The United Comstock Merger Mill at American Flat will be nothing but a memory after a decision to demolish the mill was issued by the Bureau of Land Management’s Sierra Front Field Office.
In addition to tearing down all eight buildings, the BLM will fill the voids, tunnels and building footprints, cover the area with soil and plant native species.
A 2008 audit of the site by the Department of Interior, Office of the Inspector General, found the mill site to be a high risk-liability to the government.
On Wednesday, the BLM said funding to demolish the site and a time table have yet to be determined. A spokeswoman said it would probably be two years before the mill was torn down.
In March 2012, the BLM executed an agreement with the State Historic Preservation Officer and other consulting parties to mitigate adverse effects to the historic property from its demolition. Measures that the BLM will implement include off-site exhibits, brochures and other media. This agreement concluded the compliance required under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.
The mill site is located on public lands near Gold Hill. Built in 1922 to process local gold and silver ore utilizing cyanide vat leaching, it was then described as the largest concrete mill in the United States. Since abandonment in 1926, this seven-acre mill site has been used as a place to hold parties, post graffiti, and conduct paintball wars despite physical safety hazards from falling concrete, underground mill sumps filled with water, and holes in the concrete flooring.
The BLM has prepared the Final Environmental Assessment – United Comstock Merger Mill at American Flat, to analyze the direct, indirect and cumulative effects of the selected alternative. The decision record, final enviromental assessment and related documents are on the web at www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/fo/carson_city_field/blm_information/nepa/nepa_archives.html.