Saskatoon is a city surrounded by the resources that feed, fuel and fertilize the world. Indeed, Saskatoon’s first economic growth strategy sets one of its four primary focus areas as continuing to be a global leader in natural resources. As we look to the future, the past year’s developments in these foundational industries show that we are well poised for growth in 2022 – and beyond:
Saskatchewan uses its vast farmland – 40% of Canada’s total – to act as the world’s top exporter of many crops in addition to wheat, from lentils to canola. 2021 was a record year for agri-food exports, totaling $14.5B as of October.
SREDA completed Phase 2 of Project Ribbon this year, bringing the Saskatoon Region one step closer to attracting major value-added agribusiness investment. And FCL, Ceres Global Ag, Viterra and Cargill all announced plans to build canola crushing plants in the province, with total capital investments reaching more than $1B.
On top of all this, the Government of Saskatchewan announced 4 additional international offices in the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Mexico and Vietnam to expand Saskatchewan’s global presence with a goal to increase agricultural exports to these markets.
With half the world’s potash reserves and almost a quarter of its uranium production, Saskatchewan is a leader in mining. This is set to continue: after 15 years of development, 2021 saw BHP approve its long-awaited, US $5.7B Jansen potash mine while Gensource Potash secured $280M to construct its Tugaske project. Production at Cameco’s Cigar Lake has resumed, and despite disruptions in 2021, the company now expects its business to be resilient in the year ahead.
2021 also saw growth in newer critical minerals. The Saskatchewan Research Council, along with the Government of Saskatchewan, announced a $35M rare earth processing facility this year, to be located in Saskatoon. Adjacent land and facilities have been leased by Cheetah Resources Saskatchewan and Northstar Innovative Developments – potentially making way for a rare earth processing hub in our city. Royal Helium also discovered a large helium reservoir, one of the largest finds in Saskatchewan at approximately six billion cubic feet.
Saskatchewan remains Canada’s second-largest producer of oil and third largest of natural gas. Though the sector experienced challenges in 2021, Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) was notably active. Not only did FCL acquire 181 Husky retail fuel sites this year, but it also began a $2.4B mega-project for renewable diesel through the acquisition of True North Renewable Fuels. FCL also announced plans to spend $510M to build carbon capture facilities at its ethanol complex and refinery.
For more key progress on Saskatoon’s growth strategy focus areas, watch for our upcoming articles on Indigenous economic reconciliation, local tech and innovation, and community livability.