Category Archives: uranium and nuclear
Sask. mining rescue crews showcase emergency response skills
By Rebekah Lesko
June 4, 2017
Mining rescue crews from across the province showcased their skills at the Saskatchewan Mine Rescue Skills Competition.
Mining crews from across Saskatchewan came to Saskatoon to show off their emergency response skills.
Teams from potash, coal, uranium and gold mines showcased their rescue skills in simulated scenarios.
If anyone knows how important emergency response training is, it’s Rod Greve.
Greve worked at the Lanigan potash mine for over 40 years and said they are there to help their fellow miners should the need ever arise.
“They want someone to be trained. It’s a highly dedicated group of people from all the mines that get together here,” said GREVE, who is a judge at the 49th annual Saskatchewan Mine Rescue Skills Competition.
“This training improves our community, our teams, our co-workers, everyone benefits from it.”
From fire, to first aid, the competition tests miner’s skills for future emergencies, skills that are even more important in remote regions.
“We need to have to have our own emergency response teams available because resources aren’t available like medical aid or ambulances and fire trucks, we don’t have the communities right next to us,” Camille Pouteaux, a Cameco Key Lake team member, said.
“Having the ability to offer rescue services at the sites are very important.”
New project aims to extract rare earth elements from uranium tailings
ALEX MACPHERSON, SASKATOON STARPHOENIX
Published on: June 5, 2017 | Last Updated: June 5, 2017 6:00 AM CST
Saskatchewan Research Council mineral division head Bryan Schreiner says a new pilot project to remove rare earth elements from uranium tailings could have significant benefits for the province. KAYLE NEIS / SASKATOON
New technology under development in Saskatoon could make it profitable for Saskatchewan-based mining companies to extract “significant” quantities of rare earth elements from uranium tailings solution that would otherwise go to waste.
The parallel processes being piloted by Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC), which started work on the project three years ago, involve concentrating the tailings solution and then using “cells” containing mixers to separate out each of the rare earth elements.
“It’s good for our uranium companies and it’s good for the province,” said Bryan Shreiner, who heads SRC’s minerals division. “And in terms of value for Canada and the rest of the world, rare earths are in demand.”
Rare earth elements are used to improve alloys and manufacture consumer electronics and other products. While the 17 elements are relatively abundant, they are difficult to produce because they almost never appear in significant concentrations.
SRC’s technology, the product of about three years’ work, could not only ease China’s stranglehold on the global market for rare earths, but make extracting the elements much cheaper than setting up a dedicated facility, Schreiner said.
“The value of the elements is quite high. And the other value proposition here is you’ve already crushed and ground and dissolved the material (to get uranium) so you don’t have to do that for the rare earths.”
Schreiner said funding for the project comes from the Crown corporation’s innovation fund. According to its latest annual report, SRC turned revenues of just under $70 million into $484 million in “direct economic benefits” for the province.
It remains unclear, however, if companies invested in the uranium sector will adopt the technology.
Saskatchewan’s uranium industry has been badly hurt by plummeting prices, the result of collapsing demand in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. It remains unclear if any will choose to invest limited capital in the new technology.
Cameco Corp. spokesman Gord Struthers said in an email that while the project is “very preliminary,” the Saskatoon-based uranium mining company has discussed the possibilities with SRC and is considering whether it can “take it further.”
“It’s an interesting idea that could add additional value to our milling operations,” Struthers wrote.
Schreiner said while challenges remain — SRC is comfortable with the separation process but needs to refine its technique for concentrating the tailings solution — there is little doubt Saskatchewan firms would find a market for rare earth elements.
However, “It has to be tried and tested because the companies aren’t really interested in something unless it’s pretty secure and pretty reliable.”
Trump urged to end uranium mining ban near Grand Canyon
June 6, 2017
Fresh push for an end to the ban on uranium mining comes amid fears that the Trump administration will favour mining groups over concerns from the tourism industry and the Native Americans who live in the region. (Photo by kojihirano | Shutterstock)
Arizona and Utah officials are asking US President Donald Trump to end a 20-year ban on uranium mining near the Grand Canyon, which came into effect in 2012 as part of a set of environmental protection rules passed during the Obama administration.
