Business Bulletins News

IW Business Bulletin – July 29, 2022

Yellow cake uranium.

Cameco reports Q2 earnings

Cameco released its Q2 results on July 27, reporting net earnings of $84 million and adjusted net earnings of $72 million. The company also reported that it is catching up on development work deferred from 2021 and expects to produce 18 million pounds at Cigar Lake in 2022 with Cameco’s share of that production reaching approximately 9.5 million pounds. Cameco and Orano acquired the Idemitsu Canada Resources Ltd. 7.875 per cent participating stake in the Cigar Lake Joint Venture in May, with Cameco’s ownership stake in Cigar Lake now at 54.547 per cent (up 4.522 per cent).

As well, work continued in Q2 to ready Cameco’s McArthur River/Key Lake operation for production, including hiring and training. The operation now has approximately 670 employees and long-term contractors employed at the mine and mill, with plans to have approximately 850 employees and long-term contractors when operations resume later this year. Cameco has moved the start of production at McArthur River/Key Lake to Q4 2022 and expects up to 2 million pounds of production for 2022.

“Our results reflect the very deliberate execution of our strategy of full-cycle value capture. And, we are benefiting from higher average realized prices in both our uranium sales and our fuel services sales as the market continues to transition and geopolitics continue to highlight concentration of supply concerns,” said Tim Gitzel, Cameco president and CEO. “In the drive for a clean energy profile, policy makers and business leaders must recognize that there is a need to balance affordability and security. Too much focus on intermittent, weather dependent, renewable energy, has left some jurisdictions struggling with power shortages and spiking energy prices, or dependence on Russian energy supplies. The good news for us is that many are turning to nuclear – which provides safe, reliable, affordable, carbon-free baseload electricity while also offering energy security and independence.”

As of June 30, 2022, Cameco had $1.4 billion in cash and cash equivalents and short-term investments, $997 million in long-term debt and a $1 billion undrawn credit facility.

Vendasta partners with BigCommerce

Saskatoon-based tech firm Vendasta announced on July 26 that the company has partnered with BigCommerce, a SaaS ecommerce platform, to help Vendasta deliver “professional e-commerce websites to their small- and medium-sized business (SMB) clients in a scaleable way.”

“Our partners are often faced with a scaling challenge as their product offering grows and client demand increases,” said Janessa Yeomans, Vendasta’s general manager of vendors. “E-commerce-enabled websites and complementary features are in high demand. With this partnership, we can provide BigCommerce’s modern enterprise-grade solutions in new and exciting ways directly through the Vendasta platform.”

Vendasta will offer BigCommerce solutions in its marketplace in late 2022.

“Our partnership with Vendasta further extends our commitment to helping merchants around the world innovate and grow their businesses online by powering their stores with best-in-breed e-commerce technologies,” said Russell Klein, chief commercial officer for BigCommerce. “Together, BigCommerce and Vendasta provide the modern platform their partners need to take their ecommerce capabilities to the next level.”

Denison Mines in competition with Uranium Energy to acquire UEX

Denison Mines confirmed on July 29 that it has provided a “superior proposal” to acquire UEX Corporation.

“We believe that an acquisition by Denison of UEX, and its assets in northern Saskatchewan, has the potential to benefit Denison shareholders – bolstering Denison’s position as a leading uranium development and exploration Company with an unwavering focus on the advancement of high-grade uranium deposits in the Athabasca Basin region.” said David Cates, Denison president and CEO of Denison. “Importantly, an acquisition of UEX would allow Denison to consolidate 100% ownership in our flagship Wheeler River Project at an ideal time ahead of the anticipated final technical de-risking steps associated with the Feasibility Study in progress for the planned Phoenix In-Situ Recovery (“ISR”) operation.”

The proposal by Denison comes after Texas-based Uranium Energy Corp. announced it had an entered an all-share agreement with Saskatoon’s UEX Corp. Uranium Energy has five days to match the offer. If the company does not match and UEX ends the deal, Uranium Energy will pay a US$8.25 million termination fee.

“UEC has consistently been disciplined and focused on delivering accretive transactions for our shareholders as exhibited by our successful M&A track record. While the competing offer for UEX validates the merits of this acquisition, since announcing the transaction, there has been significant market deterioration in the sector and this has created a broader set of growth opportunities that would be highly accretive and strategic in nature. We continue to be in the driver’s seat with our acquisition of UEX, however, we have made no determination as to whether we will choose to match the competing offer. UEC will do a careful analysis to determine whether this or other opportunities we are considering provide the most compelling value for our shareholders,” said Amir Adnani, Uranium Energy Corp. president and CEO.

