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IW Business Bulletin – February 4, 2022

Regina Chamber Commerce CEO passes away

The Regina and District Chamber of Commerce announced on Feb. 2, 2022 that longtime CEO John Hopkins passed away after a battle with prostate cancer.

A dynamic and inspiring leader, Hopkins held the role for more than 20 years and was a passionate advocate for Regina, its businesses and the community as a whole.  He volunteered on many local boards and committees, and named CTV Regina Citizen of the Year and Red Cross Humanitarian of the Year in 2019.

After his cancer diagnosis, he turned his passion for music into a fundraising effort for the Allan Blair Cancer Centre and cancer research. His Garage Band – with bandmates David Malloy, the University of Regina’s vice-president of research, former Regina mayor Michael Fougere, Economic Development Regina board chair Frank Hart, AGT Food and Ingredients CEO Murad Al-Katib and Steve Compton, executive director of the YMCA – raised $1.4 million for the cause.

Rest easy, John. You will be missed.

ROK Resources Inc. acquires assets from Federated Co-operatives Limited

ROK Resources Inc. (ROK) has agreed to acquire oil and gas assets in Saskatchewan and Alberta from Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) and its subsidiary 2214896 Alberta Ltd. for $72 million.

The announcement on Feb.3, 2022 included “low-decline, oil-weighted production in southern Saskatchewan and Alberta” and a working interest in the Weyburn-Midale Enhanced Oil Recovery Project. The Weyburn-Midale project is one of the world’s largest carbon capture, utlization and storage projects, sequestering nearly two million tonnes of CO2 per year. According to ROK, the project has sequestered a total of 36 million tonnes of CO2 since inception.

“The Acquisition materially transforms ROK’s financial and operational strength through the addition of a high-quality, low decline, environmentally sustainable, oil-weighted asset base that is expected to generate substantial free funds flow at current commodity prices. Weyburn is a world-class asset capable to organically fund what we have identified as a deep inventory of drilling opportunities at Southeast Saskatchewan and Kaybob, and we expect it will uniquely position ROK to be a net-negative CO2 emitter by 2023,” said Cameron Taylor, ROK’s chairman and CEO.

FlexNetworks grows in Saskatchewan

FlexNetworks has acquired Saskatchewan’s Redbird Communications Inc., a company providing fibre to the province’s rural communities since 2008.

“We chose to combine with FlexNetworks because I believe their management team has the knowledge and expertise, as well as the foresight to deliver a scalable long-term solution for the Internet services that the residents of Saskatchewan deserve,” said Robin Seaborn, one of Redbird’s original founders. “I have been working for almost two decades on getting services equivalent to what is available in Saskatoon to rural areas, and I am excited to have found a partner who shares that vision.”

BHP Telecom, doing business as FlexNetworks, owns and operates an extensive fibre-optic infrastructure network in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. According to FlexNetworks, the company will have invested over $100 million and built more than 1,500 km of fibre-optic cable to connect 106 underserved communities across Saskatchewan by the end of 2022.

“There’s exponential growth potential in Saskatchewan,” said Jacques Taillefer, executive vice president at FlexNetworks.

Bison return to The Key First Nation

On Feb. 1, 2022 the Government of Canada and the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) announced that 40 plains bison were successfully moved to The Key First Nation in Treaty 4 territory, to establish a new herd.

Twenty plains bison from Grasslands National Park and 20 bison from Old Man on His Back Prairie and Heritage Conservation Area (OMB) were moved to the First Nation.

“Repatriation of bison is the true cultural revitalization piece for our Anishinaabe people immediately creating unity and togetherness within the community chi-miigwech,” said Christopher Gareau, councillor for The Key First Nation.

“Indigenous peoples of North America lived alongside bison for thousands of years, and in many Indigenous cultures, bison and humans are inextricably linked. The grazing patterns of bison also help shape the vegetation composition, ecosystem function and structure of the Prairies. Partnerships with Indigenous communities are a vital part of NCC’s work as a land conservation organization. We strive to ensure that collaborating with Indigenous peoples becomes a routine part of our conservation work. We are honoured to help establish a plains bison herd for The Key First Nation,” said Jennifer McKillop, Saskatchewan regional vice-president for Nature Conservancy of Canada.

The Key First Nation is located near Norquay, Sask.

Conexus Credit Union tops in Consumer Banking Service Experience

Saskatchewan-based Conexus Credit Union was came out on top in the 2021 Surviscor Consumer Banking Service Level Experience report for the second year in a row. Surviscor’s report analyzed 157 transactions in each of 32 Canadian consumer banking firms. Alberta’s Servus Credit Union ranked second, and Manitoba’s Assiniboine Credit Union came in at number 3. Of Canada’s big banks, National Bank of Canada was ranked the highest at number 7.

“At Conexus, we’re continually looking at how we can better serve our members. We know it’s the advice we provide, not the transactions we process, that makes the difference for our members,” said Mary Weimer, chief advice officer, Conexus Credit Union. “Our members’ financial well-being drives everything we do. It’s not just a statement but a concept we live by that motivates us to bring our very best. Recognitions such as this help confirm we are on the right track as we continue our efforts to deliver exceptional experiences how and when our members need it.”

The review analyzes service interactions, methods and availability, and has been conducted for 17 years by Surviscor.

Foran Mining adds Brad Wall to advisory board

Former Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall has joined Foran Mining‘s advisory board.

“On behalf of the Board and Management, we are delighted and honoured to welcome Brad Wall to our Advisory Board. Under Brad’s leadership, the province of Saskatchewan achieved its true economic resource potential, making the province a top commodity jurisdiction globally. Mr. Wall is a champion for sustainable economic development, and his experience will be a great contribution to Foran as we look to transform the Hanson Lake District into the next prolific mining camp in Canada, all while benefitting local economies and its people,” said Dan Myerson, Foran’s executive chairman and CEO.

Since leaving politics, Wall has been a special advisor at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP and serves on the Boards of Whitecap Resources Inc., Maxim Power Corp. and NexGen Energy Ltd.

Denison Mines announces board and management moves

Toronto-based Denison Mines Corp. announced on Jan.31 that Laurie Sterritt to the board of directors. Sterritt, a member of Kispiox Band of the Gitxsan Nation, is a managing director at Leaders International (an executive search firm in Canada). She has held board roles with the Canadian Centre for Arts and Technology (CANCAT), the Real Estate Council of BC, the Industry Training Authority of BC and the British Columbia Institute of Technology.  Ms. Sterritt holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of British Columbia and a Certificate in Professional Fund Raising from the University of Indiana.

The company has also hired Kevin Himbeault as vice president of plant operations & regulatory affairs. He will be based in Saskatoon, responsible for process plant operations and regulatory affairs for Denison-operated uranium development projects and its minority interests in operating facilities. Himbeault worked as the operations manager at Cameco‘s Key Lake mill and holds a Master of Science (MSc) degree in Toxicology from the University of Saskatchewan.

Denison is a uranium exploration and development company in the Athabasca Basin, with 95 per cent interest in its flagship Wheeler River Uranium Project.

Saskatchewan posts job growth in January

Statistics Canada job numbers released Feb. 4 showed that Saskatchewan added 24,600 jobs in January – an increase of 4.6 per cent compared to January 2021. The provincial unemployment rate dropped to 5.5 per cent, down from 7.2 per cent a year ago.

Next week: Ceres Global Ag Corp. hosts Q2 earnings call on February 10, 2022.

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