They are also pushing for the abolishment of national monument designations in Arizona, such as Grand Canyon-Parashant and Vermillion Cliffs. They argue those nominations have limited coal, natural gas and oil production in the area, severely hurting the local economy, Knau Arizona Public Radio reports.
Supporters of the ban say new mining activity will likely boost the risk of uranium-contaminated water flowing into the Canyon.
Miners and other groups with a stake in the sector have long argued the US Department of the Interior erred in its decision to ban new attempts to extract uranium from public land near the national park.
According to them, such prohibition was based on “overly cautious,” speculative environmental risks. But supporters of the ban say new mining activity will likely boost the risk of uranium-contaminated water flowing into the Canyon.
This is not the first time mining groups and politicians ask the federal government to withdraw the moratorium, which expires in 2032. Under former President Obama, there were a string of lawsuits filed against this decision, which ended with a 2014 court decision to keep the prohibition in place. According to the ruling, revoking the ban would have resulted in the development of 26 new uranium mines and 700 uranium exploration projects, which would have consumed at least 1.2 billion litres of water, and negatively affected flora and fauna.
Uranium resources in the so-called Arizona Strip represent about 40% of the US reserves. The yellow element was mined there, mostly across the vast Navajo Nation reservation — from western New Mexico into Arizona and southern Utah —, for use in the government’s nuclear weapons program during the Cold War, causing extensive environmental damage.
There still are over 500 abandoned uranium mines on Navajo Nation territory, but funds available to begin the clean-up process could currently only cover about 200 of them.
Top Miner Sees ‘Huge Demand’ Boost from China’s New Silk Road
by David Stringer
May 31, 2017, 9:43 PM CST June 1, 2017, 12:31 AM CST
- Projects to add about 150 million tons of steel demand: BHP
- Producer says has lifted force majeure on Escondida copper
Read about Belt Road Project HERE
China’s multi-billion dollarBelt and Road Initiative can deliver a major boost for commodities and will add about 150 million tons to global steel demand, according to BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s largest miner.
The plan to develop infrastructure and rebuild ancient trading routes from China to Europe overland and by sea has seen projects initiated worth about $1.3 trillion, according to Melbourne-based BHP, the biggest exporter of coking coal and the third-largest iron ore supplier. Investments worth $313 billion to $502 billion could be funneled to 62 Belt-Road countries over the next five years, Credit Suisse Group AG said last month.
“Everywhere where we see the infrastructure being built, on the back of that there will be economic development that will trigger copper demand, which will trigger energy demand,” BHP’s Chief Commercial Officer Arnoud Balhuizen told reporters Thursday in Melbourne. “Steel produced in China will be used along the road, and that of course is good for demand for our commodities.”
BHP on Thursday lifted force majeure restrictions at Chile’s Escondida copper mine, where workers carried out a 44-day strike earlier this year, Balhuizen told reporters. Coking coal sales continue to be subject to restrictions following a cyclone in Australia in March, he said.
The producer declined 0.7 percent to A$23.73 on Thursday in Sydney, extending its decline this year to 5.3 percent.
The “One Belt One Road” initiative promises “huge demand for resources, services and technology,” and is “an opportunity like no other,” Balhuizen said earlier in a speech. BHP gets about 43 percent of full-year revenue from China and a total of at least 68 percent from Asia, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
China’s plan, lauded by President Xi Jinping as a “project of the century,” has the potential to generate about 120 million tons of crude steel demand, according to Citigroup Inc. Increased appetite from infrastructure will support steel even as there’s a slowdown in China’s housing sector, Templeton Emerging Markets Group Executive Chairman Mark Mobius said last month in an interview.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plans for rural electrification, which aim to supply power to every citizen by 2019, and the drive to provide more affordable housing, will also boost commodities and are likely to “have a material impact on demand for coal, iron ore, copper and petroleum,” Balhuizen said in his speech.
BHP sees global demand for potash growing at 2 percent to 3 percent a year through 2030, as the world’s population rises and crop demand swells by 50 percent by 2050, he said. BHP may seek board approval for its Jansen potash project in Canada as early as next June, the producer said last month.
Can France go to 50% nuclear?
