Manganese Deposits in the Artillery Mountains Region, Mohave County, Arizona

Bulletin 936-R




The manganese deposits of the Artillery Mountains region lie within an area of about 25 square miles between the Artillery and Rawhide Mountains, on the west side of the Bill Williams River in west-central Arizona. The richest croppings are on the northeast side of this area, among the foothills of the Artillery Mountains. They are 6 to 10 miles from Alamo. The nearest shipping points are Congress, about 50 miles to the east, and Aguila, about 50 miles to the southeast. The principal manganese deposits are part of a sequence of alluvial fan and playa material, probably of early Pliocene age, which were laid down in a fault basin. They are overlain by later Pliocene (?) basalt flows and sediments and by Quaternary basalt and alluvium. The Pliocene (?) rocks are folded into a shallow composite S1ncline ttat occupies the valley between the Artillery and Rawhide Mountains, and the folded rocks along either side of the valley, together with the overlying Quaternary basalt, are broken by faults that have produced a group of horsts, grabens, and step-fault blocks. The manganiferous beds, lie at two zones, 750 to 1,000 feet apart stratigraphically, each of which is locally as much as 300 to 400 feet thick. The main, or upper, zone contains three kinds of ore - sandstone ore, clay ore, and 'hard' ore. The sandstone and clay ores differ from the associated barren sandstone and clay, with which they are interlayered and into which they grade, primarily in containing a variable proportion of amorphous manganese oxides, besides iron oxides and clayey material such as are present in the barren beds. The 'hard' ore is sandstone that has been impregnated with opal and calcite and in which the original amorphous manganese oxides have been largely converted to psilomelane and manganite. The average manganese content of the sandstone and clay ores is between 3 and 4 percent and that of the 'hard' ore is between 6 and 7 percent. The ore contains an average of 3 percent of iron, 0.08 percent of phosphorus, 1.1 percent of barium, and minute quantities of copper, lead, and zinc. Although the manganese content of the sandstone and clay ore may change abruptly from bed to bed, the content within any individual bed changes gradually, and for any large volume of ore both the nanganese and iron content are remarkably uniform. Explorations to June 1941 consisted chiefly of 49 holes diamond-drilled in the upper zone on the Artillery Mountains side of the area. The district is estimated to contain an assured minimum of 200,000,000 tons of material having an average manganese content of 3 to 4 percent. About 20,000,000 tons of this total contains 5 percent or more of manganese, and 2,000,000 to 3,000,000 tons contains 10 percent or more. To what extent these deposits can be utilized is a metallurgical and economic problem. Although the clay and sandstone ores, as well as the 'hard' ore, are present in large tonnages, the 'hard' ore is the only kind that combines minable tonnage with promising grade. About 15,000,000 tons of 'hard' ore is present; about 500,000 tons of this contains 15 percent or more of manganese and averages 17 percent, and somewhat over 2,000,000 tons contains 10 percent or more and averages nearly 13 percent. Except for closer drilling to determine such things as the tonnage, grade, spacing, and form of the richer shoots with greater accuracy before beginning to mine them, further explorations are not recommended, for any new ore found is likely to be similar, both in grade and kind, to that already discovered.

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Manganese Deposits in the Artillery Mountains Region, Mohave County, Arizona
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U.S. Geological Survey
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U.S. Geological Survey
Report: pages 417-448; 2 Plates
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