Last Sunday (10/8), we toured around the Graphic and Nitt mines near Magdalena, NM. Unfortunately, we only had a few minutes to explore the Nitt Mine, which had all of the abandoned industrial equipment.
Both of these mines are on private property, but a pass can be obtained for $5 a person from a local rock shop. There, you will be given a pass and a key to the two gates that block the roads along the way. Speaking of the roads, don’t try these in a low-clearance vehicle. We drove as close as we could to the Graphic Mine, but had to hike the last two hundred yards or so, as even the truck could not pass on the road.
The Graphic mine was neat, in that we found many cool rocks and minerals in the dump piles. I found malachite, barite, a few nodules of Smithsonite, and sphalerite (lead-zinc ore) that was mined and processed here. We spent the bulk of the afternoon at the Graphic Mine, digging around for minerals. The fresh rain had exposed quite a few. In terms of mining equipment, there was none near the dump piles, and none in sight.
The large area devoid of trees was the steep slope of a dump pile. This is where we found many good minerals.
On our way out, we decided to take a few minutes and explore the Nitt mine, as it was on the way down the hill back to the main road. We knew there was some pyrite there, but were impressed with the old mining equipment and buildings that were still in place.
The Google Satellite image shows that the entire area is yellow, due to the pyrite that is all over the ground. It even smells like sulfur at this site.
First, the headframe is still intact. It is not as large as the ones for the Waldo or the Kelly mines, which were also in the area, but it was still neat to see.
Near the headframe was the motorhouse, where motors raised and lowered a cable into the shaft.
Scattered about the motorhouse were several power systems, which I am referring to as Motors #1-#5. Motors #1 and #5 were outside of the motorhouse, and Motors #2-4 were inside. Motor #1 was an Ingersoll-Rand motor that was, at one time, portable, though the wheels had been removed from it.
Motor #1 apparently started with a crank,
Motor #2 was large enough that it did not fit in one picture.
On the output side of Motor #2, there was a cover over the center part of this drive shaft. I pulled open the cover and saw the two counterweights, one for each side, set to turn at opposite times from each other. I did not get a picture of the counterweights, but you can see the handle and cover in this photo.
Motor #3 and #4 are shown here. Likely, some of these things were driven in unison, though Motor #4 is considerably newer than the others, and was likely placed at a much later date. It was also placed directly in front of the steam driven motors, and probably ran on a petroleum product of some kind.
The hoist and hoist controls were still in place, and the steel cable was still under tension. I was able to move one of these levers, but not the other. I’m sure these have been jammed into place by folks pushing and pulling on them over the last 50 years.
Motor #5 was similar, if not identical to Motor #1, though its wheels were still in place. You can see the dry-rotted rubber tires in this photo.
A brief conversation with the land owner, as well as a few Google image searches has led me to believe Motor #1 and #5 are actually steam-powered air compressors. I would believe this, based on the pressure vessels stuck to one end of these devices. Another one of these is found at the website: shown here, though #5 has rubber tires instead of steel wheels. Otherwise, they are similar.
We will go back to this site and do some more exploring and photography, as there is plenty to see.
Thank you for reading my post.