Comstock Mining celebrates with a blast
It was a real blast at Gold Hill on Friday, saluting the recent start of Comstock Mining Co. production and celebrating this area’s precious metals revival. On hand to oversee and enjoy the blast, plus the accompanying gala celebration and provide information, were Comstock Chairman John Winfield and President/CEO Corrado de Gasperis.“We can achieve social and economic objectives; they work hand-in-hand,” said Winfield just after firing mine blast from atop a hill near the Cabin in the Sky and overlooking the blast site. Winfield set off an explosion overseen by CalNeva Precision Blasting, which erupted from 200 drilled holes containing 15,000 pounds of ammonia nitrate and diesel fuel. The Comstock company chairman, who hails from California, was dubbed an honorary CalNeva employee for the chore.He made his points about Comstock to push the firm’s message that mining can be done with sensitivity regarding the environment and nearby communities. The message was reinforced in comments for the Nevada Appeal by Gasperis.The CEO also expressed his relief that first pours of silver and gold bars began production this autumn.“We want to protect, preserve, restore, enhance and celebrate the Comstock,” he said, taking note of the area’s 19th Century precious metals heritage.Gold and silver from the Comstock Lode made the Virginia City-Gold Hill community and the surrounding area into a boom-bust region in the latter half of that century. “The biggest feeling that I had was relief, relief that we were pouring again on the Comstock,” said Gasperis.The event Friday, which centered on the 2:30 p.m. blast, actually was part of a three-day celebration for mine employees, community members and others invited for the mini-gala.Busloads took tours of the mining area on Thursday, Friday and will again today, according to Doug McQuide, company director of external relations.The celebratory gathering marked the pouring in late September and earlier this month of Dore’ bars, with an assay of the first pour showing it was made up of 8.5 percent gold and 88.2 percent silver. As of Oct. 9, the company said, it had poured more than 670 ounces of gold and more than 7,200 ounces of silver. That likely will put the firm on track to meet its goals. Its inaugural production goal is 20,000 gold equivalent ounces and continuing stabilization regarding cash flow, McQuide said. Longer term, the firm is shooting for 100,000 annually.