Discovery of Rare Minerals Could Change Maine’s Aroostook County Forever
While politics and election results have dominated the news cycle over the past several weeks, a scientific discovery in northern Maine could have a far-reaching effect on people's lives in Aroostook County. According to USGS.gov, rare and critical minerals have been discovered in remote areas of the county that could lead to a future that looks very different from the present.
A team of federal scientists and scientists from the University of Maine Presque Isle released results of a geological study that shows that parts of Aroostook County are home to rare and critical materials used for a variety of products. The materials were found deep in the rock of Pennington Mountain, which is roughly 40 miles north of Presque Isle.
The rare minerals detected include niobium and zirconium, two vital Earth elements that are used to create everything from steel to jet engines and critical elements for cellular phones. The discovery has opened the door to the vast wilderness in northern Maine, holding more value than just clean air and fresh water.
This doesn't mean that Pennington Mountain or anywhere else in the County is about to become a mining haven. Instead, the USGS will continue to map and research the area with the belief that there are more rare mineral-rich areas in northern Maine. That process could take years. Once the area is fully mapped and researched, well, the next step is anyone's guess.
If the rare minerals proved to be economically-viable, it would be a multi-year application process to satisfy Maine's very strict environmental laws.