MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The future of copper-nickel mining near a pristine Minnesota
wilderness area will be up for discussion this week.

Both sides of the mining debate will gather Thursday for a forum organized by
the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.

The agencies are taking comments on a proposal to protect more than 234,000
acres of land near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness from further
minerals exploration or mining.

The Obama administration announced in December that it wouldn't renew mineral
rights leases for the proposed Twin Metals mine near Ely. It also announced a
two-year ``timeout'' so federal agencies could study a potential 20-year ban on
mining and prospecting on the land.

It's that 20-year ban that is up for comment in Duluth.