Business Bulletins News

IW Business Bulletin – December 10, 2021

Agribition 2021. Photo by Paul Huber.

Agribition Sets Record Attendance

Canadian Western Agribition  (CWA) successfully wrapped its 50th show, with 85,179 attendees taking in the event over six days.

CWA saw record-high attendance for its Grain Expo and Indigenous Agriculture Summit, and welcomed more than 100 international guests from 20 countries. The online version also saw over 3,700 people livestreaming livestock shows and sales.

“It’s incredible to think about the coming together of a community that happened here,” said CWA President Chris Lees. “Right from the Burning of the Brand through to the Agribition Beef Supreme, seeing the people show up because it is important to them and important to agriculture is something special. The fact that Agribition’s 50th could be home to that is something we’ll always be proud of.”

The next Canadian Western Agribition is slated for November 28 to December 3, 2022.

Royal Helium Delivers Progress Report

On December 8, Royal Helium Ltd. reported that its Ogema-1 site located helium in three separate zones with the possible extension to its Nazare zone 250 km west of Climax, Sask.

“We are pleased to report Royal’s highest helium cuts to date over significant intervals from Saskatchewan’s first dedicated helium well drilled in southeastern Saskatchewan. Our initial indications are that Ogema will be completed as a conventional helium well and we look forward to sharing results over the next few weeks. It is certainly noteworthy that we encountered what appears to be the Nazare zone, first discovered by Royal at Climax more than 250 km southwest of Ogema. The implications on the potential lateral extent of our helium bearing lands are significant and far exceeds our expectations. The end of our first drill year is setting up to be an exciting time for Royal and its shareholders with news flow from Ogema-1, preliminary test results from Ogema and results from completions at Climax/Nazare all expected before year end,” said Andrew Davidson, Royal Helium president and CEO.

A day later, Royal Helium reported that Ogema-2 reached its total depth, “showing elevated helium cuts encountered during the drilling process, which were on par with helium readings during the drilling of Ogema-1.”

“The drilling that we have completed at Ogema has been a tremendous success.  While the goal of this program was clearly the same as the previous programs at Climax, different geological challenges were expected at Ogema.  I am pleased to report that our advance planning was 100 per cent successful in anticipating these requirements, resulting in these wells being drilled faster and more efficiently than our initial Climax wells,” said Shayne Neigum, Royal Helium manager of operations.

Royal Helium controls more than 1 million acres of prospective helium land in southern Saskatchewan.

Sask Polytech Joins Agtech Accelerator

Saskatchewan Polytechnic has joined the Agtech Accelerator as a partner. The new partnership will see Sask Polytech provide $20,000 to the accelerator this year, with a three-year agreement in place and a potential total investment of up to $60,000. This news comes on the heels of both the University of Regina and the University of Saskatchewan joining the accelerator launched earlier this year by Cultivator and Economic Development Regina.

“This partnership is a natural fit for Saskatchewan Polytechnic,” said Dr. Larry Rosia, Sask Polytech President and CEO. “Our Applied Research team provides the expertise and facilities required to move Agtech Accelerator companies forward to become more productive and innovative as they test and pursue new ideas and solutions. Our exceptional digital development facilities, faculty skills and proficiencies, talented student researchers, applied research experience, and vast network of connections in the tech and agriculture sectors will be critical drivers of the innovation that will result from this leading-edge partnership.”

This news comes on the heels of both the University of Regina and the University of Saskatchewan joining the accelerator launched earlier this year by Cultivator and Economic Development Regina.

“Post-secondary institutions are a key component to any innovative ecosystem,” said Jordan McFarlen, business incubator manager, Cultivator. “Saskatchewan Polytechnic continually shows the ability to adapt and grow to meet the ever-changing needs of the industry. When we think about agtech and the need for talent, innovation, and research, we’re excited to be working with Saskatchewan Polytechnic on the Agtech Accelerator.”

Star Diamond Corporation and Rio Tinto Resolve Dispute

On December 9, 2021, Star Diamond Corporation and Rio Tinto have resolved their dispute over a joint venture at the diamond mining operation on the Fort à la Corne property in Saskatchewan. Under the agreement, all expenditures prior to December 31, 2021 are the responsibility of Rio Tinto’s subsidiary Rio Tinto Exploration Canada Inc. All expenditures after January 1, 2022 until the public announcement to develop the mining operation will be advanced by Rio Tinto Exploration Canada Inc. Star Diamond will not be required to reimburse these expenditures ” unless and until commercial production has been achieved.”

Once a final decision has been made on development and announced, Star Diamond will have six months to begin contributing to the joint venture. Star Diamond and Rio Tinto have also agreed that the participating interests  in the joint venture have been adjusted to 75 per cent for Rio Tinto and 25 per cent for Star Diamond (from 60 per cent and 40 per cent, respectively).

Westland Insurance Acquires Regina’s Hook Lafrance

Surrey B.C.-based insurance brokerage Westland Insurance announced December 6 that it has acquired Hook Lafrance, along with Church Eaton Insurance in Calgary.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Church Eaton and Hook Lafrance to the Westland family,” said Jamie Lyons, Westland president and chief operating officer. “Church Eaton, located in Calgary, brings niche commercial expertise and specialist capabilities within key industry verticals, adding further depth to our rapidly expanding national commercial lines platform. Hook Lafrance, based in Saskatchewan’s capital city, provides tremendous service to the Regina market with expertise in all segments of the property and casualty insurance business. Both operations are long-standing, highly regarded brokerages that align with and augment our distribution network in the Prairies, which continues to be a strategic region of focus for Westland as we seek to bring more solutions to Canadians coast-to-coast.”

Westland now has 195 locations in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia.

Steel River Group Announces Partnership with Peepeekisis Cree Nation

Steel River Group Ltd., an Indigenous-owned diversified management, development and construction consortium, has announced a new partnership with Peepeekisis Cree Nation.

The partnership will explore economic development opportunities for the Peepeekisis Cree Nation, focused on “resource development, agriculture, construction, renewables, housing, and irrigation.”

“Guided by strong leadership, Peepeekisis Cree Nation is well positioned to capitalize on a diversified portfolio of opportunities that will create generational sustainability for its members,” said Trent Fequet, founder and CEO of Steel River Group. “This partnership will reinforce and promote the preservation of cultural and traditional values for Peepeekisis Members and I am honoured to work collaboratively with the community to achieve those goals.”

Peepeekisis Cree Nation is located in the Qu’Appelle Valley in Treaty Four territory.

“As a Nation we are independent, diverse and autonomous,” said Peepeekisis Cree Nation Chief Francis Dieter. “Directed by our vision for a healthy and prosperous Nation, we are proud to say that the Steel River Ecosystem will be a definite asset for us as we work towards the development of our Nation.”

Saskatchewan Merchandise Exports Lead the Country

Saskatchewan merchandise exports increased by 25.5 per cent from September 2021 to October 2021, with a value of nearly $3.9 billion for the month of October.

The province leads the country in month-over-month percentage change. Metals and non-metallic mineral products led Saskatchewan’s commodity sectors, increasing by 409 per cent between September and October 2021.

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