Comstock Mining Inc

Pure Comstock Silver Nevada Sesquicentennial Medallion This limited edition medallion commemorates Nevada’s Sesquicentennial and is the first substantial minting of Comstock Silver since the Carson City Mint closed in 1893.
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Pure Comstock Silver Nevada Sesquicentennial Medallion

NYSE MKT: LODE
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Comstock Mining Inc


Disclaimer:

Statements contained in this blog, which are not historical facts, including statements about plans, goals and expectations regarding businesses and opportunities, new or existing business strategies, capital resources and future financial results are "forward looking" as contemplated by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, changes in government regulation, generally accepted accounting principles, taxation, competition, general economic conditions and geopolitical conditions. Accordingly, actual results may differ materially from those projected or implied in the forward-looking statements.




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CEO Blog - March 23, 2015
Friday, March 20 2015 00:00
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To Our Shareholders:

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your patience during 2014. This was certainly one of the most difficult years on record for precious metal equities and we share your disappointment in the share price.  But 2014 also marked a year with some of the most significant, fundamental achievements by our team. We acquired strategic properties, rezoned our key mining properties, expanded our permits and significantly reduced our costs, positioning our Company to lead forward in creating higher value and higher returns for our shareholders. 

We acquired over 800 acres of private lands, expanding our mineral claims and potential for greater mining and processing.  We also restructured our ownership of the mining claims in our Dayton Resource area, eliminating all future royalties there and then rezoned those lands for multiple uses, including mining. In the same context, we rezoned the remainder of our Storey County properties and gained approvals for a landmark expansion of our most strategic operating permit over our most expansive gold and silver resource. Further modifications to our primary Air and Water permits authorized increased operating hours, material processing rates and leach pad capacities.  The land position has never been bigger, better or stronger.

We exceeded our targeted 2014, $10 million cost reduction program, realizing annual savings of approximately $11.7, while enhancing the core competencies of our team and increasing ounces produced.  We also identified and targeted an additional $6.5 million in cost reductions for 2015 as compared to 2014.

We recently launched our 2014-2015 drilling program, targeting significant discoveries.   We already reported additional high-grade intercepts that further define the broadening zone of high-grade gold mineralization on the Eastside of Lucerne. There is much more to come as the program is designed to expand the Eastside of Lucerne’s gold and silver resources, accelerate underground feasibility studies and develop high-grade, underground mine plans.

In 2014, we turned cash flow positive from operations and we are now building on that success with lower strip ratios, better yields and absolute lower costs across all activities.  We believe these actions, driven by better mine execution and more substantial development, position the company for profitable growth now, in the first half of 2015, and stronger equity valuations.

Corrado De Gasperis
President and CEO
Comstock Mining Inc

 
CEO Blog - March 20, 2015
Friday, March 20 2015 00:00
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The following interview with Corrado De Gasperis, CEO of Comstock Mining, was conducted by Mr. Peter Epstein, CFA of Epstein Research (http://epsteinresearch.net/) and is re-posted here with permission.

Please describe Comstock Mining (LODE) to readers not familiar with your story. 

We are a Nevada-based, permitted and producing gold and silver mining company, trading on the NYSE MKT exchange under the symbol LODE.  The Company has already achieved unprecedented results, like consolidating substantially all of the historic, world-class Comstock Lode mining district south of Virginia City, with approximately 8,300 acres (over 10 square miles) along an approximately six-mile long, contiguous mineralized trend. The Comstock Lode district is best known for producing over 8 million ounces of gold and 192 million ounces of silver, primarily in the late 1800’s, including 33 bonanzas, but no one has ever been able to take this massive, fragmented, complex property position with all of its dynamics, and put it under one roof, until now (not to mention permitting it and going into production).

There’s been a lot of local press reports about a road adjacent to your property that needs to be re-routed. Is this a big a deal, will it impact production? 

The road in question is a state route, SR-342, that was built on loose fill and eroded from weather events to the point that it needs to be re-routed.  We will move the road as we were planning on doing anyway, but it will help the State, help the County and accelerate many of our business and reclamation plans.  Classic win-win-win.

