The Bureau of Land Management says a Canadian company could prospect for copper, gold and silver near Mount St. Helens with no significant impact on the environment.
The finding is part of the environmental assessment released Friday on the application by a subsidiary of Vancouver, B.C.-based Ascot Resources.
BLM spokesman Michael Campbell in Portland says a final decision may come by late summer. If the permit is approved prospecting could begin later this year. The public can comment on the plan through July.
Ascot wants to drill 63 small holes for samples, within a 900-acre area of Forest Service land near the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.
Opponents worry that a mine could pollute water and interfere with hunting, fishing and hiking.