AURORA, Minn. — The proposed PolyMet copper-nickel mine got a big show of support at the first of two public meetings on key permits for the project.

About 450 people gathered at Mesabi East High School in Aurora on Wednesday to weigh in.

Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt said PolyMet has “jumped through all the hoops” to show that it can meet the state’s environmental standards.

Aurora Mayor Dave Lislegard (LISS’-leh-gard) said PolyMet represents growth and job opportunities for the eastern Iron Range.

But some speakers, from groups such as Friends of the Boundary Waters, pointed to the potential for damage to the environment, and questioned whether PolyMet’s financial assurances are sufficient to guarantee that taxpayers won’t be on the hook for cleanup costs.

A similar meeting is scheduled for Thursday in Duluth.