Some shareholders feel that production growth has been slower (or even much slower) than expected. Do you agree? 

Yes, we had originally planned for ramping up Lucerne to a 40,000 gold equivalent ounce run rate per annum last year, but those mine plans, and a lower gold price, required us to modify.  We increased our economic cutoff rate and we also invested significant resources on enhancing the geologic controls, resulting in a much more reliable and predictable mine plan.  These cumulative changes initially resulted in much higher strip ratios before we worked through that section of the mine and reached the flatter, lower strip sections of the Lucerne Mine.

Concurrently, we also dramatically reduced costs, by over $11 million dollars, year on year.  Today, we not only have a drastically improved strip ratio but we can also leverage a much lower and more flexible cost structure as we expand. During this same period, we received permitting approvals to expand the scope of the initial mine area, going from about 180 acres under permit to approximately 1,300 acres under permit. I am proud of how our team responded to the adversity and we feel we are much better positioned for profitable growth by working through that adversity.

Why isn’t your second mine, Dayton, not in production yet? 

The Dayton is our second, high priority target area. Our original drilling, although limited, quantified over 0.5 million gold equivalent ounces of initial resource. Last year, we restructured the purchase to completely eliminate the royalty (it’s 100% owned and royalty free) and rezoned all the lands to a mining designation.  We have since done geophysical, structural and core drilling, with significant continuity of the mineralized structure confirmed and further discoveries identified.  We are planning to complete the exploration and development drilling this year, formalize our feasibility for the full mine plan and facilitate the permitting, all in 2015.

What is the biggest pushback you get from prospective investors in Comstock Mining?

Investors have been waiting for cash flow and are excited to see that cash flow reinvested in exploration and development with positive results. Our recent drill results on the Eastside of Lucerne are the first example of that.  The last three quarters, we were cash flow positive from operations, yet the Company was still reducing costs, expanding permits, acquiring and very effectively re-zoning land, developing the mine, and expanding the heap leach pad.   With dramatically lower costs, we guided to full profitability for the first half of 2015.  The stronger that track record, the stronger the investment interest will be.

Can you give us a snapshot of your latest capital structure including cash, preferred shares and debt? 

Our capital base has been strong since we recapitalized in 2010, with an exceptionally high quality base of institutional investors.  We have 89.8 million shares outstanding, with $48.6 million of additional permanent equity in a preferred stock, which, if converted, represents another 53.6 million common shares, for a little over 143.4 million fully diluted shares. At the end of 2014, the Company had approximately $1 million drawn on a $5 million Revolver, $6.9 million in equipment financing and $3.6 million for notes payable on land purchases. The Company also had $5.3 million in cash.

What are the terms of the preferred shares? Do you believe the preferred shares are an overhang on Comstock’s stock?

No, not since our preferred stock represents permanent equity capital that has no debt-like features. The holders of the preferred stock have been investors for between 5-10 years, and have provided significant funding for the initial consolidation and production growth phases of the Company. The preferred stock is convertible to a fixed underlying number of common shares. The average conversion price is $1.10 (ranging from $0.65 – $1.65).

To the extent that you think Comstock is undervalued, why do you think that might be? 

Investors want to see sustainable positive cash flows. We are confident we are on that mark now and coupled with a better appreciation of our significantly lower costs, driven by improved mine planning, better grades, lower strip ratios and excellent yields, should result in much better valuations. Overall, the market is valuing gold equities as if gold was closer to $850. We feel the best upside will come from those few companies that have their permits, producing with good cost structures and yet retain tremendous exploration upside potential (remember we control the entire district).  It’s these types of companies, like ours, that will deliver the most significant equity upside.

Can you name any of your largest shareholders? What percentage of your shares are owned by management & the Board? 

We have one of the strongest capital bases with funds like Van Den Berg Management (Century Asset), US Global Investors, Inc., Sun Valley Gold LLC, The Vanguard Group, Inc., Gabelli Funds LLC, Solus Asset Management, Wedbush Securities, with the largest holder being the Winfield Group.  Our management and board have about 4%, and when you include our Chairman, it’s over 35%.

