In June, Comstock Mining, Inc. held their annual shareholders meeting in Reno, Nevada, at the Nevada Museum of Art. The meeting followed a series of events at the famed Gold Hill Hotel in Gold Hill, a mile south of historic Virginia City, the heart of the Comstock Lode.
Comstock Mining, Inc. (CMI) kicked off the event with a dinner at the Crown Point Restaurant catered by executive chef, Serge Marchale, followed by a lecture in the main hall of the Gold Hill Hotel. Corrado De Gasperis, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and President of CMI presented A Clear Minded View of the Global Gold Industry as part of the hotel’s regular Tuesday night lecture series.
De Gasperis spoke eloquently and expertly to the packed house about the growing, interconnected global economy, monetary policies, the possible impacts on the price of gold, its impacts worldwide and in Nevada and the effect CMI has on the community. He fielded questions from the audience about macroeconomics, investments, how CMI impacts the environment, down to the prosaic – such as how many employees CMI has.
After the lecture, investors got a chance to mingle with others who had attended the dinner and lecture; many members of the local community attended – county commissioners from Storey and Lyon County, vendors, potential investors, and members of the media.
The next day was a full day for investors; after opening remarks from De Gasperis where he could not help but mention several times that a possible bonanza (not the television show), “The Chute Zone”, that had been discovered recently, the crowd was abuzz with the potential. He even preempted revealed a slide that Larry Martin, Vice President of Exploration and Mine Development with a slide of the Chute Zone that Martin was going to announce later; while Martin gave the more detailed engineering side of the find, De Gasperis excited the stockholders with his enthusiasm and wit.
Participants took vans to the mine site where they were able to see the entire mining operations from the Merrill Crowe, the leach pad, the crusher, and some even spotted the armored security truck hauling away the doré bars. Tours were led by Olivia Amos a Merrill Crowe Team Lead and Steve Russell the Senior Mine Geologist.
The last segment of the day was about Comstock Development. Ron James, Executive Director for Comstock Foundation for History and Culture and Travis Higgins, Director of Comstock Development presented information on CMI’s plans for the future. James discussed the newly formed foundation and Higgins talked about the potential of Comstock’s brand and non-mining possibilities.
De Gasperis described CMI as being a “three-legged stool” with the three legs being – Responsible Mining and Processing, Non-Mining Development, and Historical and Cultural. CMI is not only concerned about mining and taking from the land, they do it responsibly; however, they have already demonstrated they are about more than mining.
- Responsible Mining (dedicating funds beyond reclamation);
- Foundation for History and Cultural (dedicating funds);
- Non-Mining Development
- Gold Hill Hotel
- Fundraiser for St. Mary’s Art Center
On the final day of the event schedule, participants met at the Nevada Museum of Art for a rooftop reception with sweeping views of the morning Reno sky. Following the reception, investors gathered in the downstairs theater for the official meeting.
Keynote speaker, Senator James Settelmeyer, mirrored De Gasperis’ views of the publicly traded (LODE) company when he stated they had been good “stewards of the land”. Settelmeyer went on to comment about the small group gathered in front of the building, protesting the mine, “I am not certain if the protestors even understand what they are protesting,” he summed up his comments by complimenting CMI and their presence in the community, “They are at ever event, they have been dedicated stewards of the land.”
John Winfield, Chairman of the Board, and the largest shareholder of CMI, addressed the meeting in a brief statement saying, “The philosophy of being socially responsible and being a good corporate citizen. You don’t have to be a charity to do good and you don’t have to be bad to make money,” he goes on to explain, “It makes sense, and it makes cents,” he says, spelling out the words.
CMI presented a check to Barbara Mackey, Executive Director of the Historic Fourth Ward School, who graciously accepted stating it would help with a gutter problem and a little bit of water damage.
In his remarks, De Gasperis spoke of the uniqueness of the shareholders; unlike many other mining companies, CMI’s investors are 98+% American, although they welcome anyone.
The Company is still ramping up production; reporting 21,726 ounces of doré, 2,487 of gold, and 17,992 ounces of silver, in the first quarter of this year and growing
Of the controversy in the community De Gasperis will only say, “Don’t judge us by our words or by other people’s words, judge us by our actions.”
On being good corporate citizens, most of the residents and officials seem to be impressed by CMI; at the most recent County Commissioner’s Meeting, they were commended for their assistance during a local fire and for always being “good corporate citizens”.
“Good positive wealth has to be created on both sides,” says De Gasperis, “Or it’s just not sustainable.”
By Dawn Cranfield
US News Special Correspondent