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Environmentalists want mining company's lawsuit dismissed

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Environmentalists have asked a federal court to throw out a lawsuit by a mining company that's fighting to hold on to its minerals leases in northeastern Minnesota.

The government has not formally responded to the lawsuit, which was filed by Twin Metals Minnesota in September. But court filings this week by Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness provide a preview of what could be the government's legal strategy.

Twin Metals wants to build a copper-nickel mine near Ely, within a watershed that flows into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

The environmental group wants to intervene in the lawsuit. But it has taken the extra step of asking the court to dismiss the lawsuit altogether. Its key argument is that the company's lawsuit is premature.

A hearing is set for April 28.