AUGUSTA — Gov. Paul LePage has signed a bill to revise Maine’s mining regulations.

In a State House ceremony today, the governor said the bill opens the door to good jobs while protecting the environment. Supporters said it was adopted after an unusually thorough review process.

The commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Protection, Patricia Aho, said the new law starts a process of updating the state’s mining rules and regulations, which will be presented to the Legislature in 2014.

The legislation was prompted by J.D. Irving Co.’s interest in mining gold, silver, copper and other metals in Aroostook County’s Bald Mountain. The bill’s supporters said current restrictions in the law hamper the ability to develop potential mines in the state.

Before the law’s signing, metallic mineral mining in the unorganized territories was regulated by the Maine Land Use Regulation Commission. Under the new amendment, beginning in January 2014, regulation will be under the Maine Metallic Mineral Mining Act.

Rules regarding exploration and advanced exploration will be revised in the meantime.

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