The new online Mineral Administration Registry Saskatchewan (MARS) system has shown immediate results, with three million hectares of mineral claims issued under the new system less than a year since going live.
Since the implementation of MARS on December 1, 2012, as the province’s new electronic registry for the issuance of mineral claims, the area disposed for mineral exploration in Saskatchewan has increased by nearly 40 per cent.
“The MARS system has made the issuing and managing of our mineral claims and leases much more timely and efficient, making our mineral sector even more competitive and attractive to investors,” Energy and Resources Minister Tim McMillan said. “Saskatchewan has mineral resources that the world wants and needs, and this system is facilitating not only increased investment in those resources, but increased economic growth and development in our province as well.”
It’s estimated that since MARS was implemented, the staking rate in the province has multiplied by a factor of five. The system successfully handled three staking rushes that took place during this first year of operation, triggered by uranium, kimberlite and diamond discoveries. The first rush following a uranium discovery occurred in March 2013, during which MARS processed 119 claim applications covering 458,000 hectares, in a 27 hour period; a later, more sustained rush related to micro-diamond bearing kimberlites resulted in the staking of 261 new claims covering 966,000 hectares.
The 24/7 online system is reducing the approval time for claims from a minimum thirty business days to five, thereby contributing toward the reduction of costs for exploration companies. It further provides province-wide electronic maps to locate and acquire claims, eliminating staking costs and creating savings which can then be redirected to field exploration.
“The capital investments industry is making in exploration shows that Saskatchewan has the right resources and the right climate to do business in,” McMillan said.
Mining contributes about 20 per cent to Saskatchewan’s total exports and directly or indirectly provides in excess of 30,000 jobs in the province.