TRACE ELEMENT ANALYSIS OF FLUORSPAR FOR CRITICAL MINERALS, WEST TEXAS
Reassessments are required towards the importance of former fluorspar mines and prospects along the Rio Grande Rift for its potential in an economically viable mineral deposit. Sampling of those former sites can produce trace element associations with REEs and other critical minerals. Trace element lithogeochemistry will be performed on the samples collected from potential targets.
Three target areas have been identified in Hudspeth County: Eagle Mountains, Sierra Blanca, and the Quitman Mountains. An estimated potential fluorspar reserve of 1,000,000 tons containing concentrations greater than 35% CaF2 is located within the Eagle Mountains, TX. In Sierra Blanca, TX previous exploration studies have identified HREE enrichment along with concentrations of beryllium and uranium. Total reserves of HREEs have been estimated to contain greater than 18,000 tons. Following the rift south into Brewster County, a high grade fluorspar deposit containing up to 50% CaF2 is located in the Christmas Mountains where large scale production of fluorspar has occurred in the past.. Further analysis is needed to determine its potential for REE mineralization.
Much of the chemical analysis done in this area is missing crucial REE data due to the lack of previous exploration. Potential results of this research can help explain how REE enrichment is related to rift shoulder magmatism. The crystal chemistry of fluorite is intended to serve as exploration tool for its ability to accommodate variable chemistry in similar tectonic environments.