Fluorite from Fluorite Ridge

Fluorite Ridge NM FluoriteThe Fluorite Ridge mining district lies northeast of Deming, New Mexico and just south of the Cooks Range. Access into the area is gained by traveling 6 miles northeast of Deming on State Highway 26, and then another 6 miles in a north-northeast direction over a gravel road. The road terminates at the southeast base of Fluorite Ridge, where numerous narrow roads lead to the various mines and prospects.

Fluorite Ridge is a striking topographic feature, being 3-1/2 miles long and as much as 2 miles wide, and rising approximately 1,000 feet above the surrounding bolson plains. Goat Ridge, a similar but smaller feature, lies to the northwest and, coupled with Fluorite Ridge, constitutes a northwest-trending belt of hills 6 miles long.

Fluorite is also known as Fluorspar, which is the name used for fluorite when it is sold as a bulk material or in processed form. The district is divided into two fluorspar mining areas, one centered around the southeast end of the ridge, and the other 1-1/2 miles to the northwest on the ridge crest. The northwest end of Fluorite Ridge and all of Goat Ridge appear to have no productive fluorspar veins. Fluorite is the only ore mineral that has been produced from this district. Mining started here in the late 1800’s. By 1910 the occurrence of fluorspar in southern New Mexico had been known for well over 10 years as documented by the many specimens of the mineral having been sent from Silver City to the mineralogical museum of the New Mexico School of Mines at Socorro.

Fluorspar in New Mexico occurs as vein fillings in igneous and sedimentary rocks and as replacements in limestone. Veins in limestone are usually accompanied by some replacement of the wall rock. The veins are variable in form and character. Without exception they appear to be fillings of pre-existing fractures and no direct evidence of injection of vein- depositing solutions under pressure was observed. While clean-walled fissures are most abundant, breccia cemented veins are common.

The American Fireman's Mining Company of Kansas City was prospecting on property situated 10 miles northeast of Deming in Luna County. They opened a number of veins of fluorspar along with three other active mines on Fluorite Ridge, which, to judge from the descriptions, must have been the mines now known as the Sadler, Grattan, and Lucky. The district shipped an estimated 5,000 tons of hand sorted ore, averaging 92 percent Fluorspar (CaF2 aka Calcium fluoride) between the summer of 1909 and the close of 1910. It occurs as the mineral fluorite.

The Fluorite Ridge District produced Fluorspar until 1955. Numerous operators worked the deposits, but it is not possible to present a clear history of the district for the entire period. The first mill to treat ore from the district was built in 1931-32 by the La Purisima Fluorspar Co. in Deming. The original capacity of the mill was only 20-30 tons per day, but this was increased to 100 tons per day in 1937 when the General Chemical Co. purchased the La Purisima Fluorspar Co. holdings in the area. The mill operated continuously from 1932 until 1954, when operations were terminated because of depressed prices of fluorspar. The most productive period was probably from 1932 to 1944 where an estimated 200,000 tons had been mined and shipped. Annual reports from the State Mine Inspector indicate that during the period 1949-1954 only about 25,000 tons of fluorspar ore were shipped from the district.

The New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources was established by the New Mexico Legislature of 1927. It was made a department of the New Mexico School of Mines, Socorro, New Mexico. Its activities are supervised by the schools board of regents. The bureau began to function officially with the opening of the 16th fiscal year, July 1, 1927. Rock collectors often visit the area, but very few specimens have been found since the late 1960’s. Specimens of Fluorite from this area are rare and as an added bonus they are fluorescent! The matrix minerals that are associated often times are fluorescent as well, making these highly desirable collector specimens!

Fluorite in Matrix from Fluorite Ridge NM
Fluorite in Matrix from Fluorite Ridge NM
Fluorite in Matrix from Fluorite Ridge NM Fluorite in Matrix from Fluorite Ridge NM
Item # 49FRF10181040

Fluorite in Matrix from Fluorite Ridge NM



Here's an excellent multi crystal fluorspar formation in a brilliant fluorescent matrix. This specimen was collected in the early 1960's from Fluorite Ridge.

This specimen weighs 7.9oz or 0.49 lbs (225g) and measures 3.2 x 2.5 x 2 inches (8.3 x 6.3 x 5.1cm)