National Defense Mine

East of Hillsboro and south of NM-152 in Ready Pay Gulch are the manganese mines variably referred to as “National Defense Group 1958”, “Tittman Mine 1950: Claims”, and “National Defense Nos. 1 to 11".  These mines first began production in 1945 and the last year of production was 1958.  The ores listed for these mines are pyrolusite, psilomelane, wad, and rhodochrosite.  Photographs on this page were taken on January 23, 2017.


Western Mining History (see link above) describes the workings as: “Workings reported in the 1950‘s consisted of a 70 ft. shaft with about 30 ft. of crosscuts, another shaft with a stoped area about 70 ft. in length, another shallow shaft and several opencuts...Deposits occur along a sinuous east-striking fault zone which is manganiferous for about 800 ft. along strike.  Sheet like masses of ore in a zone ranging from 6 ft. to 12 ft. in thickness extend downdip...11 unpatented claims.”

National Def on geo map
Nat Def Elevation Profile
Nat Def on Google Earth


In the detail from Google Earth with the Hillsboro Quadrangle Geologic Map overlay (above) the main workings are shown at the pin.  On the surface the operations are located in a Ka geologic unit (an andesite flow/breccia from the Copper Flat eruptions).  This unit is adjacent to a large unit of the Magdalena Group and alluvial fan deposits.  The walk shown in blue also cuts through a Ts geologic unit which is Sugarlump Tuff.

The walk to the mine is fairly short, 1.37 miles, with an elevation gain/loss of 360 feet.  The elevation profile of the walk is shown above as is the Google Earth image of the area, without the geologic overlay.

One of the indications of the age of these mines is the fact that rails are still found at the site (see photos below).  Rails were removed from old mines during World War II when the metal was needed for the war effort.


Access into the shafts and adits are generally caved, see photos below.


Most (All?) of the mining references for this area make no mention of these mines although the mining of manganese in the area is referenced.




© Robert Barnes 2018