As silver prices stay below $30 an ounce, mining companies are cancelling plans to prospect for new deposits. Instead, they are returning to where they know there is silver - the abandoned historic old mines of the American West.
Black Mountain Resources is one of those companies. They have signed 45-year leases on old silver mines that have been idle for anywhere from 40 to 100 years, and are partnering with small local companies for access to local mills.
Not only do these mines have access to known veins that were unprofitable to mine at $8 an ounce, but that are quite profitable at $22 an ounce, the mountains of old mining scraps, know as tailings, have an ore content higher than some presently-mined veins. These huge piles are just lying on the ground, ready to be loaded into dump trucks and hauled to the mill.
The local communities benefit not just from the new jobs created, but re-opening these old mines means that the tailings piles and mine run-off ponds will be brought up to modern environmental standards, reducing the risk to the local water supply. Private enterprise is not only providing jobs and making a profit, it is saving local, state and federal governments the cost of clean-ups of these old mine sites.