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Ely business owners to fight copper mining

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When the weather finally heats up this year, so will the debate over whether to build copper and nickel mines near Minnesota's Boundary Waters Canoe Area, the Duluth News Tribune reports.

A canoe outfitter and other business owners in northern Minnesota are preparing to launch a new "action center" that will urge residents and visitors to oppose future mining operations in the area.

Supporters of the new "Sustainable Ely" center, which is expect to open around May 24, say the environmental risk isn’t worth the promised jobs and economic boost.

"We're hoping to get 25,000 people through the center this summer, and we hope to convince two-thirds of them to take action, to send an email to Congress and the president asking them to make this waterway a no-mining zone," canoe outfitter Steve Piragis told the newspaper.

St. Paul-based Twin Metals Minnesota, which is owned by Ontario-based Duluth Metals, is making plans for a multibillion mine southeast of Ely that would be one of the largest in the world.

“It’s entirely legitimate for a group of citizens to express their views. … What will be telling is the quality of the information they use,” Bob McFarlin, vice president of public and government affairs for Twin Metals Minnesota, told the Duluth News Tribune. “Hopefully, their effort will contribute to the factual discussion on the issue.”

Last week, the national environmental group American Rivers also called the proposed mine a threaten to the BWCA.

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