Locals protest Comstock Mining shareholder meeting
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Residents of Virginia City and neighboring areas paired up with an activist from Guatemala today to protest Comstock Mining Inc.
The crowd of about 50 protestors brandished signs that read "Stop Open Pit Mining" and tried to make enough noise to be heard by shareholders, who were meeting inside the Nevada Museum of Art.
The group was made up of local organizations such as the Comstock Residents Association, which has opposed open pit mining projects in the Comstock.
Joe McCarthy is a members of the group and says he lives within spitting distance of an open pit mine there.
"They've just barged their way in. They've done everything they can to avoid any kind of scrutiny whatsoever. They haven't even attempted to do an environmental impact study to let the citizens know the ramifications of open pit mining.."
The protest was organized as a show of solidarity for a community in Guatemala, where mining company KCA has opened an operation. Mr. Daniel Kappes, who's president of KCA, is also on the board for Comstock Mining Inc.
Alvaro Sandoval Palencia is from that community in Guatemala and was at the rally. Speaking through a translator, he said an impact study found that he and many of his neighbors will need to move to avoid the toxic effects of the mining projects.
"It's the same companies that are creating divisions and destroying our lands in Guatemala, it's the same ones that are doing it here."
No representatives or shareholders from the Comstock Mining came outside to speak with the protestors and KUNR's phone call was not immediately returned. However, they did have one supporter in Dallas Hall, who happened to pass by the protest at the time. He says he's sensitive to the fact that some people have lived there for quite some time, but that those mining operations create jobs, and there's a reason they're in places like the Comstock.
"And they wouldn't have built Silver City on that plot of land, in the first place, if there wasn't something to build it upon economically speaking. So clearly there's stuff there, and I think it needs to be harvested, maybe there's a better way to harvest it than open mining, but I know that open pit mining has worked in Kennecott, Utah and several other places."
Last year, the Comstock Residents Association sued Comstock Mining and Storey County, alleging that the county allowed the company to haul ore along Nevada 342 at substantial risk to the public. It was later ruled that the county had the authority to to put a restriction on hauling along 342, if it chose to. Since then, a spokesman for Comstock has said that the company is no longer using the highway.