Report: US needs more domestic sources for critical minerals

Filling the country’s domestic deficit of numerous minerals and metals has been a priority of the Trump administration, which on June 4 released a plan for addressing what it considers to be a national security issue. The Commerce Department report, entitled, “A Federal Strategy to Ensure Secure and Reliable Supplies of Critical Minerals” lays out the ways in which the administration believes the U.S. can improve domestic control over 31 of the 35 often hard to pronounce minerals designated as “critical” in a May 2018 Interior Department report. Interior’s critical minerals list notes that the country imports more than 50 percent of its supply of 31 minerals and relies completely on outside sources for 14 of those, including graphite and many minerals that are essential for modern energy storage and advanced technologies. For several years, the U.S. imported all of its rare earth elements — used in very small quantities in many electronic devices from smartphones to components for fighter jets — until the Mountain Pass rare earths mine in southern California reopened last year. The Interior Department also highlights the fact that China is the country’s primary source for many of the minerals it imports, which provides leverage to a government the administration is now at odds with over trade issues. The reports were compiled following a December 2017 Executive Order signed by President Donald Trump directing the Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy and Interior departments to prioritize addressing the nation’s critical mineral situation. Among the priorities in the critical minerals strategy is a push for federal agencies to thoroughly assess the country’s resources for the various imported minerals and for specifically the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management to reform their land-use planning methods to protect access to those resources. BLM oversees 245 million acres of federal land — about 10 percent of the country — and subsurface mineral rights to roughly 700 million acres. According to the bureau, BLM-controlled lands hold approximately 30 percent of the nation’s minerals. The Forest Service manages nearly 193 million acres. The report states that many mineral deposits cannot be developed because of existing land withdrawals, reservations or other land-use restrictions. It notes that those designations can serve useful purposes for everything from wildlife protection to military use, but recommends the Forest Service and BLM coordinate with the U.S. Geological Survey along with state and Tribal governments and mining industry representatives to evaluate areas with use restrictions for mineral resources. “Any (mineral resource) analysis performed should quantify and qualify the economic and national security implications of: reducing the size of an existing withdrawal, reducing the area affected by a land-use designation, changing planning allocations, or revoking an existing withdrawal,” the report states. It further emphasizes a desire to prioritize reviews of withdrawn areas based on the potential for discoveries of critical minerals. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who chairs the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said she welcomed the strategy report in a statement from her office. “(The report) provides clear direction on how to reduce our reliance on foreign minerals and thereby strengthen our economy and national security. I urge the administration to swiftly implement its recommendations, especially those that encourage domestic mineral production and continued research into processing technologies, and will continue my work to compliment these efforts with new legislative authorities,” she said. In May, Murkowski co-sponsored the American Mineral Security Act along with Sen. Dan Sullivan, which, among other things, would require the Interior Department to update a list of critical minerals every three years. The Mineral Security Act would also mandate nationwide assessments for the availability of each mineral on the critical list as well as direct Interior and Forest Service mineral project permitting reforms aimed at reducing the time to reach permit decisions and authorize research for critical mineral recycling or replacement materials. While many policymakers and national security experts regularly raise concerns about the United States’ reliance on China for many of the minerals the country imports — such as graphite, rare earths, bismuth, barite and others — the strategy recommends strengthening trade ties with current geopolitical partners and allied countries that could be preferable sources for some minerals. Bokan rare earths Alaska is rich in many minerals and a deposit near the southern tip of the state has the potential to be a significant domestic source of rare earth elements. The Bokan Mountain rare earth underground mine prospect near tidewater on southern Prince of Wales Island holds more than 4.7 million metric tons of indicated rare earth ore, according to a 2015 resource assessment by Nova Scotia-based Ucore Rare Metals Inc., the company working on the project. That translates to approximately 63.5 million pounds of collective rare earth metals. However, Ucore has shifted its attention away from advancing the mine since 2015 following a drastic fall in global rare earth prices. Instead, the company has focused on developing a small mineral processing facility in nearby Ketchikan by late 2020. Ucore leaders have discussed the prospect of financing at least part of the estimated $25 million strategic minerals complex through the state-owned Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority. The Alaska Legislature in 2014 authorized AIDEA to issue up to $145 million in bonds to help finance the Bokan mine project, which the company estimated in 2013 would cost $221 million to develop. Ucore CEO Jim McKenzie said recent U.S.