The Comstock Lode is still loaded and a parochial approach won’t help unlock the wealth there, the head of Comstock Mining Inc. said in Carson City on Monday.
Corrado De Gasperis, Comstock president and CEO, spoke at the Men’s Club in Grandma Hattie’s Restaurant, using what he called straight talk to share views on regulations, economics, preservation, restoration and why Nevadans should seize the day.
“We’re parochial,” he said, then shifted to his reasons for advocating a smarter approach by government and citizens to the mining opportunities around them.
“The old-timers didn’t come close to getting it all,” he said, though 19th century miners used what was then available to tap into resources in the region. “They didn’t have the technology and the information we have today. They poked and prodded at it.”
He said, for example, the lode isn’t 2 miles but more like 6 and richer than in other places. He said when government permits allow, perhaps in just a few months, Comstock Mining will be able to double production and — though small by current mining standards — look toward expansion in various ways.
Among expansion prospects, he said, would be refining precious metals in the state instead of sending them elsewhere for that part in the process.
“We’ve got a lot going for us here,” he continued, broadening his remarks from his company to the whole state. He said if Nevada were a country, it would be the world’s fourth-largest producer. He also indicated the price of gold may rise or fall short term, but until currency value stops declining gold should do well.
“It’s what is going to happen,” he predicted, adding that a nation’s currency should be pegged to something like gold. He said every prosperous civilization in history had two things going for it: low trade barriers and a currency pegged to a store of value like gold.
Part of his speech, however, dealt with the regulatory environment and the battle his company faces with the Comstock Residents Association.
“We’re heavily, heavily regulated,” he said. But he sounded gentle themes about that topic by saying Nevada is a good place to operate and state regulators are tied up in part by understaffing. “The state wants you to work; it’s just a bad process. It takes too long.”
He disagreed with those on the Comstock who try to block progress via the regulatory, land-use and permitting processes. He said his company is participating in preservation and restoration while opponents among the residents are, unwittingly or by design, into “arrested decay” rather than sustainable mining and economic development.
“We need to be supported,” he said. “We don’t need to be tripped up.”