A Reno mining executive has begun talking with state regulators and Storey County officials about his plans to begin underground mining beneath Virginia City.
If all goes well, mining might be under way as early as January, says Hugh Roy Marshall, who believes his holdings at Virginia City might be worth anywhere from $1 billion to $6 billion with the current high prices of gold and silver.
Marshall's Consolidated Virginia Mining Co. assembled the properties during the 1980s, discovered an ore body known as the Big Bonanza east vein that the company considers to be significant and drilled a tunnel to the vein.
Work was halted, however, during litigation that dragged on for 12 years Marshall's divorce and questions about title to the properties were major causes of the lawsuits and the mines were closed down.
By the time the lawsuits were resolved, gold and silver prices had dipped.
"I'm not in any big hurry to do this," Marshall said last week. "I've been waiting for 20 years."
He estimates the cost of starting up mining of the Big Bonanza vein at about $3 million, and Consolidated Virginia Mining Co. is looking for a joint venture partner on the project.
Employment would total about 90 to 150 workers once the project is at full operation, Marshall said.
He said the company would truck ore from the mine to mills and processing plants outside of Virginia City. The mine property is at the northeast corner of the Storey County town.
Consolidated Virginia's properties produced 3.6 million ounces of gold and 77 million ounces of silver during the 19th century heyday of mining in Virginia City.
At current prices, Marshall said, that production would be valued at $3.6 billion.
Consolidated Virginia also owns mining interests immediately west of Virginia City, and Marshall's other business interests in the town include a Ramada Inn and the Marshall Mint, a retail store and mint.