Blasting, Dust and Traffic Chaos

Mining the Floridas might not be such a good idea



In the early nineteen hundreds

Deming was a railroad village

Next big railroad stop from Lordsburg

Big steam engines, Army bases


After railroad went to diesel

Farm and ranch supported Deming

Harvey House Hotel was leveled

Less excitement, war was over


Cows and chilies grew abundant

Thanks to Mimbres River water

Irrigating verdant croplands

In a place that seldom sees rain


Quiet life appealed to old folks

Peace and quiet, sun and Duck Race

Not much happens, which is good news

Just a dust storm, or a cold day


Deming benefited greatly.

 From attractive local scen'ry

Craggy mountains, endless vistas

Made it pleasant place to live here


Craggy mountain brought in rockhounds

Rockhounds who would pick up samples

Geolapidary treasures

 From a sea that's just a mem'ry



On the west flank of Flo-Ree-Dahs

Near the very edge of wildness

Came a miner Dave Tognoni

Not an ordinary rockhound


Staked a claim on BLM land

Free for all, this land call'd Public

Scenic views, abundant wildlife

Easy access, no down payment


Nineteenth Century Mining Law

Expected only men with mules,

With pickaxe, not with high explosive,

With shovel, not with front end loader


Thinking big was miner David

Not content to have just one claim

David spun out over twenty

Twenty mine claims on Flo-Ree-Dahs


Dream he did of jobs for Deming

Fifteen thousand jobs for Deming

Deming, yes, and Luna County

Jobs for all of Luna County


Dreams of big new City building

Dreams of airport and refin'ry

Always planning for our future

Was our savior Dave Tognoni


"Right away" said Deming Chamber

"Right Away" the MainStreet echoed

"We don't need all of the details"

"Jobs are promised, let's get started"


Other agencies and people

Are more patient with Dave's big plan

Wait until he clarifies things

Not so hasty with their judgement


For example Fish and Wildlife,

Big New Mexico Department,

Said a better place can be found

Further from the edge of wildness



Mining calls for major planning

Planning done by engineer teams

Taking in the situation

Here's what the planners said to do:


Standing near to Park-Ma-Ho-Ney

Is a hillock made of metal

Not exactly shiny metal

First you have to melt the big rocks


Dolomite is name of big rocks

Not quite sure how much is in there

Dave the Dreamer only took chips

Just a few chips off the surface


Need to drill and blast the hillock

Count up all the dolomite there

But Tognoni skipped this big step

Later maybe, need some cash first


Money flow is the suspicion

As the target of the mine claim

Dolomite is just a proxy

For the payoff to Tognoni


Hot propane fire will melt rock piles

Propane from a giant pipeline

Pipeline passes north of Deming

Not too far from PNM Plant


Sticky problem is location:

Park-Ma-Ho-Ney twenty miles south,

Power Plant is north of Deming

Eye-Ten highway lies between them


Interstate is just one problem

Railroad tracks stand in the way too

Not so easy moving mountain

With interstate and rails to cross


Gold Street runs through downtown Deming

Only way from Park to Plant site

Trucks and traffic will be chaos

Big mine trucks at Pine and Gold Streets


Mine truck traffic won't be minor

Twenty years of steady traffic

Loads of rock ten times each hour

Empty trucks on their return trip


Burning propane makes a lot of

C-O-Two, another problem

Global warming killing planet

Caused by too much C-O-Two gas


If the mine jobs really happen

Luna County might not see them

Workforce skills and residences

Favor Doña Ana County


High wage workers work in Deming

Have good jobs but do not live here

They prefer Las Cruces lifestyle

For the shopping and the high schools



Dave Tognoni had some practice

Mining lands without permission

Maybe Deming would be easy

Maybe dreams would work out this time


BLM is the landowner

Fed'ral land has complex rules

Mining permit will be needed

Faceless BLM might stop him


Challenges were blasting, traffic,

Dust and water, loss of quiet,

Scar on scen'ry, Indian gravesites,

Ibex hunters, night sky lighting


Planning rules are known as Nee-Pah

Nee-Pah is the path to get there

If you want to blast the mountain

You must jump the hoops of Nee-Pah


Years it takes to get a permit

BLM, then state permissions

But some disappointed locals

Interfered with all the planning


Nee-Pah mandates public hearing

Rude uneducated public

Horning in on dreams of David

Interfering with his mining


Gaps were found in all his planning

Such as people living nearby

Such as overhead conveyor

Plans were changed to pass inspection


Plans included only two claims

Of the rest no hint was given

Suspicion grew this was a fake-out

Rest of twenty claims must follow


Tognoni died, dream unfulfilled

Many thought the mine was finished

But his mine claims carried forward

Thanks to newfound heir named Carol


Dave Tognoni had advantage

He was college educated

Carol Brewka was less ready

Mining projects not her background


Four times plans faced big revision

'Til at last the Feds okayed it

"Yes, you can deface the mountain

Blast and haul off our Flo-Ree-Dahs"


Plan approval is called Fon-Zee

"FONSI" how it's really spelled

Fon-Zee says there is no impact

Or at least no major harm


Hasty was the BLM "Finding

of No Impact" to this plan

Like the rock chips of Tognoni

BLM did not dig too deep


Local citizens erupted

With an email conversation

Hundreds loudly joined their voices

Formed the "Friends of the Floridas"


Strategy was very simple

Sue the BLM directly

For their sloppy plan reviewing

Ask a Judge to throw it all out


Stench of mine plan reached all over

Many statewide action groups

Didn't like the great disturbance

Joined with locals in their suit


When a lawsuit up and hit them

BLM was in a tight spot

Had to call in Justice lawyers

To rectify the mess they'd made


Justice said to BLM they

Better ask for trial delay

Citizens make lots of good points

Do not want to lose abjectly


Months went by without a word

While BLM tried to recoup

They issued second "Final" rule

With reasoning yet more absurd



And that is now where matters stand

BLM is on the defense

Friends of Floridas pressing hard

With four strong allies by their side


Might take years for Fed'ral Court

To hear all Motions, read all Briefs

Decision will be up to Judge then

Always possible to appeal


BLM is mine's first hurdle

They may have to start from scratch

But if not, the fight proceeds to

State mine permit, traffic, dust


Conquistadors from Old España

Yellow flowers caught their eye

Floreado, Montaña de Flores

"Flo-Ree-Dahs" in the Anglo tongue




Plans, Studies, Public Comments and Approvals

Official Federal (BLM) Mining Project Site:

Plans, Objections and Public Comments

Official State of NM Mining Project Site:

Friends of the Floridas Facebook Page:

Deming Chamber of Commerce and Deming MainStreet write to NM Mining and  Minerals Division supporting mining in 2017. See pages 25 & 26:

NM Department of Game and Fish suggest mining someplace else, and also  say "the Plan of Operations significantly under represents the diversity of wildlife". See Pages 14 & 15:

Magnesium Metal Sources and Uses:

How to Melt Dolomite Rocks:

Opinion on Economic Impact on Deming from Mining:

Discussion of Present Effect of 1872 Mining Law:

Examples of Federal Government Mistreatment of Sensitive Sites:

Battle of Floridas War Memorial Placed in Virginia, not in New Mexico:

David Tognoni mining without permission then appealing judgement when caught:

David Tognoni Speaks at Public Meeting in Deming:

Notable Predecessor:

Examples of Small Towns With Big Metal Industries (albeit non-Magnesium):,_Nevada#History

12,000 WWII bombardier cadets trained at Deming airfield