many of the earliest instances of mining date back to the late 1800s. Since that time the province has made tremendous advances in mineral exploration, making Saskatchewan the third largest, non-fuel, mineral and coal producing province in the country. With the total value of mineral sales in 2002 in excess of $2.4 billion, mining accounts for approximately 11% of Saskatchewan's gross domestic product. On an international scale, Saskatchewan is the largest potash and uranium producer in the world, supplying approximately 30% of the world's potash and 34% of the production of uranium. Reserves of potash are found across the southern plains of the province, and large deposits of uranium have been located in McArthur River, Cigar Lake, Rabbit Lake, McClean Lake, Cluff Lake and Key Lake.
Minerals mined in the province include copper, zinc, gold, lead, cadmium, platinum group metals, rare earths, nickel, silver and selenium. Saskatchewan is also home to many exploratory diamond projects. On an industrial level, sodium sulphate, silica sand, clay, peat and salt are all being mined for various uses. Saskatchewan receives extensive economic benefits from the mining industry. In 2003, approximately 5,000 jobs in the industry and an additional 11,000 indirect jobs were dependent on mining in the province, and the industry pays in excess of $250 million in royalties and taxes. From 1987 to 1998 there was more than $10 billion invested into the Saskatchewan industry.
Julie L. Parchewski