VIRGINIA CITY – Opponents of open-pit mining that has resumed for the first time in decades on the edge of a national historic landmark in Northern Nevada have filed a lawsuit to try to stop trucks from hauling the gold and silver ore on a local mountain highway.
The Comstock Residents Association is suing Comstock Mining and Storey County, accusing the county of improperly allowing Comstock Mining to haul ore along state Route 342 at “substantial risk” to the public.
In addition to safety concerns, group leaders say the mining runs counter to the best interests of protecting the history of the Comstock in and around Virginia City. They accuse county officials of being more concerned with the mining company’s interests and future income to county coffers than addressing valid concerns of the public.
“We have a local government that is dismissing us,” said Joe McCarthy, a board member of the Comstock Residents Association.
McCarthy said that at a minimum, the county should have required a traffic study and business impact analysis before allowing Comstock Mining to begin trucking ore on the highway.
The entire city was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1961 in recognition of the rush of prospectors who chased the discovery of a major silver deposit in the Virginia Range in 1858. At its peak, Virginia City had a population of more than 30,000, with Comstock mines producing hundreds of millions of dollars in silver and gold over a 20-year period.