Emera Inc. and Nova Scotia Power | November 25, 2022
Emera Inc. and its wholly-owned subsidiary Nova Scotia Power announced that NS Power has filed a proposed settlement agreement for its 2022-2024 General Rate Application with the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board. The settlement, which addresses both fuel and non-fuel rates, was reached between NS Power and key customer representatives, including Nova Scotia’s Consumer Advocate, the Small Business Advocate, large customers represented by the Industrial Group, municipal utilities, Dalhousie University as well as advocates for the environment and low-income customers.
If approved by the UARB, the settlement will implement Bill 212, the provincially legislated cap on non-fuel rates for 2023 and 2024. The agreement addresses the recovery of fuel costs over the settlement period and would also establish a Demand Side Management (DSM) rider. Combined, these amounts would result in rate increases of 6.9% each year for 2023 and 2024. In addition, any under or over recovery of fuel costs would be addressed through the UARB’s established Fuel Adjustment Mechanism (FAM) process.
“Reaching this settlement is a remarkable demonstration of stakeholders’ and customer representatives’ commitment to working together to reach constructive solutions for customers. Working within the constraints of Bill 212, this settlement addresses all outstanding items of the GRA, and provides important price predictability for customers at this time of high inflation and broad economic challenge.”
Peter Gregg, President and CEO of NS Power
Other elements of NS Power’s GRA addressed in the settlement include agreement on a storm rider for the years 2023-2025, providing clarity around the recovery of costs for major storms and extreme weather events in future. It also establishes an equity thickness of 40 per cent for rate-making purposes and will result in $137 million in forecasted incremental non-fuel revenues over the settlement period, compared to $240 million filed within the GRA.
“This is a positive step forward,” said Scott Balfour, President and CEO, Emera Inc. “Achieving successful and balanced regulatory outcomes within strong regulatory compacts is critical to our ability to deliver first and foremost to our customers, but to all other stakeholders as well.”
Today’s agreement is the latest in a series of regulatory settlements across Emera’s portfolio that demonstrate the strength of Emera’s teams and strategy as well as Emera’s ability to work collaboratively with stakeholders to reach outcomes that are in the best interest of customers. In the last 24 months, New Mexico Gas, Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas have also concluded important rate cases through settlement agreements with customer representatives.
About Emera Inc.
Emera Inc. is a geographically diverse energy and services company headquartered in Halifax, Nova Scotia, with approximately $40 billion in assets and 2021 revenues of more than $5.7 billion. The company primarily invests in regulated electricity generation and electricity and gas transmission and distribution with a strategic focus on transformation from high carbon to low carbon energy sources.
About Nova Scotia Power
Nova Scotia Power Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Emera Inc. a diversified energy and services company. Nova Scotia Power provides 95% of the generation, transmission and distribution of electrical power to approximately 540,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers across Nova Scotia. The company is focused on new technologies to enhance customer service and reliability, reduce emissions and add renewable energy. Nova Scotia Power has over 2000 employees and $4.5 billion in operating assets.
Allied Copper Corporation | November 25, 2022
Allied Copper Corp. is pleased to announce additional technical information and financial information regarding Volt Lithium Corp. As announced on October 31, 2022, Allied Copper has agreed to acquire 100% of the issued and outstanding shares of privately-held Volt, pursuant to a share purchase agreement dated October 31, 2022, among each of the shareholders of Volt. Through this Acquisition, Allied Copper is afforded a strategic opportunity to expand both its asset base and development focus to include a broader range of battery metals that represent key inputs supporting the global energy transition.
Rainbow Lake Property
Volt has acquired a 100% minerals interest in a lithium-brine project in northwest Alberta which is defined by nineteen contiguous Alberta Metallic and Industrial Mineral Permits. Details of the mineral permits are summarized in Schedule B of the Agreement, which has been filed on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. The Rainbow Lake Property is in northwest Alberta, approximately 80 kilometres west of the Town of High Level, Alberta. The west-central portion of the Property surrounds the Town of Rainbow Lake, Alberta, which region is historically famous for its substantial oil and gas reserves within the carbonate platform and reef complex portions of the Middle Devonian Elk Point Group. The Property can be accessed by Provincial Highway 58, and numerous secondary all weather and dry weather gravel roads and tracks that are serviced year-round due to oil and gas production operations in the area.
