A company headquartered at Carson City is preparing to do what no one has been able to do for six decades salvage thousands of pounds of copper and steel cable from the seabed of the coast of Alaska.
Mexus Gold U.S. said last week it struck a deal with Powercom Services Inc. of Atlanta to provide the capital to begin the recovery operation.
Paul Thompson, chief executive officer of Mexus Gold, said the company has acquired a 260-foot barge and an 85-foot tugboat for the operation.
An apparatus to pull cable from locations that are as deep as 2,000 feet underwater is nearing completion, Thompson said, and the company expects to begin work by mid-August.
The financing from Powercom Services will provide capital to carry the recovery operation through the sale of the first barge-load of cable.
Thompson said the equipment developed by the company at a shop in Walnut Grove, Calif., will have the capability of pulling up to 10 miles of cable 475,200 pounds a day.
The lead, copper and steel in the cable will be sold for scrap. Much of it was installed in the early years of the 20th century, Thompson said.
He said salvage rights first were sold in the late 1940s, and a couple of operators have tried without success to recover the cable since then.
Mexus acquired the salvage rights in January from Universal Systems Inc. of Baker City, Ore. Universal Systems will get an undisclosed cut of the revenues from Mexus' work.
This spring, Thompson said Mexus has been negotiating with a Chinese group that's interested in buying the scrap and financing the recovery effort.
Publicly held Mexus was reorganized as a mining and cable-recovery company by Thompson late last year. Previously, the company had operated as a retailer of sporting goods under the name Action Fashions.
Mexus holds potential mining properties in Esmeralda County and in Mexico.
Thompson, who's been in the mining business for 50 years, also is co-owner of the Comstock Gold Mill, an educational tourism attraction at Virginia City.