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Associated Press, Published May 29 2012

NE Minn. minerals prospecting review completed

DULUTH — Federal officials have completed a final environmental impact statement on the effects of prospecting for copper, nickel and other minerals in the Superior National Forest of northeastern Minnesota.

The U.S. Forest Service says it's giving consent to the Bureau of Land Management to issue 29 prospecting permits for national forest land south and southeast of Ely. None of the areas are in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness or a separate protected area.

Superior National Forest officials say the decision does not authorize any actual mining, just prospecting. Any mining proposal would go through a separate permitting process and environmental review.

If the BLM issues the 29 permits, the prospecting would have to abide by the mitigation measures for protecting the land that are specified in the environmental impact statement.

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Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.