Barite & Fluorite in New Mexico
Barite and fluorite are critical minerals because these commodities are mostly imported from other countries. Barite (BaSO4) is a heavy, nonmetallic material containing 65.7% barium oxide (BaO) and 34.3% sulfur trioxide (SO3) and crystallizes in flat crystals having lateral dimensions several times their thickness. The mineral is translucent to opaque with a vitreous luster, commonly colorless to white, but sometimes in light shades of red, yellow, or blue. It is the heaviest nonmetallic mineral, with a specific gravity of 4.5 and is used in drilling muds, as a filler and extender in many manufactured materials, and in heavy cements. Fluorspar is the commercial name for fluorite, calcium fluoride (CaF2). The name, derived from the Latin word to flow, refers to its low melting point and its early use in metallurgy as a flux. It is the principal industrial source of the element fluorine, used to manufacture hydrofluoric acid, which is critical in the manufacture of many materials.
Barite and fluorite occur in a variety of deposits throughout New Mexico (Fig. 1; McLemore and Austin, 2017). Commercial production of barite in New Mexico began in 1918 (Table 1) and fluorite in 1880, but production in New Mexico of both minerals have been insignificant compared with national production and consumption. Barite was produced from the Hansonburg district for many years and concentrated at a mill in San Antonio. Other areas have produced barite (Table 1). Fluorite mills were at Deming and Los Lunas. Fissure vein deposits in Proterozoic granites in the Caballo Mountains, Cooke's Range, Burro Mountains, and Zuni Mountains are, or have been, the most important type of fluorite deposit both quantitatively and productively in New Mexico (Table 2).
The resource potential for barite and fluorite in most known districts is moderate to high, but production in the near future is unlikely because most of New Mexico's deposits are small compared to elsewhere in the U.S.
|DISTRICT AND MINE ID||DISTRICT (MINE)||BARITE PRODUCTION
|CUMULATIVE ESTIMATED VALUE ($)||PERIOD OF PRODUCTION||REFERENCES|
|Doña Ana County|
|DIS024 NMDA0019||Bear Canyon (Stevens)||50||<500||1932||Dunham (1935), Williams et al. (1964), McLemore (1994)|
|DIS030 NMDA0051||Organ Mountains (Devil’s Canyon, Tennessee, Golden Lily, Ruby)||600||15,000-75,000||1933, mid 1900s||Talmage and Wootton (1937), Rothrock et al. (1946), Williams (1966), Williams et al. (1964), McAnulty (1978), McLemore (1994)|
|DIS032 NMDA0202||Rincon (Palm Park, Horseshoe)||10,250||<100,000||unknown||Williams et al. (1964), Filsinger (1988)|
|DIS035||Tonuco Mountain||200||77,200-386,000||1919-1935||Rothrock et al. (1946), Clippinger (1949), Williams et al. (1964), McAnulty (1978)|
|DIS036||Tortugas Mountain||100||200,000-1,000,000||1919-1943||Ladoo (1923), Rothrock et al. (1946), McAnulty (1978)|
|DIS211||Chupadero (Smallwood-Baca)||unknown||unknown||1965||Williams (1965)|
|DIS242||Edgewood (Shockley, Vincent Moore)||50||<500||1956||New Mexico State Inspector of Mines (1956), McLemore (1984)|
|DISTRICT ID||DISTRICT||FLUORITE PRODUCTION (SHORT TONS)||CUMULATIVE ESTIMATED VALUE ($)||PERIOD OF PRODUCTION||REFERENCES|
|DIS002||Coyote Canyon||200||2,000-10,000||unknown||McAnulty (1978)|
|DIS010||Wilcox||10,603||100,000-500,000||1880s, 1926-1953||Williams (1966), McAnulty (1978)|
|DIS017||Zuni Mountains||182,244||1,700,000-8,400,000||1918-1953||McAnulty (1978)|
|Doña Ana County|
|DIS030||Bishops Cap area (Organ Mountains district)||150||1,500-7,500||1944, 1969-1972||Williams (1966), McAnulty (1978), Seager (1981)|
|DIS100||Black Mountain||1,100||11,000-55,000||unknown||Dunham (1935), McAnulty (1978), Smith (1981), McLemore (1994b)|
