Save the Comstock from Comstock Mining
Last week Comstock Mining Inc. applied for a special use permit for "drilling and open trench exploration operations" in and around Virginia City and Gold Hill. CMI now owns or leases most of the old mining claims, inactive since the 1800s. New underground imaging technology and exploratory drilling have validated deposits of gold, silver, and copper. CMI's technical report outlines plans for three open pit operations lasting 25 years.
Open pit mining would be a disaster for these small communities. Residents are preparing to fight the looming threat. If Storey County's commissioners approve the special use permit application, that's all CMI needs to start open pit mining. Residents will have no more say in the process, short of a lawsuit or appealing to the courts, because of the outdated 1872 Mining Law - which Sen. Harry Reid says he wants to reform.
If open trench mining is allowed here, it will sink property values, sink tourism, reduce tax revenues. Nothing can replace the museums, grand mansions, or the recently reconstructed V&T Railroad. Nothing can replace the Comstock's authentic role in Nevada history or the millions of visitors from all over the world who come to honor the unique charm and character of this place.
Please help save Virginia City and the Comstock Lode from destruction. Speak, write letters, call.the Commissioners, or, if you want to see real democracy in action, attend the planning commission meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Storey County Courthouse. For more information visit the Comstock Residents Association website at www.comstockresidents.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Charles E. Lundfelt
JoAnn "Rusty" Aldrich
Virginia City residents
State needs to develop untapped resources
Some in the Legislature say the mining industry in this state enjoys an unfair advantage and should pay like the rest. It's an altruistic argument, but for that, it comes at a time when they are sifting through the loose dirt in the backyard looking for nickels.
Mining has had the benefit of a blind eye, and I am a fan of the level playing field, but I'm not sure if it's in our best interest to discourage them now. We mine more than just than gold and silver in this state. Many communities in this state are built around mining. Resource development is one of the most necessary industries on the planet, and one of the few products we still export in this country.
Maybe we should ask the mining industry, "Are you willing to concede you have sweetheart deal with us? Have we not always looked out for your interests here? Would you consider investing some of your profits back into this state to forestall greater taxes?'
Beginning this conversation might lead to a solution beneficial to both sides. But would our leaders do this? They might lack the insight or creativity to manage something on that scale. Maybe they'd just as soon have the taxes to squander as they please.
We have vast, untapped resources in this state. We need to encourage their development. Our leaders have been too weak for too long, and we've been too short-sighted to press them.