The Potash Story

Thompson, Laurie; Burns, Tom
Year Published:  1977  
Pages:  14pp  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX199

An analysis of the exploitation of potash resources in Saskatchewan.

Abstract:  This research document is directed towards the education and consciousness-raising of Canadians. The introduction presents parallels between the experience of the people of Saskatchewan whose potash resources have been exploited and that of exploited third-world countries. The recent legislation by the Saskatchewan government to purchase this resource industry from privately-owned companies examined in the light of the U.N. Charter of the Economic Rights and Duties of States adopted in December 1974. The writers trace the history of the discovery of potash in the 1940's and its exploitation in the late 1950's and early 1960's by large American owned companies as well as by Canadian based producers. The Appendices provide statistical data concerning these mining companies. The article goes on to describe various government strategies to control both prices and production in the 1970's. These have included new reserve tax on the companies and legislation to take over at least half of all the potash mines. What concerns the writers, as well as the companies and the people of Saskatchewan, is the price the government will finally pay for the mines. The article notes the potential for sharing some of the province's potash wealth through concessionary sales with under-developed countries, which at present receive only 17% of production whereas the United States market receives 70%. It also suggests the possibility of coming to some joint agreement with the U.S. and Canadian farmer organizations to guarantee a fair return to the owners of the resource; namely, the people of Saskatchewan.

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