A new electronic system of registering mineral claims is being called a huge success.

The Mineral Administration Registry Saskatchewan system, or MARS was introduced last December.

Since then the area registered for mineral exploration in the province has increased by 40-percent.

Three million hectares of mineral claims were issued in first year of the new system, which is the equivalent to about five years of work under the old system.

Doug MacKnight, the Executive Director of Lands and Minerals Tenure at the Ministry of the Economy says MARS is good for companies considering potential mineral projects.

“Certainly if your are in the business of acquiring claims at a comparatively low cost you’ll be pleased with it. Obviously we’re happy with the activity, but if you were in the business of staking claims you’re maybe not as happy because obviously that kind of work isn’t there any more”

The system allows companies to register their claims online and reduces the approval time from 30 days to about five.

It also eliminates the need to send crews into the bush to physically mark the claims with stakes.

MacKnight says there were however some setbacks in the first year.

“As with any computer system the first year hasn’t been without its challenges, the technology has required a lot of work to make sure it is optimal and we think most of the bugs and start-up problems are behind us”.

MacKnight says two major discoveries this year in the north, one in uranium and one in diamonds, have also contributed to a rush in mineral claims.