Business Briefs News

MBI Business Brief – August 26, 2022

Customers at Atlantic Canada Sobeys, Foodland, Voilà by Sobeys, Needs and Lawtons Drugs stores can now earn Scene+ points when shopping. (CNW Group/Empire Company Limited)

Conference Board sees GDP growth for Manitoba

The Conference Board of Canada released new research on Aug. 24, forecasting Canada’s provinces will continue to see GDP growth despite the risk of recession.

The report predicts Manitoba’s GDP will rise by 4.2 per cent in 2022, with 2.9 per cent growth in 2023 and 1.9 per cent in 2024 due to increases in agriculture and manufacturing, as well as growth in services and production of goods.

“Continuing high inflation will likely cause households to tighten their purse strings in the latter part of 2022, with spending habits tapering once consumers have exercised their repressed travel urges,” said Ted Mallet, director of economic forecasting at The Conference Board of Canada. “While there is the possibility of a recession, our view is that a ‘growth plateau’ is a better description of the economy slowing in response to the Bank of Canada’s inflation battle, before picking up again in 2023.”

Kane Biotech releases Q2 2022 results

Manitoba-based biotechnology firm Kane Biotech released its Q2 2022 results on Aug. 25. Total revenue for the quarter was $839,579, up 201 per cent from Q2 2021, and gross profit hit $639,215 – an increase of 665 per cent from the same time last year. Overall, the company saw a loss of $794, 595 – down 26 per cent from Q2 2021 which saw a loss of $988,889.

“STEM Animal Health’s VOHC acceptance not only provided long-awaited milestone payments and minimum royalties, but also further validated the efficacy of Kane’s anti-biofilm technology,” said Marc Edwards, Kane Biotech CEO. “Further, Dr. Greg Schultz’s appointment as Kane’s Chief Scientific Officer will provide tremendous support to the development of our wound care business, not only from a scientific perspective by aiding the development and commercialization of our DispersinB® and coactiv+™ technologies, but also from a business perspective as the Company advances towards securing a wound care strategic partner. We expect clinical trials on our DispersinB® Hydrogel to begin later this year and our coactiv+™ 510(k) application has a clear pathway for regulatory approval.”

Ceres Global Ag Corp. announces new president and CEO

Ceres Global Ag Corp. announced on Aug. 23 that Robert Day stepped down as president and CEO, and will be replaced by Carlos Paz, effective immediately. Day will support the company over the next few months as a consultant.

“Leading this company and our dedicated employees since 2016 has been an immense honor,” said Day. “I look forward to working with Carlos to ensure a smooth transition and I am confident in his ability to build upon what Ceres has developed thus far. Especially in the current environment, Carlos’s deep industry expertise, operational excellence and experience in supply chain management will prove invaluable as the Company leverages its newly added assets to create value for its customers.”

Paz, the incoming president and CEO, joined Ceres Global Ag in January 2020 as vice president and commercial director.

“I am honored and excited to be leading Ceres.” said Paz. “I am eager to continue working with our strong network and building on Ceres’ vision to partner with farmers and other suppliers to enable our customers to do great things in the food, agriculture and energy markets.”

Ceres is based in Minneapolis, Minn. and operates 13 locations in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Minnesota. In June 2022, the company announced it was pausing its plans for a canola crushing project at Northgate, Sask. due to rising costs and changing economic conditions.

NiCAN confirms results at Wine Project

Toronto’s NiCAN Ltd. announced on Aug. 23 that assay results from historical core drilled at the Wine project in 2007 have confirmed the high-grade historical assays. The work is part of the company’s exploration program at the project near Snow Lake, Man. The program hopes to confirm “the presence of nickel-copper mineralization at the Wine Occurrence, better understand the orientation of the mineralization and improve NiCAN’s understanding of the geological model, which will be used to better target future drilling programs.”

