The U.S. Bureau of Land Management says proposed exploratory mining northeast of Mount St. Helens would present no significant environmental impact.
The Columbian reports the BLM's decision this week would award Ascot USA two hard rock prospecting permits within the Gifford Pinchot National Forest near the headwaters of the Green River.
The area is about 12 miles northeast of the volcano and next to the northern boundary of the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.
Ascot's plans call for drilling up to 63 roadside exploration holes, each 2 to 3 inches in diameter, to look for copper, silver, gold and molybdenum on a mining claim at Goat Mountain.
Ascot needs to prove commercial quantities of ore are present to finance and get approval for a mine. And Ascot would have to go through a far more extensive review.
The BLM's decision is subject to appeal.