Silver-barite drilling coming to High Desert

     A silver rush might blaze into the High Desert by year’s end.
     International Silver, Inc. (OTCBB: ISLV), based in Tuscon, Ariz., hopes to start drilling in a few months on the Laviathan Property — a 1,300-acre piece of land owned by the Bureau of Land Management and located in the Calico Mining District, near Barstow.
     Silver is only the half of it, though.
     The company estimates there’s about 1 million tons of barite-silver ore entrenched throughout 60 mining claims on Laviathan. Barite is a heavy material used in manufacturing oil drills.
     While International Silver goes through its environmental review process to eventually lease the bureau’s land, the company is also in escrow with a private owner on an adjacent parcel, the Langtry Property.
     Langtry comprises about 400 acres, and it’s estimated to have 72 million ounces of silver and almost 3 million tons of barite.
     Harold Shipes, president and CEO, said that after selling the barite, operating costs for mining the silver will be near zero.
     “When silver started increasing in price, we went back and reviewed several silver properties,” Shipes said. “These two caught our fancy.”
     Silver fetched about $5 an ounce in late 2003. Silver futures closed at $12.72 per ounce on Friday.
     Shipes, a 35-year industry veteran, says his company’s drilling operations will eventually create about 150 jobs.
     International Silver was founded in 1992 and went public in March. It has about 100 shareholders and a market capitalization of $5 million. The stock closed at 32 cents a share on Friday.
     –matthew.wrye@inlandnewspapers.com

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