PATTEN — An Ontario-based company on Wednesday withdrew its application for zoning changes necessary for a large-scale mining operation in northern Maine, but the company’s CEO suggested the application would be resubmitted at a later date.

The announcement by Wolfden Resources on Wednesday came as the Land Use Planning Commission appeared to be poised to reject the application, Maine Public reported.

LUPC staff last week recommended against approving the zoning changes.

“Staff have identified 59 inconsistencies, errors and failures to provide information” requested by the commission, a staff analysis said.

Wolfden CEO Ronald Little called the project a “showcase” operation that would use environmentally benign ways to mine copper, zinc, silver and other valuable metals.

But commission member Millard Billings was frustrated by the lack of information provided to the panel.

“This has dragged on forever, and this applicant and all future applicants need to understand the seriousness of requests from the staff for information,” Billings said.

Environmental groups have opposed the plan. The Natural Resources Council of Maine, one of its most vocal opponents, warned that mining could cause permanent damage to natural resources just east of Baxter State Park, potentially poisoning streams, lakes and groundwater with toxic wastewater.

The commission accepted the offer to withdraw the petition. Wolfden will hire technical experts more familiar with Maine’s regulatory structures to help create a new application, Little said.

Wolfden purchased the property in 2017, a few months after state lawmakers approved the new mining law following a contentious, years-long debate. The property is located 10 to 15 miles north of Patten.

Geologists discovered the ore deposits under Pickett Mountain – formerly known as the “Mount Chase deposit” – roughly 40 years ago.

Wolfden’s rezoning application had stated that the mining process will involve drilling and blasting underground. On-site crushing/grinding equipment would have processed up to 1,000 tons of material per day to separate valuable materials from the waste rock.


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