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Province announces initiatives for lithium sector

Prairie Lithium and Grounded Lithium are currently drilling for lithium here in Saskatchewan.
Prairie Lithium photo
Prairie Lithium’s dedicated lithium well near Torquay.

REGINA - The Government of Saskatchewan is expanding the Oil and Gas Processing Investment Incentive (OGPII), along with the Saskatchewan Petroleum Innovation Incentive (SPII) program, to allow for eligible lithium projects.

"Lithium demand is forecast to increase significantly over the next decade and our government is making the most of our opportunity to be a leader in the industry," Energy and Resources Minister Jim Reiter said. "These already attractive incentive programs being expanded to include this critical mineral, advances Saskatchewan's position as one of the best jurisdictions in the world for resource development."

Saskatchewan's Growth Plan supports the transformation of the province's economy through innovation, technology and growth development of Saskatchewan's technology sector, including the development of the lithium sector and lithium extraction technologies. Lithium is considered an emerging commodity which will aid in diversifying Saskatchewan's mining and energy sectors.

Primarily used in portable electronic devices and electric vehicles, lithium has been gaining global attention. The Saskatchewan Geological Survey with the Ministry of Energy and Resources has confirmed the presence of lithium in some Saskatchewan aquifers from their brine sampling program, which began in 2011.

Prairie Lithium and Grounded Lithium are currently drilling for lithium here in Saskatchewan. Prairie Lithium has been using proprietary technology to extract lithium from subsurface brine water since 2020 and drilled their own well dedicated to lithium extraction in fall 2021. This past summer, Grounded Lithium also commenced drilling its first lithium focused well.

In addition to these two companies, there are several others that have acquired subsurface mineral tenure to explore for lithium in Saskatchewan but are not yet drilling. With the expansion of the OGPII and SPII programs to include lithium, the province can look forward to growth and innovation in the sector.

"We are thrilled to hear that the Government of Saskatchewan is including eligible lithium projects into these important incentive programs," Prairie Lithium CEO Zach Maurer said. "We want to see the lithium resources in Saskatchewan further explored and put into production; these incentives help all parties in the industry."

"We welcome this news from the Government of Saskatchewan to support this potentially significant industry in the province," president and CEO of Grounded Lithium Gregg Smith said. "The geology of Saskatchewan chose us as the right place to pursue our lithium-from-brine project, and Saskatchewan stands out as a favourable jurisdiction for lithium resource development.

“We foresee significant growth over the next five years with drilling and facility development accompanied by the associated benefits of impactful job growth and royalty revenues."

OGPII was created to support Saskatchewan's competitiveness in oil and gas development by enabling an increase in value-added processing and infrastructure capacity, while SPII supports the commercialization of significant innovations in the petroleum and natural gas sector in the province.

The expansion of these programs to include eligible lithium projects is expected to accelerate the development of the sector, the government said in a news release.

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