Comstock Mining Inc. (the "Company") announced that, on Saturday, September 5, 2015, in conjunction with American Mining and Tunneling LLC ("AMT"), it commenced construction of an underground exploration portal ("Harris Portal") and drift at the north end of the floor level in the existing Lucerne Surface Mine.
The weekend started off with the inaugural blast launching the underground portal and drift development:
Corrado De Gasperis, President & CEO, commented, "Our expert geological, engineering, environmental and safety competencies, combined with AMT's underground expertise, have now launched and are methodically progressing the Lucerne portal, drift and exploration drilling objectives. Drilling commences later this month, with the first phase scheduled for completion before year-end. We have added world-class mining competency while reducing cost and dramatically increasing flexibility."
The Company has partnered with AMT and its sister company, American Drilling Corp., LLC., 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. Our teams, including AMT, were hands on Saturday morning coordinating and assessing following the initial blast.
The portal is situated on previously-disturbed, private land and has two major components. The first component of the portal and underground drift is a main, northeasterly-trending, 1,280-feet long segment. The second component is a branching, 740-foot long southeasterly trending segment. The first component is planned in two phases. The first phase of the tunnel development 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 also includes approximately 20,000 feet of diamond-core definition drilling, which will be closely coordinated with the tunnel development, 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 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, scheduled for completion this December.
Corrado De Gasperis concluded: "We will update and report the status of this project frequently throughout year end. The 'Harris Portal' honors the memory of our former safety director, Randy Harris, who won a 2015 Nevada Mining Association's 'Outstanding Career in Safety' award, and we are planning a dedication ceremony on Friday, September 25, in honor of Randy and in conjunction with the commencement of drilling activities within the drift."