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New group works to bring mine service jobs to Juneau

Posted: October 16, 2012 - 12:02am

A group of local industry stakeholders met with CBJ staff to match industrial needs to city industrial lands.

The Juneau Economic Development Council was contracted to facilitate a project that brings together stakeholders from several major Southeast industries such as ocean products, forest products, small mills and tourism. The project hopes to strengthen these clusters of businesses.

JEDC’s most recent initiative is focused around the mine services industry. The initiative was split into six major themes. A group focused on the theme of growing Southeast mining support and supply industries met Monday to brainstorm the needs of mining support businesses in relation to the City and Borough of Juneau’s zoned industrial lands.

“We want our firms to have the capacity support the mines in Juneau,” Brian Holst JEDC executive director said. “But then can go out and support other mines.”

Members of the initiative group include Michael Wilson, pilot and general manager of Coastal Helicopters, Chris Gerondale, vice president mining sales at Construction Machinery Industrial LLC, and Dylan Ashe, contract administrator with Channel Construction Inc., CBJ and JEDC staff were also in attendance.

The group was asked during Monday’s meeting to describe what mine support services are currently shipped out of the region, state and country that could be reabsorbed into the local economy — what these services require in terms of City and Borough of Juneau industrial zoned land.

“What is shipping out and not shipping here that could potentially ship here,” Gerondale said.

“I think that we would need … an internal industry assessment of what [the mining industry] can get here and what they can’t get here,” Heather Marlow CBJ lands and resources manager said.

The group identified aviation services, particularly helicopter services, such as parts and maintenance. With mine exploration expected to continue and grow over time, helicopter support would be a stable, long-term industry for Juneau. Currently, helicopter firms must fly machines out of state, often to Canada, for routine maintenance. A heliport with an emphasis on service could be an anchor tenant on the west side of Douglas. The group also explored other machine repair and maintenance options.

Because mines already ship some services out of the region, local mines don’t have to see an increase in production to see an increase in demand in Juneau, JEDC’s Brian Holst said.

Juneau can open up new opportunities so mines do not have to send jobs to other places, he said.

The group decided to include representatives from the marine and seafood processing industries in the group. Members agreed that other parities are needed to make the group successful.

The group plans to meet next on Nov. 27.

• Contact reporter Russell Stigall at 523-2276 or at russell.stigall@juneauempire.com.

 

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