After its initial attempt didn’t succeed, a Canadian company has filed a new rezoning application in hopes of obtaining state approval to mine precious metals in northern Maine.

Wolfden Resources Corp.’s first application to mine copper, zinc, silver, lead and gold was withdrawn in 2021 after state regulators said it lacked enough information for officials to make a decision.

The view from Mount Chase, near land purchased by Wolfden Resources Corp. Explorations in the 1970s revealed zinc, lead, copper and silver in what was dubbed the “Mount Chase deposit,” but no mining was attempted. File photo

Wolfden officials downplayed their withdrawal of the plan, which the staff of the Land Use Planning Commission had recommended that the commissioners reject. Company officials called the withdrawal “a speed bump” for their project and said they would submit a new application.

“Stay tuned,” Ron Little, the chief executive officer of the Ontario-based company said at the time. “We don’t think mining is dead in Maine.”

Wolfden wants to rezone 374 wooded acres north of Patten, in Penobscot County, for mining operations. If the LUPC approves the application, Wolfden still would need approval from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection before work could begin.

The company bought the property in 2017 and said its work there – at Pickett Mountain, also known as Mount Chase – would be a “showcase” of environmentally benign metal extraction. The purchase came just after the Maine Legislature adopted a new law that imposes strict environmental regulations on mining in the state.


Historically, some metal mines have been criticized for their production of “tailings.” The residue left from pulverizing ore, tailings often contain toxic chemicals.

In a statement Friday, Wolfden pledged to meet the new Maine requirements and said its mining standards “are key to our future.” Wolfden has said the Maine law “provides clarity” on the permitting process for mining operations.

But the LUPC staff said the company’s first proposal lacked sufficient information in nearly five dozen areas that the commission needs to consider in deciding whether to grant the permit.

The proposal for a mining operation has drawn strong criticism from the Natural Resources Council of Maine, which said Friday that the proposed mining site is too close to Baxter State Park and the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.

The site also contains the headwaters of the Mattawamkeag River, which is sacred to the Penobscot Nation. The NRCM said the river provides important habitat for the endangered Atlantic salmon, and that the mine also would be next to three state heritage brook trout waterways.

“Wolfden has proven time and again that it can’t be trusted,” Nick Bennett, an NRCM staff scientist, said in a statement Friday.

He said a mine at Wolfden’s site “would forever damage the clean water and rich natural resources that support the region’s vibrant outdoor recreation economy.”

The Penobscot Nation, Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians and residents of the region also spoke against the proposal in 2021.

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