Author Topic: Mount St. Helens Area Green River drilling update  (Read 294 times)

Offline fireweed

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Mount St. Helens Area Green River drilling update
« on: February 23, 2018, 01:03:42 PM »

Ascot USA Inc. updated some of its plans for minerals exploration north of Mount St. Helens on Thursday, about a week after it got U.S. Forest Service approval for the effort.

According to Ascot spokesperson Kristina Howe, the company is sticking with its plan to drill at 63 roadside sites. Howe said each borehole will be about the diameter of a soda can. (Information about the depth of each hole was unavailable.)

British Columbia-based Ascot will drill within a 900-acre area in the Green River watershed near Goat Mountain in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. The area is within the Mount St. Helens blast zone and just outside the northern border of the 110,000-acre Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.
Howe said that on average, each borehole will cost about $100 or $200 per meter.
Before Ascot gets to drill, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management must decide whether to issue a prospecting permit to the company.
None of this allows the opening of a mine. Exploratory drilling would determine if minerals are present in sufficient concentrations to warrant development of a mine. If Ascot wants to proceed with a mine, it would have to file a separate application and undergo a separate, and likely far more rigorous, public review process through the Forest Service, which manages the area.
Despite the potential that the Forest Service might reject a mining permit, Howe said in an email that their drilling will still ďprovide valuable information regarding the minerals underlying the property.Ē
She also noted that Ascotís shareholders arenít commenting about the permitting process.

Ascot has never revealed what type of mine it would try to develop if drilling shows itís worthwhile, but opponents have long assumed developers would create an open pit mine.

Nicole Budine, policy and campaign manager for Portland/Vancouver-based environmental group Cascade Forest Conservancy, previously told The Daily News that the group will likely appeal once BLM issues exploratory permits. Thatís expected this spring.

The history of copper mining goes back into the 19th century in the upper Green River, but ore deposits have never proven rich enough to support large-scale mining. In addition, the location of the Ascot proposal and the danger full-scale mining could pose to rivers and other resources have generated strenuous opposition.

This is the second time Ascot has obtained an exploratory minerals permit. The courts tossed out the first for an inadequate review of its impacts.