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Circular 76—Barite Deposits of New Mexico

By F. E. Williams, P. V. Fillo, and P. A. Bloom, 1964, reprinted 1979, 46 pp., 3 tables, 17 figs.

This report describes 60 known barite deposits in New Mexico and covers briefly 24 other miscellaneous occurrences in which barite has been reported as a minor coproduct or gangue constituent. History and production of barite in the state, types of occurrences, mineralogy, uses, and grade specifications are discussed. Total recorded production of barite in New Mexico up to and including 1962 was 36,118 tons mined in nine of the state's 32 counties. However, 96.5% of the total was obtained from a single deposit, the Mex-Tex mine in Socorro County.
Sixty-eight character samples were taken of barite exposed in various deposits, and four larger samples were collected for benefication tests. Bench-scale flotation tests yielded marketable-grade barite with indicated recoveries ranging from about 40–84%. Because many barite deposits in the state are barite-fluorite complexes, concentration tests were also made for fluorite. Acid-grade fluorspar was obtained in tests on three samples in quantities indicating that 53–78% of the fluorite present in an ore could be recovered.

Known barite occurrences are limited to the mountainous central part of the state in Bernalillo, Doña Ana, Lincoln, Luna, Sandoval, Santa Fe, Sierra, Socorro, and Torrance Counties. In addition, unconfirmed occurrences have been reported in Grant, Otero, and Valencia Counties. Field investigation for this report was begun in August 1956, suspended in March 1957, resumed in September 1960, and completed in May 1963. During these periods, 53 deposits were examined. History, production, ownership, and geologic setting are discussed for most of the deposits examined. Ownerships, as given in this report, are based on the latest information available to the authors. Where necessary, mapping and sampling was done to enhance investigation of the deposits.

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