Bulletin-12—The Nonmetallic Mineral Resources of New Mexico and Their Economic Features (Exclusive of Fuels)
By S. B. Talmage and T. P. Wootton, 1937, 159 pp., 4 figs., 2 plates.
This bulletin is put together in three parts: Introduction, Geologic history of NM, and Non-metallic minerals. This bulletin aims to present a summary of the available information that is related to the mineral resources of NM, exclusive of the metals and mineral fuels. It is necessarily in large part a compilation of previously published information, here assembled for convenience under one cover. The compiled materials has been supplemented by information obtained from interested parties throughout the state relative to occurrences not yet described in print, and by brief field examinations made by the writers at various times since June 1931. This bulletin must be considered as distinctly a preliminary report, as several of the mineral resources mentioned herein but briefly are of sufficient extent and importance to be made the subjects for separate bulletins. Such special studies will be undertaken by the Bureau as opportunity offers.
As a vehicle of information, this bulletin aims to present a statement of all the occurrences of minerals within its scope now known in the state, with a discussion of the characteristics and uses of these minerals; it also presents, as far as could be learned, the history of the past production of these minerals and mineral products. Production statistics are given whenever available, but are admittedly incomplete. Present activities are stated as far as seems advisable or permissible. Future possibilities are discussed, as a rule, rather cautiously; the estimation of known reserves presents no particular problem, but any prediction as to the commercial availability of those reserves is so bound up with problems of production costs, supply and demand, and fluctuating markets as to render any positive statements regarding future profits highly inadvisable.
Each mineral or mineral group is described in a general way. No attempt has been made to render these descriptions full and complete or to state in great detail determinative tests, as several excellent books are available covering these mineralogical factors. Much of the information presented in this bulletin, especially regarding properties no longer worked, has been taken from "Mineral Resources" and other publications of the USGS and the US Bureau of Mines.
The lure and romance of the search for gold have bulked so large in the public mind that when mining is mentioned one instinctively thinks of gold mining, or at any rate of metal mining. The trend of the times seems to indicate that the days of romantic mining and fortunes made by taking a gambler's chance are about over. The successful mining companies of recent years are those that have eliminated as far as possible the gambling element and reduced their mining operations to a manufacturing basis. As a result, more gold is now produced in the US as a by-product from ores of the less valuable metals than as a result of direct mining for gold; and in recent years the value of the annual production of the non-metallic minerals, excluding fuels, has approximated the value of the annual production of all the metals, gold included; the value of the mineral fuels has been more than double that of all other minerals combined.
The importance of the non-metallic minerals can hardly be overemphasized, as they enter into the arts and sciences, into engineering, agriculture and metallurgy, and abundantly into electrical equipment and many other articles used in daily life. A full list of their uses are listed under each mineral as discussed. NM has an abundance of many non-metallic minerals, and a superabundance of some. One of the major problems in the future development of the state is the utilization and commercial exploitation of these substances, which furnish reserves of great value. In many cases, however, this unquestioned value is a deferred asset, as the marketing factors exercise such a potent economic control as to make valueless at one time or place material that elsewhere or at some time may be of great worth.
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