New Mexico's Largest Abandoned Mine: Part 1

New Mexico's Largest Abandoned Mine: Part 1

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.


  1. Anthracite Horror Stories on January 20, 2023 at 2:22 am

    Nice exploration. I like your channel. You guys out West have it good.

  2. ABANDONED UNDERGROUND on January 20, 2023 at 2:35 am

    That place has been calling my name ever since we left! With all of your expertise, you should pitch a show to the Discovery Channel! A mining resurgence is in the near future!

  3. olive I · on January 20, 2023 at 2:45 am

    Thanks for the technical descriptions. Helps understand the process.

  4. Mine Adventures on January 20, 2023 at 2:47 am

    ooof, the lighting was rough my friend. Lighting and camera malfunctions are so frustrating. My AW120 is amazing with a slight hiss. My TG-3 is a bit shaky. perfect audio, but acts up like a 2 year old at times. You may try a torch with head flood and spot for distance and a flood for your hand only to avoid the intense hot spots.

  5. Exploring Abandoned Mines and Unusual Places on January 20, 2023 at 2:53 am

    Interesting video that was chock full of information! I think it’s great that you work full-time at an active mine and then on your time off you go explore abandoned mines. I was intrigued when you said that only three or four other people have been in this particular mine. Why is that?Too difficult to get to or what? That was really interesting about the upper level being full of gas and therefore the previous companies had to block that off. Kind of scary when you really think about it due to possible seepage into the tunnel you were in. You found a stokes litter! I’ve only found those in a couple of mines, and those mines turned out to be massive and multilevel. Therefore, the presence of a stokes litter apparently means that the mine is huge. How’s that for logic? LOL Very cool that you had a map with you. That was a pretty impressive stope there between 16:00 and 17:00 or so. You mentioned there were “draw points” in that stope. I’m assuming those were the two big holes in the floor that Justin walked past. How deep were those? Was that one of them that you were showing at 18:22? A+ video. Looks like it was a great adventure!

  6. The Realist on January 20, 2023 at 2:55 am

    When reading into operational plannings for modern mines, I notice that they mention backfilling stopes usually with some form of sand-water slurry. However in a lot of these abandoned mines (even ones which were worked in the later 1900s), it seems that there are still quite large stopes remaining. Is this because the backfilling process doesn’t entirely fill the stopes, or that it is just a very recent process in terms of mining history?

  7. Captain Jacques on January 20, 2023 at 3:02 am

    To make better quality videos you need better lighting just spend a little bit of your money on lighting it won’t hurt you too much. Be safe my friend.

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