News Release - May 21, 1999
MACKINNON ANNOUNCES STRATEGIC INITIATIVES FUNDING FOR STUDY OF SODIUM SULPHATE DEPOSITS
Economic and Co-operative Development Minister Janice MacKinnon today
announced support of $276,650 from the Strategic Initiatives Fund
(SIF) to the University of Saskatchewan to conduct research on better
methods of locating and evaluating sodium sulphate deposits. This
research could lead to the discovery of new deposits and create up to
1,200 new direct and indirect jobs in exploration, mining and
processing of this mineral.
Saskatchewan is one of the world's largest suppliers of sodium
sulphate. The mineral and its derivatives provide valuable exports
and important industrial materials, but little is known about how and
where the mineral forms. The university's research could make
deposits easier to identify and lead to increased economic activity in
the province's mining, agriculture and manufacturing sectors.
"This project is an example of how innovation and research can create
new opportunities for Saskatchewan," Energy and Mines Minister Eldon
Lautermilch said on behalf of Minister MacKinnon. "We're working to
maximize the benefits from a key provincial resource, one that affects
not only industry but our daily lives."
Sodium sulphate has been mined in the province since 1918 and is used
in the production of detergents, glass, paper and textiles. Sodium
sulphate, when combined with potash, produces potassium sulphate which
is used as fertilizer.
Potassium sulphate is also used as an oil field drilling mud
additive and as a drying-accelerator in the manufacturing of
gypsum wallboard. High-purity potassium sulphate is used in the
manufacturing of grinding wheels and other specialty products.
"The University of Saskatchewan welcomes this funding to a very
promising young researcher, Dr. Chris Holmden, Assistant
Professor of Geological Sciences, who received Strategic
Initiatives Fund support earlier this year for another project,"
said Dr. Michael Corcoran, U of S Vice-President of Research.
"We are pleased to partner with the Saskatchewan Government in
order to carry out this basic research that has so many potential
spin-off benefits for the province."
The government's Strategic Initiatives Fund, from which this
study is being assisted, encourages the development of new
technologies and research capacity in Saskatchewan. Administered
by Saskatchewan Economic and Co-operative Development, the fund
is designed to enhance Saskatchewan's competitiveness and assist
in the development of new, value-added products.
"This sodium sulphate project is an excellent example of how the
Strategic Initiatives Fund is designed to work," Lautermilch
said. "By strengthening Saskatchewan's research capabilities, we
are providing more resources and services to build our economy
and create jobs."
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For more information, contact:
Economic and Co-operative Development
Phone: (306) 787-1691
Dr. Chris Holmden
Assistant Professor, Geological Sciences
University of Saskatchewan
Phone: (306) 966-5697
Research Communications Officer
Office of the Vice-President Research
Phone: (306) 966-2506