JUNEAU, Alaska — The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority has signed a memorandum of understanding to evaluate a mine mill and a tailings facility on Ketchikan's Gravina Island.
The authority, set up by the Alaska Legislature to provide financing for businesses that expand the state economy, could eventually offer a financing for a mill supporting the proposed Niblack Mine, the Juneau Empire reported.
AIDEA announced the arrangement Tuesday.
The Niblack Mine is proposed for a copper, gold, silver and zinc prospect owned by Heatherdale Resources Ltd. on southeast Prince of Wales Island about 30 miles southwest of Ketchikan.
AIDEA spokesman Karsten Rodvik said the agreement will allow the mine to move forward with environmental and baseline work that will assess both the proposed mine and processing sites.
After the reports, AIDEA can determine financing options it could provide, Rodvik said.
"Where our help is likely needed the most is with infrastructure requirements at the Gravina Island Industrial Complex, but we're looking at the whole project," Rodvik said. "We're interested in not only the mine site and complex, but also in working with Niblack mine and the Ketchikan Gateway Borough to investigate multi-user opportunities for port facilities."
A log transfer facility at the port would be beneficial for logging, said Ketchikan Gateway Borough manager Dan Bockhorst.
"We are very strongly in support of development of the Niblack mine site and the prospect of mining jobs on Prince of Wales Island and the prospect of milling operations in the greater Ketchikan borough," Buckhurst said.
The borough last year signed a memorandum of understanding with Heatherdale Resources.
A Niblack Mine could create up to 150 full-time jobs. A processing mill would add 80 more.
Gravina Island is the site of Ketchikan's airport.
Information from: Juneau (Alaska) Empire, http://www.juneauempire.com