NYPA Press Release

New York Power Authority Board of Trustees Approves $330,000 for Specialized Job Training for Up to 60 Workers at Empire State Mine in St. Lawrence County

For Immediate Release: 03/20/18


Paul DeMichele | Paul.Demichele@nypa.gov | 914-390-8186

WHITE PLAINS—The New York Power Authority (NYPA) Board of Trustees today approved a funding award of $330,000 as part of a $1.2 million program by Empire State Mine in Gouverneur, St. Lawrence County, to train up to 60 local workers as certified underground miners.


“The Power Authority has been making an active effort to revitalize the North Country and grow its economy,” said Judge Eugene L. Nicandri, NYPA trustee and resident of Massena. “The reopening of this zinc mine and the job training program is big news for the region.”


The funding award applies net earnings from unutilized hydropower from Massena's St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt Power Project to county businesses and institutions. The Northern New York Power Proceeds Act, which was authorized by the Governor in December 2014, allowed for NYPA to deposit the net earnings from the market sale of unutilized electricity from the 20 megawatt St. Lawrence County Economic Development Power program into a fund, which can then be used to support economic development projects in St. Lawrence County.


“It’s tremendous to see the Power Authority’s Northern New York Power Proceeds program being leveraged to support this job training program for Empire State Mine,” said Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA president and CEO. “Titan has been committed to re-opening this century-old mine and NYPA’s economic development programs have created a perfect marriage to help get it done.”


The Workforce Development Institute also provided $50,000 toward the job training program.


The zinc mine is in the process of reopening after the completion of a comprehensive $33 million capital project by Titan Mining. Titan’s Empire State Mine is directly supported by a four-megawatt (MW) allocation of low-cost hydropower from the Power Authority’s St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt Power Project.


“We are currently ramping up production at the Empire State Mine, and have started our 2018 exploration program,” said Keith Boyle, Chief Operating Officer of Titan. “We see potential for multiple new discoveries on the 80,000-acre land position that we control. Our goal is to produce approximately 100 million pounds of zinc in concentrate per year, and eventually expand throughput and annual zinc production to 225 million pounds or more.”


The primary uses of zinc are for galvanizing steel, die-casting alloys and brass castings for automobiles, transportation, and industrial machinery in the construction industry.


The Empire State Mine is part of a mining district that first began production more than 100 years ago and produced more than 4 million tons of zinc contained in concentrate. The 2,700-acre zinc mine ceased operation in 2008 due to low zinc prices, but is now starting to produce again. The Empire State Mine is expected to hold its grand reopening and ribbon-cutting ceremony this summer.


Patrick J. Kelly, CEO, St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency, said, “This project is creating a significant number of high quality jobs and is bringing substantial positive economic impact to the region. The support we’ve received from the Governor and NYPA has been absolutely essential to make the project a reality and we are appreciative of their efforts.”


NYPA’s hydropower allocations from the St. Lawrence-FDR power plant are provided to manufacturers under seven-year contracts and are reserved for businesses in Franklin, Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties. The NYPA Board of Trustees approved the hydropower allocation to facilitate the reopening of the zinc mine in December 2014.


There is more than 235 MW of low-cost NYPA hydropower still available for allocation to businesses looking to create jobs and invest in the North Country through NYPA’s Preservation Power program. Interested businesses looking to apply can reach out to NYPA at Hydro.Programs@nypa.gov.


“I know the importance of bringing good paying jobs to St. Lawrence County—and the North Country—and that’s why I urged the state to provide funds and training to make sure our workforce has the skills needed to build successful careers and make this venture a success,” said Senator Patty Ritchie.


“I am pleased to see that the Empire State Mine will be operational once again thanks to a four MW allocation of low-cost hydropower from the New York Power Authority, as well as a $330,000 funding award to train up to 60 local workers as certified underground miners,” Sen. Joseph Griffo said. “This is exactly the kind of support for industry in our state that NYPA can provide so successfully.”


“These positions at the zinc mine aren’t just jobs, they’re rewarding careers. When the state provides high-tech job training and ensures that firms can access affordable, reliable energy, the middle-class wins. Smart investments like this revitalize communities and encourage hardworking, talented New Yorkers to stay here instead of looking for opportunity elsewhere.  This is in impactful step forward for Gouverneur and for our economy in St. Lawrence County,” said Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush.


Assemblywoman Addie Jenne said, “It's clearly a positive to see monies from the Northern New York Power Proceeds Act being used to support economic development projects in St. Lawrence County. I'm looking forward in seeing additional allocations in the coming months that will benefit job creation in the Massena area and around St. Lawrence County.”


“It has been great to see the mine resuming operation with a low-cost power allocation and funding for training. I want to thank Gov. Cuomo and the Power Authority for the partnership they have developed with a major private sector employer to stimulate the area economy,” Gouverneur Mayor Ronald P. McDougall said.


"The reopening of the mine is great news for St. Lawrence County. We're ready to go to work,” St. Lawrence County Legislature Chair Kevin Acres said.


“The mine is providing good-paying jobs that have been a tremendous boost to the local economy. I am pleased to see this economic development funding is helping to support a business that will provide opportunities for our local residents,” Gouverneur Town Supervisor David Spilman said.



About NYPA

NYPA is the largest state public power organization in the nation, operating 16 generating facilities and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. More than 70 percent of the electricity NYPA produces is clean renewable hydropower. NYPA uses no tax money or state credit. It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity. For more information visit www.nypa.gov and follow us on Twitter @NYPAenergy, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and LinkedIn.