Upper Keg River Formation Aquifer Brine Evaluation
Volt’s initial exploration objective at the Rainbow Lake Property was to assess stratigraphically deep hypersaline formation water, or brine, from oil and gas reservoirs, or aquifers, within the porous portions of the Elk Point Group’s Upper Keg River Formations reef complexes for its lithium-brine potential.
As per Government of Alberta subsurface brine compilations, historical Upper Keg River Formation lithium-brine analytical results within the boundaries of the Rainbow Lake Property include nine historical lithium assays of Upper Keg River Formation and Elk Point Group brines (the latter at depths that are correlative with the Upper Keg River Formation). The assays yield lithium-brine values that range between 29 and 44 milligrams per litre (“mg/L”) lithium with an average concentration of 38.3 mg/L lithium.
To validate the historical lithium-brine assays, Volt commissioned a petro-company leasehold owner and active hydrocarbon producer from within a portion of the Property and Mr. Roy Eccles P. Geol. of APEX Geoscience Ltd. to complete two separate 2022 brine sampling programs at the Rainbow Lake Property. The Petro-Company collected two brine samples from two separate wells; one of which was not within the boundaries of the Property. The samples were analyzed by Sterling Chemical Inc.’s subsidiary lab, Camber Resource Services Ltd., who is not independent of Volt.
The QP collected 25 brine samples from three oil and gas facilities and four producing wells within the Rainbow Lake Property in conjunction with the Petro-Company that is actively producing hydrocarbons from Upper Keg River Formation reservoirs. Quality assessment-quality control samples included four duplicate samples, seven brine lab-prepared lithium-brine standards, two blank samples (containing no lithium), and two check lab samples. The QP brine samples were analyzed at independent, commercial laboratories who are accredited and experienced in analysing petro-fluids.
The QP assessed both the Petro-Company and QP-collected sample analyses, and concluded that the analytical results yield both ‘valid’ and ‘invalid’ Upper Keg River Formation brine geochemical results. The Petro-Company collected samples were removed because the samples were either from an off-property well or analyzed at a non-independent lab that returned lithium results that did not correlate well with the analytical results of the QP-collected samples. Four QP-collected sample analyses were also removed from the dataset because of suspected issues with contamination or the brine geochemical results were not compatible with representative Upper Keg River Formation aquifer brine. The contamination relates to high oil contents in the brine sample, or elevated iron and metal contents believed to be related to corrosiveness inhibitors used by the Petro-Company at a specific well that may have precipitated metals that are not representative of the true brine. With respect to the assessment of representative brine genuine Upper Keg River Formation samples in this dataset contain between 72,200 and 156,000 mg/L sodium; however, the QP-assessed invalid samples had very low sodium.
Once the invalid brine analyses were removed from the database (n=6 analyses), the QP had no further significant issues or inconsistencies that would cause one to question the validity of the data. Brine analytical results are presented in Table 1 and include lithium-brine values from the three facilities and two wells.
With respect to the QP-collected valid Upper Keg River Formation aquifer brine samples, brine from the wells yielded between 29.3 and 36.1 mg/L lithium with an average concentration of 33.0 mg/L lithium. Brine from the facilities yielded between 24.5 and 37.3 mg/L lithium with an average concentration of 33.6 mg/L lithium. Collectively, the brine analyses from Volt’s primary lab yielded between 30.6 mg/L and 37.3 mg/L lithium with an average concentration of 35.0 mg/L lithium.
The QP concluded that the Volt sampling program validated the historical lithium-brine analytical results: 38.3 mg/L lithium versus 35.0 mg/L lithium. The similar lithium concentrations potentially demonstrates the chemical homogeneity of the Upper Keg River Formation aquifer underlying the Rainbow Lake Property. The sample program results also show that Volt could utilize the facilities for any future demonstration, or pilot direct lithium extraction test work, which is beneficial because the facilities represent multi-well collection points with high brine volume.
