During a tour of drilling and processing facilities on March 7, 2018, representatives of various state agencies examine core samples collected by the Ontario-based Wolfden Resources Corp. north of Patten. The company began test drilling near Pickett Mountain in December 2017 to collect test samples to help researchers analyze the feasibility of opening a mine near Pickett Mountain in remote northern Penobscot County. Credit: Gabor Degre

The Canadian mining company with its eyes on northern Penobscot County’s Pickett Mountain is partnering with a bigger firm to continue exploration of the area for economically valuable metals.

Ontario-based Wolfden Resources, which owns a 6,870-acre tract of land around Pickett Mountain near Patten, has entered into a subscription agreement with Toronto-based Kinross Gold Corp., one of North America’s largest gold and silver mining companies.

Under the agreement, Kinross will hold 9.7 percent of the issued and outstanding shares of Wolfden at a total purchase price of $2.5 million. “The majority of the proceeds” will be used for exploration at Pickett Mountain, and Wolfden and Kinross will form an exploration committee, according to Wolfden.

[Subscribe to our free morning newsletter and get the latest headlines in your inbox]

“We are very pleased to have Kinross as a significant investor and a strategic partner in our efforts to expand the current mineral resources, search for additional deposits and provide additional insight and expertise with respect to our next technical studies and permitting at Pickett Mountain,” Wolfden CEO Ron Little said.

Wolfden Resources acquired the Pickett Mountain lands in 2017 and later that year began drilling core samples aimed at confirming drilling tests from the late 1970s and early 1980s, when volcanic deposits of copper, lead, silver and gold were found by other companies who never pursued a mine.

“What we’re seeing in our results are quite comparable to results from the 1980s,” Wolfden senior vice president for exploration Don Hoy said in May 2018. Last spring, the company began a second phase of exploration to search for additional volcanic deposits that could hold economically-valuable metals.

The company’s interest in the site came after the enactment of Maine’s 2017 mining law, which created a regulatory framework for new metal mining while prohibiting open pit mines and instituting a range of environmental and financial requirements. A mine at Pickett Mountain would mark the first metal mine in Maine since several former mines closed in the 1970s.

In previous interviews, Hoy has said that any potential commercial mine at Pickett Mountain would be a ways off. In January, the company issued a press release stating that 2018’s test drilling program had yielded positive results. This year, Wolfden plans to conduct electromagnetic surveys and further drilling tests to assess the overall mineral resources.

Hoy will be giving a presentation on Wolfden’s exploration program for the University of Maine at Presque Isle’s science seminar series at 12:30 p.m on April 25. The seminars are open to the public and are held at the GIS laboratory in room 201 at Folsom Hall.

This story was originally published in The County.