-China trade tensions have highlighted the importance of addressing domestic mineral supply issues and have recently boosted prices particularly for heavy rare earth elements. There are 17 minerals defined as rare earth elements, but “heavy” rare earths — such as europium, terbium, and ytterbium with a greater atomic weight — are the most sought after and are used in products that rely on high-temperature magnets. More common lighter rare earths are used in a plethora of applications including LED displays. Heavy rare earths account for roughly 40 percent of the mineralization at Bokan, according to Ucore. “The Bokan deposit is unique in the U.S., with its unusual skew towards these valuable (heavy rare earth elements). Bokan is also unique in its ease of access, its limited projected development cost, and its significant financial backing by the State of Alaska,” McKenzie said in a formal statement. “We applaud the Trump administration for identifying these critical resources and streamlining their route to production.” Ucore officials declined to comment on the progress of the Ketchikan processing facility because of Utah and Nova Scotia court battles the company is in with Utah-based IBC Advanced Technologies, a metal processing technology company Ucore had entered into a joint-venture agreement with. The companies are now in litigation over that agreement. Ucore Vice President Randy MacGillivray did write via email that the company completed drilling and resource assessment work in 2014 and is satisfied with the results of the 2013 preliminary economic assessment of the Bokan project. Once Ucore officials decide to move ahead with the mine, they expect it will require two-plus years of permitting before construction can begin, according to MacGillivray. ^ Elwood Brehmer can be reached at [email protected]

Movers and Shakers for June 23

Alaska USA Federal Credit Union hired Tim Woolston as its new senior vice president of marketing. Woolston joins the credit union with more than 30 years of experience in the marketing, advertising and communications industries. His previous experience includes president and owner of a marketing and public relations firm, corporate communications director, and as managing editor and anchor for Channel 2 News in Anchorage. Woolston will oversee Alaska USA’s marketing and member engagement strategies, including research and analysis, brand oversight, product and service marketing, and membership growth. Keith Champagne will take on a new role as leader of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Nanooks athletics program. Champagne, who currently serves as vice chancellor for student affairs, will assume the duties of athletics director, as well as continue to serve as the leader of UAF’s student affairs division. He will take over for Sterling Steward, who stepped down June 11. In his new role, Champagne plans to focus more on fundraising, marketing and community engagement. Champagne has a bachelor’s degree in communications public relations from Loyola University, a master’s degree in communications, training and development from Clarion University of Pennsylvania, and a doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies from the University of Washington. His doctoral work focused on intercollegiate athletics leadership and sports management. Prior to joining the leadership team at UAF, he served in a variety of athletics and student services leadership positions at Central Washington University, including chief diversity officer for intercollegiate athletics and interim athletics director. He is a graduate of the Sports Management Institute and a member of the Sports Lawyers Association. Karlin Itchoak has joined The Wilderness Society as Alaska state director and will be expanding his role as a spokesperson for our organization. Karlin has undergraduate degrees in Alaska Native studies and political science from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and a law degree from Gonzaga University. He most recently worked for the Ukpeagvik Inupiat Native Corp. as chief administrative and legal officer. His other professional experience includes directing Alaska rural and indigenous programs at the Institute of the North; helping run the gubernatorial campaign of Ethan Berkowitz; clerking for Alaska Supreme Court Chief Justice Alexander O. Bryner, producing economic development plans for the Bering Strait region while serving for the nonprofit Native corporation Kawerak Inc.; and co-founding a consulting company focused on Arctic business relations, partnerships, and diplomacy. Karlin has served as elected president of the Nome Eskimo community Tribal council. He is currently on the boards of the Alaska Center and Alaska Institute for Justice. He teaches a segment of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act to