May 29, 2017 by Roger Andrews
Newly-elected president Emmanuel Macron has pledged to to cut the amount of nuclear electricity in France’s generation mix from 75% to 50% by 2025 while doubling wind and solar capacity and closing all of France’s coal-fired power stations by 2022. Will France still be able to generate enough electricity to fill demand if it does this? This post concludes that the answer is no, not even if France’s electricity demand decreases in accordance with the most optimistic projections. With 25% of its nuclear generation shut down France would likely face unmanageable power deficits.
First a quick refresher on the French electrical system: The table below summarizes France’s installed capacity and electricity generation in 2015. The data are from the French grid operator Réseau de transport d’életricité (RTE), with wind capacity from the European Wind Energy Association and solar capacity from PV Tech (RTE’s totals do not include installations smaller than 1 MW and therefore underestimate wind and solar capacity). Hydro generation allows for pumped hydro losses and includes both run-of-river and reservoir hydro. Oil capacity is believed to consist largely of diesel peaking plants that are activated only during peak demand hours. A small amount of tidal, biomass and “other” capacity for which complete data are not available are included as “Other”:
According to these numbers France obtained over 93% of its electricity from low-carbon sources (nuclear, hydro, wind, solar, biomass etc.) in 2015, which is about as good as it gets for a country with limited hydro resources. The question of why France should now want to change things is not discussed here.
Figure 1 shows France’s average daily generation by source (data from Leo Smith’s Gridwatch France site) for the 20 months from November 21, 2014, when the Gridwatch data begin, through July 20, 2016. Later data are distorted by the progressive shutdown of nuclear plants for inspection during the French “nuclear crisis” and are therefore not used. (Note that the data shown are daily averages, so daily variations in generation – which commonly approach 20GW – will not be visible. Peak demand on any given day could therefore be as much as 10GW higher than shown):
Figure 1: France’s average daily generation by source, November 21, 2014 through July 20, 2016
Figure 2 compares total generation with demand. Over the period considered France generated 900TWh of electricity but consumed only 799TWh. The 101TWh surplus, representing 11.2% of France’s total generation, was exported.
Figure 2: France’s average daily electricity supply/demand balance, November 21, 2014 through July 20, 2016
Now we turn to France’s plan to double wind & solar, eliminate coal and cut nuclear supply from 75% to 50% by 2025. How might this affect the supply/demand balance? I analogued this generation mix over the October 2014 to July 2016 period as follows:
- Reduce nuclear generation by two-thirds across-the-board.
- Double wind and solar generation (for good measure I doubled biomass generation too).
- Cut coal generation to zero (which makes little difference. France has less than 3GW of coal-fired capacity left).
- Leave hydro, gas and oil generation unchanged.
Applying these adjustments shows what the situation would have been over the November 2014 – July 2016 period if this generation mix had been in place then. It does not necessarily tell us what will happen in 2025 because there is no exact way of predicting what demand will be at that time.
Figure 3 replots Figure 1 with the new generation mix in place:
Figure 3: France’s average daily generation by source with new generation mix, November 21, 2014 through July 20, 2016
And Figure 4 shows the resulting supply/demand balance. France’s total generation has fallen from 900TWh to 710TWh and its 101TWh surplus has become an 89TWh deficit, meaning that France would have had to import 12.5% more power than it generated to meet electricity demand over this period:
Figure 4: France’s average daily electricity supply/demand balance with new generation mix, November 21, 2014 through July 20, 2016
There are of course ways in which the situation might be improved. Lowering France’s nuclear generation from 75% to 50% would presumably involve some nuclear plant shutdowns, but if enough of France’s nuclear fleet remains operational it might be possible to increase nuclear production in the winter, when the largest deficits occur. France’s 6.7GW of oil capacity could also be more heavily utilized, although this would be counterproductive from the emissions standpoint. But with only 50% nuclear generation there would still be a large overall deficit, and unless France’s neighbors have large generation surpluses available for export, which they almost certainly won’t, the country would at some point find itself freezing in the dark.
The only factor that might save the situation would be a reduction in electricity demand, and a reduction is indeed projected by RTE in its 2016 Generation Adequacy Report. In this report RTE reverses its 2015 projections and shows future demand decreasing rather than increasing in its baseline case (Figure 5). For the first time, says RTE, electricity demand forecasts assume a contraction over the medium term.
Figure 5: Annual domestic electricity demand in mainland France, reproduced from RTE 2016 Generation Adequacy Report.
