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Twin Metals Mine Estimate Boosted 19 Percent

Twin Metals is a joint venture between Duluth Metals, which owns 60 percent, and Chilean mining company Antofagasta PLC, which owns 40 percent.

Another company, PolyMet Mining Corp., which is developing an open pit mine for the same metals mine near Hoyt Lakes, is further along in the planning and regulatory process, but Twin Metals would be a much larger project.

Supporters of the projects say the potential new copper-nickel-precious metals industry in northeastern Minnesota would bring badly needed jobs to a region where the economy is now heavily based on iron mining, forestry and tourism. But environmental groups have teamed up to fight the projects because the minerals are bound up in sulfur compounds that can leach sulfuric acid and other contaminants when exposed to the elements, and they fear the runoff could reach the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Lake Superior.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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