federal, state and Tribal employees. Rasmuson Foundation President and CEO Diane Kaplan has received a prestigious national leadership award from Grantmakers in Health, a nonprofit that helps funders work to improve health of all people. The Terrance Keenan Leadership Award in Health Philanthropy, named after an executive who led the field for more than four decades, was presented to Kaplan June 13 in Seattle. Kaplan became the Foundation’s first employee in 1995 and since 2001 has served as president and CEO. Rasmuson Foundation last year launched an initiative to target homelessness in part through new partnerships for housing and supports designed for individuals who have been on the street. On the issue of alcohol, the foundation convened leaders in 2009 to work on how to address a problem so big. The result was Recover Alaska, which aims to reduce alcohol’s harm through public health messaging, policy changes and a shift in social norms around drinking. In 2000, the foundation worked with Tribal health partners to establish a groundbreaking dental health aide therapist program, which sends trained therapists to rural communities to provide a variety of oral health services. She currently serves on the boards of the International Foundation for Research in Experimental Economics, The Alaska Community Foundation, and United States Artists. Channel 2, KTUU-TV was honored with three regional Emmys, including the most prestigious award for Overall Excellence at the NATAS Northwest Regional Emmy Awards in Seattle. The category is a year-long review of the entire station and its contributions to the community. Nominees included stations serving coverage areas with a higher population than the entire state of Alaska, such as Portland and Seattle. In 2018, that meant delivering immediate coverage online following the magnitude 7.1 earthquake, and bringing television viewers some of the first aerials of the damage. A KTUU News team embedded with the military in Afghanistan to deliver a series of special reports titled Operation Afghanistan. KTUU also traveled to China for a series examining the trade relationships and economic impact between the two regions. The station’s commitment to covering Alaska includes travel throughout the state and a bureau in Juneau during the legislative sessions. While more than 22 hours of news coverage each week, KTUU is built on providing a community service. From volunteer work to participating in fundraisers for non-profits, station employees appeared at more than 85 local events last year.

Alaska becomes a ‘First Frontier’ for 5G

GCI is partnering with global telecom giant Ericsson to make Anchorage among the first cities worldwide to have a standards-based 5G data network. The leaders of the Alaska- and Sweden-based companies made the announcement June 18 during a project unveiling at Alaska Pacific University. The transformation to a 5G network will be “one of the biggest initiatives in GCI’s history,” CEO Ron Duncan said. “The result will be a wireline-wireless experience that will provide our customers nearly ubiquitous data connectivity across the city,” Duncan said. GCI has worked with Ericsson for roughly a decade; the companies also partnered on the recently completed TERRA project, which offers fiber-based high-speed broadband internet to more than 80 Western Alaska communities. Ericsson CEO Börje Ekholm said GCI is joining “an elite group of operators” in being one of the first to launch a true 5G network. “Maybe it’s time to rephrase and not call Alaska the Last Frontier, but the ‘First Frontier,’” Ekholm said. The roughly $30 million project will increase Anchorage’s wireless data capacity by 10-fold and will make Anchorage the 22nd city worldwide to utilize Ericsson’s 5G technology, through GCI’s network, according to Duncan. Ericsson is a telecommunications technology developer that sells network infrastructure and software to telecom retailers and others. About 40 percent of the world’s mobile phone traffic occurs through an Ericsson network, according to the company. 5G is a term used for the fifth generation of wireless networks. The speed and capacity of 5G networks will make such data networks increasingly critical infrastructure, Ekholm said, comparing them to bridges, roads and airports, while acknowledging that it’s still unknown what uses others will come up with for the faster networks. He noted that developers did not consider mobile phone e-commerce or banking when building 4G networks. Supporting artificial intelligence, autonomous cars and “smart city” infrastructure were some of the things 5G networks could be utilized for, the men surmised. “What we know is that 10-times speed, 10-times lower latency, 100-times more connected devices per surface area — we will offer a lot of innovation,” Ekholm said. He estimated there will be roughly 1.9 billion 5G subscriptions globally by 2024. Duncan said he expects the Anchorage project to be done by the end of next year, with the first 5G being available in parts of the city early next year. The work will involve installing Ericsson’s standards-based 5G New Radio equipment and software at 82 cell tower sites across the city, according to GCI. Those towers will work in conjunction with “microcells” — through wireline connections in buildings and elsewhere — across the city to fully form the new network, Duncan explained. He said it’s unclear when the company might expand 5G coverage to other parts of the state. Ekholm added partnering with GCI allows Ericsson to test its products in and get feedback from one of the northernmost markets in the world with a harsh climate. Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz said GCI’s work will help make the city a more competitive place to attract new people and businesses and retain existing ones. “We live in a time of rapid acceleration where we are more connected than ever before, where things are moving more quickly than they ever have in the past. Unless we are on the cutting edge, we will be left behind,” Berkowitz said. For the Municipality of Anchorage, a faster, higher-capacity mobile network will help the city better deploy resources, such as police, monitor more of its assets in real-time and generally operate more efficiently, according to Berkowitz. “I know that GCI is one of our largest taxpayers; Ron reminds me of that periodically and I am sure that he’s going to appreciate the fact that with 5G we will be able to spend his tax dollars much more efficiently,” he quipped. He said the network would have been immensely helpful while officials were responding to last November’s 7.1 magnitude earthquake. AT&T, GCI’s primary mobile phone competitor, announced last year that Anchorage would be part of its 5G network rollout, which was set to be deployed this year and next. So far, the AT&T has updated its network to 5G Evolution in Anchorage, Bethel and Kusilvak in Western Alaska, which enables customers in those areas with 5G-enabled devices to access faster speeds, spokesman Brent Camara wrote in an email to the Journal. “While we have not yet announced specific plans for 5G cities in Alaska, we continue investing in building the network our customers need today and preparing for the future,” he said. Duncan said in a follow-up media briefing that only AT&T customers in Chicago and a handful of other Lower 48 cities are able to realize the benefits of the new networks. He added that rates for GCI mobile data plans shouldn’t change with the deployment of the 5G network, but noted that more expensive, 5G-capable devices are required to harness the network’s capabilities. Elwood Brehmer can be reached at [email protected]

Russia eyes Asian market in LNG expansion

A lot of countries have a lot of natural gas they want to sell into the global marketplace, which is growing both in size and competitiveness. Russia’s advantages in supplying a bigger share of the liquefied natural gas trade include its strong political and substantial financial support. Russia aims to increase its LNG output about fivefold by 2035 to capture around 20 percent of the global market, with 70 percent of its production going to the Asia-Pacific region, Energy Minister Alexander Novak told the Nikkei Asian Review in an interview the first week of June. Russia’s current LNG capacity is about 28 million tonnes a year from the 10-year-old Sakhalin-2 plant in the Far East and the 18-month-old Yamal LNG Arctic project. Novak said his government would like to see that total grow to more than 120 million tonnes by 2035. That would include not only more production in the Arctic and Far East, but also in the Baltic region. It’s an ambitious number — likely unrealistic — but the intent is clear. “Russia will consistently build up its gas-liquefying capacities to carve out the niche that our country deserves in this field,” President Vladimir Putin said via video link at the April opening of a small-scale LNG plant in Vysotsk, just across the border from Finland, on the Baltic Sea. While the plant is intended to serve domestic customers and small-volume buyers in the Baltic region, Scandinavia and Northwest Europe, it’s the large-volume customers in Asia that Russia covets. Just as it did for the Yamal LNG project, which shipped its first cargo in December 2017, the government plans to help pay for the port infrastructure and dredging needed for Russia’s second Arctic LNG project targeting Asian buyers. The government will cover 26.6 percent of the costs for building a new export terminal on the Gydan Peninsula for the Arctic LNG-2 project, Norway’s Barents Observer newspaper reported June 12. The private sector will pay 73.4 percent. A government commission has approved the funding plan, which was ordered by Putin. The government spent several billion dollars on construction of the port and airport for Yamal, which is just across the bay from the Arctic LNG-2 site. Both ventures are led by Novatek, Russia’s largest privately owned gas producer. Novatek is expected to make a final investment decision on Arctic LNG-2 in the third quarter of this year. It’s planned for 19.8 million tonnes annual capacity, with an estimated cost of $20 billion to $25 billion. Yamal, at 16.5 million tonnes, came in at $27 billion. Looking to control costs, Novatek plans to build the production modules for its second project at a new work yard near Murmansk, then tow the massive structures into place. Novatek has signed up partners for Arctic LNG-2 from China, Japan and France. Mitsui and Mitsubishi, two of Japan’s largest trading companies, will acquire a combined 10 percent stake. The deal is supported by the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp., an independent government corporation. The final agreement will be signed, likely in front of Putin, during the G-20 summit in Osaka later this month, according to news reports in Norway. France’s Total took a 10 percent stake last year. In April, Novatek agreed to sell a 20 percent stake to Chinese partners, equally split between a subsidiary of China National Petroleum Corp. and China National Offshore Oil Corp. Total and CNPC also are partners in Yamal LNG. Even before making a final investment decision, Novatek reported in May that it had selected U.K.