Mines in New Mexico produce a number of different minerals that are incorporated into a myriad of products. New Mexico produces extractive energy resources, extractive non-fuel resources, and renewable and secondary energy sources.
Extractive Non-fuel Resources
- Copper is one of the most valuable industrial metals in the world.
- New Mexico is the third largest producer of copper in the United States.
- New Mexico copper is used chiefly in the manufacturing of electrical wire.
- Electrical uses of copper include power transmission and generation, building wiring, telecommunications, and electrical and electronic products.
- Freport-McMoRan Mining Company produces copper and base metals principally in Grant County in southwest New Mexico.
- Molybdenum is a metallic element used principally as an alloying agent in steel and cast iron.
- When combining molybdenum with other metals including manganese, it enhances the hardening, strength, toughness, and corrosion resistance of metals.
- New Mexico has one molybdenum mine operated by Chevron Mining, Questa Mine in Taos County.
- China’s high level of steel production and consumption provides stable demand for New Mexico’s molybdenum.
- New Mexico ranks first in potash production in the United States.
- Potash is a mined mineral containing water-soluble potassium.
- Potash is mined from accent ocean deposits over 300 million years old.
- It is primarily used as an agricultural fertilizer (plant nutrient).
- Modern agricultural practice uses potash and other nutrients to assure plant health and increased yields.
- Aggregate includes crushed stone, sand, and gravel.
- Aggregate is primarily used in construction materials like concrete and asphalt.
Additional mineral commodities in New Mexico and their uses:
- Clay – Adobe brick, brick, roofing granules, and quarry tile
- Gypsum – Wallboard in homes
- Humate – A soil conditioner
- Iron Ore – Steelmaking and to increase the strength of cement
- Limestone – Cement
- Mica – Joint compound, paint, roofing, drilling additives, and rubber products
- Perlite – Building construction products and horticultural aggregate
- Pumice – Building products
- Salt – Feedstock and highway de-icing
- Sulfuric Acid – Copper recovery and industrial processes
- Zeolite – Pet litter, animal feed, and horticultural applications
Extractive Energy Resources
- There are five coal mines that are active in New Mexico.
- All of the mines are located in northwest New Mexico.
- Coal is primarily used as an energy source.
- New Mexico produces over 25 million pounds of coal annually.
- The Grants Uranium Belt in New Mexico has been the most prolific producer of uranium in the United States.
- New Mexico is second only to Wyoming in uranium reserves.