Bangor Daily News
PATTEN, Maine — Since last December, Wolfden Resources geologist Art Hamilton has been studying drilling samples from 500-million-year-old volcanic rock near Pickett Mountain in northeastern Penobscot County.
Through the end of the year Hamilton and Wolfden’s team of contractors will be taking more than 32,000 feet of 2½-inch diameter core samples of the Pickett Mountain deposit to determine whether it is economically feasible to develop what would be the state’s first large-scale metal mining operation in about five decades. The longest hole so far has run almost a half-mile deep.
“Drilling is a very expensive process, especially when you’re trying to go down in depth,” Hamilton said during a tour on March 7 of the drilling site with staff members from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and other agencies.
The $1 million-plus exploration project at the 6,870-acre Pickett Mountain property could mark the beginning of the first new mining activity under the state’s new mining law. However, Ontario-based Wolfden would be “several years at the earliest” from starting a mine and would face a range of permitting requirements in addition to economic feasibility.
“There’s lots of hurdles to get through if we’re ever going to see this into production,” said Hamilton, who has spent much of his career working in the Bathurst mines in northern New Brunswick.
The first hurdle is determining if the volcanic deposit has high-grade concentrations of minerals such as zinc, lead, copper and silver. By the end of the year, Wolfden will complete a resource estimate for the potential of an underground mine at the site, Hamilton said.