When Saskatchewan went through the boom period in the first 15 years of this century, it was largely driven by investment. Attractive commodity prices coupled with growing demand for our products, especially food, fuel and fertilizer in the emerging world, prompted high levels of investment.
Money poured into the oil patch and the mining industry, in particular. Potash mines were upgraded or new ones were added and the oil industry saw massive expansion.
To see just how important that was the value of Saskatchewan’s asset list or balance sheet, a quick review of a new chart prepared by StatsCan offers some insight. It shows Newfoundland, Alberta and then Saskatchewan with the highest percentage value of non-residential assets among the provinces. That was because of all that investment.
All three provinces are oil producers, which accounts for the impact. The StatsCan chart shows that we have a ratio of roughly 70 per cent, meaning that industry has used up only about 30 per cent of the productive life of these assets. That is the importance of investment – it creates wealth for a long time.