Business Briefs News

MBI Business Brief – September 23, 2022

Linking a ceremonial chain representing the global rare earth supply chain. PHOTO: Vital Metals/Bill Braden.

MLT Aikins joins up with Vancouver’s Hakemi & Ridgedale

MLT Aikins announced on Sept. 20 that the long-time prairie-based law firm is joining forces with Vancouver’s Hakemi & Ridgedale to expand MLT Aikins services in British Columbia.

“Hakemi & Ridgedale’s exceptional litigation experience adds to the depth and breadth of our Vancouver presence and to our firm’s overall litigation bench strength,” said Aaron Runge, managing partner of MLT Aikins. “MLT Aikins is a growing firm. We look forward to welcoming the entire Hakemi & Ridgedale team and introducing our full service offering to their impressive group of clients.”

Hakemi & Ridgedale was founded in 2012 and is a commercial litigation boutique firm led by partners Tom Hakemi and Lisa Ridgedale. “We’re pleased to join the MLT Aikins team and bring our litigation experience and client portfolio to a firm that spans across the entire West,” said Hakemi.

The two firms will join officially on December 1, 2022. “By joining MLT Aikins, we’ll be able to better serve clients by benefiting from the combined resources and experience of one of Western Canada’s most recognized law firms,” said Ridgedale.

MLT Aikins has more than 270 lawyers in six offices across Western Canada, and is the 13th largest firm in the country.

Winnipeg’s Laivly wins award at summit

Winnipeg-based artificial intelligence and automation firm Laivly won the Artificial Intelligence Excellence Award at the 9th Edition BPO Innovation Summit & Awards 2022 presented by UBS Forums.

The award “recognizes organizations that apply AI solutions in the workplace to solve real-life challenges,” with Laivly being nominated for the results of its AI-driven automation platform realized at the 24-7 Intouch contact centre for a grocery delivery firm. According to Laivly, its AI platform “reduced average handle time (AHT) for fraud investigation cases by 32 per cent within 75 days of implementation while also substantially improving accuracy.”

“We know the best way to improve the customer experience is to improve the agent experience,” said Jeff Fettes, CEO and founder of Laivly. “By augmenting human agents, artificial intelligence has the potential to completely transform the contact center and refocus customer service on personal connection and empathy. We’re honored to be recognized for our innovation in this area.”

Manitoba companies on Globe and Mail Report on Business’ list of Canada’s Top Growing Companies for 2022

The Globe and Mail’s Report on Business magazine released its annual list of Canada’s Top Growing Companies for 2022 on Sept. 23, with nine Manitoba companies making the list:

Delta 9 Cannabis earned its spot with three-year revenue growth of 723 per cent, with annual revenues have grown from $7.6 Million in 2018 to $62.3 Million in 2021.

“Today’s recognition by The Globe and Mail, one of Canada’s most prestigious daily newspapers, is further validation of Delta 9’s continued growth trajectory,” said John Arbuthnot, CEO at Delta 9. “We achieved significant revenue growth over the last 3 years by expanding our retail network to 38 stores, from 4 in 2020, and expanding our portfolio of Delta 9 products across our core markets. In the months ahead we have identified several proactive growth opportunities to maneuver the current economic conditions by continuing to expand our retail cannabis store network across Canada and expand our wholesale cannabis business into new domestic and international markets.”

People Corporation earned its spot with three-year growth of 104 per cent.

“Over the past few years, we’ve seen unprecedented growth. We’ve made intentional and strategic decisions that have allowed us to be included with other incredible companies on the Globe and Mail’s Report on Business’ list of fastest growing companies again this year. We attribute our success to the ongoing support of our clients as well as the passion and dedication of our employees. As CEO, I believe that if People Corporation remains focused on helping organizations to recruit, retain, reward, care for and engage their employees, then growth of our company will continue because when employees are at the centre of an organization’s focus great things are possible,” said Brevan Canning, president and CEO of People Corporation.

Next door: Saskatoon rare earths facility on display at Saskatchewan Rare Earth Summit

Vital Metals opened phase one of its new rare earth processing facility in Saskatoon on Sept. 20 at the Saskatchewan Rare Earth Summit. The plant is the culmination of three years’ of work, which began with the acquisition of the Cheetah Resources’ Nechalacho Rare Earth Project in the Northwest Territories.

“The Vital Metals and Cheetah Resources teams are intensely proud of what everyone has achieved to date,” said Vital Metals’ CEO Russell Bradford. “The foundations have been laid for a great future for all our stakeholders to develop our rare earth business. What we just demonstrated represents our partners and customers in our supply chain, and we are grateful that you are with us today to help celebrate this milestone in our journey.”

The same day, the Hon. Daniel Vandal, Minister for PrairiesCan announced $7.5 million in funding for Canada’s first REE processing facilities in Saskatoon. The funding includes:

  • Vital Metals – $5 million for equipment installation and the start of processing bastnaesite concentrate to produce mixed rare earth carbonate at its new plant in Saskatoon.
  • The Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) – $2.5 million in interest-free repayable funding to buy equipment for its rare earth processing facility in Saskatoon to produce mixed rare earth carbonite by processing monazite ore.

“Saskatchewan is a leader in mining and our government is continuing to make investments to support the establishment of a domestic rare earth supply chain. Canadian companies are not only suppliers of resources, but also processors and producers of value-added products, which will strengthen our economy, create good jobs for Canadians and help us build a cleaner and brighter future,” said Vandal.

Vital Metals is the only North American producer of mixed rare earth carbonate using ore from its own mine. SRC’s $55 million facility will be vertically integrated and include processing, separation and metals stages – the first in North America – and is located near the Vital Metals project.

Stay tuned for our next issue, which features a dive into Manitoba’s role in the rare earths and critical minerals industry.

Coming up: IGM Financial Inc. reporting Q3 results on November 3, 2022.

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