“We were excited to retrieve the previously drilled RAD07-01 drill core, as it allowed us to resample and confirm the spectacular assays reported in 2007. NiCAN eagerly awaits new assay and survey results from the initial 2022 exploration program expected in the coming weeks. NiCAN is in a strong position with a solid balance sheet and highly prospective Ni-Cu assets in stable jurisdictions,” said Brad Humphrey, president and CEO of NiCAN.

NiCAN is a newly-listed nickel exploration company working in northern Manitoba and will release results from its 2022 program in the next several weeks.

1911 Gold begins exploration in Manitoba

Toronto-based mining firm 1911 Gold announced on Aug. 22 it has begun exploration drilling at its Rice Lake, Man. gold property. Initial drilling will target the historic Central Manitoba Mine, which was in operation from 1927-1937 and produced 160,000 ounces of gold. The company will also drill in new locations at the site, based on new mapping and historical data. As well, there will be follow-up drilling at its Wallace project and first pass drilling at Palomar.

“Following a thorough compilation of historical data that resided outside the public domain for decades, Central Manitoba has been upgraded to a very compelling exploration target,” said Dr. Scott Anderson, vice president, exploration at 1911 Gold. “This historical mine was the second-largest producer in the Rice Lake district, with among the highest head grades. The vein systems extend for over 2.6 kilometres at surface but were only mined to vertical depths of about 150 metres, which is highly unusual for these types of deposits both locally and regionally. Traditionally thought to be cut-out by faults at depth, new 3D models that incorporate surface mapping and magnetic inversions indicate significant potential at depth, including in areas where high-grade intercepts from historical drilling remain ‘open’ in several directions. The Company looks forward to testing its new model for Central Manitoba and unlocking unrecognized potential of this target.”

Scene+ arrives in Manitoba Sobeys and Safeway stores in September

Empire Company Ltd. announced on Aug. 22 that the Scene+ loyalty program has been rolled out in its Sobeys, Foodland, Voilà by Sobeys, Needs and Lawtons Drugs in Atlantic Canada, replacing the long-time Air Miles reward program.

Scene+ will arrive in Manitoba Sobeys, Safeway, IGA and FreshCo stores on Sept. 22, as well as at the company’s liquor stores.

“The launch of Scene+ in Atlantic Canada is an exciting milestone in our loyalty journey. Early customer participation and engagement have exceeded our expectations. And we are just getting started,” said Sandra Sanderson, senior vice president of marketing at Empire. “We’re thrilled to announce that Empire’s stores in Western Canada are next, where our customers will have significant opportunities to be rewarded with Scene+. We will also be bringing additional value to our loyal customers at FreshCo stores in Western Canada, which will now have a loyalty program for the very first time.”

Next Door: Saskatchewan Research Council produces first metal ingots

First commercial production of metal ingots in Canada. (CNW Group/Saskatchewan Research Council)

On Aug. 26, the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) presented Saskatchewan Minister of Trade and Export Development and Minister Responsible for SRC Jeremy Harrison with the first metal ingots produced in Canada. The first-ever Canadian-produced ingots were processed at SRC’s Rare Earth Processing Facility during a test run of its metals smelting unit. The metal ingot are a rare earth metal that is used in the manufacture of permanent magnets, needed for electric vehicles, electronics, wind turbines and more.

“This milestone shows the incredible progress that SRC is making towards a key element of our Government’s 2030 Growth Plan and in fact, now actually exceeds that original objective,” Harrison said. “Our investments into this Facility are already starting to show impacts that will be highly valuable over the coming decades.”

The Rare Earth Processing Facility, still under construction, is the first-of-its-kind in North America and will produce REE products for sale internationally in 2024, including individual rare earth oxides and didymium metals.

“SRC is proud to be a world leader in rare earth element processing and separation technologies and now to be able to add metal processing to that list, is an incredible accomplishment,” SRC President and CEO Mike Crabtree said. “The production of rare earth metal is a very important, strategic step for the Facility, for Saskatchewan and in establishing a rare earth supply chain in Canada.”

Coming Soon: Ceres Global Ag Q4 2022 results on September 9, 2022.

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