Mineral claims are skyrocketing in Saskatchewan after the province introduced a new online registry.

Offiicals say 522 new claims covering 1.46 million hectares have been issued since the new computerized system was rolled out in December.

This is more than the total area of claims issued in the previous 22 months under the old ground staking system.

Under the new system — called MARS — mineral claims are now typically being confirmed within five business days.

That used to take up to two months.

Meantime, six claims covering 35,000 hectares were recently staked in the La Loche region by developer Tim Young.

The claims begin five kilometres outside of the village and stretch northeast in a series of rectangular boxes, up to the southern border of Clearwater River Provincial Park.

The first claim was filed on March 22.

The government says the Patterson Lake area has also been swamped with activity.

That region presently has 119 claims covering more than 458,000 hectares.

Mineral claims in Saskatchewan are for one year and are renewable.