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Thread: Pickett Mountain Mine in Maine

  1. #1
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    Pickett Mountain Mine in Maine

    I expect this is going be in the news in the next few years. Pickett Mountain is about 20 miles east of Baxter State Park and a few miles closer to the new national monument.

    https://bangordailynews.com/2020/01/...kett-mountain/

    Maine has a few known sites that have potential for mining. Past mining activities have not gone well and at least one became a superfund site. The state subsequently put in very strict mining laws that effectively prevents mining, there were attempts to weaken these rules during the prior governors term but expect any proposal under the new governor and legislature will be much harder sell. The logical approach to the site is Rt 11 which is used to access the north gate of BSP.

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    Senior Member Scubahhh's Avatar
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    Uh-oh. I hope the president doesn't know about this.

    Seriously, does this say Haynes will pay $4.5M for the right to harvest $5M in timber over five years? That doesn't sound like a money-maker to me.
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    Senior Member nartreb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scubahhh View Post
    Uh-oh. I hope the president doesn't know about this.

    Seriously, does this say Haynes will pay $4.5M for the right to harvest $5M in timber over five years? That doesn't sound like a money-maker to me.
    Yes, Wolfden bought the property for $8.5M, and now they're raising cash by selling timber rights to Haynes for $4.5M ($3M immediately, the rest in the fifth year). "$5M worth" seems like an odd way to write the contract, but I assume it refers to the wholesale price that Haynes gets. That leaves Haynes $500K as a logging operations budget for five years, which doesn't seem like a whole lot of money for harvesting nearly 7,000 acres (never mind the finance cost of paying most of the $4.5M up front), but I know nothing about the industry's financial structure.

    It's possible Haynes is willing to take a small loss if it means they don't have to lay off employees or idle equipment. Or maybe they get additional benefits, like (just pulling a guess out of the air) the use of a logging road through the Wolfden parcel that lets them access a profitable parcel nearby.

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    The claim from a few years ago was that the proposed mine would be an underground mine with far less footprint and environmental impact than a typical open pit. I expect the actual site impact on ground will be much smaller. IMHO If they start piling spoils outside the mine they have little hope of getting permits due to long term potential for sulfide run off. I think the prior PR was they will pull the raw ore out of the mine and then haul it elsewhere for concentration. My guess is this is a financial play. Wolfden in the past has been a development firm, my guess is once permits are in place they sell to another firm to actually work the mine.

    BTW most of Maine's underlying geology was researched during the search for a permanent nuclear waste site back in the 1980s. These mineral resources have been known for decades, the reason for the project to reappear now is if the current economics and political winds line up.

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    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    ... the reason for the project to reappear now is if the current economics and political winds line up.
    Really? I get the impression that Janet Mill's government is taking the state in a much more liberal and tree-huggy direction.

    Plus the fact that this mine project is so close to Baxter / Matagammon, Patton, Shin Pond and the new Kathadin Woods area.

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    Senior Member Fitz's Avatar
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    BTW most of Maine's underlying geology was researched during the search for a permanent nuclear waste site back in the 1980s.
    Not really. That work looked mostly at large bodies of granite (batholiths) and homogeneous bodies of rock for secure storage. This deposit was identified as a result of the habit of large timber companies surveying their land for economic deposits prior to selling.

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    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisB View Post
    Really? I get the impression that Janet Mill's government is taking the state in a much more liberal and tree-huggy direction.
    Depends what your definition of a tree hugger is.

    https://bangordailynews.com/2019/02/...n-cmp-project/
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiguy View Post
    Depends what your definition of a tree hugger is.

    https://bangordailynews.com/2019/02/...n-cmp-project/
    Janet Mills is a bought and paid for politician. All you have to do is follow the money.

    Most mining is fairly damaging to the environment, or at least the processing part of it is. too many stories of poisonous residue left lying around after the mining company files bankruptcy to avoid cleaning up its ecological disaster.

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    Janet Mills has to be pragmatic. With the exception of the I95 corridor from Bangor south and immediate coastal area most of the Central, Northern and Eastern Maine is hurting. Although many optimistic things have been said of the future economic potential of the KWW national monument, the expected economic rush has not happened. Last thing I knew the Sherman Mills exit still consists of a Irving gas station on both sides of the highway and a motel court that gets wintertime snowmachine traffic. They were there before KWW. I havent heard of major economic revitalization in Patten. There was a high profile claim that the lack of signage on the highway was blamed by some to reduce traffic to KWW but really with a car nav in most cars and google maps on everything I doubt the lack of signage stops a lot of folks who want to visit from visiting. There was a initial demand for real estate along RT 11 and some movement on real estate in Millinocket but it I expect its mostly speculative. About the only land rush is by Menonites and possibly Amish families priced out of PA for the farmland along RT 11. The timber industry is not thriving, the tariffs on Canadian lumber help but it just keeps plants from closing. The big hope for Millinocket, a laminated structural lumber mill went away due to an IRS lien on the old mill site and headed down to Lincoln if it ever gets built (highly dependent on subsidies and changes in US policy to incentivize substantially increased building costs for structural wood buildings.)

    Here comes a firm with a proposal to do a "clean" underground mine with a claim of far less environmental impact of an open put mine. The jobs and taxes associated with it are not seasonal tourist, these in theory are full time longer term jobs, in theory with benefits. Whether its true or not is for the experts to review. Nevertheless its a long term development that probably will not even be started by the end of the governors first term. That is a great place for a governor to be in it as it allows the promise of future prosperity to an area which has not seen much hope for years. The key is the large economically powerful southern counties are pretty clueless on what is going on north of Bangor, most would not even know where Patten is. If the project can stay off the radar of environmental groups its not a liability to the governor down south but a big plus up north. It could be an option is just buy off a few environmental groups like the powerline did.

    Unlike the recent proposal farther north on Irving land, the claim is its not going to be open pit mine. I dont how they avoid acid mine drainage but the claim is they can and the claim is also that there will be no onsite upgrading of the ore which usually is most environmentally damaging aspect. Of course it has to happen somewhere but I expect there is some community somewhere that is desperate enough to get the short term benefits and not worry about the long term impact. Take a look on Google Earth of Fort McKay Alberta, Sudbury Ontario, or not that far away Asbestos Quebec.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 01-31-2020 at 06:37 PM.

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