VIRGINIA CITY, Nev., March 23, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Comstock Mining Inc. (NYSE: LODE) (“Comstock” and the “Company”) and Mercury Clean Up LLC (“MCU”), announced today that all of the site construction and mercury system set up and testing was completed in their Clean Mercury Remediation Technologies (“CMRT”) joint venture earlier this month with the system going operational last week. This represents the first commercial mercury remediation system in the province of Davao D’ Oro, Philippines, and the foundation for adding additional remediation systems into this unprecedented, eco-system-wide mercury remediation effort in the Philippines and leading achievement for the U.N’s Minamata Convention, the international treaty designed to protect human health and the environment from emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds. The international agreement strives to reduce mercury pollution from targeted activities, particularly artisanal and small-scale gold mining, responsible for the major release of mercury to the immediate environment.
Photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.comstockmining.com/press-releases/comstock-and-mcu-commence-philippine-mercury-remediation-operations/
“There is a real joy about being back into production, especially when our production cleans, remediates, and restores the environment back into its natural state,” stated Comstock’s Executive Chairman and CEO, Corrado DeGasperis. “This is the first of multiple systems MCU is dedicating to clean up this entire eco-system, not only reviving the 24-kilometer river, but the downstream irrigations, agriculture and communities it previously served. The social impact is incalculable and represents the baseline for mining-related contaminations across the entire country. The Country’s leading environmental regulator stated that the success of this cleanup will set the standard for the rest of country.”
Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining (ASGM) Dilemma
Mercury‐dependent ASGM uses a process known as amalgamation to dissolve gold from natural deposits. The amalgam is then typically isolated by hand and then heated to distill the mercury and isolate the gold. Problematically, mercury is hazardous to human health and the environment, where residual ASGM wastes contaminate water and soil and ultimately bioaccumulate into food chains. Mercury risks to children are particularly acute, with mercury emissions from ASGM disabling both physical and mental development. The process was regulated into near extinction by most countries, but upwards of 20 million people still use mercury to mine for gold in more than 70 countries, making mercury pollution from ASGM a U.N. prioritized global issue through the Minamata Convention. The Philippine Naboc River has long been a channel for effluents of mining activities in the area, as evidenced by the high levels of mercury and total suspended solids, according to the Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), with hundreds of previous processing activities operating on Mt. Diwata without proper tailing ponds, releasing with their toxic, mercury-laden discharges into the Naboc River.
Proprietary Remediation and Extraction Process
The MCU mercury remediation system is the first of several planned by MCU, Comstock and CMRT in the region. Each system is mobile and specifically designed for remote deployment, to remediate mercury from existing amalgamation wastes while extracting residual by-products, including gold, cleaned sand, soil and gravel for commercial use. The mercury wastes are disposed in a safe and compliant manner, thereby repairing and enhancing local ecosystems, while the extracted gold and cleaned by-products provide multiple high-margin revenue streams.
“Each patent-pending core remediation system is expected to produce positive cash flow within just a few months of start-up, with fast full returns on capital deployed, typically in less than 18 months, depending on processing rates and the various by-products extracted from environment,” continued Mr. DeGasperis. “Our plan involves deploying another system this year and several additional systems thereafter, now that the first one is up and running, as we look toward expanding the social impact across the entire district and sustained, positive cash flow growth.”
About Comstock Mining Inc. Comstock Mining Inc. is an emerging leader in sustainable, mineral development and production of environment-enhancing, increasingly scarce strategic and precious metals, focused on conservation-based waste, high-value, cash-generating, mineral and metals essential to meeting the rapidly increasing demand for clean energy technologies. The Company has extensive, contiguous property in the historic, world-class Comstock and Silver City mining districts (collectively, the “Comstock District”) with fully permitted, metallurgical labs and an operational, mineral processing and beneficiation platform that includes a growing portfolio of mercury remediation and gold extraction facilities. Additional information on Comstock is available online at www.comstockmining.com.
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