Texas-New Mexico alkaline belt

Region West, Southwest
Mineral systems
Deposit types
Critical minerals
Other minerals

Information leading to the delineation of this focus area

Basis for focus area Alkaline/peralkaline igneous rocks. The focus area includes the Trans-Pecos alkaline belt in Texas, extending into New Mexico.
Identified resources Historical production of copper, gold, iron, silver, tungsten, and zinc. Identified copper, molybdenum, niobium, and tungsten resource.
Production White Oaks Mining District (1890-1951): Old Abe mine produced Au, Ag, and W. Orogrande Mining District: The iron deposits were extensively mined about 1913–1929. Estimated district production for 1879-1966: 16,500 oz Au, 50,000 oz Ag, 5.7 million lbs Cu, 158,000 lbs Zn, and 259,000 long tons of Fe. Past W production, but amount unknown.
Status Past mining. Recent exploration, permits in process in Orogrande Mining District.
Estimated resources Unknown.
Geologic maps Horton and others (2017), scale 1:500,000; numerous geologic maps cover portions of areas in New Mexico; O'Neill and Nutt (1998), scale 1:24,000; Rawling and Koning (2011), scale 1:24,000; Staatz (1986, 1987), scale 1:24,000; Schmidt and Craddock (1962), scale 1:24,000.
Geophysical data Recent high resolution geophysical coverage over Trans-Pecos areas in Texas and Cornudas Mountains in New Mexico. Inadequate aeromagnetic and aeroradiometric coverage elsewhere.
Favorable rocks and structures Mid-Tertiary/Eocene alkaline igneous rocks.
Deposits White Oaks Mining District: Old Abe mine (MRDS dep_id: 10014069); Orogrande Mining District: Cinco de Mayo, Iron Duke, Iron King (NMOt0026, NMOt0038, NMOt0039), Iron Queen (NMOt0041), Iron Mask, Laura (NMOt0040, NMOt0042), Cinnamon Bear (NMOt0071).
Evidence from mineral occurrences MRDS; New Mexico Mines Database (McLemore and others, 2005).
Geochemical evidence Portions of the Old Abe mine dumps sampled in 1922 contained 0.38% WO3. Geochemical analyses indicate moderate to high values of Au Ag, Mo, W, Te and other metals are present. See New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources and others (1998) and McLemore (2018a, 2022).
Geophysical evidence Recent Rank 1 aeromagnetic and aeroradiometric data over part of the region (Bultman, 2021).
Evidence from other sources Unknown.
Comments Bismuth, Sc, Mn, and PGE listed as potential critical commodities, but their enrichments have been inferred from the mineral system/deposit types table (Hofstra and Kreiner, 2020).
Cover thickness and description Unknown.
Authors Brent A. Elliott, Virginia T. McLemore, Joshua M. Rosera.
New data needs Alteration mapping, detailed mapping of the plutons and dikes in terms of lithology, geochemistry and mineralogy of the veins; geophysics.
Geologic mapping and modeling needs Detailed mapping needed in many areas.
Geophysical survey and modeling needs High resolution aeromagnetic and aeroradiometric survey over areas without Rank 1 data.
Digital elevation data needs Lidar complete (Texas) or in progress (parts of New Mexico).