-based TechnipFMC to construct Arctic LNG-2, with first gas planned for 2023. And already Novatek is starting development of a smaller, third LNG project in the Yamal region. The Ob LNG venture is estimated at $5 billion and could start operations in 2023 at almost 5 million tonnes, the Russian newspaper Kommersant reported, attributing the information to a high-ranking official at Novatek. State-controlled Gazprom, the lead partner in the Sakhalin-2 project, is looking at expanding its Far East operation and also building a new LNG terminal on the Baltic. Reuters reported June 7 that the Russian government will use its National Wealth Fund to help finance Gazprom’s petrochemical and LNG project in the Baltic port of Ust-Luga. The project would require equipment purchases of at least 900 billion roubles ($13.87 billion), Reuters reported. The LNG terminal would have an annual capacity of 10 million tonnes. And just as it did for Yamal, the government is considering tax breaks for additional Arctic gas projects. Companies could get their tax burden reduced by as much two-thirds for the life of the project, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Trutnev was quoted by the Barents Observer in April. “We are looking at two alternative approaches: One with up to 15-year tax preferences that include zero tax rates on profits and property, land use and extraction; and a second with two-thirds tax reductions for the whole project period.” Help is not limited to financing, tax breaks and political support — there are icebreakers too. “Without a modern nuclear icebreaking fleet, it is impossible to imagine development of the Northern Sea Route,” Vyacheslav Ruksha, director of the Northern Sea Route Directorate of Rosatom State Corp., said at the May 25 launch of the country’s newest nuclear-powered icebreaker. “A decision has been made,” he said, to build additional nuclear icebreakers. “With their appearance in the Arctic, it will be possible to talk about year-round navigation along the Northern Sea Route.” The 568-foot-long Ural, launched at a Baltic shipyard, will sail north to break ice for LNG carriers when it’s delivered to Rosatomflot by 2022. “The Ural, together with its sisters, are central to our strategic project of opening the Northern Sea Route to all-year activity,” said a Rosatom official. The Ural’s nuclear reactors can generate 350 megawatts of power and the vessel can break through ice 10-feet thick. ^ Larry Persily is a former Alaska journalist, state and federal official who has long tracked oil and gas markets and projects worldwide. He is the incoming Atwood Chair of Journalism at the University of Alaska Anchorage School of Journalism and Public Communication.

FISH FACTOR: Summer fishing ramps up; gov opposes council’s Pebble letter

Salmon dominates the summer fishing headlines but it’s among many other fisheries going on throughout the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea. Alaska’s salmon season has gotten off to a mixed start, with strong catches in some regions over the past month and dismal hauls in others. Good harvests have continued at the Copper River and more recently throughout Prince William Sound. That’s not been the case at Kodiak, Cook Inlet and Chignik where fishing is off to a very slow start. Trollers are targeting chinook salmon in Southeast, and other salmon fisheries are popping up all over that region. The state research vessel Pandalus is on its way to Port Moller to start sampling ahead of the big sockeye run expected in a few weeks at Bristol Bay. State managers predict a total Alaska salmon catch this year of 213 million fish, 84 percent higher than 2018. In other Alaska fisheries, a lingcod fishery reopened at East Yakutat on June 7 and Southeast’s shrimp beam trawl fishery reopens on July 1 with a 175,000-pound combined harvest of pink and sidestripes. Fishing for Alaska pollock reopened on June 10 in the Bering Sea where a catch this year will top 3 billion pounds. Hundreds of other Bering Sea and Gulf boats also are targeting cod, flounders, rockfish, and myriad other whitefish. Alaska halibut longliners are nearing a catch of 8 million pounds out of a 17 million-pound catch limit. For sablefish, about 10 million pounds has crossed the docks from a 26 million-pound quota. Several summer crab fisheries are coming online. The Dungeness season opens in Southeast Alaska on June 15. State fishery managers will use catch stats from the first seven days to predict the harvest for the season. Last summer’s dungy fishery produced three million pounds. The Aleutian Islands golden king crab fishery also opens on June 15 for a slightly increased catch topping seven million pounds. A red king crab fishery will open at Norton Sound on June 26 for a 147,300-pound harvest. Finally, a wrap up by state managers shows that 19 seiners set a record at Alaska’s largest herring fishery at Togiak in April with a 23,060-ton harvest. Fishermen got just $75 per ton for the roe