Uranium in the Albuquerque area
Virginia T. McLemore
Uranium in the Albuquerque area occurs as minor deposits in various host rocks, as small ore bodies along a fault zone in the Ladron Mountains, and as small to large ore bodies within Permian, Jurassic, and Eocene sediments in the Scholle, Laguna, and Hagan basin areas (fig. 1). These occurrences are briefly described in this paper, are arranged by geographic areas, and are listed in Table 1. Numerous uranium deposits and occurrences are found just outside the Albuquerque area in the Zuni Mountains, Ambrosia Lake subdistrict (Grants uranium district), La Bajada, and Nacimiento Mountains, but these are not described here. The reader is referred to Hilpert (1969) for discussions of the geology and mineral deposits of these areas.
In the Albuquerque area, uranium production has been confined to the Laguna subdistrict of the Grants uranium district and the Jeter mine in the Ladron Mountains (Table 2), although some radium ore was shipped from the Scholle district in 1916 (U.S. Bureau of Mines unpublished report). Most of the uranium produced in New Mexico from 1948 to 1970 was sold to the federal government and these production figures are given in Table 2. The amount of uranium produced after 1970 is considered proprietary information and generally is not available. The last producing mine in the Albuquerque area, the Jackpile- Paguate mine, closed in March, 1982, after shipping over 36 million kg of uranium oxide (Hoppe, 1978). Several large ore bodies have been delineated and may be mined in the future (Table 1). The future status of the uranium industry in the Albuquerque area, as elsewhere in the state, is uncertain due to high production costs, lack of demand for uranium, taxation, and declining market conditions.
- McLemore, Virginia T., 1982, Uranium in the Albuquerque area, in: Albuquerque Country II, Grambling, J. A.; Wells, S. G., New Mexico Geological Society, Guidebook, 33rd Field Conference, pp. 305-311.