Business Bulletins News

IW Business Bulletin – May 20, 2022

BHP Jansen
BHP Jansen. Photo provided by BHP.

SGI names new president and CEO

On May 16, SGI announced that long-time employee and current executive vice president and COO of the Auto Fund, Penny McCune will become the company’s CEO on June 1, 2022. McCune was selected to replace outgoing president and CEO Andrew Cartmell who retired in April.

“On behalf of SGI’s Board of Directors, I’m pleased to congratulate Penny on her promotion to President and CEO,” said Denis Perrault, chair of the SGI board of directors. “As a long-standing SGI employee, Penny has extensive experience in the insurance industry and understands SGI’s unique opportunities and challenges as both the compulsory auto insurance program in Saskatchewan, and a competitive insurer. She’s a strong, strategic and passionate leader with a focus on delivering value for customers, stakeholders and SGI’s business partners.”

McCune joined SGI in 1985 as a temporary junior clerk. Over the years she has held many roles within SGI, including executive vice president, claims and salvage and executive vice president, customer and distribution Strategy. She holds a Bachelor of Administration from the University of Regina and her Chartered Insurance Professional designation from the Insurance Institute of Canada.

“I’m truly honoured to be SGI’s next President and CEO,” said McCune. “I’ve grown up at SGI, so I know this company well. I understand its value, I care about it, and I believe I can lead it in a manner that will protect its uniqueness and its value to the province. I’m excited to contribute to SGI’s continued success and look forward to what the future holds.”

Protein Industries Canada partners with SIIT and Whitecap Dakota First Nation

May 17 saw the announcement of a new educational partnership between Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies (SIIT) and Whitecap Dakota First Nation with an investment from Protein Industries Canada. The collaboration will see the creation of a new micro-credential for Indigenous youth in Western Canada.

“We are excited to work alongside Whitecap Dakota First Nation, Protein Industries Canada, and other industry leaders within the agriculture sector, to support the development of a new micro credential for Indigenous youth in Western Canada,” said Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies President and CEO Riel Bellegarde. “The creation of this micro credential is vital to cultivating and supporting Indigenous innovators as they contribute their talents and expertise to Canada’s food processing sector, and to ensuring that they are equipped with the skills and training necessary to succeed and contribute to future economic growth in a meaningful way.”

The new credential will provide training and skills for Indigenous youth in the food processing sector, as well as networking opportunities and on-site practicums, to develop careers in Canada’s growing plant-based food and ingredients sector. The project will also include an employer training component related to Truth and Reconciliation recommendations to create more inclusive, respectful and understanding workplaces.

“The partnership between our Nation, SIIT and Protein Industries Canada creates a new and exciting career path for our members and all Indigenous youth across the province. We know food security is vital to our future, and the learning opportunity for our people through this program offered at SIIT will ensure Indigenous voices and perspectives are included in the future of the food processing sector in Canada,” said Whitecap Dakota First Nation Chief Darcy Bear.

BHP accelerating Jansen Potash Mine

In remarks made at the Bank of America Securities 2022 Global Metals, Mining & Steel Conference this week, BHP CEO Mike Henry said that the company has made the decision to accelerate the development of its much-anticipated Jansen Potash mine due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

At the conference, Henry said that the project is making good progress and they are “looking at potential to accelerate Jansen Stage 1 first production into 2026.” The company had originally planned for production to begin in 2027. The long-awaited decision on the $5.7 billion project was announced in August 2021 after eight years and $4.5 billion in investments.

“We have been positive on potash fundamentals for many years now. Strong potash demand growth will be driven by global population growth, changing diets, and stronger global expectations with respect to environmental stewardship. Jansen is a good project in a great commodity and investing in potash will add further resilience to future returns. In addition to being in a different, attractive operating jurisdiction, and likely having a different spread of markets, potash demand and pricing are uncorrelated – or even negatively correlated – with the other commodities we produce. Oil and aluminum on the other hand are quite highly correlated to our existing commodities. Potash will bring greater cash flow stability and returns resilience,” said Henry.

