Update of industrial minerals and rocks of New Mexico
, 2017, Vol. 69, No. 6, pp. 49-56
Production of industrial minerals remains important to the rural economy of New Mexico. In 2014, 226 active mines and mills were registered in New Mexico and included four coal, eight potash, 11 metal, 33 industrial mineral and 170 aggregate and stone operations. New Mexico leads U.S. domestic production of potash, perlite, zeolite and travertine. Other production includes aggregate, humate, pumice, gypsum, salt, common and fire clay, scoria, limestone, fly ash, cement, magnetite, silica and decorative stone. New Mexico also has the potential for additional production of industrial minerals. One company is exploring for garnet. Cretaceous black sandstones in the San Juan Basin have drawn interest for titanium, rare earth elements (REEs), niobium and zircon, and other REE deposits are being explored. REE-thorium-uranium veins have been found in the Gallinas, Capitan and Cornudas Mountains and Laughlin Peak-Chico Hills. Exploration for beryllium has occurred in the Ojo Caliente No. 2, Cuchillo Negro and Victorio mining districts. Companies also are examining high-calcium limestone and high-magnesium dolomite for potential development, while aggregate continues to be important in urban areas and along highways.