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Round 2: PolyMet mine hearing tonight in Aurora

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A second public hearing on a proposed copper-nickel mine will be held on Minnesota's Iron Range tonight.

The meeting in Aurora will be a chance for people who live closest to PolyMet's proposed mine and processing facility near Hoyt Lakes to comment.

• Special section: Copper-nickel mining in Minnesota

There has been strong local support for PolyMet. Labor unions are interested in the construction and mining jobs the company would bring to the area, and local officials are excited about the potential for an economic boost.

But first, a 2,200-page environmental study on the project must pass muster. That study predicts long-term water treatment will be needed at both the mine and plant site to prevent pollutants from reaching the rivers and streams that are part of the Lake Superior watershed.

The Department of Natural Resources is asking for feedback on that study during tonight's meeting. The first public hearing, last week, drew some 1,300 people to Duluth to rally for jobs, ask questions and poke holes in the environmental study.

The discussion was passionate but remained civil. Only a few boos were heard along with the enthusiastic applause that followed speakers on both sides of the debate and there were no shouting matches. 

A third meeting is scheduled for next Tuesday in St. Paul, and the PolyMet public comment period is expected to conclude by the middle of March.