Active and recently active construction materials and aggregate operations in Dona Ana County, New Mexico
George S. Austin, James M. Barker, and Edward W. Smith
Industrial minerals in Doña Ana County support the rapidly developing region and are the only minerals produced there today. In 1996, the total value of mineral products was approximately $3,000,000. About 50 separate pits or quarries supply aggregate, building stone, cinders, shale, dirt, fill, and gypsum to citizens of southern New Mexico, west Texas, and beyond. With 32 active pits and quarries, the Bureau of Land Management is the largest holder of mining land in the county. Aggregate from 30 separate operations is used in the construction of buildings, roads, walls, and other needs of the Las Cruces–El Paso area. The Vado quarry is unique among the county's aggregate producers in that it supplies both crushed stone aggregate and blocks of porphyritic andesite. Vado Andesite blocks are used in the construction of walls and walkways that are particularly common in Las Cruces and El Paso. Recently, yellow-weathered blocks of gray Permian Hueco Limestone also have been used for this purpose. Scoria is produced from five quarries and is used locally, but also is shipped to several states to the east. Shale for brick, gypsum, and adobe are each produced at single sites. Brick manufactured by the American Eagle Brick Company plant west of El Paso dominates the market in southern New Mexico and west Texas, but also is shipped as far away as Houston. Two producers use local soil for rammed-earth walls and adobe block. Occurrences that were mined in the past or heavily explored include travertine (calcite) and zeolite. Doña Ana County's industrial mineral production continues to grow as its population grows. Both will likely continue to increase in the future.
- Austin, George S.; Barker, James M.; Smith, Edward W., 1998, Active and recently active construction materials and aggregate operations in Dona Ana County, New Mexico, in: Las Cruces Country II, Mack, G. H.; Austin, G. S.; Barker, J. M., New Mexico Geological Society, Guidebook, 49th Field Conference, pp. 287-298.