The province sent its largest-ever delegation to this week’s Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) conference in Toronto. The PDAC conference, which runs from June 13 to 15, provides Manitoba the opportunity to identify new development and investment potential for the province’s diverse mineral resources. The Manitoba delegation includes the premier, Deputy Premier and Economic Development, Investment and Trade Minister Cliff Cullen, newly appointed Natural Resources and Northern Development Minister Greg Nesbitt and departmental staff. The province’s abundance of critical minerals along with its strong renewable energy production puts Manitoba in an ideal position to seize opportunities in the green energy sector. The Manitoba delegation will be hosting multiple events and meetings with Indigenous leaders, stakeholders and industry to promote Manitoba’s many opportunities for the mining industry.
At the conference, it was announced that the Manitoba government has renewed their agreement with the Manitoba Mineral Development Fund (MMDF) to provide $10 million to support the mineral sector supply chain over three years, as well as approved Manitoba’s first potash development, allowing the Potash and Agri-Development Corporation of Manitoba (PADCOM) to start extraction and production in western Manitoba near the community of Russell.
Gambler First Nation and PADCOM have developed a partnership, with Gambler First Nation participating as a 20 per cent equity owner. Additionally, PADCOM will present community benefit agreements to several Indigenous communities in the area, the Manitoba Métis Federation and the Municipality of Russell-Binscarth. PADCOM has completed the first part of the project in which two wells were drilled near the community of Harrowby to explore the local potash resource and determine feasibility. Following the recent Environment Act licence approval and signing of a mineral lease agreement with the province, PADCOM is authorized to move the development to the next phase of production.
The renewed agreement with the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, which administers the MMDF, will provide $10 million to support the mineral sector supply chain over three years. This investment will enable Manitoba to capitalize on emerging opportunities among its diverse and untapped minerals and position itself as a leading destination for mining, noted Stefanson, who added the renewed agreement represents an increase in funding to support mining and mineral development initiatives by 66 per cent.
In 2019, the Manitoba government established the MMDF to provide funding for mining and mineral development-related projects throughout the province. Through the fund, communities and businesses, including Indigenous groups, municipalities and the not-for-profit sector, are eligible to apply for funding. Financial assistance from the fund could include one-time grants for activities that help advance new mining opportunities and provide support to Indigenous communities for collaborative resource development.
To date, MMDF has allocated more than $5.4 million to 41 projects. Manitoba is experiencing the highest level of exploration expenditures in the history of the province, and Natural Resources Canada has reported exploration expenditure intentions for 2022 at $154 million.