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Province touts budget's support for energy sector

Saskatchewan Mining Association pleased with the budget's contents.
Nikkel Pump Jack at Sunset
Pump jacks at work at sunset.

REGINA - The Government of Saskatchewan says its 2024-25 provincial budget supports Saskatchewan's "world-class" natural resource industries through strategic investments in geoscience, critical minerals, and oil and gas.

"Saskatchewan's energy and mining sectors continue to drive our strong and growing economy," Energy and Resources Minister Jim Reiter said. "We will ensure that Saskatchewan remains one of the best places in the world to invest in exploration and resource development."

This year's budget includes roughly $10 million in funding over 10 years for the Public Geoscience Initiative. This investment will increase exploration to support the province's Critical Minerals Strategy.

More funding will also be allocated to two existing programs, in addition to making room for a specific focus on critical minerals:

•The existing Oil and Gas Processing Investment Incentive has been extended to 2029, and an additional $130 million will now support this program, as well as the newly created Critical Mineral Processing Investment Incentive.

•The existing Saskatchewan Petroleum Innovation Incentive has also been extended to 2029, and an additional $70 million will support this program, along with a newly created program called the Saskatchewan Critical Minerals Innovation Incentive.

The government says Saskatchewan is also introducing a new multilateral well-drilling program to grow incremental oil production in the province. These programs support the Growth Plan goal of increasing oil production by 25 per cent to 600,000 barrels per day.

At the same time, Saskatchewan continues to focus on regulatory excellence to maintain a reliable and competitive business environment. Over the coming year, work will continue to ensure a compliance management framework that is clear and consistent, and will modernize field inspections and incident reporting.

The government says more than 50,000 Saskatchewan residents are employed in the mining and energy sectors, contributing to a strong and growing economy that benefits everyone in the province.

The Saskatchewan Mining Association (SMA) said it is pleased to see the budget contains initiatives that will strengthen Saskatchewan’s Critical Minerals Strategy and secure Saskatchewan’s place as a globally-competitive mining jurisdiction.

Two new incentives included in Saskatchewan’s Investment Attraction Strategy – the Saskatchewan Critical Minerals Innovation Incentive and the Critical Mineral Processing Incentive – further support the development and valued-added processing of critical minerals like copper, lithium and rare earth elements that are vital for the future economy.

These announcements will build on Saskatchewan’s strength as a growing global critical minerals hub. With the mining industry investing over $40 billion in the past 15 years and additional projected $10 billion in the next decade, along with $400M invested annually in mineral exploration to find the next generation of mines, the mining industry will continue to provide economic and social prosperity to residents of Saskatchewan.

“Mining companies invest in Saskatchewan as the province offers a stable and predictable fiscal and regulatory environment," said SMA president Pam Schwann. “We’re also pleased with the new critical minerals innovation and processing incentives and to see additional funding in public geoscience that will leverage more exploration investment and lead to the development of the next generation of mines.”

SMA welcomes Saskatchewan’s Labour Market Strategy that will build the workforce for a growing economy including the mining sector. The 2024 SMA Mining Labour Market Report identifies the need for more skilled workers that are critical to its success.

The SMA says Nutrien’s recent $15 million investment toward the new Saskatchewan Polytechnic Saskatoon campus reflects one example of the mining industry’s commitment to supporting the training of students for future careers in the mining sector.

The budget projects the average price of oil will be US$77 per barrel for West Texas Intermediate. It also calls for oil production to be 166.7 million barrels of oil for the third straight year.