Ascot Resources, a Canadian mining company is hoping to drill near Mount St. Helens to determine if it is a viable site for mining minerals. The site is about 12 miles from the volcano. The Chief Financial Officer of Ascot Resources, Robert Evans said that the drilling aims to confirm test in the 1970s which had showed a high level of copper, silver and gold in the vicinity.
Environmentalist groups are bracing to battle Ascot Resources despite the company being given approval last month by the U.S. Forest Service to begin the test drilling at a site which is 19 km north of the crater just outside the boundary of the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.
The proposed mining site of Mount Margaret lies within the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. The mineral claims are owned by General Moly a Lakewood Colorado based company which was refused a lease application in 2008 by the Bureau of Land Management.
Environment groups fear that mining would pollute the Green River watershed and could release toxins that may devastate aquatic life and contaminate community drinking water supplies further down the stream.
Mount St. Helens is most famous for its catastropic eruption on May 18, 1980 which resulted in 57 deaths, the loss of 250 homes as well as many key items of infrastructure. The Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument was established after this eruption to preserve the volcano and study the area in the aftermath.