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Mining impacts most people in province

Saskatchewan's mining industry touches practically everyone in the province, and its major impact on our economy is being recognized during Mining Week in Saskatchewan, May 30 to June 5.

Saskatchewan's mining industry touches practically everyone in the province, and its major impact on our economy is being recognized during Mining Week in Saskatchewan, May 30 to June 5.

This year's theme of Mining: Investing in Saskatchewan's Growth recognizes both the industry as a driving force and the contribution it's expected to make to our future. The week is also a celebration of the more than 30,500 people employed directly and indirectly in mining and in jobs induced by mining activities.

"Mining is critical to the economic health and wealth of our province," Energy and Resources Minister Bill Boyd said. "Mining contributes to our overall prosperity and GDP, and it builds communities, providing well-paying jobs for people across the province."

"In the next 10 years the Saskatchewan mining industry will require an additional 18,000 workers, including 4,000 tradespeople such as industrial mechanics, electricians and heavy equipment mechanics as well as over 500 engineers," Saskatchewan Mining Association President Kelvin Dereski said.

Mining is Saskatchewan's third largest industry - an industry that has shown considerable resilience from the global economic slowdown of last year. Value of Saskatchewan mineral sales was approximately $5 billion in 2009.

Mineral exploration activity, which leads to the discovery of new mines and growth of the industry, continues to be strong. Exploration spending is expected to be approximately $355 million this year, and would make 2010 the second best year for exploration and mark an increase from actual expenditures of $275 million in 2009.

The Fraser Institute's 2009-10 survey of mining companies ranked Saskatchewan's investment climate and resource potential sixth best out of 72 jurisdictions across Canada and around the world. This is up from a ninth place ranking in 2008 and 12th place in 2007. According to Statistics Canada, capital investment in Saskatchewan's mining industry is expected to reach $2.5 billion in 2010, an increase of almost 10 per cent over 2009.

"Mining continues to rebound from an off-year globally in 2009, and investors are looking to Saskatchewan for the diversity of our resources and our strong business climate," Boyd said.

"Over the next 10 years, the potash industry alone is investing almost $12 billion on Saskatchewan's existing mine sites. There is also the potential of new potash mines and uranium operations and maybe even a diamond mine that will result in billions more in investments."