DULUTH, Minn. (AP) - People for and against a proposed copper-nickel mine near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness disagree over whether it would be the answer to shoring up the area's economy.

Twin Metals Minnesota wants to build an underground mine near Ely that the company says would create about 850 full-time jobs. The $2.8 billion project needs mineral leases from the U.S. Forest Service. The agency held a public hearing in Duluth Wednesday night.

St. Louis County Commissioner Tom Rukavina said tourism in the area has been declining and isn't sufficient to sustain jobs and the economy.

But River Point Resort owner Jane Koschak said the mine could harm an area that's "a rare, precious gem."

Wednesday's session was part of a 30-day public comment period that ends next week.