June 21, 2024

  For the second time since 2020, exploratory mining company, Wolfden Resources Corporation, is seeking approval from the Land Use Planning Commission (the LUPC) for the rezoning of 374 acres to allow for the metallic mining of zinc, lead, copper, gold and silver on land surrounding Pickett Mountain Pond. The proposed mine site is at the headwater tributaries of Panawubskaywiduk, (also known as the Penobscot River) the largest watershed in Wabanakik, in proximity to water bodies critical to Atlantic Salmon, Brook Trout and recognized sustenance fishing areas.

   The Wəlastəkwi (also known as the Houlton Band of Maliseets) and the Pαnawάhpskewi (also known as the Penobscot Nation) are among the intervenors formally opposing Wolfden’s LUPC application. Its operation threatens devastating acid mine drainage pollution that could irreversibly impact water, fish and Wabanaki culture.

 What follows is a video overview by Sunlight Media Collective. More coverage to follow.

  The Land Use Planning Commission will hold its final public comments session, Monday, October, 23rd at 6:30pm in Bangor at the Cross Insurance Center. Mining opponents plan to rally prior to the hearing. 

    The LUPC held three days of technical hearings and two public hearings in Millinocket on October 16th -18th. 

    The LUPC is accepting written comments from the public until Thursday, November 2nd, by emailing [email protected] or mailing to Maine Land Use Planning Commission, Attention: Tim Carr, 22 Station, 18 Elkins Lane, Augusta, ME 04333.

At the Land Use Planning Commission’s hearings yesterday, Wolfden Resources CEO Ron Little made clear Wolfden’s intention to expand mining development in Maine, if permitted, and that other mining companies were closely watching to gauge potential for development.

Ron Little, the President and CEO of Wolfden Resources Corp, speaking on October 18th, 2023, at a Land Use Planning Commission public hearing for the Wolfden Pickett Mountain project’s rezoning proposal.

  As it is common for junior mining companies to have projects taken over by larger companies, Little noted yesterday one of its biggest shareholders, Kinross Gold Corporation may be the company to subsume a project at Pickett Mountain. 

     During cross-examination, intervenor Attorney Peter Brann pointed out that Kinross had over 3,000 violations in Washington state for violations of the Clean Water Act.

The Bangor Daily News yesterday quoted from Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s 2022 release about a Kinross mine.

“Buckhorn Mountain is one of the unspoiled natural areas of our state,” “These companies had a responsibility, and legal obligation to protect it. They failed in that responsibility, thousands of times.”

   The Bangor Daily continued: “ Additionally, the Dept. of Justice entered into a $45 million agreement with Kinross for the clean-up of the Upper Animas Watershed, a Colorado Superfund site. In 2015, the Kinross mine released millions of gallons of water, toxic metals and acidic waste into the river, negatively affecting the region’s agricultural and recreational tourism industries and the natural resources along the river, the DOJ said.

   Little said he was not aware of Kinross’ connection to the Colorado superfund site.”

    Isaac St John, Cultural Preservation Officer for the Houlton Band of the Maliseet and Dan Kusnierz, Water Resources Program Manager for the Penobscot Nation Natural Resources Dept. both presented for the intervenors during the proceedings.

Isaac St. John, Tribal Cultural Preservation Officer for the Houlton Band of Maliseets, speaks in opposition to a metallic mining project before the Land Use Planning Commission (LUPC) in Millinocket on October 17th, 2023.
Dan Kusnierz, Water Resources Program Manager for the Penobscot Nation, speaks in opposition to a metallic mining project before the Land Use Planning Commission (LUPC) in Millinocket on October 18th, 2023.

The three days of applicant and intervenor technical hearings can be viewed on You Tube.

There were also two nights of public comments. Opponents spoke of their concern with irreversible impacts to the water, environment and culture. Proponents stated they wanted jobs in the area, and that they thought the DEP would stop the project if it would harm the region. 

Links to LUPC You Tube Videos of the Hearings