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AIDEA to study Gravina Island mill, tailings facility

Posted: October 8, 2013 - 8:25pm  |  Updated: October 9, 2013 - 12:02am

The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority has signed on to evaluate the possibility of a mill and tailings facility on Gravina Island. The facility would serve the proposed Niblack mine, a copper, gold, silver and zinc prospect 30 miles southwest of Ketchikan. The prospect is owned by Heatherdale Resources, LTD.

The memorandum of understanding to explore the potential of the proposed Gravina Island Industrial Complex was announced Tuesday. Buy-in from AIDEA, a state-run economic development corporation, would mean financial support for infrastructure that would support the mine, timber and other community uses.

Karsten Rodvik, AIDEA spokesman, said the agreement would allow the mine to move forward with establishing environmental and baseline work to assess both the proposed mine and processing facility sites. With feasibility reports, Rodvik said AIDEA could then determine what kind of financing options it can provide.

“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.”

Ketchikan Gateway Borough Manager Dan Bockhorst said the possibility of a log transfer facility at the port would be beneficial for logging in the area. The Bostwick #1 proposed timber sale, offered by the State of Alaska, would log 495 acres, creating an estimate 12, 870 board feet of timber. Bockhorst said

“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 signed a memorandum of understanding with Heatherdale Resources last year. If developed, the mine would create 150 full-time jobs. Another 80 would be created if the processing facility were constructed.

• Contact reporter Jennifer Canfield at 523-2279 or at jennifer.n.canfield@juneauempire.com. Follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/canfieldjenn.

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