Carson City, Nev. – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Sierra Front Field Office, has issued the Decision to demolish the United Comstock Merger Mill at American Flat in Storey County, Nev., to address the physical safety hazards present at the mill. A 2008 audit of the site by the Department of Interior, Office of the Inspector General (OIG), found the mill site to be a high risk-liability to the U.S. Government.
Under the selected alternative, all eight mill buildings will be demolished, voids and tunnels filled, and building footprints and other disturbed areas covered with native borrow material/soil and re-vegetated. Project funding and a schedule for demolition and reclamation of the mill site have not yet been identified, although this is likely to take two years to implement.
In March 2012, the BLM executed a Programmatic Agreement with the State Historic Preservation Officer and other consulting parties to mitigate adverse effects to the historic property from its demolition. Measures that the BLM will implement include off-site exhibits, brochures and other media. This Agreement concluded the compliance required under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.
The United Comstock Merger Mill site is located on public lands near Gold Hill, Nevada. The mill was built in 1922 to process local gold and silver ore utilizing cyanide vat leaching in what was then described as the largest concrete mill in the United States. Since abandonment in 1926, this seven-acre mill site has been used as a place to hold parties, post graffiti, and conduct paintball wars despite physical safety hazards from falling concrete, underground mill sumps filled with water, and holes in the concrete flooring.
The BLM has prepared the Final Environmental Assessment – United Comstock Merger Mill at American Flat (DOI-BLM-NV-C020-2012-0040-EA)