Usibelli Coal Mine trucked 1,200 tons of coal from Healy to Port MacKenzie last week and loaded it onto a Japan-bound ship in a test of the port's conveyor and dock systems. The company says it will need rail access to the port to make coal shipments from a hoped-for Mat-Su mine profitable, but borough officials were calling the test a milestone anyway, reports the Mat-Su Frontiersman.
"It went very well," Usibelli spokeswoman Lorali Carter said Saturday at a meeting of VIPs at the port. Port director Marc Van Dongen agreed. He noted that coal is the fifth commodity to cross the borough's docks. The other four were wood chips, sand and gravel, cement and scrap metal.
... Aside from the rail line, another thing Van Dongen is waiting for is an expansion of his dock. Part of that project, which will beef up the port's barge dock, is going to be funded with federal money and is due to start construction Monday. Next he'd like to see the deep-draft dock, the one the Azure tied up at, expanded.
"Our docks are halfway done," he said.