Comstock Mining has received a reclamation permit for an exploration drilling programme in the US.

The Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP) issued the permit for two major targets in Lyon County, the Dayton Resource Area and the Spring Valley Area. The company will begin soil assessments to determine the levels of the EPA-identified contaminants of concern in areas around historic mill sites and tailings.

The programme will be conducted in compliance with NDEP’s bureau of corrective action to remove the sites from the Carson River Mercury Superfund Site designation. Comstock Mining said it will begin initial testing on site-specific exploration operations at its Lucerne Resource Area in early February and exploration activities in the Spring Valley Target Area will begin on 23 January.

Comstock Mining CEO Corrado De Gasperis said that the company validated 2.4Moz of gold and over 20Moz of silver last year. "This represented the most efficient drilling programme in our history – with a discovery cost of just $6 per gold-equivalent resource ounce – and identified higher grade, robust potential in both our Dayton and eastside Lucerne Areas," said De Gasperis. "These new permits and the completion of the prerequisite soil sampling allow for the expansion and acceleration of these programmes in 2012 and beyond."

The drilling programme will initially focus on definition drilling in the Lucerne starter mine area, multiple phases of drilling in the east side of the Lucerne Resource Area and in-fill drilling in the Dayton Resource Area.