Since 2005, the Cascade Forest Conservancy and our partners have been working to protect the Green River valley, near Mount St. Helens, from industrial-scale hard rock mining. A Canadian mining company, Ascot Resources Ltd., is seeking permits to conduct exploratory drilling for copper, gold, and molybdenum. Exploratory drilling to locate mineral deposits and determine commercial viability is an essential step in the development of a hardrock mine.
In 2005, General Moly Inc. (formerly Idaho General Mines, Inc.) submitted an application for a hardrock mining lease. Since then we have stopped multiple attempts by mining companies to mine near Mount St Helens. In late 2014 we defeated another attempt by Ascot Resources Limited to conduct exploratory drilling when a judge declared the prospecting permits illegal. Despite our recent legal win, Ascot Resources is once again seeking federal approval for mining exploration in the area.
In 2015 Ascot Resources began working with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to improve their permit application and prepare a modified Environmental Assessment (EA) for exploratory drilling. The Modified EA was released in January 2016, and the BLM and Forest Service closed the comment period for the Modified EA for the exploratory drilling permits on March 19, 2016. A decision by BLM and the Forest Service on the permits is expected shortly.
Mining exploration and development could harm threatened salmon and steelhead populations in the Green River, interfere with recreation opportunities in the area, and threaten drinking water supplies for downstream communities. The unique, remote, and beautiful Green River valley was acquired by the Forest Service with money from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, money designated to promote conservation and recreation to the public. This will be the fourth time that the mining industry has tried to mine in this area. We have stopped them three times, and we plan to do so again. It is critical that we remain vigilant to protect the Green River valley and Mount St. Helens from future mining attempts. You can help!