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Group protests Comstock Mining

Nevada Appeal Staff Report
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A clash over mining on the Comstock commandeered rooftop and street in Reno briefly, though it was pro forma up top and peaceful below.

As Comstock Mining shareholders attended the Virginia City firm’s annual meeting and had lunch atop the Nevada Museum of Art on Thursday, the Comstock Residents Association and colleagues demonstrated on the street below, an opponent said. Demonstrators picketed and performed street theater.

“We know that they heard us because we were very loud,” said Steve Funk, a spokesman for the group that opposes the Comstock company’s operations as high-handed and problematic for people as well as the environment.

Funk said there were 60 or more on hand to watch the protest. The street theater, “A Tale of Two Communities,” was designed to dramatize the plight of Comstock residents and those in La Puya, Guatemala, another place where protests against mining have been sparked. Representatives of that community were on hand as well.

Nevadans involved in the protest included not only residents’ association members, but representatives of Progressive Alliance of Nevada and Great Basin Resource Watch.

At the shareholders meeting, Corrado De Gasperis, mining company president and CEO, said production is proceeding well toward the goal of pouring 20,000 ounces of gold equivalent (gold and silver) annually. He told shareholders the geology is robust and prospects are good.

“Our second quarter production is near double our first quarter,” he said in a statement, “and we are well positioned for further expansion, production growth, low cost performance and real cash flow that will enable the Comstock’s continued responsible development.”

De Gasperis was one of five nominees elected to terms on the company board. The others were John V. Winfield, Daniel W. Kappes, Robert A Reseigh and William J. Nance. Shareholders also ratified appointment of Deloitte & Touche LLP as Comstock’s independent registered accounting firm for fiscal year 2013.

The company began acquiring property in the Comstock District in 2003 and started production last year.