It’s probably not a coincidence that RTE should forecast a reduction rather than an increase in future electricity demand just after France, after several years of debate, formally committed to cut its energy use (France’s Energy Transition and Green Growth Law, which calls for national energy usage to be cut by at least 50% by 2050, was passed in August 2015.) But RTE’s forecast reduction would make little difference even if it turned out to be correct. Figure 6 shows my eyeball projection of RTE’s baseline case out to 2025 (orange line). It shows total annual demand falling to around 460TWh in 2025:
Figure 7: Author’s projection of RTE baseline case to 2025
And the problem here is that with 50% nuclear generation, and using the 2015 French grid data as the base for calculation, France would generate only 415TWh in 2025, leaving a deficit of 45TWh relative to RTE’s projected 460TWh of demand. Even RTE’s “Low variant” case, which looks implausible to say the least, would not result in a supply/demand balance.
So whither France? Emmanuel Macron had pledged a surge in nuclear decommissioning activity in the event he won the election, but there are now doubts that this will happen :
Macron has set out bullish renewable energy objectives and pledged to retain laws introduced in 2015 which aim to cut the share of nuclear power from 75% to 50% by 2025. However, Macron has not set out a firm position on this nuclear target and market analysts have highlighted the challenge of shutting down an estimated 25 GW of nuclear power capacity over such a short time frame while maintaining grid stability.“The lack of a firm position on this issue may be because Mr Macron is well aware that the 2025 target is highly ambitious,” Jefferies analysts Ahmed Farman and Oliver Salvesen said in a research note April 24.
My prediction? France’s generation mix in 2025 will include a little more wind and solar but nuclear will still account for close to 75% of total generation. France really has no alternative if it wants to keep the lights on.
Postscript: One can in fact demonstrate that France’s plan to reduce nuclear output won’t work without referring to the grid data at all. In Major Electricity Trends for the Month RTE provides the following generation numbers (in GWh) for January 2017:
- Nuclear generation 40,499; wind+solar generation 2,332; other generation 14,333. Total generation 57,164; consumption 57,325;deficit 161 (effectively in balance)
Now we apply the new generation mix, cutting nuclear generation by a third and doubling wind and solar. Ignoring the loss of a small amount of coal generation here’s what we get:
- Nuclear generation 26,999; wind+solar generation 4,664; other generation unchanged at 14,333. Total generation 45,996; consumption 57,325;deficit 11,329.
The numbers speak for themselves.
Mobilizing for Canada’s energy future: The devil is in the details
DOUGLAS RUTH AND DANIEL MUZYKA
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, May 30, 2017 4:24PM EDT
Last updated Tuesday, May 30, 2017 4:26PM EDT
Dr. Douglas W. Ruth is president of The Canadian Academy of Engineering.
In recent years, we have experienced a growing international consensus on the need to create a low-carbon future in order to mitigate major climatic changes that will impact economies and societies worldwide. While some remain skeptical, 195 governments came together and committed to a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Although there are conflicting interpretations of what would be required, a widely used measure is an 80-per-cent reduction from 1990 levels by 2050.
The Canadian Academy of Engineering and The Conference Board of Canada came together to ask the following questions that arose from the Trottier Energy Futures Project, including:
- What are the implications for the economy of achieving those objectives?
- What does it mean for Canada and Canadians?
After several years of analysis, we now have initial answers to these and other questions, which we shared at a recent conference on reshaping energy.
Is it technically feasible to reduce GHG emissions by 80 per cent? The short answer is “almost.” The Trottier Project developed a number of technical scenarios, and the closest it could get to was a 70-per-cent reduction. However, this belies the scale of the undertaking. If we are to achieve meaningful success (something that has largely evaded earlier climate change-related objectives), we need to move quickly from a discussion of aspirational goals to a general understanding of the economic and social implications, and the consensus, action and investment required.
The realities of the move to a low-carbon economy became apparent in our latest analysis.
First, achieving even half of the proposed objectives will require a transformation in how we live, build, travel and do business. Lifestyle expectations must and will change. The evolution to a true low-carbon economy and society is not a 30-year transition, but a 50-to-100-year transformation. Along the way, there will be winners and losers , and all of us will be involved – voluntarily or otherwise.