Please describe Comstock’s all-in costs for gold equivalent ounce for the latest reported quarter or for 2014.

During the fourth quarter of 2014, our all-in cash costs was $1,243, with all cash mining costs at $843 per gold equivalent ounce, general and administrative at $261 and capital at $139 per gold equivalent ounce. In December, we achieved our cash mining cost target of less than $750. For the first six months of this year, we anticipate being below the $750 per ounce with our all-in costs below $1,000 in the second quarter.

What are the catalysts to watch for in 2015? 

In Lucerne, we are expanding our mine eastward, based on recently received permits and rapidly developing feasibility for a higher grade, underground operation.  We also plan a second expansion in the Dayton Resource Area.  For Dayton, we plan on further drilling, expanding the known resource, finalizing a mine plan and permitting and commissioning our second mining operation.  Our most important catalyst, is our cash flows. In 2014, we turned positive with cash flow from operations and we are now building on that success with lower strip ratios, better yields and absolute lower costs across all activities.

Assuming smooth sailing in 2015, roughly how many ounces of gold equivalent ounces might you be able to produce in 2016?

Optimally, in 2015, we would have two sources of ore, from Lucerne (surface and underground) and one from Dayton.  This would ensure a consistent 40,000 ounce run rate, per annum, scaling up to potentially 75,000 ounces, from all three sources. There is still some drilling and development to do but the path is there. Ultimately, there is capacity to do much more, but it’s a good growth path for 2016.

Are there any misconceptions about Comstock Mining that you would like to address?

The obstacles associated with mining in the historic district had more to do with regulatory complexity and developing a strong social license to operate, more than anything else.  We have done that. The historic Comstock Lode’s geology extends much further than previously understood, and by all modern definitions, is significantly under explored. Our land position continues to grow in size and value and we will build on the historical and current geological data to produce a robust model for practical, responsible economic development.

 

 
CEO Blog - November 10, 2014
Monday, November 10 2014 03:00
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Nevada Day 2014
Celebrating the 150th year statehood

Throughout its history and long before it became a state, Nevada was known for its silver and gold. The Comstock Lode was the richest silver discovery in history. Precious metals mined from Virginia City, Gold Hill, and surrounding areas, now known as the Comstock Historic District, created enormous wealth that played an instrumental part in Nevada becoming a state, funding the Civil war, the expansion of the West and building much of old San Francisco.

In that tradition, it was a great honor for Comstock Mining to participate in the celebration of Nevada’s sesquicentennial.  We would like to share some of those photos with you, courtesy of dKer photography.

 

The Company got special permission to drive our haul truck down C Street for the Virginia City Parade!

 

Comstock Mining’s float complete with an ore cart and future Comstock Miners.

 

To honor Nevada's sesquicentennial the Comstock Foundation for History and Culture and the County hosted a special reception at the Gold Hill Depot.  After extensive restorations by Storey County, the Virginia City Tourism Commission, and the Comstock Foundation for History and Culture, the rarely-seen interior was open to the public.  Many visitors were present for the unveiling of “Nine Cheers for the Silver State,” a painting by Nevada artist Steven Saylor that takes its title from a Gold Hill Daily News headline that appeared on October 31, 1864.  Visitors were also able to see the limited edition collectable, pure (.9999) Silver Medallion, expressly created by Comstock Mining, to commemorate and celebrate the occasion.  This represents the first substantial minting of Comstock Silver since the Carson City Mint closed in 1893.

 

Unveiling of “Nine Cheers for the Silver State” at the Gold Hill Depot

 

Pure Comstock Silver Medallions featuring Gold Hill, NV on the obverse and
the Upper Yellow Jacket Hoist and Ore Chute on the reverse.
 
