| The Iron Range was formed some two billion years ago. There are actually four areas of iron range deposits.
Mining has always been a boom and bust industry on the Iron Range. But proponents of proposed copper-nickel mines say the area is poised for a rebound. Mining companies are exploring for copper, nickel and precious metals in northeast Minnesota, near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and the Mesabi Iron Range.
While backers of the mines tout the jobs they could bring, opponents ask whether those jobs are worth the environmental risk to the region's lakes and rivers.
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Images courtesy of Than Tibbets/MPR News, and the Minnesota Historical Society