Two state conservation groups have organized a rally in the State Capitol rotunda after the Trump administration last week renewed federal mineral leases for planned copper-nickel mining on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

Sportsmen for the Boundary Waters, which is hosting the rally with another group, Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters, encouraged the public to attend and to petition lawmakers. It's scheduled for 3 p.m. Wednesday.

"All Minnesotans who want to protect the Boundary Waters will stand together Wednesday at the Capitol in defense of America's most-visited wilderness," Lukas Leaf, the executive director of the sportsmen's group, said in a statement. "We need leadership from our elected officials to take action to defend the BWCA."

Twin Metals Minnesota wants to build a copper-nickel mine operation about 9 miles southeast of Ely. The move by the U.S. Interior Department last Wednesday allows Twin Metals to open its formal permitting process for state regulatory approval.

Mining proponents say the operation would benefit the northern Minnesota economy and national security by providing strategic metals.