CEO Blog - July 14, 2014
Monday, July 14 2014 03:00
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COMSTOCK MINING WINS TOP SAFETY AWARD

On July 8, 2014, the Nevada Mining Association (NvMA) announced that Comstock Mining Inc. had been awarded a FIRST PLACE SAFETY AWARD for 2014!!

The Nevada Mining Association’s 2014 Safety Awards honor the individuals and operations throughout the mining industry dedicated to fostering a culture of safety throughout their mine site and supporting the industry-wide credo to send every mining employee home safe and healthy after every shift.

The NVMA Safety Awards are given annually to mine operators and individuals in several categories. Data for the 2014 awards are based on performance in the 2013 calendar year. Comstock Mining had no reportable, safety related accidents in 2013, and won a first place honor in the medium mine operations category, between 100-299 employees.

Comstock Mining Safety Director Randy Harris attributed the award to a Company culture that placed “the safety of our people and the protecting of the environment first, from day one, even before production started up.” The tone at the top and throughout the Company prioritizes the safety of Comstock’s employees and stakeholders in the work place and the protection of the environment and the Landmark.

“We work diligently to insure the safety of our employees and that of the surrounding communities” Harris says, “We have also been proactive in developing a knowledge based relationship with the Mining Safety and Health Administration, (MSHA) and all of our state and local emergency management personnel.”
“This year’s honorees have spent the last year teaching, drilling and applying best practices related to safety on the mine site, and it’s time to pay tribute to their dedication to safety,” said Tim Crowley, NVMA president. “Every single employee on a mine site plays a pivotal role in ensuring Nevada mines are safe. These awards recognize those companies and professionals that stand out above all others.”

This year, 27 awards will be given to mine operators and 44 awards will be given to individuals during an event at NVMA’s annual convention in Lake Tahoe on Saturday, Sept. 6th.

 
CEO Blog - June 11, 2014
Wednesday, June 11 2014 15:54
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KEYSTONE MINE RECLAIMED

Comstock Mining Inc. is giving the old Keystone Mine back to Mother Nature.  It is the first major reclamation project for Comstock Mining, Inc.  The Keystone surface mine has been completely filled in, contoured, and then covered with growth media.

 

Pictured is the site being landscaped with rock to imitate outcroppings.

 

In October, it will be hydro seeded with native plants and shrubs just in time for the winter moisture.

 

Conceptual Keystone Mine site post reclamation


The Keystone project is an example of Comstock’s concurrent mining and reclamation procedure where it mines one area while reclaiming another.

 

 

 
CEO Blog - April 30, 2014
Wednesday, April 30 2014 17:22
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vwphoto-iair-award

 

Comstock Mining Recognized As:

“Best Company for Leadership – Gold & Silver Mining - USA”

 

iair logo

 

To our Entire Comstock Team and extended Community:

Our entire community –based team, county and statewide, courageously leads and promotes breakthrough innovations in mining, reclamation and restoration, specifically by promoting a culture of continuous learning, wealth creation and a genuine integration into our communities, despite significant resistances and obstacles. It is for this reason on April 15, 2014, Comstock received the IAIR Award for “Best Company for Leadership – Gold & Silver Mining - USA.” I am not surprised a Nevada-based community, especially from the Comstock, won this award.
IAIR® honored Comstock Mining with this leadership award amongst American miners…“for its important role in the Gold and Silver Mining in the Comstock District of Nevada since 2003. Thanks to its operating model and its understanding of the geology of the area, Comstock Mining was able to bring its exploration project into production.”

The award was presented at the IAIR award ceremony held at the Yale Club in New York, NY.
IAIR AWARDS® is one of the world's leading ranking and prizes for excellence in global economy and sustainability. It is made up of the scientific committee of IAIR® and IAIREVIEW.org along with a team of dedicated legal, economic and financial journalists in over 120 countries worldwide.

The IAIR AWARDS® is focused on the Global Economy and Sustainability and in particular in the following categories: Green Economy, Leadership, Alternative Investments, Business Opportunities, Global Corporate Excellences, FX, ETFs and Commodities, Law, Asset Management, Family Office and Wealth Management, Philanthropy, Private Equity, Real Estate and Property, Succession Planning and Family Businesses.