Based on the results of the Rainbow Lake Property brine sampling program, Volt has commissioned APEX Geoscience Ltd. to prepare a technical report that will provide a geological introduction and exploration results of the Upper Keg River Formation aquifer brine assessment and include recommendations to advance the lithium-brine project. The technical report will be prepared in accordance with the Canadian Mining and Metallurgy Mineral Exploration Best Practice Guidelines (2018) and the disclosure requirements set out in National Instrument 43-101 Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects.
Umicore | November 24, 2022
Umicore has successfully completed the issue of a fixed-rate, sustainability linked US Private Placement Notes for a total principal amount of € 591 million equivalent1. The Notes, which were placed with more than 15 institutional investors, attracted interest both from investors who participated in Umicore’s 2017 and 2019 placements as well as new investors.
The transaction, of which the funds will be drawn upon in January 2023, is composed of several tranches with maturities ranging from 5 to 12 years corresponding to a weighthed average maturity of more than eight years.
This issue further ties the Group’s funding to its sustainability performance. The interest rate of the Notes will be directly linked to Umicore’s progress towards the carbon neutrality goals formulated in its “Let’s go for Zero” sustainability ambitions, launched in June 2021. In “Let’s go for Zero”, the Group commits to reaching carbon neutrality in 2035, with intermediate targets to reduce its Scope 1 & 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 20% in 2025 and by 50% in 2030.
Through the successful completion of this private placement offering, Umicore substantially diversifies and extends its funding basis and the maturity of its debt at fixed rate conditions. The proceeds of the offering will be used for general corporate purposes. This includes in particular the funding of Umicore’s growth projects under its “2030-RISE” strategy in the areas of mobility transformation, growing need for advanced materials and circularity.
“The success of this Private Placement issue, against a volatile financial market backdrop, demonstrates the strength of our relationships with institutional debt investors and provides a strong validation of Umicore’s “2030-RISE” strategic plan designed to accelerate value creative growth. This transaction will provide us with additional attractively priced, fixed-rate, long-dated financing and will support the execution of our ambitious “2030-RISE” growth strategy. Furthermore, it underscores the growing awareness of the social and sustainability impact of financing decisions in a context of climate change and resource scarcity and demonstrates Umicore’s strong commitment to its “Let’s go for Zero” sustainability ambitions to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035.”
Wannes Peferoen, CFO of Umicore
The issue will complement the three existing private debt placements of a total amount of € 1,080 million, the Convertible Bond of € 500 million and the loan from the European Investment Bank of € 125 million. In addition, Umicore has committed currently undrawn Syndicated Bank Credit Facilities of a total amount of approximately € 1 billion and substantial additional uncommitted shorter-term funding instruments.
Umicore is the circular materials technology Group. It focuses on application areas where its expertise in materials science, chemistry and metallurgy makes a real difference. Its activities are organised in three business groups: Catalysis, Energy & Surface Technologies and Recycling. Each business group is divided into market-focused business units offering materials and solutions that are at the cutting edge of new technological developments and essential to everyday life.
Umicore generates the majority of its revenues and dedicates most of its R&D efforts to clean mobility materials and recycling. Umicore’s overriding goal of sustainable value creation is based on an ambition to develop, produce and recycle materials in a way that fulfils its mission: materials for a better life.
Umicore’s industrial and commercial operations as well as R&D activities are located across the world to best serve its global customer base. The Group generated revenues of € 2.1 billion in the first half of 2022 and currently employs 11,350 people.
About Umicore’s “Let’s go for Zero” ambitions
At Umicore, we see it as our corporate responsibility, or better yet, our mission to use our technological know-how, scientific expertise and corporate reach to be an industry leader in sustainability. We are determined to rethink processes, transform and focus our efforts on net zero GHG emissions, zero regrets and endless possibilities.