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‘Sustainable Ely’ center to focus on mining risks to BWCA

Saturday’s grand opening of the education and action center will include lots of canoes, as the advocacy groups warns about the dangers of mining near the Kawishiwi River.

A new “education and action center” will open Saturday in Ely to provide information opposing a proposed copper and nickel mine near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

The “Sustainable Ely” office in the city’s business district has a grand opening that includes a short canoe trip on the South Kawishiwi River, followed by supporters portaging canoes down Sheridan Street to the new center.

The center will be open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, staffed by volunteers, a part-time volunteer coordinator and two college interns, says the Timberjay news site.

Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness, an advocacy group, says the goal of the new center is to:

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 build and support a strong base of concerned citizens who will meet, inform, and inspire to action visitors to Ely and local residents; to engage in this work for the purpose of creating a national movement to protect the clean water, clean air, and forest landscape of the watersheds of the Kawishiwi River, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, and Lake Superior from toxic pollution caused by mining copper, nickel, and other metals from sulfide-bearing ore.

The group says it is urging state and national officials to oppose the Twin Metals Minnesota Mine

Twin Metals officials say the proposed mining effort will provide strategic metals and lots of jobs for generations, and that they’ve been conducting environmental studies and assessments for more than five years.