Supporters of a proposed mining project are awaiting the results of an environmental review for a prospecting permit, which will help determine if and how quickly the project can begin.

Located in the backcountry of Mount St. Helens, Mount Margaret contains a mineral deposit of gold, silver, molybdenum and copper that has been said to have a value of more than $50 billion.

The area was discovered by the Duval Mining Corp. in the 1960s who began to test-drill. Their work was interrupted by the 1980 eruption of the volcano.

In 2010, Ascot Resources, which is based in Canada, took up exploratory drilling on the mine claim, which is approximately 287 acres.

Ascot has reached out to local communities, from Longview to Morton, to discuss the project as well as reach out for support.

The mine could create about 1,000 jobs in the area, according to Mike McDonald, the community outreach coordinator of Ascot, who spoke at the monthly meeting of the Lewis County Republicans Thursday.

McDonald didn’t give too many other specific details about Ascot’s plan; he said it’s just too early to do so.

The mining area is located about 12 miles outside the Mount St. Helens National monument; aware of its potential worth, Congress drew the boundaries of the monument to skirt around the mineral deposit.

The mine has been adamantly opposed by the Gifford Pinchot Task Force, a Portland-based environmental advocacy group.

According to the Task Force, a mine could impact the nearby Green River, as well as limit recreational opportunities located in the area.

But McDonald says Ascot is seeking input from everyone in the community, including environmentalists.

“It’s a great thing to see advocacy groups getting involved,” he said. “We want balance. We have to have recreation, we have to have jobs.”

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Bianca Fortis: (360) 807-8245

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