The second observation we make from our work is that small increments in carbon taxes have a limited impact on CO2 emissions. A carbon tax will have little overall impact on economic growth, provided governments recycle the increased revenue wisely. Our analysis shows that if the price of carbon is the only tool used, it would need to rise well above the levels of what governments are currently implementing to drive the economy to meet the objectives.
This leads us to our third observation. Achieving the goals will require a major, thoughtful rebuilding of our energy, industrial and transportation systems, as well as the built urban environment. It will take time and will require major new research and capital investment – in the order of $2-trillion to $3-trillion between now and 2050, or equal to 30 per cent to 50 per cent of annual non-residential business capital investment in Canada. Despite the positive economic effects, this level of low-carbon investment will crowd out other priorities and reshape options for growth and development.
Fourth, successful implementation will require massive electrification and the full and appropriate use of all available clean-energy technologies and policy tools. There must also be the sober recognition that existing technologies generally evolve at a predictable pace. An east-west power grid is an essential feature of any solution.
To undertake these new energy projects, we also have to foster unprecedented political agreement and administrative alignment. Indigenous rights, individual beliefs and causes and regional differences need to be respected and recognized. Achieving our goals will be severely impeded if these issues result in protracted legal battles and regulatory reviews.
Finally, Canada cannot proceed in isolation. We need to take account of developments outside our borders in order to maintain our competitiveness. While taking advantage of our natural resources, we need to be flexible and attentive enough to build on developments in other countries. Although global companies and larger national players will have a bigger impact on the cost and development of new energy technologies and approaches, 35 million Canadians can make a difference.
We need to move from ideals and aspirations to a sober discussion of pathways and hard choices if we are to achieve our low-carbon goals. History has shown that strong proponents need the conversation if they are to avoid disillusionment in the broader population.
It’s time to rethink our messaging about environmental change
JENNIFER LYNES AND SARAH WOLFE
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Sunday, May 07, 2017 4:36PM EDT
Last updated Sunday, May 07, 2017 4:46PM EDT
Jennifer Lynes is an associate professor and director of the University of Waterloo’s Environment and Business program. Sarah Wolfe is an assistant professor in the School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability at the University of Waterloo.
As another Earth Day trudged on by, one message became clear: it’s time to change tactics.
In our effort to promote innovation and change, we’ve been scaring people with threats of devastating floods and deadly heat waves, or trying to inspire action with images of polar bears stranded on disappearing Arctic ice floes – but it’s not working.
We are calling on businesses, startups, NGOs and policymakers to rethink how they encourage and achieve environmental change. Here are four things that we need to get right:
Recognize that only 20 per cent of the population is strongly motivated by the health of the planet
The Natural Marketing Institute identifies five “shades” of green consumers, and only about one-fifth of people in North America – categorized as “Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability” (LOHAS) consumers – consider environmental and health implications as the primary motivator in their consumer decisions.
Yet we – businesses, NGOs and policymakers alike – insist on framing messages in terms of how certain products, services or behaviours are good for the environment.
But if only 20 per cent are receptive to these messages, we’re merely preaching to the choir and potentially alienating the remaining 80 per cent of potential “green” consumers.
As environmental problems accumulate, getting the other four shades of green on board is essential.
Don’t assume that information leads to action
The underlying assumption has always been “if only they knew better, they would do better.” Tell people how environmentally friendly a product is and they will surely buy it.
However, information alone does not produce the intended behaviour change – research indicates that our thoughts are deeply influenced by non-rational factors and mental processes that regulate emotions. People make decisions according to what feels good, what corresponds with their identities and what their friends do. If we want to change behaviours, we need to adjust the information we emphasize.
Abandon scare tactics
Using fear facts and environmental shaming are not effective approaches to long-term changes to behaviour. Consumers are bombarded with information about the looming and negative effects of climate change. The implications of a warmer planet by just a few degrees is a serious and scary prospect. But studies have shown that when we’re reminded of our inevitable mortality, our efforts to block or repress those death fears produce consistent and predictable responses.
For people who are already inclined, mortality reminders will reinforce their existing environmental identities and consumption behaviours. When made aware of their mortality, LOHAS consumers are likely to head to the nearest Toyota dealer to buy a Prius. But those mortality fears also help explain why others react to this type of information by buying a high-performance, gas-guzzling car. Death is scary, so some of us react by doing something that makes us feel alive.
