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IW Business Bulletin – February 3, 2023

Wanuskewin Heritage Park
Wanuskewin Heritage Park. Photos Courtesy Tourism Saskatoon and Wanuskewin Heritage Park.

Feds invest at BHP Jansen

The Government of Canada announced Jan. 30 that Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada will invest $100 million in BHP’s Jansen Potash project. The funding comes through the Strategic Innovation Fund, to support BHP’s planned sustainable mining practices, including low emissions and reduced carbon footprint.

“This investment shows that our government is committed to the hard-working people of Saskatchewan as well as to Canada’s mining and agricultural sectors. Potash is a critical and strategic resource in the global agricultural industry, and we are pleased to partner with BHP on this project to bring strong economic benefits to Saskatchewan. This project will lead to the creation of hundreds of well-paying jobs for Canadians while also encouraging green initiatives in the mining industry,” said Hon. François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, with the announcement.

BHP plans that the $7.5 billion mining project will be operational by 2026 with an initial production capacity of 4.3 to 4.5 million tonnes of potash per year.

“The demand for potash will continue to grow due to a need to increase crop yields to feed a growing population. Canada has some of the best potash deposits in the world, along with a great skill base and strength in resource development. We know that being successful is not just about what you mine but also about how you mine, and we take this responsibility seriously. Jansen Stage 1 is setting a new standard for potash—not just for Canada but around the globe. BHP is honoured to partner with the government, Indigenous peoples and the people of Saskatchewan to create a mine that will use the latest technology to deliver a productive, efficient and sustainable operation that will bring widespread benefits to the region, the people of Saskatchewan and BHP shareholders for decades to come,” said Ragnar Udd, president, minerals Americas at BHP.

Wanuskewin partners with ATL Group

Wanuskewin Heritage Park announced Feb. 2 it has formed a partnership with ATL Group that includes a $70,000 donation.

“Wanuskewin is the culmination of many stories,” said Darlene Brander, CEO Wanuskewin Heritage Park, “and of those stories, the archaeological findings at the park perhaps most easily allow us to reach through time and connect to those who gathered here thousands of years ago. Wanuskewin has, proudly, been the fieldwork site for many emerging archaeologists from the University of Saskatchewan. Studying archaeological findings has played an important role in the historical understanding of pre-contact Northern Plains Indigenous Peoples and we are excited to make space for these artifacts at the park. Atlheritage Services Corp.’s gift will help to create an on-site archaeological storage facility. Not only is their gift a beautiful way to honour their personal relationship to Chief Archaeologist Dr. Walker, their academic mentor – but also to Wanuskewin for whom these artifacts hold great cultural significance.”

The partnership and donation will assist the park with storing important archaeological materials, and providing support with the application to become Saskatchewan’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site by 2025.

“Our company and the majority of our staff have a personal connection to Wanuskewin. We have participated in field school out here, have witnessed and studied the almost 6000 years of human occupation of this valley, and have been taught and mentored by one of its founders, Dr. Ernie Walker. Supporting and contributing to the UNESCO Ready Campaign is much more then just a corporate donation for us, it’s an offering of gratitude to this land and to the people who managed it,” said Brad Schiele, principal at ATL Group.

Established in 2014, the ATL Group currently consists of three independently operating companies namely, Atlheritage Services, Atlwest Communications, and Atlas Geospatial.

Conexus Credit Union recognized for best service experience

Surviscor, the digital brokerage and banking reviewer, released its 2023 Surviscor Service Level Assessment review on Jan. 30.

Conexus Credit Union was ranked number one for the third year in a row, scoring 92 per cent. Coming in second was Desjardins at 67 per cent, followed by Manitoba’s Assiniboine Credit Union at 64 per cent.

“At Conexus, our members are our number one priority. Their financial well-being drives everything we do – it’s not just something we say, but a concept we live by that motivates us to do our very best,” said Maggie Sinclair, chief growth officer at Conexus. “We’re honoured and proud to be recognized for providing the best service level experience to our members for the last three years and is a true reflection of our employees’ commitment to our values and serving our members.”

The review analyzes digital service interaction methods and availability at each financial institution and reviewed 147 individual interactions with each firm between January and December 2022 to complete the analysis.

“Credit union dominance continued in 2022 as it was the sixth straight year that a credit union is the top firm as digital banking service levels continue to trend in the wrong direction and the big banks continue to provide less service despite ongoing record profits,” said Glenn LaCoste, president of Surviscor Group. “Congratulations again to Conexus Credit Union on its continued service response excellence and its breadth of service interaction choices for its credit union members and general public.”

Brent Sjoberg promoted at Avana

Avana, the Regina-based real estate developer, announced Jan. 30 that Brent Sjoberg has joined the company as president and chief financial officer.

Sjoberg joined Avana in 2022 as a senior vice president. Prior to Avana, Sjoberg held senior leadership roles at W.F. Botkin Construction, Brandt Group of Companies, the City of Regina and Directwest.

Chief Cadmus Delorme will not seek reelection

Cowessess First Nation Chief Cadmus Delorme announced Feb. 2 that he will not seek re-election in April 2023. During his tenure, Delorme saw the progression of Cowessess Ventures, several renewable energy projects, and the growth of the First Nation in agriculture and urban development. He also led the First Nation when 751 unmarked graves were located near the former Marieval Indian Residential School in 2021.

Growth in building permits

Statistics Canada reported December 2022 numbers on building permits on Feb. 2. Saskatchewan’s building permit value increased by 26.1 per cent in December 2022, as compared to the same time in 2021. Overall nationally, building permits were down 9.3 per cent. Saskatchewan’s total permit value for December 2022 was $180 million.

“Saskatchewan continues to show strength in several key economic indicators, and today’s building permit numbers are further proof that our province has one of the most competitive business environments in Canada,” Trade and Export Development Minister Jeremy Harrison said. “These latest numbers are another sign that Saskatchewan continues to lead the nation and provide growth that works for everyone.”

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