While there are certainly larger uranium and potash mines in New Mexico, they’re flooded or otherwise inaccessible. This lead-zinc mine is the largest accessible abandoned underground mine we know of in the state. Work started here around 1916 and officially continued on and off until the early 1990s. I suspect some additional work was done around 2002, but can’t prove that beyond date tags on some equipment we saw while purchasing two compressors that were used at this mine.
Work at this mine started with 18″ rail, then moved to 24″ rail, and then to small rubber-tire equipment very similar to what we operate. Heavy use was made of slushers when mining the massive room-and-pillar stopes; muck was slushed to drawpoints where it could be hauled to the surface by either rail cars or 5-ton Getman articulated trucks.
Wagner HST-1As were used in addition to the Getman trucks. The HST-1 was a rival to the EIMCO 911 and also used a Deutz F4L912W driving a hydrostatic transmission. The engine was mounted conventionally, a design choice that bought six inches of width reduction at the cost of a longer overall length and increased turning radius. Additionally, Wagner used a conventional side-seating arrangement. I’d rather have a 911 for loading trucks or utility tasks, but the HST-1A is generally superior for load-and-carry work.