MineConnect coming to Elko: Canadian business incubator to bolster mining industry

MineConnect logo. Credit: MineConnect

The Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) and the Northeastern Nevada Regional Development Authority (NNRDA) have entered a three-year partnership with MineConnect, a business incubator focused on service and support for the mining industry in Nevada.

When MineConnect opens its doors in Elko later this year, rural Nevada will have access to Canada’s largest concentration of hard rock mining expertise through its membership of 190 companies with 8,800 employees throughout Northern Ontario.

“I’m very excited to welcome MineConnect to Nevada, a nonprofit that will enhance one of our most important industries,” Gov. Steve Sisolak, said in a release. “I’m confident this will be a mutually beneficial relationship. I look forward to introducing Canadian companies to our state, which will greatly enhance our mining industry’s supply chain.”

In December, MineConnect, a northern Ontario supply and service association, announced that they will be moving forward with the initiative in hopes of being fully functional by summer 2021.

“MineConnect fits in perfectly with Nevada’s economic development plans,” added Michael Brown, GOED executive director. “It was really an honor to participate in MineConnect’s ‘Crush 2020’ virtual event on December 17th when the MineConnect’s Board of Directors made a commitment to establish a storefront in Elko that will act as a launching pad for their members to enter the Nevada market.”

MineConnect members will apply for the opportunity to occupy a portion of the space where they will begin evaluating the market, making connections, with the aim of securing contracts. Companies will be encouraged to make final business development decisions within 12 months of occupancy. If northern Nevada is a good fit, the business will be expected to establish its own operation within the region, which would create job opportunities for Nevadans. The new business incubator will house approximately 10 companies at any time and is funded to operate for three years, at which time a decision would be made about whether the incubator will be a long-term operation.

“From an economic development perspective, this is absolutely phenomenal” added Sheldon Mudd, executive director of NNRDA, “MineConnect’s model allows businesses to gauge the market with very little risk. The overall end game is to provide the tools necessary to ensure success; we want these companies to set up their United States based operations here in northern Nevada, to hire local employees, and to reduce the overall cost of our mine operations.”

Mudd also added that northern Ontario is known as a ‘global powerhouse’ within the mining industry and is home to dozens of world leaders in mining technology and manufacturing.

“Our goal is not only to establish a footprint in northern Nevada, but to support the state’s mining industry and build their overall supply chain cluster,” said Paul Bradette, MineConnect executive director. “By filling supply chain gaps, MineConnect hopes to eliminate the industry’s need to source goods and services from far outside of Nevada and often the United States.”

Bradette and Mudd have been working on developing the MineConnect-Nevada relationship since 2015 when Mudd previously served as the mining specialist at GOED. Since that time, northern Ontario companies have participated in three trade missions to Nevada while Mudd spoke on behalf of the state of Nevada at the Northern Ontario Exports Forum in 2017.

“It was all about collaboration and how we can build on each other’s expertise and synergies to enhance our respective mine jurisdictions,” Bradette said. “Nevada based companies are experts in open pit mining, as northern Ontario moves in that direction, we will need your experience.”

One of the benefits of the Elko business incubator is that it will also be a conduit for Nevada businesses who would like to explore the northern Ontario market.

“We are kindred spirits, we have a lot in common,” Mudd said as he explained the relationship between the two regions. “Like us, they reside far north of their province removed from the populated urban areas – our Las Vegas is their Toronto.”

The impact of Canadian businesses and investment on the Silver State is tremendous and there are only signs of growth in these partnerships. As of 2020, there are more than 150 Canadian-owned businesses within Nevada employing more than 10,000 people.

Canadian investment in mining within Nevada continues to have an enormous impact on the economy. There are more than 25 mining-related Canadian businesses within Nevada, from equipment manufacturing to gold mining. Canada is also Nevada’s third largest export market and second largest import market. Total exports to Canada equaled approximately $1.2 billion in goods. Mining and mining associated goods account for more than 45 percent of Nevada’s exports. Nevada also exports $1 billion in services to Canada annually.

For more information, visit www.MineConnect.com.

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