Some of our past winners and top ranked companies include: FedEx, Rothschild, ABB, 3i Group, Aviva, Vodafone, Christian Dior, Cartier, Morgan Stanley, Bank of China, Rockefeller, BNP Paribas, IBM, HDFC Ergo, Freshfields, UBS, Novartis, BlackRock, Deutsche Bank, Russel Investments, ReMark, BASF, Daimler, Royal Dutch Shell, APAX Partners, Bridgepoint Capital, Allen & Overy, Willkie Farr & Gallagher, DLA Piper, and CMS.

I would like to congratulate the entire Comstock team for its caring patience, courage, persistence, wisdom and absolute will to make the Comstock an even more amazing and better place. These are the leadership qualities that have enabled these advancements and I want to thank each and every one of you personally.

Sincerest and kindest regards,
Corrado DeGasperis
President & CEO

 
CEO Blog - October 9, 2013
Wednesday, October 09 2013 14:42
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Comstock Mining Hosts Students from UNR

Comstock Mining hosted 11 graduate and undergraduate students from our local university along with their professor, Tommy Thompsen, for a detailed tour and lecture of the Lucerne and Dayton resource areas on Comstock Lode late last week.  

The University of Nevada Reno (UNR) geology students met at the Company’s Gold Hill Hall, on Gold Hill, Nevada, for a presentation by Mr. Larry Martin, the Company’s Chief Geologist and Jason Merchant, its Cartographer.  The students were engaged, inspired, and thoughtful as they listened to the story of Comstock’s history and plans for the future.  At the end of the presentation, these future geologists kept Larry on his toes as they asked a full range of questions, from the expected to the quite challenging.

unr-geology-students-gatehered-at-the-dayton-adit-web

Like many of the tours the Company has offered throughout the year, students were presented a view of the Lucerne Resource Area with fellow student and mine geologist, Ken Coleman, offering his take on the mine.  The scholars listened intently, evaluating the geology and taking pictures.

taking-notes-at-the-lucerne-web

However, this was a less than typical tour; the students were taken to the Dayton Consolidated Mill area for a more “hands-on” learning experience.  As soon as they unloaded from their van, they became geologists; with chisels, sample bags, and a desire to find gold, they scoured the hills.  For almost two hours they picked up rocks, discussed them, compared them and withstood the wind.

students-exploring-at-dayton-web

We all enjoyed the day and always seem to have a great time on The Comstock.

 

 

 
CEO Blog - July 2, 2013
Wednesday, May 08 2013 15:35
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Q: You have mentioned the “Chute Zone” in recent communications and I understand it was a topic of discussion during last week’s Annual Meeting. What are the real implications of this discovery?

A: Thank you for the question. The Chute Zone is one of the most substantial and significant findings in our most recently published NI 43-101 Technical Report (the “Report”).

Overall, the Report, published in January 2013, declared a mineral resource estimate of Measured and Indicated Resources containing 1,824,000 ounces of gold and 17,100,000 ounces of silver, for a total of 2,150,000 gold equivalent ounces[1], and an estimate of an Inferred Resource containing an additional 870,000 gold equivalent ounces. The Report also includes an additional 200,000 gold-equivalent ounces outside of the modeled area, in the Historical Resource Category.

Since 2008, the Company’s geologists have recognized the enhanced grades of precious metals when northeasterly striking mineralized structures intersected the Silver City fault zone. We have now identified a specific, wedge-like, structurally bounded zone that hosts significant gold and silver, that we are calling the ‘Chute Zone’.

Comstock geologists believe that the structural intersection and geometric shape of the Chute Zone is similar to highly mineralized zones that were historically mined in the Comstock District as bonanzas (that is, the 1878 definition of bonanza grade ore: > 0.5 ounces of gold per ton and 10 ounces of silver per ton). There were 33 mined bonanza ore zones located along the Comstock mineral belt. The historic production records relating to these bonanza deposits account for most of the 8.2 million ounces of gold and 192 million ounces of silver produced during 1859 thru 1962 from the world class Comstock Mining District (Bonham,H.F., and Papke, K.G.,1969). See a summary of the Principal Bonanza Deposits of the Comstock Lode below.

