ST. PAUL (AP) -- The Minnesota Court of Appeals has rejected two of the most important permits for the planned PolyMet copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota in a major victory for environmentalists.

A three-judge panel ruled Monday that the state Department of Natural Resources erred when it declined to order a proceeding known as a ``contested case hearing'' to gather more information on the potential environmental impacts of the project. So the court sent the dispute back to the DNR with orders to conduct the hearing.

At issue were PolyMet's permit to mine and its dam safety permits.

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