Southwestern Saskatchewan could become a major hub for a recent action plan released by the provincial government last week.
The Saskatchewan government is aiming to provide 10 per cent of the world's helium market by 2030 and currently, the southwest holds two of the province's largest related projects.
In early April, North American Helium opened up a $30 million purification facility about 40 kilometres northwest of Consul. And just a month later Royal Helium unearthed possibly one of the biggest helium deposits in the country near Climax that could potentially supply the current global demand for an entire year.
"As North American Helium, Royal Helium, and other Saskatchewan companies increase helium production, there will be a growing number of on-the-ground construction and service sector jobs necessary to support the helium sector’s growth," the Saskatchewan Ministry of Energy and Resources said. "Once production is achieved, full-time jobs will be required monitoring wells, transporting helium to market, and building and operating purification (and eventually liquefaction) facilities."
The province expects the blossoming trade to produce thousands of construction and service sector jobs over the next decade to help them push to achieve their goal. It won't just be temporary work after the construction and drilling are done, however, as the Government of Saskatchewan believes they'll create over 500 new permanent full-time jobs.
"[The jobs] will be spread across the province, primarily in helium-producing areas such as the southwest," the Saskatchewan Ministry of Energy and Resources said.
While the oil and gas sector continue to take hits from the federal government's carbon pricing and more recently their net-zero economy by 2050 announcement, the provincial government is just trying to expand their portfolio, not axe existing parts of it.
"Helium-related jobs will complement — not replace — oil and gas sector jobs and provide energy workers the opportunity to use and leverage their existing, expert skills and vast technical knowledge to advance the helium sector and continue to diversify our economy," the Saskatchewan Ministry of Energy and Resources said.
In an addition, they've come out with an enticement for innovators who are searching for the right home base to launch a pilot project or commercial project with the ability to obtain up to 25 per cent in tax credits up to $5 million on eligible expenses.