Design cool things that happen to be good for the environment
Tesla owners didn’t buy their car because of its planet-saving attributes. They bought it because it is sleek, coveted and has torque comparable to some of the world’s fastest production cars. Even its key fob sparks dinner conversation. The car is a symbol, but not necessarily of the driver’s environmental concern.
That Teslas emit virtually zero carbon emissions may be a great benefit, but that played a minor role in the decision to purchase. And that’s okay. Psychological research tells us that emphasizing the youthfulness, cool factor and appeal of a product is more likely to nudge mainstream consumers toward environmentally friendly products.
At the end of the day, “green” products will sell to “green-minded” people. The time has come to refine the messaging, and design products and services that are exciting – for everyone; ones that perform at least as well the other contenders.
Saskatchewan Mining Week Promotes Innovation, Adaptation
Released on May 29, 2017
The impact and contributions of the province’s mining industry will be the focus of Saskatchewan Mining Week, which was officially proclaimed today at the Legislature Building in Regina.
Organized by the Saskatchewan Mining Association (SMA) to promote awareness of the people and activities that comprise the industry, the overall theme of this year’s week is “Mining in Transformational Times”.
“This year’s theme speaks to the resiliency and innovative spirit that defines the qualities of Saskatchewan’s dynamic mining sector,” Energy and Resources Minister Dustin Duncan said. “Part of our job in government is to do our best to enable businesses to invest in our province, helping to create sustainable jobs and grow our economy.
“SMA member companies have made multibillion dollar investments in Saskatchewan over the past decade,” Saskatchewan Mining Association Chair Jessica Theriault said. “And because of these investments, mining remains a key pillar of Saskatchewan’s economy in these transformational times.”
Saskatchewan is the largest potash producer in the world, possessing almost half of the world’s potash reserves, and is the world’s second largest primary uranium producer, with a catalogue of other minerals such as gold, base metals, clays, coal and diamonds.
Saskatchewan ended 2016 with a total value of all mineral sales of $6.4 billion, and led all provinces in mining capital expenditures, according to Natural Resources Canada. Among the events scheduled during Mining Week will be the 49th Annual Emergency Response/Mine Rescue Skills Competition to be held at Prairieland Park in Saskatoon on Saturday, June 3.
For a complete schedule and further information, please visit www.saskmining.ca.
For more information, contact:
NEWS RELEASE 17-96
Western Provinces to Lead Economic Growth In 2017
Ottawa, May 29, 2017—Alberta and Saskatchewan are expected to emerge out of recession and lead the provinces in economic growth this year, according to The Conference Board of Canada’s Provincial Outlook: Spring 2017. British Columbia is forecast to see growth ease this year, but the province will still tie with Saskatchewan for second place.
“The difficulties in the resources sector are slowly dissipating and helping Alberta and Saskatchewan emerge out of recession. However, the turnaround is still in its early stages and a full recovery will take time,” said Marie-Christine Bernard, Associate Director, Provincial Forecast, The Conference Board of Canada. “Economic prospects are also improving across the country, but continued weakness in business investment—both in and out of the resources sector—could hurt economic growth in all provinces down the road.”
- Alberta will have the fastest growing provincial economy this year, with real GDP forecast to increase by 3.3 per cent.
- Saskatchewan and British Columbia’s economy will tie for second place, both expected to grow at 2.5 per cent this year.
- With the exception of Newfoundland and Labrador, all provinces will see their economy expand this year.
Following two years of contractions, Alberta’s economy is expected to outperform all provinces and grow by 3.3 per cent this year. Non-conventional oil production in the province will see a big increase this year thanks to new capacity coming online, while energy investment is expected to make a comeback this year and next. Outside of the energy sector, Alberta is benefiting from improvements in labour markets, consumer demand, and the housing sector. A bright outlook for the province’s manufacturing sector as a result of the new Sturgeon refinery, along with the rebuilding efforts in Fort McMurray, will also contribute to Alberta’s strong economic growth this year.