|DIS030||Organ Mountains (White Spar, Tennessee, Golden Lily, Ruby)||1,500||15,000-75,000||1933, mid 1900s||Talmage and Wootton (1937), Rothrock et al. (1946), Williams (1966), Williams et al. (1964), McAnulty (1978), McLemore (1994b)|
|DIS035||Tonuco Mountain||7,720||77,200-386,000||1919-1935||Rothrock et al. (1946), Clippinger (1949), Williams et al. (1964), McAnulty (1978)|
|DIS036||Tortugas Mountain||20,751||200,000-1,000,000||1919-1943||Rothrock et al. (1946), McAnulty (1978)|
|DIS044||Black Hawk||615||6,000-31,000||unknown||Richter and Lawrence (1983)|
|DIS045||Bound Ranch||3,230||30,000-162,000||unknown||Gillerman (1964), Williams (1966), Richter and Lawrence (1983)|
|DIS046||Burro Mountains||172,539||1,700,000-8,600,000||1880-1954||Richter and Lawrence (1983)|
|DIS057||Gila Fluorspar||47,586||470,000-2,350,000||1880-1953||McAnulty (1978)|
|DIS058||Gold Hill||3,240||30,000-150,000||1952-1953||McAnulty (1978)|
|DIS060||Malone||408||4,000-20,000||unknown||Gillerman (1964), Williams (1966)|
|DIS061||Northern Cooks Range||63,531||630,000-3,150,000||1948-1953||McAnulty (1978)|
|DIS066||Steeple Rock||11,000||110,000-500,000||unknown||McLemore (1993)|
|DIS068||White Signal||3,644||30,000-150,000||1932-1952||Williams (1966), McAnulty (1978)|
|DIS084||Muir||9,175||90,000-400,000||1940s, 1952-1953||Rothrock et al. (1946), McAnulty (1978)|
|DIS082||Lordsburg||3,527||30,000-150,000||unknown||Lasky (1938), Rothrock et al. (1946); Richter and Lawrence (1983)|
|DIS079||Gillespie (Red Hill)||1,500||15,000-75,000||unknown||Zeller and Alper (1965), Williams (1966), McAnulty (1978)|
|DIS092||Gallinas Mountains||2,400||24,000-120,000||unknown||McAnulty (1978)|
|DIS105||Cooks Peak||452||4,000-20,000||1918-1954||Rothrock et al. (1946), Griswold (1961), Williams (1966)|
|DIS106||Florida Mountains||200||2,000-10,000||unknown||Griswold (1961), McAnulty (1978)|
|DIS107||Fluorite Ridge||93,827||930,000-4,650,000||1909-1954||Rothrock et al. (1946), Griswold (1961)|
|DIS108||Little Florida Mountains||13,428||130,000-650,000||unknown||Lasky (1947), Griswold (1961), Williams et al. (1964)|
|Rio Arriba County|
|DIS190||Caballo Mountains||33,000||330,000-1,650,000||1918-1954||McAnulty (1978)|
|DIS192||Cuchillo Negro||500||5,000-25,000||unknown||McAnulty (1978)|
- Bartsch-Winkler, S.B. and Donatich, A.J., ed., 1995, Mineral and Energy Resources of the Roswell Resource Area, East-Central New Mexico: U.S. Geological Survey, Bulletin 2063, 145 p.
- Clippinger, D. M., 1949, Barite of New Mexico: New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources, Circular 21, 26 p.
- Filsinger, B., 1988, Geology and genesis of the Palm Park and Horseshoe barite deposits, southern Caballo Mountains, Doña Ana County, New Mexico [M. S. thesis]: University of Texas at El Paso, 250 p.
- Jenkins, D. A., 1977, Geologic evaluation of the EPM mining claims, East Potrillo Mountains, Doña Ana County, New Mexico [M. S. thesis]: Socorro, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, 109 p.
- Korzeb, S.L., Kness, R.F., Geroyan, R.I., and Ward, D.A., 1995, Mineral resource assessment of the Caballo Resource Area, Sierra and Otero Counties, New Mexico: U.S. Bureau of Mines, Open-file Report MLA 5–95, 177 p.
- Kottlowski, F.E., and Steensma, R.S., 1979, Barite-fluorite-lead mines of Hansonburg mining district in central New Mexico: New Mexico Geology, v. 1, p. 17–20, 32.
- Kramer, W.V., 1970, Geology of the Bishop Cap Hills, Doña Ana County, New Mexico [M. S. thesis]: University of Texas at El Paso, 77 p.
- McAnulty, W.N, 1978, Fluorspar in New Mexico: New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources, Memoir 34, 64 p.
