NRCM news release
June 14, 2021 (Augusta, ME) — In a stunning series of videos from investor events over the past few years, the CEO of a Canadian mining company, Wolfden Resources, made unfounded and inflammatory statements about the company’s proposed metal mine in Maine.
In the interviews detailed below, CEO Ron Little brags about not having to address Indigenous rights in Maine, dismisses the state’s strict mining law, says the company is free to go onto private property to dig for metals without landowner permission, downplays the environmental impact of mining, and repeatedly misrepresents the position of state regulators and Maine people, saying they are “very supportive” of the company’s efforts.
“These videos demonstrate that Wolfden lacks respect for Maine law, Maine people, and the truth,” said Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM) Staff Scientist Nick Bennett. “This behavior should disqualify Wolfden from receiving a rezoning from the Land Use Planning Commission (LUPC).”
In January 2020, Wolfden submitted a rezoning petition to the LUPC for a metal (primarily zinc, lead, and copper) mine at Pickett Mountain near Mount Chase, not far from Baxter State Park and the Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument.
NRCM has detailed serious problems with Wolfden’s rezoning petition that indicate the company lacks technical and financial resources to operating a mine without harming Maine’s environment. Wolfden has failed to provide the LUPC with evidence that it can treat polluted wastewater adequately, has proposed disposing of mine waste in violation of Maine’s mining law, and has not documented sufficient financial capacity to operate a mine of this type. LUPC staff have repeatedly asked Wolfden to clarify its application to address these and other questions, but the company has failed to provide honest and timely responses.
In September 2020, the virtually unknown company tried to get the LUPC to narrow the scope of its review and limit staff questions, prompting LUPC Commissioners to express dissatisfaction with the company’s motives and behavior. The video links below add to Wolfden’s record of dishonesty.
Wolfden CEO Video Excerpts:
- First Mover in Maine– President & CEO of Wolfden Resources Corp. (February 2019)
3:30 “There are no Indigenous rights in the state of Maine and so this really streamlines the permitting process.”
Editorial note: This is a clearly racist statement.
7:40 “We’ve got a very supportive government; we’ve got a very supportive local community who is really desperate for jobs…”
Editorial note: No government agency has expressed support for the project. The most recent letter from LUPC staff to Wolfden indicates serious government concerns. The nine-page letter documents the many flaws with Wolfden’s proposal. There are no public comments on record with the LUPC in support of the rezoning.
- CEO update with Ron Little of Wolfden Resources (September 2020)
2:31 “zero discharge into the environment”
Editorial note: No hard rock mine has zero discharge to the environment. The LUPC has repeatedly asked Wolfden for evidence of such a mine, and Wolfden has failed to provide it.
5:50 “couldn’t find a better place to put a mine”
Editorial note: Wolfden’s location is a disastrous place for a mine. The proposed site is near Baxter State Park and the Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument. It is near Pleasant Lake, Mud Lake, and Grass Pond, all of which are State Heritage Fish Waters. It is also in the headwaters of the West Branch of the Mattawamkeag River, which is excellent brook trout habitat and critical habitat for endangered Atlantic salmon.
6:11 “down in Maine there’s no prerequisite Indigenous rights”
Editorial note: Again, this statement is clearly racist.
6:28 Describes Maine’s 2017 mining law as streamlining the permitting process.
Editorial note: The 2017 law is the toughest in the country, and its purpose was to protect Maine’s environment and taxpayers from mining pollution. It was not an effort to streamline regulation.
6:58 Slide claims “supportive state regulators”
Editorial note: The most recent letter from LUPC staff to Wolfden indicates otherwise. The nine-page letter documents the many flaws with Wolfden’s proposal.
- Interview with Wolfden CEO — Mining Zinc & Silver in Maine, USA (October 2020)
7:26 Describes the new mining law as a two-year process, claims regulators “basically said if you do that, you tick the boxes you’ll get your permit”
Editorial note: Maine has the toughest mining law in the country, and the most recent letter from LUPC staff to Wolfden indicates they are doing a very poor job of “ticking the boxes.”
- Interview with Wolfden CEO — Big Silver Breccia Adds to High-grade Zinc Story (February 2021)
7:38 speaks about an investor pushing for a bigger mine, doubling or tripling the proposed mine in size
Editorial note: Wolfden’s proposed location for an even bigger mine is in the shadow of Mount Katahdin, Baxter State Park, and the Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument. It would threaten State Heritage Fish Waters and endangered salmon habitat even more than the current proposal.
8:39 “We have tremendous support around the project because we are in remote Maine…we have huge support.”
Editorial note: A review of dozens of public comments available on the LUPC Wolfden web page shows that the vast majority are opposed to Wolfden’s mining proposal.
9:01 “the only activism towards the project would be down in the city”
Editorial note: A review of the public comments available on the LUPC web page shows that opponents of Wolfden’s mining proposal are from all parts of the state, rural and urban, including areas near the mine.
13:23 Begins talking about potential new “Big Silver” mine in Maine.
Editorial note: This potential mine site appears to be in Pembroke, which is where the Passamaquoddy Pleasant Point community is considering a new water supply.
14:35 “they may go back and approve open-pit mining” in Maine
Editorial note: No one is talking about allowing open-pit mining in Maine. In fact, a bill to ban mining in Maine was proposed this legislative session, largely due to outrage among some legislators over Wolfden’s behavior.
- “New Production Scenarios” John Kaiser and Ronald Little, CEO of Wolfden Resources (October 2018)
3:30 “So far we have gotten a gold seal of approval for all of the work and drilling that we’ve done on site.”
Editorial note: The state of Maine does not issue “gold seals of approval.” Again, the LUPC’s most recent letter to Wolfden indicates that staff at this agency do not think Wolfden’s proposal is acceptable.
5:30 “The nice thing about Maine is, there’s really a no trespassing law… you can go anywhere, and it’s at your own risk. So, it’s quite acceptable to be driving across somebody else’s plot of land and y’know we’re assuming, too, you take a grub hoe, and you dig a little hole and that’s not upsetting anybody so you can get an idea of what’s there before you have to spend a lot of time and money…”
Editorial note: Maine law does not allow digging on someone else’s land without permission. These statements indicate a complete lack of respect for private land ownership in Maine.
6:35 Discusses that there are sites in Maine just waiting to be snapped up for open-pit mining and that Maine will change the law to allow open-pit mining again
Editorial note: This is either deliberate fraud or indicates a complete lack of awareness of how strongly Mainers oppose open-pit mining.
8:31 “Still hope to find an elephant there”
9:15 “We’re still looking at the whole state.”
Editorial note: These ambitions again appear borderline fraudulent and at least wildly speculative given that Wolfden has yet to receive a rezoning for just one mine.
For more information on Wolfden’s proposed mine visit www.nrcm.org/programs/waters/metal-mining-pollution-maine.