Royal Helium to receive first royalty credit

Royal Helium Ltd. has been approved to receive royalty tax credits from the provincial government’s Saskatchewan Petroleum Innovation Incentive (“SPII”) program through its Climax/Nazare project. Under the terms of the program approval, Royal can receive up to $4,227,185 in credits based on eligible project costs incurred to date at the Climax/Nazare project.

“We are extremely pleased with the agility the Saskatchewan government has shown in quickly implementing their new Helium Action Plan and how quickly they have been able to process and approve our first submission. An obvious benefit to Royal now and going forward, this program provides Saskatchewan operators with a significant cost advantage over most jurisdictions in North America. All proceeds received or royalties saved by Royal as a result of this program will be re-invested into the continued expansion of our helium production plans in Saskatchewan,” said Andrew Davidson, Royal Helium president and CEO.

Foran Mining selects Sandvik for McIlvenna Bay

Foran Mining has struck an agreement with Sandvik to supply underground equipment for development at its McIlvenna Bay project near Flin Flon.

“This is a very exciting period for Foran as we continue to execute on our initiatives to permit, construct, and operate McIlvenna Bay. Sandvik is a global leader in industrial battery technology and we look forward to working together on our project. Utilizing battery electric equipment with semi and fully autonomous capabilities can help us achieve our carbon neutral targets and provide a safe working environment, which is part of our Net Positive Business strategy as we look to deliver critical metals essential for global decarbonization in a responsible and social-empowering way,” said Dave Bernier, Foran’s COO.

The McIlvenna Bay project is located entirely within the traditional territory of the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation, and is the largest undeveloped copper-zinc-gold-silver rich VHMS deposit in the region.

“I am very pleased that we have been chosen by Foran to deliver our leading battery-electric solutions for the pioneering McIlvenna Bay project. Sandvik sees very strong momentum for our mining electrification offering, which offers great potential in driving more sustainable mining, helping customers to boost productivity, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve workers’ health,” said Stefan Widing, Sandvik’s president and CEO.

Pivot Bio launches in Canada

Berkeley, Calif.-based ag firm Pivot Bio announced on July 28 that it has launched its Canadian operations in Regina. Product trials are currently underway in Canada on corn, wheat and canola for its proprietary platform that “enables microbes to convert atmospheric nitrogen into a form that crops like corn and wheat can use as nutrition.” The Pivot Bio solution has been commercially available in the U.S. since 2019.

“Pivot Bio was founded on the belief that farmers need a better way to fertilize their crops. Synthetic nitrogen is unsustainable, and our technology has solved one of the biggest challenges facing modern agriculture – replacing synthetic nitrogen with something better,” said Pivot Bio CEO and co-founder Karsten Temme, Ph.D. “We are excited to expand our operations and ultimately introducing our technology to farmers everywhere, starting in Canada.”

The company’s Canadian operations will be led by general manager Chuck Broughton and supported by Wade Clarke, the company’s regional sales leader for Canada, and professional agrologist Katie Donohue who has joined as a commercial agronomist.

“Canadian farmers are facing unprecedented pressure to grow crops more sustainably and reduce their fertilizer use without impacting crop yields, and Pivot Bio provides a solution to those challenges,” says Chuck Broughton, Pivot Bio general manager, Canada. “We are looking forward to offering Canadian farmers an economical and sustainable nitrogen, building on proven successes we’ve experienced with U.S. farmers.”

Ag-West Bio announces new board members

On July 27 Ag-West Bio announced three new board members to its board of directors. Jeff Bertholet and Gayle MacDonald were voted in at the June 2022 annual meeting of members and Tyler Lynch, from the Saskatchewan Ministry of Trade and Export Development, was appointed by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture.

“Jeff, Tyler and Gayle each bring exceptional skills and knowledge, and I’m very pleased they are joining our organization. I look forward to working with them,” said Karen Churchill, Ag-West Bio’s president and CEO. “Also, I wish to thank the out-going directors who have completed their terms: Steven Webb (who served as chair for the past two years), Leah Olson, and Kate Sanford Mitchell. The strategic insight they brought to the organization was invaluable.”

Next week: The Mosaic Company reports Q2 results on August 1, 2022.

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