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  1. #1

    Default Big Lithium Deposit in Maine - Andover ME could become a boom town

    Most hikers on the AT do not know that that the area of Western Maine that the AT crosses is near an area of significant precious and semiprecious gem deposits. There is new gem museum in Bethel that displays samples. Turns out that there also is deposit of mineral Lithium deposits. Plumbago Mountain is south of Moody and Hall mountains and southeast of the Baldpates. The east side of the Grafton Loop trail is just west of the mountain.

    https://bangordailynews.com/2021/10/...ed-near-newry/

    Newry has no real town center, Sunday River Ski area is on the southern end of it. The closest road access would be Andover Me. No doubt if the mine is developed it will change that area significantly.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 10-26-2021 at 08:42.

  2. #2
    Registered User somers515's Avatar
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    Interesting - thanks for sharing peakbagger!
    LT End-to-Ender 2017; AT from Lehigh Gap to Hudson River; NH 48
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  3. #3

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    From the story I read, the deposit is only 35 feet long, so it shouldn't take much to dig it up. However, Maine has some very strict mineral mining laws, which will delay or hinder any development of the deposit for some time, so I wouldn't worry too much about it.
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  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    From the story I read, the deposit is only 35 feet long, so it shouldn't take much to dig it up. However, Maine has some very strict mineral mining laws, which will delay or hinder any development of the deposit for some time, so I wouldn't worry too much about it.
    Some of the lithium crystals are 36 feet long, not the entire deposit. The deposit is estimated to contain 11 million tons of lithium, so it would be pretty large.

    “…..Measuring up to 36 feet in length, some of the lithium-bearing crystals are among the largest ever found…..“

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by gpburdelljr View Post
    Some of the lithium crystals are 36 feet long, not the entire deposit. The deposit is estimated to contain 11 million tons of lithium, so it would be pretty large.
    “…..Measuring up to 36 feet in length, some of the lithium-bearing crystals are among the largest ever found…..“
    Okay, realize that now, those are some big crystals Couldn't understand how they got 1.5 Billion from a 35 foot deposit! 11 million tons, that will take some digging and a few truck loads to move on RT 2 and 26. I guess who ever bought that land for next to nothing is either real happy or real worried.
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  6. #6

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    ​The article is thorough and a good read. Scary topic for what changes a mine of that sort would bring to the area.

    Attached is the paper referred to in the article. Technical read of course, but there's some interesting info. in there.
    The landowner co-authored the paper!
    Interesting that the landowner is quoted as saying the same thing as Slo-go'en above-- that Maine's strict mining laws will make extraction difficult.
    I worry because of the amount of money involved.


    "Exploration results at Plumbago North have defined a surface exposure of approximately 180,000 m2.
    That comes out to roughly 40 acres.

    "'We know that the Maine mining laws are such that there’s not one single active mine in Maine,' said Mary Freeman, who owns the land with her husband, Gary, a co-author on the paper describing the find.
    “'We’d have to get clarification from the state,' said Freeman, when asked whether the couple planned to apply for a mining permit. 'They don’t have an area of the rule that explains this kind of work.'"
    Attached Files Attached Files

  7. #7

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    As the article is fairly clear, the Maine laws were written to protect the state from sulfide mining. There are several commercially known sulfide copper deposits in Aroostook county Maine. Bald Mountain has been targeted a couple of times and Pickett Mountain NE of Baxter State Park is currently being pursued are two but there are others. Since the Plumbago mine is granite its closer to quarrying than sulfide mining. That said Poland Spring Waters has a source for their water in the adjacent watershed so they would be an interested party. A potentially major issue is that highway infrastructure is not great RT 5 is a secondary rural road without adequate base to hold up to long term heavy truck traffic and to lesser extent US RT2 to the closest railroad siding in Bethel. I dont see them putting in a concentration plant (which has significant environmental impacts) so its lot of rock to be hauled to Bethel to the Saint Lawrence and Atlantic railroad that runs up to Montreal. From there they can get to existing concentration plants in Canada. The right party with the right deep connections might be able to make case to the legislature to change the regulations to allow this type of mining. It almost happened a few years ago with the Bald Mountain copper mine proposal under a prior governor. Maine's independent senator Angus King prior to being elected managed to get in a controversial windfarm on a ridgeline not that far up the road in Roxbury Maine. Other than tourism and seasonal home development, this area is economically depressed as the wood products industry substantially collapsed in the last 30 years. There still is some logging but with the explosion of the pulp mill in Jay 2 years ago Rumford is the only remaining nearby pulpmill.

  8. #8

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    Another issue is there's probably not enough local labor to support an operation like that, so that means bringing in a lot of outside help and there's currently no place to house them.

    Most of the logging going on is to feed the boiler in Berlin to make electricity and it eats a lot of trees. Starting to see a lot of clear cuts from the mountain tops these days.
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  9. #9

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    Tesla will purchase the land and make it happen.

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    I would imagine the lust for "Green" energy will override the desire to protect the Environment from mining. Add in giant piles of money and the politicians will breaking ground on the new mine with a formal ribbon cutting and gold plated shovels.

  11. #11

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    With more electric vehicles, and other technologies using lithium, the global demand for lithium is expected to double by 2024. It’s only a matter of time before Maine allows this deposit to be mined.

  12. #12

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    Berlin by contract can only burn low grade waste and it has to be third party certified. No one cuts a tree to burn it in biomass boiler. The going rate they pay is around $60 a ton. You may be seeing trees get cut but they are not going to Berlin, only the tops and low grade junk that non one else wants.

  13. #13

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    You don't know what you are talking about. I've worked in the mining industry and State inspectors carefully force companies to reclaim the land to often better condition than they found it. Unless of course the mineral is mined for us in a foreign country, in which case a gaping hole is left in the earth, with our name on it.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by RockDoc View Post
    You don't know what you are talking about. I've worked in the mining industry and State inspectors carefully force companies to reclaim the land to often better condition than they found it. Unless of course the mineral is mined for us in a foreign country, in which case a gaping hole is left in the earth, with our name on it.
    Who and what are you addressing specifically? Not interested in moderating anything remotely related to mining reclamation in other countries.
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    My cell phone has lithium, as do my chromebook and Toyota hybrid, not to mention the batteries of my cordless power tools. I'd be a hypocritical nimby SOB if I insisted on obtaining my lithium fix from Africa, Indonesia, etc. in order to keep my hiking routes "pure". Besides, there are people in Maine who need the work and we do a pretty good job these days of limiting mining impact.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockDoc View Post
    You don't know what you are talking about. I've worked in the mining industry and State inspectors carefully force companies to reclaim the land to often better condition than they found it. Unless of course the mineral is mined for us in a foreign country, in which case a gaping hole is left in the earth, with our name on it.
    Yeah, you get it.

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