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Mincon acquires former Bombardier property

  • Officials gathered in Benton Tuesday morning for the official announcement that Mincon has purchased the former Bombardier property in the city's industrial park.

    Officials gathered in Benton Tuesday morning for the official announcement that Mincon has purchased the former Bombardier property in the city's industrial park.
    Holly Kee photo

 
BY HOLLY KEE
hkee@localsouthernnews.com
Posted on 4/17/2019, 1:46 AM

When Bombardier closed its doors in Benton's Industrial Park in 2012, the loss of over 300 manufacturing jobs was a hard hit to the region.

Officials gathered at the facility on Tuesday morning to give a glimmer of hope for jobs to return to the area with the announcement that Mincon has purchased the 400,000 square foot building.

Mincon is a publicly traded company based in Shannon, Ireland that specializes in the design, manufacture and servicing of hard-rock drilling consumables.

The Benton location, just a few blocks from the new building, manufactures drill bits for mining.

According to company president Mike Jones of Benton, the Benton location currently houses 52 employees.

"Last year we produced 22,000 bits," said General/Production Manager Aaron Jones. "Those are shipped all over the world."

According to warehouse/operations manager Matt Jones, Mincon has seven manufacturing plants as well as sales offices on every continent except Antarctica.

Mike Jones said the acquisition makes sense for the company.

"It meets a lot of our immediate needs to reach our short term goals," he said. "It makes sense to manufacture our products here rather than overseas."

The Joneses also plan to lease out portions of the facility to other businesses and manufacturers, in effect providing a business incubator.

Benton Mayor Fred Kondritz said the move is a "boon to Benton, Franklin County and southern Illinois. We've got a situation where they're going to bring in good jobs."

Congressman Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro) agreed. "First off, you've got a building that's been vacant. Now jobs are coming back. You put people to work and you cure a lot of the other problems that are out there."

Bost was joined by Sen. Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg) and Rep. Dave Severin (R-Benton) for the announcement.

"As I've campaigned, I've continually said we don't need more taxes, we need more taxpayers," said Severin. "Today, there's a path moving forward to give people jobs and an opportunity to come to southern Illinois and stay and raise their families."

Fowler pointed out that this move is part of the momentum being created in the area. "We're right on the brink of an explosion of great economic development," he said. "All we're doing is capitalizing on resources we already have."

Bost referenced plans by Mincon to lease part of the building to other job shops.

"It gives outreach," he said. "All of a sudden people realize 'hey, we'd be closer to them if we relocate.'"

Fowler said that the acquisition and its promise of future employment opportunities is just an example of perseverance.

"When you keep networking and creating awareness of what we have, good things will come our way," he said.

Mincon hopes to add an additional 50 to 100 jobs within the next few years.