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Magnesium operation looks at Deming

DEMING — A new economic opportunity may be in the future of Deming as a new company plans to extract magnesium from the Florida foothills.

American Magnesium, based out of Elephant Butte, is seeking the preliminary approval from the Bureau of Land Management to begin the process of constructing a magnesium quarry south of Deming.

The company gave several presentations to select groups of individuals Monday and is expected to give a public presentation on the projects, pending the BLA approval.

“We have a low risk, long term cash cow,” American Magnesium Managing Partner David Tognoni said. “If it’s done correctly and put together correctly, it will last a very long time.”

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The proposed quarry would excavate rocks rich in dolomite and transport them, via conveyor belt, to a manufacturing plant in the Peru Mill Industrial Park north of town. Excavation will be done by blasting a section of the foothills in the Florida Mountains near the end of Mahoney Park Road. No start date has been set by the company as the planning stages are being defined, however the company is claiming to open over 500 potential jobs in Deming.

American Magnesium claims there is over one billion tons of magnesium ore in the Florida Mountains and plans to extract it to keep a “secure and domestic source” of the metal which is used in alloys for many applications.

Members of the business community, as well as city and county elected officials, were given the chance to have question-and-answer sessions with American Magnesium to voice some of the concerns of the community. Outside the meeting, several protesters to the project gathered to voice their concerns but were not allowed into the closed meeting.

“We want to save our mountain,” Marci Coulson said. “We don’t want to look on a devastated mountain like Silver City. We live out there and we don’t want to see our property values go down due to the mining operation.”

Coulson, along with other concerned community members were not invited to attend the informational meetings scheduled Monday at Mimbres Memorial Hospital.

During one of the meetings, Tognoni mentioned the use of blasting to extract the minerals from the foothills which would not be done every day. The operation would run similar to a rock quarry and have the goods transported off site by an enclosed conveyor belt. The belt would travel from the Floridas — 15 miles north to the manufacturing plant.

The company does plan to have a public meeting about the proposed project and says they want to inform the community about the potential jobs and growth from the operation. The meeting will be announced if the BLM settles on the application process.

Jesse Moya can be reached at 575-546-2611 (ext 2608) or at jmoya@demingheadlight.com.

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