Houlton Region

Wolfden submits updated rezoning petition to LUPC for proposed metals mine

HOULTON, Maine — Wolfden Resources has submitted an updated rezoning petition to the Maine Land Use Planning Commission after concerns were raised regarding the mine’s potential treatment of wastewater on the environment. 

If the company is successful in obtaining a rezoning permit from the LUPC, it will move onto a new process to get a mining permit from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection before it can begin the mining process.

Wolfden Resources is a Canadian mining company looking to establish a metallic mineral mine near Mt. Chase in northern Penobscot County.

The newest petition, consisting of over 1,000 pages worth of material, adds 118 additional acres of land to the proposed mining project, bringing the grand total to 646 acres of Wolfden-owned property to be rezoned. 

“We are also pleased with the recent filing of an updated rezoning document for the Pickett Mt. Project,” said Wolfden CEO Ron Little in a press release statement. “The additional study work during [the first half of] 2021 and changes to the conceptual mining and processing layouts would result in one of the most modern and environmentally friendly polymetallic mining operations in North America.”

Wolfden has previously come under criticism for possible contamination of nearby rivers and lakes from its Pickett Mountain project due to wastewater treatment from the mine. Little has also come under criticism for statements made about indigenous rights in the state of Maine, which he claims were taken out of context. 

The Natural Resources Council of Maine, one of the chief opponents of the mining project, maintained its criticism of the project, noting in that Wolfden’s response to the LUPC, it admitted that “minor inconsistencies” still appear in the petition.

“Mining is a dangerous business, and lack of attention to detail will inevitably lead to environmental disaster,” said Nick Bennett, a staff scientist at NRCM. “If Wolfden lacks the technical ability to proofread its own documents, they clearly lack the ability to build a mine.”

In the press release statement, Wolfden said it expected a public hearing regarding the rezoning plan to begin sometime in the fourth quarter of 2021 or early 2022. Stacie Beyer, the planning manager for the LUPC, said the latter option appeared to be the most likely outcome. 

“At this time it’s looking more like early 2022 for a public hearing. Our next step is to review the material they submitted thoroughly,” said Beyer. “We will continue to send out notices as the process moves forward.”

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