SUDBURY -- Mine Connect has announced the first 10 northern Ontario companies that will take part in opening its storefront in Elko, Nevada.

The intent of the project is to connect northern mining supply companies with clients in the United States.

The 10 companies involved will have use of the facilities for the year; it's then hoped they'll be able to stand on their own and more companies can then benefit from the project.

Those behind it are calling it a cost-effective platform to further export opportunities.

"So them demonstrating that, you know, they're actually willing to be there on site," said Mine Connect's Marla Tremblay.

"Part of the criteria is that companies there actually be on site, you know, once a month. We're going to have an office there, it will definitely help them get in front of some of the mines there and bid on jobs that they wouldn't have been able to otherwise."

The companies selected are Walden Equipment, The Hurley Group, Nordic Minesteel, NORCAT, Inovinta, Jannatec Technologies, Maestro Digital Mine, Hard-Line, Rock-Tech and Symboticware.

"With the COVID restrictions and everything, the challenges that we've been facing over the past 18 months or so, we haven't had much opportunity to continue developing our business in the western states," said Nordic Minesteel's Heather Johnson.

"This opportunity gets boots on the ground over there where we can continue with these virtual meetings."

Mine Connect represents more than 200 companies across northeastern Ontario.