- McMahon, T.P., 1989, Structural and stratigraphic controls of deposition, and microstratigraphy of fluorite-barite deposits in the southern Rio Grande Rift, New Mexico [M. S. thesis]: Las Cruces, New Mexico State University, 77 p.
- McLemore, V.T., 1993, Geology and geochemistry of the mineralization and alteration in the Steeple Rock district, Grant County, New Mexico and Greenlee County, Arizona [Ph.D. dissertation]: University of Texas at El Paso, 525 p. (also New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources, Open-file Report 397.)
- McLemore, V.T., 1994, Summary of the mineral resources in the San Andres and Organ Mountains, south-central New Mexico; in Garber, R. A., and Keller, D. R., eds., Field guide to the Paleozoic sections of the San Andres Mountains: PBS-SEPM Publication No. 94-35, p. 143–153.
- McLemore, V.T., 2017, Update of Industrial Minerals and Rocks of New Mexico: Mining Engineering, v. 69, no. 6, p. 49-56, http://me.smenet.org/reader.cfm?page=49
- McLemore, V.T. and Austin, G.S., 2017, Industrial minerals and rocks; in McLemore, V.T., Timmons, S., and Wilks, M., eds., Energy and Mineral deposits in New Mexico: New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources Memoir 50 and New Mexico Geological Society Special Publication 13, 128 p.
- McLemore, V.T., and Barker, J.M., 1985, Barite in north-central New Mexico: New Mexico Geology, v. 7, p. 21–25.
- McLemore, V.T., Giordano, T.H., Lueth, V., and Witcher , J., 1998, Origin of barite-fluorite-galena deposits in the southern Rio Grande Rift, New Mexico in Las Cruces Country II: New Mexico Geological Society, Guidebook 49, pp. 251-263.
- McLemore, V.T. and Lueth, V., 2017, Metallic Mineral Deposits; in McLemore, V.T., Timmons, S., and Wilks, M., eds., Energy and Mineral deposits in New Mexico: New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources Memoir 50 and New Mexico Geological Society Special Publication 13, 92 p.
- McLemore, V.T., Sutphin, D.M., Hack, D.R., and Pease, T.C., 1996, Mining history and mineral resources of the Mimbres Resource Area, Doña Ana, Luna, Hidalgo, and Grant Counties, New Mexico: New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources, Open file Report 424, 252 p.
- North, R.M. and McLemore, V.T., 1985, Geology and mineralization of the El Cuervo Butte barite-fluorite-galena deposit in southern Santa Fe County, New Mexico: New Mexico Geological Society, Guidebook 36, p. 301–305.
- North, R.M. and Tuff, M.A., 1986, Fluid-inclusion and trace-element analyses of some barite-fluorite deposits in south-central New Mexico: New Mexico Geological Society, Guidebook 37, p. 301–306.
- Northrop, S.A., 1959, Minerals of New Mexico: University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, 665 p.
- Northrop, S.A., 1996, Minerals of New Mexico: University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, 356 p.
- Putnam, B.R., III, 1980, Fluid inclusion and microchemical analysis of the Hansonburg Mississippi valley-type ore deposits in central New Mexico [M. S. thesis]: Socorro, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, 120 p.
- Putnam, B.R., III, Norman, D. I., and Smith, R. W., 1983, Mississippi valley-type lead-fluorite-barite deposits of the Hansonburg mining district: New Mexico Geological Society, Guidebook 34, p. 253–259.
- Rothrock, H. E., Johnson, C. H., and Hahn, A. D., 1946, Fluorspar resources in New Mexico: New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources, Bulletin 21, 245 p.
- Smith, T.J., 1981, Barite in the White Sands Missile Range: New Mexico Geology, v. 3, p. 1–5.
- Talmage, S.B., and Wootton, T.P., 1937, The non-metallic mineral resources of New Mexico and their economic features (exclusive of fuels): New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources Bulletin 12, 159 p.
- Williams, F.E., 1965, Barite, in Minerals and Water Resources of New Mexico: New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources Bulletin 87, p. 257-259.
- Williams, F.E., 1966, Fluorspar deposits of New Mexico: U. S. Bureau of Mines Information Circular 8307, 143 p.
- Williams, F.E., Fillo, P.V., and Bloom, P.A., 1964, Barite deposits of New Mexico: New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources, Circular 76, 46 p.