Feds mulling mine in Gifford Pinchot

Feds mulling mine in Gifford Pinchot

Federal officials are continuing to mull over an application for a major copper mine on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest northeast of Mount St. Helens.

Idaho General Mines, based in Spokane, last year proposed the $400 million-plus mine just outside the 110,000-acre Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.

Encouraged by rising copper prices, the company is asking the U.S. Bureau of Land Management for the right to exclusively apply for a permit to conduct exploratory drilling.

Company president Robert Russell told The Columbian last year that he envisions a facility employing 400 people operating as long as 30 to 40 years.

Ryan Hunter, the conservation director of the environmental group Gifford Pinchot Task Force, said a water-quality report issued Thursday made a point of emphasizing hazards of mines within a mile of surface waters.

“I had to laugh, because you can’t go anywhere on the west side of the Cascades without being within a mile of a surface stream,” Hunter said.

Share this post