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Company pursuing a metal mine in the Katahdin region temporarily withdraws re-zoning request

National Monument Road Signs
Robert F. Bukaty
FILE - In this Aug. 6, 2017, file photo, motorists travel on Rte. 11 south of Patten, Maine, near the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.

The potential developer of a metals mine in the Katahdin area withdrew its application for a zoning change required for the project.

That came during a meeting of the state Land Use Planning Commission on Wednesday, which was headed toward rejecting the application, submitted by Ontario-based investment group Wolfden Resources.

In the online meeting, commission member Millard Billings moved for outright denial, noting that staff had found multiple delays and deficiencies in the application.

"This has dragged on forever, and this applicant and all future applicants need to understand the seriousness of request from the staff for information," Billings said.

Wolfden's CEO, Ronald Little, called the project a "showcase" operation that would use environmentally benign ways to mine minerals needed by modern technology. He says Wolfden has already invested millions of dollars in the application process.

Little offered to withdraw the petition, which the commission accepted while dropping the motion for denial.

Little says Wolfden will hire technical experts more familiar with Maine's regulatory structures to help create a new application.

A Columbia University graduate, Fred began his journalism career as a print reporter in Vermont, then came to Maine Public in 2001 as its political reporter, as well as serving as a host for a variety of Maine Public Radio and Maine Public Television programs. Fred later went on to become news director for New England Public Radio in Western Massachusetts and worked as a freelancer for National Public Radio and a number of regional public radio stations, including WBUR in Boston and NHPR in New Hampshire.