Mining shaped the Anglo history of the Black Range until the middle of the last century.  All of the extant towns and all of the ghost towns were established, occupied, and in some cases, left behind, because of mining and its constant variability.

It is not that the Spanish, Mexicans, Chinese, and Native Peoples who were in this area were not miners.  Many were, but mining was not the major reason they were in this area (except, perhaps, the Chinese).  It was the northern Europeans, the Anglos, who flowed into the area because of the gold, silver, and a few other minerals.

We will eventually address mining from five directions; the mines, the minerals which were mined, the techniques of mining, the economics of mining, and current mining proposals.

  • The Mines.  The first is a listing of the mines in the Black Range, grouped within Mining Districts.  These pages list the various mines including links to reference material about them; listings of the minerals mined at the site (these lists are not always comprehensive), with links to reference material about them; links to videos which include images of the mines; and links to the newspapers and other publications “of the time” which reference the mines.  In some cases, we have developed a fairly extensive write-up about a mine based on an on-site visit.  In such cases links are also provided to those pages. Links may be to either internal or external sites.
  • The Minerals. The mineral listing includes links to technical information about each mineral and element.  There is also a listing of the mines of the Black Range which mined the mineral (e.g. Acanthite). The mines listed link back to specific information about that site.  There is also a photograph gallery of mineral samples mined in the Black Range, the Rocks and Minerals of the Black Range photo gallery.  
  • The techniques of mining, the fundamental, how do you go about mining, what are the technical problems you encounter and how are they addressed will be the topic of this section of our effort.  Our efforts start with water.
  • The Economics of mining are complex and include; direct mining costs, the mineral assay, ore processing, transport, and the whims of national or international policies.  It also includes the scams.  Scams were a big part of the mining history of the western United States.  Even in the best circumstances the economics can be difficult to ferret out.  For instance, In the Hillsboro district, mining began in 1877, with the initial boom lasting until 1893.  Mining activity also occurred in 1906, 1918, and 1931.  Each effort driven by a different set of economic considerations.  Even the value of the minerals dug from the ground is arguable.  C. C. Reeves, Jr. (in "Economic Geology of a Part of the Hillsboro, New Mexico, Mining District”, December 1, 1963, p. 1278) notes that “local reports of the district producing nearly $20,000,000 of gold and silver ore in the period 1877-1940 could not be confirmed.  Harley (Bulletin 10) reports a total value of about $7,000,000 in ore from the major mines during the period 1877-1931.”
  • Current proposals for mining projects also follow the economic whims of the time.  There are also safeguards which have been put into place since the heydays of Hillsboro, to protect people (including future generations) and the environment, these safeguards have unintended benefits.  For instance, the processes of the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) generate a significant amount of information about the geology, flora, and fauna of a proposed mining site.  In the Black Range the proposed Copper Flat Copper Mine is undergoing an NEPA review.  The Copper Flat Copper Mine page hosts the complete set of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement Reports.  There is a complete listing of the comments made about the Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the Copper Flat Mine proposal on the original Black Range Website.


© Robert Barnes 2018-2021