May 13, 2017
Historic New Mexico Gold Mines
Over the past several hundred years, New Mexico has produced good amounts of gold. Total production is still lower than Arizona, but it does not necessarily mean that New Mexico is not a promising state. The first recorded gold discovery in the state happened in 1828 in Old Placers. The discovery was followed by establishments of many other New Mexico gold mines. Prior to 1904, total gold production from New Mexico was worth $6,750,000. Much of the gold is a byproduct of mining activities for other minerals. About a decade ago, all New Mexico gold mines ceased to exist. The state still produced gold in 2007, but all of them were byproducts of copper mining.
One of the biggest challenges for early miners was the lack of water. Extreme dry climate also limited production, but it also means that modern day prospectors still have a good chance of finding their fortunes. In the summer, the temperature can be challenging especially considering that you probably have to prospect in the desert. In most mining situations in New Mexico, metal detectors and dry-washing equipment are preferable. Smaller deposits are spread throughout the state, so it is important that you cover a lot of grounds.
Some of the most popular New Mexico gold mines are as follows:
- Hillsboro District: in both cemented and un-cemented gravels, gold can be found in this area. Located in the southwest part of the state, the district has been known to produce gold from dry-land dredges and dry-washing. There are gold-rich gulches in Hillsboro.
- Elizabethtown Baldy District: along the west side of Mount Baldy, this district is the most productive of them all. So far it has produced more than 100,000 ounces of gold including large gold nuggets. Modern day prospectors using metal detectors have the biggest chances of finding more nuggets.
- Old Placers: Cunningham and Dolores are preferable mining areas in Old Placers, especially for small scale prospectors. Located in the southwest of Santa Fe, there is also a place called New Placers; this is the area where high purity gold has been found.
- Pinos Altos: located just several miles north of Silver City, the district is basically a dry placer gold deposit. It has three gulches rich in gold including Whiskey, Santo Domingo, and Rich.
Please understand that many areas in New Mexico are private lands; some of them are for the military, and others are Indian Reservations. It is best to invest in a gold claim map to see where others are finding gold. Even when some lands do not fall into any of those categories, chances are you still require special permits to do your gold prospecting. A lot of existing popular New Mexico gold mines are already claimed. Make sure you check with local authorities before prospecting to avoid legal issues.