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December 21, 2017

Canadian mining firm begins test drills in Penobscot County

Photo / LandVest
Photo / LandVest
Wolfden Resources Corp., a mineral exploration company based in Thunder Bay, Ontario, bought nearly 7,000 acres located at Pickett Mountain in northern Maine for $8.5 million as an investment that includes possibly mining its deposits of copper, lead and zinc.

Ontario mining firm Wolfden Resources has started test drilling for metals at Pickett Mountain in northern Penobscot County.

The Fiddlehead Focus reported the firm in November purchased the 6,871-acre parcel of timberlands north of Patten for $8.5 million with the goal of developing a mine for copper, zinc or other valuable metal minerals.

CEO Donald Hoy told the newspaper that exploration will help gauge whether the Pickett Mountain deposit could be an economically viable underground mine.

Wolfden hired Duluth, Minn.-based Downing Drilling to complete the test drilling, which involves drilling approximately 30 holes 2.25 inches in diameter to depths ranging from 150 to 2,000 feet. It's expected that two or three local residents will also be hired.

In January, Wolfden also plans to conduct a ground electromagnetic survey as a way to trace the presence of underground metallic minerals.

In November, the Portland Press Herald reported that, if the Pickett Mountain site is eventually developed, it would be Maine's first commercial mine in decades. It could also be a first major test of environmental regulations passed by the Legislature earlier this year related metallic mining in Maine. In the 1970s, mineral explorations revealed a sizable sulfide deposit — dubbed the "Mount Chase deposit" after the nearby mountain — containing zinc, lead, copper and silver. But there have never been any commercial mining attempts at the site due, in part, to previous regulations that made metallic mining all but impossible in Maine.

In September, the firm cited the new regulations, contained in LD 820, "An Act To Protect Maine's Clean Water and Taxpayers from Mining Pollution" and approved by lawmakers in June, as a factor in its interest, stating that the law permits "mining of metallic minerals in Maine in certain prescribed situations." It also noted that "price appreciation" in zinc and copper has revived interest in mining projects like Pickett Mountain.

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