REGINA - The Government of Saskatchewan's final subsurface mineral public offering for the 2021-22 fiscal year has raised $3,205,870 in revenue for the province, the highest amount since the subsurface mineral public offering process began in 2018.
In total, the province has collected nearly $7.5 million from the three subsurface mineral public offerings this fiscal year. The government says the record amount of money raised this fiscal year can be attributed to the increased interest and demand for lithium.
Given Saskatchewan's geological potential and existing brine extraction expertise and infrastructure, the province is well-situated to become a leader in this industry.
Seventy-seven subsurface permit blocks totalling 236,416.444 hectares were posted in the December 2021 public offering. Forty-six of these subsurface permit blocks, covering 184,959.037 hectares received acceptable bids.
The highest bid was $420,915.71 from NRG Land Solutions Inc. for an 8,094.533-hectare block 28 kilometres southwest of Torquay that is prospective for minerals in formation water such as lithium.
The highest dollars per hectare bid was for a parcel six kilometres east of Bethune that is prospective for potash. The permit, acquired by Buffalo Potash Corp., was $61.50 per hectare for a total of $212,773.81.
Subsurface minerals, as defined in The Subsurface Mineral Tenure Regulations, are natural mineral salts such as lithium and potassium, and their compounds, occurring more than 60 metres underground.
Potash is a potassium compound that occurs as a solid in the subsurface but can be dissolved for solution mining purposes or through natural processes. Lithium is dissolved in formation water and is attracting attention due to its use in lithium ion batteries.
No posting requests have been received for the next scheduled subsurface mineral public offering on Feb. 7, 2022, and therefore has been cancelled. The next subsurface mineral public offering will be held on June 27, 2022.