LONGVIEW, Wash. (AP) — The Bureau of Land Management approved prospecting permits Thursday for mineral exploration in the Goat Mountain area, about 12 miles northeast of Mount St. Helens.

The Daily News reports the permits allow Ascot Resources to drill 63 holes at 23 sites to determine whether deposits of gold, copper and other minerals would make mining profitable.

The Forest Service earlier approved the prospecting.

Ascot will likely begin test drilling next summer. It would have to go through a separate permit process to open a mine.