ELY, Minn. (AP) -- A group of Ely business owners is preparing to open an "action center" on the city's main street to stir up opposition to copper-nickel mining, saying risk of environmental damage to the pristine Boundary Waters Canoe Area isn't worth the promised jobs and economic boost to the region.
A fundraiser drew 65 people last week for the new "Sustainable Ely" center, which is expected to open about May 24, just in time for the summer influx of cabin owners, anglers and canoe campers headed to the Boundary Waters.
"We've got a good start. We raised $4,500 already for this grass-roots effort," said canoe outfitter Steve Piragis.
The new center underscores the chasm in Ely and across the region between residents eager for mining jobs to come to town and those who want to keep the new kind of mining out of northern Minnesota, the Duluth News Tribune reported Sunday. It's just down the road from the offices of Twin Metals, which is making plans for a $3 billion copper-nickel-precious metals mine southeast of Ely that would be one of the world's largest.
The concern is that the copper-bearing rock contains sulfides that, when exposed to air and water, will leach acidic runoff and other pollutants into nearby waters.