New Mexico Geological Society Annual Spring Meeting — Abstracts

Investigating Critical Minerals in Laramide Copper Porphyry Systems of New Mexico

Isabella Cerchiaro Sanchez1, Anita Appah1, Kyle Stafford1, Virginia McLemore2 and Evan Owen2

1New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, 801 Leroy Place, Socorro, NM, 87801,
2New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, 801 Leroy Pl, Socorro, NM, 87801

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The term "copper porphyry" refers to large, low-grade copper deposits associated with intermediate to felsic plutons with visible large crystals (porphyritic texture). Understanding porphyry copper systems has revolutionized exploration, mining, and processing techniques. The Southwest North American porphyry copper province, encompassing parts of Arizona, New Mexico, far western Texas (US), and Baja California, Sonora, Sinaloa, and Chihuahua (Mexico), is a prime example, known for its rich deposits of copper, molybdenum, gold, and silver. In New Mexico, these deposits are concentrated in the southwest portions of the state in Sierra, Grant, and Hidalgo Counties. Beyond copper, these porphyry systems harbor valuable critical minerals. Studies have identified potential byproducts recoverable during copper processing. Examples include Platinum Group Elements, tellurium, indium, gallium, cobalt, nickel and selenium that are found as micro-inclusions or as solid solution in minerals. Some of these critical minerals are obtained from the anode slimes that are produced as a result of copper smelting and refining. Additionally, various critical minerals have been identified in New Mexico's copper porphyry mining districts. These include copper ore minerals, zinc, fluorine, manganese, beryllium, bismuth, niobium, rare earth elements (REE), tellurium, and tungsten. Geochemical data from the Eureka, Hillsboro, Copper Flat, Sylvanite, and Tres Hermanas districts were used for this analysis, as well as existing literature from mining and mineralogical records. This study seeks to investigate critical mineral potential in the Laramide porphyry systems in New Mexico by logging existing drill core from various Laramide mining districts, whole rock and trace element geochemical analyses, and other means.


Critical minerals, copper porphyry, Laramide

pp. 12

2024 New Mexico Geological Society Annual Spring Meeting
April 19, 2024, Macey Center, Socorro, NM
Online ISSN: 2834-5800