Saskatchewan’s economy is on a more solid foundation than it was one year ago. The energy outlook is more positive as drilling bounced back last winter and oil production is expected to increase at a good pace over the near term. As well, adaptation to the low-oil-price environment has led to growing investment into cost-effective thermal extraction technology, which will provide a significant boost to construction over the next three years. The province’s labour markets are also starting to turn around, boosting growth in household spending. In all, Saskatchewan’s economy is forecast to grow by 2.5 per cent in 2017.
After growing by 3.7 per cent in 2016, real GDP growth in British Columbia is expected to reach 2.5 per cent in 2017. British Columbia’s housing market has lost some steam, but has proven to be more resilient to cooling measures. Still, the slowdown in housing activity will be felt in other parts of the provincial economy. Employment, wages, and household spending are all expected to see growth ease. The province’s forestry industry will also struggle over the near term as it deals with the duties on Canadian softwood lumber.
Ontario’s economy will continue to perform well, but it is forecast to lose some speed and grow by 2.3 per cent in 2017. Consumer finances are stretched and the hot housing market in southern Ontario is expected to cool as the new measures to re-balance the market take place. Exports have been growing at a stronger pace than the national average, but the lack of business investment will limit growth prospects going forward.
Manitoba’s economy is forecast to expand by a solid 2.1 per cent in 2017, slightly lower than last year’s growth. The province will continue to see strong construction activity as investment in the Keeyask dam ramps up and work continues on the Bipole III transmission line. Manufacturing will remain a growth driver for the province, with bright spots in transportation, equipment manufacturing and food processing.
Quebec saw an improvement in economic growth last year and this will continue in 2017, with real GDP forecast to advance by 1.8 per cent this year. Consumer spending will continue to be one of the pillars of growth for the province, as tax cuts and strong job creation leave Quebeckers with more spending money in 2017. This, in turn, will provide a boost to the province’s services-based industries. However, the probability that greater protectionist measures will be put in place in the U.S. in the coming years presents a significant downside risk to the province’s export outlook.
The Atlantic provinces will see only modest expansion over the next two years as they deal with an aging population that is limiting growth in labour supply.
Newfoundland and Labrador will be only province in recession this year, contracting by 3.0 per cent. However, the province will benefit from oil production at the Hebron project starting next year and real GDP is forecast to bounce back strongly.
Nova Scotia’s outlook is among the weakest in Canada, forecast to advance by only 0.5 per cent this year. Although ongoing shipbuilding work in Halifax is providing a boost to the manufacturing sector, the province’s construction industry is facing declines over the next two years as major projects are completed and there are few major investments on the horizon.
Despite New Brunswick’s goods-producing sector facing better prospects over the next two years, weak business investment and shifting demographics will limit GDP growth to 1.0 per cent this year.
Prince Edward Island has the best growth prospects among the Atlantic provinces, with real GDP forecast to expand by 1.8 per cent in 2017. The Island’s economy is being bolstered by tourism as well as by a strong performance in the manufacturing sector, especially in the food products and in aerospace services.
For more information contact
Jessica Theriault elected first woman to head Sask. Mining Association
ALEX MACPHERSON, SASKATOON STARPHOENIX
Published on: May 26, 2017 | Last Updated: May 26, 2017 3:19 PM CST
The headframe at Mosaic Co.’s newly-expanded K3 mine near Esterhazy. TROY FLEECE / REGINA LEADER-POST
The association representing Saskatchewan’s potash and uranium miners has for the first time in its 52-year history elected a woman as its chair.
Members of the Saskatchewan Mining Association (SMA) elected Mosaic Co. environmental affairs director Jessica Theriault for a two-year term, the organization said in a news release.
Theriault replaces Cameco Corp. chairman Neil McMillan and will serve alongside Tammy Van Lambalgen, Areva Resources Canada Inc. vice president of corporate affairs.
“Given the importance of mining to the Saskatchewan and Canadian economies … my focus as Chair will be to ensure that we continue to deliver, but also drive improvements across the sector,” Theriault said in a statement.
The SMA said in a news release that the election of Theriault and Van Lambalgen “represents a significant milestone in signalling the growing leadership role of women in mining.”
While gender imbalance in the province’s mining industry remains significant, groups like the SMA and Women in Mining and Women in Nuclear Saskatchewan are working to change that.
Theriault, who holds an engineering degree and MBA from the University of Regina, has almost two decades of experience in the potash industry and oversees Mosaic’s potash business unit.