herring making it worth $1.73 million at the docks. Pebble pushback As the July 1 deadline approaches for public comments on plans for the Pebble mine, the project is getting unprecedented pushback from unexpected people and places, to the ire of Gov. Michael J. Dunleavy’s administration. The City of Kodiak, Aleutians East Borough, North Pacific Fishery Management Council, Trident Seafoods and 53 members of Congress are newly on record to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opposing the draft environmental impact statement, or DEIS, for the massive copper and gold mine, saying it is flawed, inadequate and leaves more questions than answers. At Kodiak, where more than 500 resident fishermen and tenders work at Bristol Bay, city council members said in a comment letter that there is no discussion in the DEIS of how Pebble affects fisheries beyond the Bay and Cook Inlet. “Any potential negative impacts, release of toxins or damage to the watershed and consequently on the fisheries at Bristol Bay, has the potential to have a profound impact on all our fisheries by damaging the Alaska brand,” said Councilman John Whiddon Likewise, the Aleutians East Borough, representing six communities adjacent to the mine area, commented they were never even invited for consultations, and discussions about impacts to their borough were “non-existent.” Mayor Alvin Osterback’s letter called the project “an avoidable risk” and said the best option is no Pebble mine. Similarly, a comment letter written by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council recommends that the potential impacts of large-scale mining be assessed not only for fish populations, but also “on both the value and reputation of North Pacific Fisheries.” That had the Dunleavy administration calling foul at the recent NPFMC meeting in Sitka. Alaska Department of Fish and Game Deputy Commissioner Rachel Baker entered the state’s formal opposition to the letter, calling the Pebble DEIS “outside the Council’s purview” and “a distraction from the large number of fishery management issues on our agenda,” reported KCAW in Sitka. In Congress, led by US Representative Jared Huffman of California who chairs the committee on water, oceans and wildlife, 53 House Democrats sent a letter last week to the Corps asking them to simply drop the Pebble mine project because it would “destroy thousands of acres of wetlands in Alaska and threaten the most valuable wild salmon fishery in the world.” “We urge the Corps to listen to the tribes, village corporations, commercial fishermen, hunters, anglers, and those whose lives and livelihoods depend on the integrity of the Bristol Bay watershed, and we urge the Corps to deny the permit for the Pebble Mine,” the letter stated. Trident Seafoods, the largest seafood company in the U.S., has sent a letter to Alaska fishermen sharing its comments to the Army Corps that the Pebble mine “poses a significant risk to the many families, businesses and communities that rely on the natural resources of Bristol Bay.” Finally, Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s office in Washington, D.C. is being deluged with hundreds of net corks being sent by Alaskans with messages entreating her to stand with them in opposition to the Pebble Mine. Building blue businesses Seward is the first Alaska community to work with the Alaska Ocean Cluster to jump and grow ocean-based businesses. A first cohort of four early-stage businesses that signed up with AOC’s Blue Pipeline Incubator last October has so far attracted $1.6 million from an investment goal of $2.3 million, 10 times more than anticipated. “They include seafood manufacturing, ocean energy, mariculture and coastal tourism,” said Justin Sternberg, director of the Blue Pipeline Incubator in Seward which is a partnership with the AOC, the City and local Chamber of Commerce, UAF College of Fisheries and Ocean Science, and the Alaska Small Business Development Center. One business also filed a provisional patent on a new technology that won the Invention of the Year award at the University of Alaska/Fairbanks. “It’s a technology that pulls hydrogen out of ocean water that can then be stored as a battery for use later. It also de-acidifies the water,” Sternberg said. “If it proves to be commercially viable it would allow for a mass scale way to produce energy and at the same time reduce the carbon that is in the water creating acidification.” Another Blue Pipeline company was a semi-finalist at the first Alaska Angel Conference last month in Anchorage, which brings investors and business startups together. Sternberg said the cohorts receive mentoring and “MBA level training” that helps them “with the whole suite of starting a business from the idea all the way to the implementation to selling it down the road.” The Incubator also offered ASBDC support to 18 Seward businesses, including two new ones, with eight new jobs created as a result. Sternberg, who also helped launch Alaska’s kelp industry in Kodiak, said AOC collaborators are refining the Blue Pipeline to make sure it “fits the dynamics of entrepreneurship in Alaska communities” as they expand to more regions. The Alaska Ocean Cluster is a project of the Bering Sea Fishermen’s Association. ^ Laine Welch lives in Kodiak. Visit www.alaskafishradio.com or contact [email protected] for information.

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