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In this Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2011, photo, a prospecting drill rig bores into the b

Next big thing looms on Iron Range

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ELY, Minn. (AP) — On a warm fall day, in a clearing cut into the evergreen and birch forest, a drill rig roars as it bores deep into northeastern Minnesota bedrock. Nearby, three men in hardhats keep close watch as the machinery slowly extracts samples more than 3,800 feet down from an ancient deposit that holds copper, nickel, platinum and other valuable metals.

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Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
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