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
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
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)
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)?