One of the world’s largest mining companies is making a big investment into the research of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology in Saskatchewan.
BHP Billiton will provide $20 million over the next five years for the new research centre at Innovation Place Research Park, located on the University of Regina campus.
Premier Brad Wall made the announcement Friday morning.
“BHP Billiton wouldn’t be making this kind of an investment if they didn’t also believe that SaskPower and Saskatchewan was a real leader and had solutions to offer a world that’s still burning coal and plans on burning coal for some time,” he told reporters afterwards.
Saskatchewan’s CCS facility at the Boundary Dam by Estevan has been somewhat controversial, drawing criticism because it didn’t operate as expected when it first opened.
Both the premier and SaskPower president Mike Monea maintain the plant worked 100 per cent of the time in January, at an 85 per cent out of a possible 90 per cent capture rate.
BHP Billiton’s president for Potash Canada, Giles Hellyer is sold on the concept.
“It’s not risky. We fully believe that this technology is necessary in order to reduce emissions worldwide from burning of carbon and fossil fuels,” he explained. “From our perspective this can have immediate benefits for the climate and it’s worth pursuing immediately.”
SaskPower said the goal of the new centre is to help speed up the development and application of CCS.