Rock containing minerals in sufficient concentration, quantity, and value to be mined at a profit.
What is uranium?
Uranium is the heaviest naturally-occurring chemical element and it is radioactive, which means that this element, when concentrated, is capable of producing energy. Uranium is a hard, dense, silver-gray metal in concentrated form.
Where does uranium occur in the natural envrionment?
Most rocks contain trace amounts of uranium (bulk concentrations on the order of 2 to 4 parts per million), however, uranium is not distributed uniformly through rocks, but tends to be concentrated in certain minerals. Some common accessory minerals in igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks, such as apatite and zircon, contain 2 to 1000 ppm uranium. Ore minerals like pitchblende, a variety of uraninite, uraninite (85 per cent uranium), carnotite, autunite, uranophane, and tobernite have uranium concentrations that are high enough to be economically mined. In addition, uranium can also be recovered in commercial quantities from coal and monazite sands. Uranium also occurs naturally in surface and ground water and in the ocean.
Where does uranium mineralization occur in the state of New Mexico?
Where can I find additional information about uranium mineralization in New Mexico?
The following publications are available through the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources:
Resource Map 18. Uranium resources in New Mexico, by V. T. McLemore and W. L. Chenoweth, 1989, 36 p. text, 1 sheet, scale 1:1,000,000.
Open-File Report 353. Uranium mines and deposits in the Grants district, Cibola and McKinley Counties, New Mexico, by V. T. McLemore and W. L. Chenoweth, 1992, 22 p., 2 tables, 1 fig., 7 sheets, 1:24,000 scale maps
Open-File Report 461. Database of uranium mines, prospects, occurrences and mills in New Mexico, by V.T. McLemore, K. Donahue, C.B.. Krueger, A. Rowe, L. Ulbricht, M.L. Jackson, M.R. Breese, G. Jones, and M. Wilks, 2002, CD-ROM.
Where can I find geophysical logs for wells intersecting uranium prospects?
Is there a single reference that describes mines and mineral resources in New Mexico?
No, but the mining archive developed and maintained by Maureen Wilks, our geological librarian, contains a plethora of mining-related data. The archive, which is housed in the Workman Addition on the campus of New Mexico Tech, is organized by mining district, mine, or prospect name; township-range-section location; and county. Certain large mining districts, such as the Magdalena mining district in Socorro County, are filed in a special collection that consists of geologic reports, maps, photographs, production data, and historical information associated with each district. Other resources in the archive include:
A complete microfilm collection of the mining journal, Mining and Scientific Press, and paper copies of the magazine Mogollon Mines.
Newspapers highlighting mining activity in New Mexico, including the Socorro Bullion, Socorro Sun, Socorro Industrial Advertiser, Socorro Chieftain,
Southwestern Mines, Las Vegas Mining World, and Cochiti Call, as well as newspapers from Bland, Clifton, and the Black Range.
District maps and mineral survey platte maps
Vintage topographic maps, including 15-minute and 30-minute sheets
Historic photographs and slides
Representative mineral specimens from some mining districts
The archive can be viewed by making arrangements with Maureen Wilks. The data in the archive are currently being scanned and converted to a digital database.
I’d like to learn more about a mine or a mineral claim in New Mexico. Who do I contact?
If you'd like to learn about the history of mining in New Mexico, contact Bob Eveleth. Virginia McLemore can provide information about current mining activities in New Mexico.
What information do I need to provide as part of my inquiry?
Location (e.g., Township-Range-section) and what specifically are you curious about (type of minerals, history of prospect, geology, production, reserves, etc.).