A proposed mining project on Minnesota's Iron Range has nothing to do with iron ore, but could hold the key to the region's economic future or lead to its environmental destruction, depending on who you ask.
The possibility of mining for copper, nickel and other precious metals in an area with a tradition of mining, as well as a tradition of impeccable cleanliness and beauty, has been contentious.
The discussion is ramping up as a company that could be the first to mine for copper and nickel in Minnesota - PolyMet - moves further along in the regulatory process.
Trisha Volpe, who reports for MPR News and KARE 11, has been looking into PolyMet and its largest investor, Swiss company GlencoreXstrata. The international commodities and mining giant has invested millions in PolyMet. The story brought Trisha to the Gulf Coast.
• Story: Economic opportunity or too environmentally risky?
• FAQ: Copper-nickel mining in NE Minn.
• Map: Sites of proposed copper-nickel mines
• Photos: Ramping up to mine copper
• Timeline: PolyMet's history in Minn.
• More coverage from KARE11