Last year the Saskatchewan Industrial and Mining Suppliers Association (SIMSA) wrote in PotashWorks that on average, a SIMSA membership resulted in a 100x ROI, stemming from our membership fee. We substantiated this with survey results and the like. And, we even further pledged that in 2022 and 2023 we would provide a significantly higher ROI.
And now, to fulfill that pledge, SIMSA has added to its membership offerings, the presentation opportunities in another potash-basin as an entirely new market – Kazakhstan – as well as an entirely new sector for the same suppliers to fulfill – nuclear reactors and fuel.
The Kazakhstan initiative was kicked-off by an event at PDAC, which was jointly presented by the Canada Eurasia Chamber of Commerce (CECC) and SIMSA. With the event, SIMSA connected Saskatchewan’s “potash brain power” with the Government of Kazakhstan and businesses to study the development of the Kazakh potash basin. Kazakhstan has vast undeveloped potash deposits.
During the event, Saskatchewan’s world-leading potash miners and engineering firms met with the wonderful people of the Republic of Kazakhstan to begin exploring the development of Western Kazakhstan’s potash deposits. The result was a bridge being established between the two groups and planning began for subsequent meetings and conversations.
The logic for SIMSA to arrange the event with the CECC was that if Saskatchewan-based potash miners or engineering firms develop the Kazakhstan resource, then the Saskatchewan potash supply chain will be “first call” suppliers. These suppliers will likely establish relationships with Kazakhstani suppliers, to see the economic benefits from their deposits assist Kazakhstan (as we expect the same here).
Further, they are uniquely located adjacent to the key potash markets of China and India – both of which can be serviced by rail. And, while Saskatchewan potash miners already sell into those markets, if they established a physical position in Kazakhstan, they would be able to serve Asian markets from there and balance it with operations here. Of note is that China typically pays the lowest prices of any market for potash.
Finally, the opening of a new potash basin will allow a growing world to be continually fed, as fertilizer (of which potash is one of three types) is directly attributable to half of the world’s food production.
The event took place at the Ontario Investment and Trade Centre in downtown Toronto.
Two months after the event at PDAC, SIMSA signed MOUs with two Kazakhstani agencies, which will see the release of the geological data on Kazakhstan’s potash deposits. These MOUs will see SIMSA as a hub for the geological data, allowing Saskatchewan companies access. The signing event was facilitated by the CECC.
In addition to a new market, SIMSA is working to facilitate a new sector for its members, thus once again increasing their membership’s ROI.
In 2022, SIMSA signed MOUs with GE Hitachi, X-energy, and the OCNI to see us spearhead supply chain development in SMR deployments. We also began working with Cameco and Westinghouse on SMRs, as well as fuel fabrication.
The key to this initiative is that many of the same skills and services required in potash mining and other existing SIMSA member markets are directly applicable to nuclear work.
To turn this opportunity into a reality, SIMSA hired Tom Kishchuk as its nuclear specialist. As such, SIMSA and its members will now be able to leverage his considerable previous experiences, such as being the former president and CEO of Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Canada, as well as the former vice-president of operational support for Federated Co-operatives Limited.
As SIMSA’s nuclear specialist, Kishchuk will maximize the amount of Saskatchewan content for new nuclear development in Canada and globally, especially in Saskatchewan, including but not limited to: Small Modular Reactor component manufacturing and deployment, certified services to the nuclear industry, nuclear fuel manufacturing, etc.
Kishchuk brings a unique combination of technical and business leadership experience gained during more than 25 years of developing provincial, national, and international networks and relationships to support the manufacturing of heavy industrial equipment in Saskatchewan. He is qualified to review design elements and then help members assess the risk to their business from stepping into the sector by assessing the time/space requirements. He can also discuss business attraction and regulatory items with major vendors and government.
This will allow Saskatchewan’s traditionally potash-sector suppliers to expand their reach to another sector, as well as other provinces and countries. This will also ensure that supply chain capacity is available for upcoming Saskatchewan projects, which will run concurrent to significant nuclear projects in New Brunswick and Ontario. Saskatchewan is a logical hub for a safe and ethical nuclear supply chain.
SIMSA will continue to search for new avenues to create value for its members and adapt existing ones to fit the future.