Saskatchewan Research Council signs deal with Westinghouse

The Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Westinghouse Electric Canada to to advance very small modular reactors (vSMRs) in the province. Westinghouse and SRC Together, Westinghouse and SRC will  develop a project to locate an eVincitm micro-reactor in Saskatchewan “for the development and testing of industrial, research, and energy use applications.”

“For 38 years, SRC was the licensed owner and operator of a SLOWPOKE-2 nuclear reactor, and we look forward to building on that experience with Westinghouse,” Minister Responsible for SRC Jeremy Harrison said. “The hands-on experience SRC gained can be applied to emerging nuclear technology, such as SMRs as we consider how to best power our future.”

According to Westinghouse, the eVinci micro-reactor and its related infrastructure is approximately half the size of a hockey rink. Classified as a micro-reactor, it can produce five megawatts of electricity, over 13 megawatts of high temperature heat, and “support various applications including remote mining operations, remote communities, individual industrial heat and power scenarios, distributed hydrogen generation and integrated energy solutions.”

“We are proud to work with SRC to provide customized solutions to Saskatchewan’s clean energy needs with our eVinci micro-reactor technology,” said Edouard Saab, Westinghouse Electric Canada president. “Building on decades of innovation, the eVinci micro-reactor brings carbon-free, transportable, safe and scalable energy, while creating jobs in local communities and advancing Canada’s Net Zero goals.”

Government of Saskatchewan ramping up hydrogen energy hub

On May 16, the Government of Saskatchewan announced plans to examine the opportunity for a hydrogen energy hub in the Regina-Moose Jaw corridor.

The Ministry of Energy and Resources, Whitecap Resources, and Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) are supporting a foundation study and report by the Transition Accelerator and the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC). The report will provide potential investors with an analysis of the commercial hydrogen opportunities in Saskatchewan, and any synergies with carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) infrastructure.

“Saskatchewan has played a prominent role in establishing CCUS as an industry and we expect it will leverage this expertise to take a leadership role in the new hydrogen economy,”  Grant Fagerheim, Whitecap Resources president and CEO, said. “Whitecap and FCL have the opportunity to accelerate the transition to a lower carbon economy through our proposed CCUS infrastructure, which will enable blue hydrogen production at a commercial scale. We are excited to advance this study to support further expansion across the private sector.”

The Ministry of Energy and Resources will provide $100,000 in grant funding to the Transition Accelerator, a pan-Canadian charity that has launched Canada’s first two hydrogen hubs in Alberta. Another $50,000 in funding will be provided by Whitecap Resources and FCL.

“The potential for a Hydrogen and CCUS Hub in Saskatchewan is exciting as it would create new opportunities for local industry right here in Saskatchewan,” Federated Co-operatives Limited CEO Heather Ryan said. “We know that CCUS will play a prominent role in the future of transportation fuels. The research we are investing in will identify the role that hydrogen production will play in the transition to the low carbon economy. We are excited and proud to partner with the Government of Saskatchewan and Whitecap Resources on this important research project.”

Saskatoon’s NorQuin to be acquired by Above Food

Regina-based Above Food Corp. announced May 20 that it will acquire Northern Quinoa Production Corp. (NorQuin). NorQuin, headquartered in Saskatoon, is North America’s largest quinoa supplier. Above Food is a plant-based food company founded by Lionel Kambeitz, Donato Sferra, Tyler West, and Martin Williams.

“The team at NorQuin has built a truly remarkable platform,” said Lionel Kambeitz, CEO of Above Food. “Adding them to our scaled, vertically integrated platform will enable significant opportunities for growth and margin expansion across each of our core competencies: Disruptive Agriculture, Specialty Ingredients and High Growth CPG.”

Nominations are open for Hospitality Saskatchewan Awards

Hospitality Saskatchewan has announced that nominations are now open for the first-ever Hospitality Saskatchewan Awards, which replace the previous Saskatchewan Tourism Awards of Excellence.

The awards will be handed out September 26 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Conference Centre in Regina. The inaugural year will see awards presented in four categories: Employee of the Year Award; Indigenous Tourism Experience Award; Rookie of the Year Award; and Tourism Builder Award.

Nominations are accepted until August 1, 2022.

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