Maine reviews its mining regulations to support more projects, US

25 February 2015 (Last Updated February 25th, 2015 18:30)

The state of Maine in the US plans to review its mining regulations, in an effort to enable a Canadian company to build an open pit copper and gold mine at Bald Mountain.

The state of Maine in the US plans to review its mining regulations, in an effort to enable a Canadian company to build an open pit copper and gold mine at Bald Mountain.

Canada's JD Irving told the Wall Street Journal that it looks forward to the public debate, despite objections from environmentalists.

Spokeswoman Mary Keith was quoted by the news agency as saying: "We believe that responsible mining can provide for vital job creation in northern Maine."

Once the new regulations are approved, mining in Maine is expected to undergo significant changes after being stalled for almost 40 years.

"Mining in Maine is expected to undergo significant changes after being stalled for almost 40 years."

It would also open up opportunities for large-scale extraction of metals, including gold, silver, copper and zinc, from several known sites.

The issue has been under disucssion since 2012, when Republican-controlled legislature passed a bill to overhaul mining regulations that had been in place since 1991.

According to the bill, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) was to launch a process of discussions led by a citizen's board.

Maine's legislators ruled that the bill would jeopardise the environment and decided to return it to the DEP.

Legislators noted that the bill did not adequately define the size of a mining area, and would enable open-ended wastewater treatment and imprecise clean-up obligations.

Governor Paul LePage labelled the decision as an attempt to outlaw mining through rule-making.