20130702-Principal-Bonanza-Deposits-by-R.-Carrington    

(Principal Bonanza Deposits by R. Carrington)

Further regarding the Chute Zone, Behre Dolbear stated, “this intersection zone hosts elevated grades of gold and silver that consistently average 0.095 ounces of gold per ton over drill intercepts of 45 to 270 feet and has mapped dimensions of 100 to 150 feet by 100 feet by 450 feet”(p. 4). Although early in its development, and still open to further resource development on most sides and at depth, the Chute has already quantified almost one-half a million tons of mineralized material. The following picture shows a map draped over topography, showing the historic Justice (top left, in green), historic Woodville (top center, in green), & the Chute (center stage, in gold) zones in plan view.

 20130702-Map-Draped-over-Topography

Geology Map Draped over Topography

The following picture depicts the same Chute Zone (yellow) in 3D:

 20130702-Chute-Zone-Looking-West

 

The following table 7.2 (extracted from the January, 2013 NI 43-101, Behre Dolbear) lists selected drill hole intercepts located within the Chute Zone.

 20130702-Chute-Zone-Drill-Assay-Highlights

(Selected Chute Zone Assay Results)

 

The next pictorial is a scale-to-scale, looking west, cross sectional view of the historic Con Imperial Bonanza (far right, blue shape), Crown Point Bonanza (lighter blue shape, left and deeper than the Con Imperial) and the Belcher Bonanza (blue shape, farther left and deeper than the Crown Point Bonanza) after R.G. Carrington (2003 & 2011).

These historic mine shapes of the northerly-located bonanza deposits illustrated by the upper cross section are compared in a lower cross section that depicts mined geometric shapes of the historic Justice and Woodville (southern most bonanza mined on the Comstock mineral belt) and the Chute Zone as depicted by our geologists and extended engineering teams.

 20130702-Bonanza-Comparison

This comparison shown above was chosen to display the perceptual similarities of dip angle and spatial distances between each of the selected historic Comstock bonanzas (Con Imperial, Crown Point and Belcher) to the near perfect correlation to the dip angle and spatial distance separating the Justice (far right green shape lower cross section), Woodville (positioned left and deeper than the Justice) and Chute Zone (colored yellow). The red coloring on the drill holes of the lower cross section represent assay values equal to or greater than 0.05 ounces of gold per ton. The green shapes are stopes of historic mined zones.

The Woodville shaft operated in the Woodville bonanza zone from 1872 to 1875. During this time, 7076 tons of material were mined, as documented in “Nevada' Metal and Mineral Production 1859 thru 1940.” The specific dimensions that we believe represent the Woodville bonanza were estimated by reviewing the historic underground workings, giving us a volume of approximately 25 feet by 25 feet by 150 feet. The reported production from just over 7,000 tons of material was almost $8 million of gold and silver equivalent, in today’s dollars.

When you consider that the current mining operation sends approximately 4000 tons a day to the crusher (slightly over half the volume of the Woodville bonanza), you can appreciate the enthusiasm of the geologic team, that this Chute Zone, a highly mineralized structural intersection, could host a similar bonanza grade pocket with in an already defined, larger resource.

The discovery of the Chute Zone is the result of many months of hard work, drilling, analysis and interpretation by the geological team. The geologic team hopes to gain a deeper understanding of the controlling geologic attributes of the Chute Zone, allowing for even more efficient identification of such structures in future exploration campaigns along the Comstock.

As Behre Dolbear concludes in the exploration developments section: “Based upon the structural controls of the newly discovered higher-grade Chute zone, CMI has recognized structural similarities in higher-grade zones at Dayton and other mineralized areas within the CMI property position. Expectations are high that further drilling at the appropriate azimuth will allow for important extensions to these higher-grade zones” (Behre Dolbear, 2013, Technical Report on the Comstock Project, p.49).

