ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has planned trips to mines in South Dakota and Michigan as his administration prepares for a major decision on whether to advance copper and nickel mining on the Iron Range.

Dayton spokesman Matt Swenson told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the governor will tour the Gilt Edge mine in western South Dakota on Oct. 27 and Eagle Mine in northern Michigan on Oct. 30. Dayton's administration is evaluating environmental issues surrounding the proposed PolyMet mine in northeastern Minnesota.

The PolyMet project has already caused divisions in Dayton's Democratic Party between those who see its job potential and those who worry about environmental damage.

Swenson says Dayton wants to assess the community impact of the mines. The tours will be private.