Agua Nueva Mining Operation 1999
There are two deposits of agate on the Agua Nueva Ranch in Mexico. One is primarily vein agate, and the other is primarily nodular agate. In 1997 and 1998 The Gem Shop, Inc. mined the vein agate deposit known for its tube formations. This spring we mined the nodular agate deposit on the other side of the mountain. The agate from this location was mined years ago and sold as "New Laguna" or just Laguna Agate, even though it was from the Agua Nueva Ranch.
The Agua Nueva Ranch is located about 20 miles north and east of the Laguna Agate deposits in Chihuahua (see Brad Cross’ book, The Agates of Northern Mexico)*currently out of print*.
Approximately one mile of new road had to be constructed and 5 miles of old road improved before the mining could begin.
The road work, as well as the mining, was done with a Caterpillar 320 Excavator. The nodular agate deposit exists in a horizontal band of hard rock that is tipped to the west and north.
The agate nodules are not prolific or as concentrated in the rock as most nodular agate deposits. Lots of rock has to be mined and examined in order to find a good nodule.
The size of the nodules is large compared with the other banded agate deposits in Mexico. We mined one nodule over 80 lbs. The colors of the banding include purples, reds, bright yellow, white and dark green or black.
Some striking patterns and color combinations can occur with the very unusual dark green or black bands.
Between color bands there is often a clear agate band which allows the viewer to see into the agate next to a highly colored band. Color changes in individual bands are also common.