The team is currently assessing how best to mine this ore body, as it represents the first real opportunity for an underground development. We have already asked our engineers and consulting engineering firms for conceptual designs of underground mining options, as shown below.

 20130702-Conceptual-Decline-Designs

(Conceptual Decline Design)

The primary goal of the 2012 drill program was definition drilling for the mine plan. Discovery of the East-side Chute Zone represents the potential for an expanded mine plan and potentially, an underground mining target on the Comstock. We will be working diligently to assess the economic parameters for making this exciting discovery part of a tremendous expansion for our mine planning and operations. The Chute Zone discovery and development is tremendously rewarding for our team. Quantifying such a significant resource, on just a fraction of our land position, provides us with significant confidence in the long-term future of the Lucerne Mine and our overall resource goals.

Best Regards from the Comstock,

Corrado De Gasperis

President & CEO



[1] Gold equivalent ounces were calculated using January 31, 2013 London PM prices of $1,664.75 per ounce of gold and $32.03 per ounce of silver, as published by kitco.com. This resulted in a ratio of 51.97 ounces of silver per equivalent ounce of gold, without taking into consideration the relative recoveries of gold and silver. The Company’s current estimates for heap leach recovery are 70% for gold and 45% for silver.

 
CEO Blog - May 8, 2013
Wednesday, May 08 2013 15:35
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Production run rates exceed plan and have been achieved faster than scheduled

Question: What is the status of the short-term production goal of 400 gold-equivalent ounces per week?

Answer: I am extremely pleased to report that we have well exceeded our targeted production rate of 400 ounces per week, and achieved this rate of production ahead of schedule! Originally scheduled to exceed 400 ounces by late April, we poured 408.17 gold equivalent ounces during the week of March 17 – 23, 2013. For the next five weeks (six total) ending April 27th, we sustained a throughput averaging over 425 ounces per week. We continue improving the stability and throughput of the system and will operate at or above these levels for the rest of 2013.  We anticipate achieving the full 20,000 gold equivalent ounces this year (as compared to previous guidance of between 18-20,000 gold equivalent ounces).

Along with the pouring of gold and silver, every aspect of the production system has been stabilized or enhanced for predictable, sustainable growth. These photos demonstrate the increased rate of material placed on the heap:

heap-nov62011

  Photo of Heap: November 6, 2011  

 

heap-nov2012

 Another photo of the heap from November, 2012

 

heap-jan32013

  Photo of Heap: January 3, 2013

 

heap-apr112013a

  Photo of the Heap: April 11, 2013; notice the completed left side of the first lift, or level.

 

heap-apr112013b

  Another photo of the Heap from April 11, 2013

Just in the month of April we crushed and stacked over 30% more material when compared to March.  The Company is continuously adjusting its operations to improve grade, maximize yields and increase tons crushed and stacked.

During the first quarter of 2013, we completed the ramp up and stabilization activities of the production system, including improvements to the hauling, crushing and metal extraction processes.  

lucerne-apr132013

Photo: Mining from the Lucerne, April 13, 2013

 

lot51haulroad

  Photo: Hauling through “Lot 51” from the mine to the processing area in American Flat

Metal sales in the first quarter of 2013 totaled $4.2 million, with gold revenues of $3.7 million. We also produced $0.5 million of silver. Silver is accounted for as a by-product credit in costs applicable to mining revenue for financial reporting purposes. During the first quarter of 2013, the Company crushed and stacked over 234,000 dry tons of mineralized materials and shipped 2,261 ounces of gold and 15,599 ounces of silver.  Material placed on the heap leach pad remains under solution until recovery rates are optimized.   Although the daily throughput will vary depending upon the amount, type and grade of material placed on the heap and the stage of leaching of that material, the weekly average of 425 ounces reported above extends over sufficient time to demonstrate a meaningful and sustainable shift upward in our production.

