MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The fight over whether to allow copper-nickel mining near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area of northeastern Minnesota is shifting to St. Paul.

The U.S. Forest Service is opening a new set of public meetings on its proposal to bar minerals exploration and development on more than 234,000 acres near the pristine wilderness for up to 20 years. The first meeting is Tuesday in St. Paul. Another meeting is set for July 25 in the Iron Range city of Virginia. They've already become contentious.

Mining supporters have announced plans to boycott the St. Paul meeting. They plan a show of force at the Virginia event instead.

Mining opponents plan to rally before the St. Paul meeting.

The meetings are part of a public comment process that runs until Aug. 11.

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