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Bulletin 2—Manganese in New Mexico

By E. H. Wells, 1918, 85 pp., 1 sheet.

This bulletin consists of two parts, (1) Manganese, its minerals and ores, and (2) NM districts, properties, and ore deposits. The present unprecedented demand for the subordinate metals used in the steel industry is due to the war. Manganese is one of the most important of these, and vigorous efforts are being made by the government to stimulate its production. The War Industries Board has been given the power to commandeer mines and equipment if the necessity arises, but such action is hardly to be expected.

Manganese is one of the few metals that was not produced in large amounts in the US prior to the war. The deposits of Virginia, Georgia, Arkansas, and California yielded a fairly large amount of ore from 1885-1904, but from that time until the war began, very little ore was mined. The low prices paid for manganese ores and the high freight rates rather discouraged the working of the known western deposits.

In 1913 the total production of high-grade manganese ore in the country was 4,048 tons, and the imports amounted to 345,090 tons. The tonnage required has increased enormously since the war began. The USGS estimated that 800,000 tons of high-grade ore is needed by the industries of the country during 1918. The establishing of a price scheduled for manganese ores and greater activity in prospecting for new deposits and in the working of old and new properties has materially increased the domestic output. Since 1913, the production has been as follows: 1914–2,635 tons; 1915–8,708 tons; 1916–26,997 tons;1917–114,000 tons. For 1918 it is expected to be at least 215,000 tons.

It is especially advisable to obtain as much of the necessary tonnage as possible in this country because the remainder of the required supply must be imported. This requires the use of shipping that is badly needed for the transportation of supplies to Europe. In 1913 the imported ore was obtained from Russia, India, and Brazil, Russia supplying the largest amount and Brazil the smallest. Now, of course, it must come almost entirely from Brazil.

Prospecting for manganese in NM has led to the discovery of numerous hitherto-unknown deposits. Some of them are of little value, but others have yielded sufficient ore for small shipments, and a few have become rather important producers. Some of the old silver-lead properties of the state have been reopened, and the ores high in manganese content and low in silver which were valueless in former times have been mined at a profit. Many of the recently located properties and prospects, however, are in new districts about which little or nothing is known. Manganese in ores is often not associated with the other valuable metals. Its deposits may have much in common with some of the copper, lead, or silver deposits, but in many respects they are very different and their peculiarities should be considered by those engaged in working them.

This bulletin was authorized by the board of regents of the NM State School of Mines for the purpose of making available to mining men and others reliable information regarding the manganese properties and ore deposits of NM. Under the direction of the board of regents the writer spent about two months in the field during the summer of 1918 and visited nearly all of the known manganese deposits of the state. The time that could be devoted to each individual property ranged from less than one hour to one and a half days and did not permit detailed examination to be made. Some of the properties merited more thorough study than time permitted.

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