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New mining on the historic Comstock
by Harry Spencer
Jun 24, 2013 | 3059 views | 2 2 comments | 43 43 recommendations | email to a friend | print
When I arrived in Reno for the first time from Ft. Lauderdale in 1945, with a scholarship to play basketball at the University of Nevada, I was very excited to visit the Comstock Mining District and Virginia City. As a kid, I had read every book in our town library and I wanted to see first-hand the city that transmogrified Samuel Clemens into the prolific writer known by the spirited pseudonym of Mark Twain.

In fact, I read several books from the library in Ft. Lauderdale two or three times including Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Roughing It, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court—just to name a few.

Moreover, as I was planning to major in print journalism at UNR, I was most curious about the Territorial Enterprise, where Twain had worked as a reporter, and the Comstock Lode that yielded several bonanza deposits which provided the rich ore that served as the foundation for both the funding and founding of our fantastic state.

During the mid-to-late 1940s, as a young journalism student/athlete visiting the towns of the Comstock: Virginia City, Gold Hill and Silver City, I was perplexed by the sparse population, dilapidated structures and lack of mining activity in this historic mining area that I had read about with great expectations in so many books.

I soon learned that many of the mines on the Comstock still contained substantial ore bodies, but had “played-out” due to a lack of technology to remove geothermal water and mine the ore to recover the precious gold and silver metal known as doré.

I’ve always thought it was a shame mining could not continue on the Comstock and provide the local communities with well-paying jobs, generate tax revenue for all levels of government services and provide the capacity to sustain local businesses and merchants during the majority of the year when it’s not tourist season.

Indeed, I recall in the spring of 1945 pondering on my serpentine drive back to Reno on Geiger Grade, how could “The Way It Was…” become “The Way It Is?”

Well, fast forward about 68 years and now ore is being mined and doré is being poured in the Comstock again at Gold Hill by Comstock Mining. On September 29 of last year, Comstock Mining celebrated its first doré pour and this week it is hosting its annual General Meeting for stockholders in the environs of Gold Hill and Reno.

This annual event kicks off tonight with a presentation to a sold-out audience by Corrado De Gasperis, President and CEO of Comstock Mining, at the historic Gold Hill Hotel. His presentation is entitled, “A Clear Minded View of the Global Gold Industry”.

Mr. De Gasperis will present a comprehensive view of the Global Gold Industry and its impact on northern Nevada. The presentation includes discussions of super shifts, occurring in the global economy, strengths of demand, scarcity of supply and the most eye-opening facts about the fiscal and monetary policies facing our economy today and tomorrow. These policies have dramatic and positive implications upon northern Nevada. 

I think Mark Twain would be “right-proud” of Comstock Mining’s endeavors—I know I am!

Harry Spencer is a long-time northern Nevada resident.
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David Toll
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October 16, 2013
Harry, I don't think Mark Twain would sit through Corrado De Gasperis' presentation, “A Clear Minded View of the Global Gold Industry”. As he famously said, out of sad personal experience, "A mine is a hole in the ground with a fool at the bottom and a liar at the top."

Read more: Sparks Tribune - New mining on the historic Comstock
John Benneth
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October 10, 2013
Great article by Harry Spencer. We're lucky to have such a fine writer who remembers "the way it was" to compare it to "the way it is now."
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