Comstock Mining Inc. (the "Company") announced today that the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection Bureau of Mining Regulation and Reclamation (NDEP-BMRR) has issued a Notice of Decision (NOD) approving an Engineering Design Change to the Company's Water Pollution Control Plan for Underground Exploration.
NDEP-BMRR also approved a major modification to the Company's Reclamation Permit and Surety Decision for the proposed Underground Development of the Lucerne Mine. These modified permits allow the construction of an underground exploration portal and drift at the north end of the floor in the existing Lucerne Surface Mine. The exploration project will be situated on previously-disturbed private land and commence on September 5, 2015. The existing surety bond posted by the Company's wholly-owned subsidiary, Comstock Mining LLC, was sufficient to cover the additional surety requirement of approximately $30,000.
The planned portal and underground drift has two major components. The first component is a main, northeasterly-trending, 1,280-feet long segment. The second component of the portal and underground drift is a branching, 740-feet long, southeasterly trending segment. The first component is planned in two phases. The first phase is expected to be approximately 800 feet and scheduled for completion by year end and the second phase is targeted for early 2016. The first phase includes approximately 20,000 feet of diamond-core drilling to complete the exploration objectives associated with the previously discovered dike-like masses of quartz porphyry (PQ). Previously disclosed drill data from this PQ structure include 46 intercepts of at least 10 feet that grade, on average, over 0.23 ounces of gold per ton and over 1.71 ounces of silver per ton.
Drilling for the second phase is anticipated to extend just past the mineralized mass of PQ, where the Company has defined the nearby Woodville Bonanza structures. These geologic definitions include significant historical and current mappings plus over 116 intercepts of at least 10 feet that grade, on average, over 0.22 ounces per ton gold and 1.59 ounces of silver per ton. The PQ and Woodville structures represent the most significant opportunity for immediately exploring and advancing the development of an accelerated underground mine plan in the Lucerne Area.
The Company is partnering with American Mine and Tunneling LLC ("AMT") and American Drilling Company, Inc., based on their underground expertise and quality services to the mining industry, ranging from beginning stage drilling and exploration to initial drift and tunneling, to commence developing a new underground access to the PQ and Woodville structures. All preparations for these activities have already commenced on the mine site.
The Storey County Board of Commissioners previously (and unanimously) approved these plans. The Company plans to invest approximately $3 million for the first phase, including the underground portal, drilling and certain related infrastructure for the Lucerne underground exploration and development project.
Corrado De Gasperis, President & CEO, commented, "Our teams are methodically progressing the Lucerne portal, drift and exploration drilling objectives. These permit approvals and our preparations with AMT allow us to commence the portal and tunnel within two weeks. The "Harris Portal" will honor the memory of our former safety director, Randy Harris, who won the 2015 Nevada Mining Association's "Outstanding Career in Safety" award. Randy was an incredible man the Comstock will remember forever."