Mining Works for Nevada

By Dawn Cranfield

Mining Works for Nevada

I have always been perplexed by people who do incongruous things like purchase a lot by the airport, build a home, and then immediately begin to lobby for noise ordinances to be mandated.  They are no different, really, then the attention seeking famous, whose throngs of adoring fans are cast aside as bothersome when the stars have finally “made it” and no longer need them; or even the beer-gutted, plaid wearing, balding, ageing husband who could look at his wife and wishfully think of his high-school glory days and think he could do any better.

Typically, I would only bother my family with my observations about how much I am confused and annoyed about the inconsistencies with how people live, until an outing this weekend struck a personal chord.  Driving through the historic towns of Gold Hill and Silver City, Nevada, just

Virginia City, Nevada

South of Virginia City, I was immediately struck by the opposing signs of the Comstock Lode Project, an open-pit mine in the community.

There were signs plastered all over these tiny little towns, some signs said “Mining Works for Nevada”, while other signs read “No Open Pit Mines; but, the most offensive signs I saw were the signs on businesses that read “Miners Not Allowed”.  I was personally offended.

Given this economy, to turn away a working man is absurd, personally speaking; but, to turn them away from your own business is simply cutting off your nose to spite your face.  The Comstock Project has brought well needed business into the community, given jobs to otherwise unemployed people, and, will likely continue to employ those people if not yield more jobs.

I grew up the daughter of a miner; my dad worked in probably every kind of mine you could

Gold Hill, Nevada

imagine, all over the West, and as a kid, I have been in plenty of mines myself, back before OSHA was huge and started to regulate safety.  I remember a family day at a mine in Utah where we all rode in a “Muck Truck” a mile down into a mine and all we had to do was wear a hard hat, but, I digress.  My father mined in Arizona, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, and Montana.  It was a tough living, but he supported his family of six, sometimes in communities that reacted much the way this one has, sometimes in mining communities that were more accepting.

While most people who come to Virginia City, Nevada, are probably tourists who look at the area as the home of Mark Twain, or they watch reruns of Bonanza and see the Cartwrigtsriding horses from their home into town, and they want to spend the day in an authentic “old west” town, there is a lot more to the area in terms of history and commerce.  In its glory days, there was enough gold pulled out of the Comstock to help finance the Union cause during the Civil War, and to build San Francisco.  (The Gold Report)

The Comstock

Through talking to locals I have heard that part of the complaints are that open-pit mining is “ugly and unattractive”; however, if you are familiar with this part of Nevada, or any of Nevada for that matter, it is not tree covered mountains, or sandy beaches abutting the ocean.  It is the desert with scraggly sage brush, rabbit brush, and old defunct mines.

Back to my original perplexing thought, though, if you do not want to live near an open-pit mine, why would you move to a community such as The Comstock, a historic mining community (MINING being the operative word)?

2 Responses to "Mining Works for Nevada"

  1. dawn7   May 13, 2013 at 10:42 am

    I do not take offense at your tone or your name-calling. Frankly, calling me a shill for Comstock Mining, Inc. (CMI) is absurd; I write articles spanning everything from the entertainment industry to catastrophes in Bangladesh. I’ll assume this is merely your frustration with the situation.

    It really seems you are trying to punish the son for the sins of his second cousin, once removed. CMI is not Nevex, and to date, Comstock Mining seems to have an extremely solid record of responsible mining on the Comstock.

    While I can empathize with you moving into a historic mining district during a quieter period in its life cycle, how could you assume (remember the little saying we all learned as children about that word?) there would never be mining there again? Maybe the airport analogy is off center absent current mining activity, but I cannot help but think of people who live near volcanoes or major fault lines but who are then truly surprised when a quake or rumbling occurs? Frankly, an even superficial review of mining activity on the Comstock shows some form of active mining or mining development there in every single decade of the 1900’s (including the 40s, despite the War Act) and 2000s, so the assumption appears even more aggressive.

    Simply having that sense of safety, or in your case, the serenity of a few inactive mining claims in Lyon County, is far from a certainly from private owners mining legitimate legal claims in a mining district, really. There is nothing in this life that is certain… except death, and taxes, it seems and I am not trying to be cheeky, especially regarding such a serious subject for our State, and for me as well.

    Mining is important for Nevada; nay, the world. Technology (and seemingly monetary policy) cannot advance without gold; it is important to the economy.

    The miners employed by the mine rely on their wages to support their families, and in times like these, it is difficult to see anything negative about a business that wants to put tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars back into a depressed state.

    Thank you again for responding and sustaining the discussion, it is an important one.
    I am sorry for the delay in responding.

    Best regards, Dawn

  2. masomenos   January 31, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    Well, Dawn, how about if you moved to a place in the 70’s that had not had any active mining in it for decades and lived there for 10-15 years until a mining company (Nevex) wanted to put an open pit mine in the town but failed to get County approval for a land-use and zone change from residential to industrial (turned down by Planning Commission and County Commissioners – I can get you a copy of the decision), and then you lived there another 20-something years before CMI came in with their proposal to put the pit in town right in the same place?

    It’s really not the same as moving next to an active airport and then complaining about the noise. How about interviewing some of those people in Silver City, Gold Hill and Virginia City (over 400 of which have signed a no open pit mining petition) and get their take? are you a reporter, or you merely a shill for Comstock Mining Inc.?


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