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Circular 114—Survey of surface mining in New Mexico

Compiled by D. H. Baker, Jr., 1971, 17 pp., 1 table, 4 figs.

Short articles describing surface mining of copper, uranium, molybdenum, coal, and construction materials by open-pit and strip-mining methods as related to the ecology, economy, and scenic beauty of the state. Economically feasible restoration and revegetation of mined-over areas will leave most suitably located lands available for productive use. Disturbance of the natural scenic beauty of New Mexico's landscapes by mining has been of increasing concern to the state's citizens, along with concern over the destruction of surface features by highways, slash timbering, overgrazing, housing, and recreational facilities, and almost every other activity of man.

In some regions of NM, picturesque ghost towns, small mine dumps, and weather-beaten head frames of long abandoned mines are prime tourist attractions. Modern-day deep mining utilizes trim, well-kept headframes and mills, occupying only a few acres of the surface. Surface mining does disturb many acres of land, but as it is the economical way in which to mine low-grade, large-size mineral deposits, more surface mining will be done in New Mexico. Sand and gravel, coal, much of the copper and molybdenum, and some uranium deposits are, and will be, obtained by open-pit and strip mining.

This circular consists of a series of short articles describing surface mining in NM, telling of the problems involving different types of near-surface mineral deposits, and the efforts minerals-producing companies are making to contain surface disturbance and the rehabilitate mines and dumps when it is economically feasible. It can be insisted that all open pits be filled and that the original contour of the land be restored.

Articles within this circular are: Open-pit Mining by J. H. Schilling, Copper Surface Mining by W. W. Baltosser, Open-pit Uranium Mining by G. B. Griswold, Molybdenum Mining at Questa by J. H. Schilling, Surface Mining of Construction Materials by W. K. Wagner and L. A. File, and Strip Mining of Coal by F. E. Kottlowski and E. C. Beaumont.

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