For several years, Comstock Mining Incorporated has been trying to begin operations at an open-pit mine, in Storey County. This week, the mine began hauling and crushing ore, but not everyone is on board. Corrado De Gasperis is the mine's president and CEO. He says about 100 employees are in the process of digging up 2.5 million ounces of gold and 24-million ounces of silver from the mine.
"At today's prices, it's almost $5-billion worth of value and we honestly feel that we've just started to define the resource," De Gasperis said. "We've only drilled on less than 10% of our property."
The ten square mile parcel is partly between the towns of Gold Hill and Silver City. Some residents fear the mine will force people out, and bring in transient workers.
"You're basically blowing up the community and starting all over again," Comstock Residents Association Member Joe McCarthy said.
The mine has gotten dozens of permits and Storey County Commissioners have approved the operation, but the Comstock Residents Association says their voices have fallen on deaf ears.
"They want to know what the impact of this project is going to be on wildlife habitat, on our recreational areas, on our ground water," McCarthy said.
"We committed to voluntary soil testing of any disturbances before we do it, and we've proven, now, the safeness of all the activities," De Gasperis said.
Much of this landscape has already been scarred by previous mining, so De gasperis says this is also an opportunity to make the area look better.
"We've worked with the county to ensure not just reclamation but restoration," De Gasperis said. "Those plans are in place. We believe the property will look better when we're done than when we started."
Another question for residents is how it will effect tourism, businesses and their way of life.
"We don't live in a mining area," McCarthy said. "We live in an historic mining district and we celebrate the history of the birthplace of Nevada on a daily basis, and bring tourists here."
But De Gasperis says responsible mining could be good for tourism and business. While this is still a small operation, he says it could expand into Lyon county and help revive our recovering economy.
"I really believe that Nevada could become one of the wealthiest states in the nation if we got aligned with what's about to happen, in the financial world, and in particular, with gold and silver," De Gasperis said.
"Mining, where it's appropriate, is what we're supporting and don't take our homes away just because it looks like the golden goose has come because that will lay a big egg," McCarthy said.
Over the past 20 months, Comstock Mining Incorporated has spent $60-million trying to get the mine up and running. They plan on pouring silver and gold bars by September 15.
Saturday, May 25 2013 2:16 AM EDT2013-05-25 06:16:04 GMT
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