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Sask. government offers new mining claim program

Reported by James Bowler
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It’s a new program that will offer mining companies around the world the opportunity to mine in Saskatchewan with less hassle.

The Mineral Administration Registry Saskatchewan or MARS is an online registry created by the Saskatchewan government to issue permits and allow mining operations to stake claims and leases online instead of in person, as the system used to be set up.

Pam Schwann, executive director of the Saskatchewan Mining Association, said overall this is a benefit to the Saskatchewan mining industry.

“The benefits are really two-fold,” Schwann said. “One is on the ability of individuals and companies to acquire new mineral dispositions in a very timely manner regardless of the season, and do that with a fairly high level of confidence that the ground that they’ve got is on a map.”

The second benefit is the ability for these businesses to manage their land dispositions in terms of work requirements, without ever having to leave their offices.

With many companies tending to have their offices based in other countries, this is a huge plus saving them money in travel and accommodation fees, just to fill out a few papers in person. This also saves companies from possibly losing potential land due to another company being able to get to Saskatchewan quicker.

“The downside is that there will be some difference in employment in terms of people that used to be at work staking claims on the ground,” Schwann said.

Although, she believes these workers can be transitioned into new positions that will become available with the new technology taking hold.

So far, MARS can only be used with the mineral disposition regulation, which covers most precious metals. Coal and potash fall under different regulations due to the rules of ownership, however the government is working towards covering all mining operations under this program.

jbowler@panow.com

On Twitter @journalistjim