The current financial analysis for the Lucerne Mine anticipates annual operating expenses, including all mining and processing costs of approximately $15.9 million per annum, excluding approximately $1 million of additional haulage costs, with an anticipated production schedule currently processing at the rate of one million tons per annum, but also including plans for ramping up to a 1.5 million tons per annum run rate.  Mine administration costs are anticipated to be approximately $1.5 million. The Company currently anticipates production rates staying beyond the 400 gold-equivalent ounces per week in the second half of the year with a current expectation of producing 20,000 gold-equivalent ounces in 2013.   The first quarter of 2013 brought our mining and processing systems into stability, enabling us to invest in future production and resource growth and accelerate the complete repayment of our secured Auramet Debt Facility, most likely well ahead of schedule.

A reminder about the Quarterly Conference Call

As previously announced, I will host a conference call on Thursday, May 9, 2013 at 8:00 a.m. Pacific Time/11:00 a.m. Eastern Time to report First Quarter 2013 results and business update.

The live call will include a moderated Q&A, after the prepared remarks.  The dial-in telephone numbers for the live audio are as follows:

North American Toll Free: 1-866-544-4625

Canada Local / International: 416-849-2726

 

Best Regards from the Comstock,

Corrado De Gasperis

President and CEO

 
CEO Blog - May 2, 2013
Thursday, May 02 2013 12:26
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First Judicial District Court rules in favor of Comstock Mining and Storey County

Question: What is going on with this lawsuit by the CRA against the County? 

Answer: Last week, we received notice from the Court that CRA’s complaint and petition for injunctive relief were denied in conjunction with the summary judgment order issued in favor of the County and the Company.  We could not be happier with the decision and frankly, never considered this action as anything other than a moot, frivolous action on the CRA’s behalf. 

On April 24, the First Judicial District Court issued its order on the cross motions for summary judgment.  The court determined that Storey County did have the authority in 2004 to impose a condition in the SUP that the Company not use Highway 342 for hauling ore from the mining area to the processing area.  The CRA considers this a victory but so should the County.  However, more substantively, the court also held that the Storey County Commission properly amended the SUP to eliminate the “no haul” provision relying on proper factors.  This was our main, most relevant argument.  As such, Storey County and the Company were granted summary judgment on the issue.  The court denied the CRA an injunction precluding the Company from using the highway to haul ore. Regardless, we are not currently using the highway to haul ore.

In the meantime, we have been ramping up production, using our quite excellent haul road, and I very much look forward to providing a full update on our operations next week, on Thursday, May 9. 

Best Regards from The Comstock,

Corrado De Gasperis

President and CEO

 

 
CEO Blog - April 29, 2013
Monday, April 29 2013 16:30
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COMSTOCK MINING SPONSORS HEALTH AND SAFETY WEBINAR SERIES

I am pleased to announce that Comstock Mining, Inc. is an official co-sponsor for the Spring, 2013 Mining Health and Safety Webinar Series being conducted by the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (COEH), a NIOSH-designated Education and Research Center.   

For mining and the related activities that serve them, effectively protecting our employees’ health and ensuring that our operations are well in compliance with applicable MSHA/OSHA/ State/Territorial regulations and corporate policies is essential to sustainability, profitability, and growth. To optimally accomplish this vital task, Health and safety officers, facility and laboratory managers, industrial hygiene and safety consultants, regulatory officers, and others need information and tools and information that reflect state-of-the-art knowledge application.  

The Mining Health and Safety Webinar Series provide highly informative, one-hour courses taught by UC Berkeley’s leading researchers and professionals in the field of health and safety. The courses provide practical technical information and practices that optimize methods for measuring, controlling, evaluating, and monitoring important hazards that impact employees in mining and laboratory operations. Continuing education credits and Certificates of Participation are available for all attendees.

The series of courses begin May 16th. Registration information and course descriptions are available at www.coehce.org and we have posted a PDF of the brochure on our website which can be downloaded here (3.71MB PDF).

I encourage anyone interested in supplementing their knowledge in this most important field to sign up for one of these courses of the entire series.

Best Regards from The Comstock,

Corrado De Gasperis

President and CEO

 

 
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