Sight-seeing trip set to the CF&I fluorspar mill

CREEDE — The Colorado Field Institute (CFI) invites members to a sight-seeing trip to the historic fluorspar mill located near Creede, on July 10. This trip is limited to CFI members. For those who have not purchased a 2018 CFI membership, please go to the CFI website at Follow the links to register as a member, then sign up for the trip at:

Details will be provided to signed-up trip participants, which will be limited to 30.

Operating from 1911-1950, this mill utilized steam engines, and produced fluorspar (calcium fluoride), which was used as a flux in open hearth steel furnaces at the Colorado Fuel and Iron (CF&I) steel mills in Pueblo. The function of the mill was to separate the fluorspar from waste rock; involving crushing, separation, and re-crushing. The finely crushed material was introduced into an agitated water cell to separate the final product by specific gravity.  The mill used mechanical power from the steam engines, waste and compressed air. No chemicals were used in the separation process.

After the war, there was an interest in keeping the mill operable, in case of a future need for fluorspar to support the steel industry, and the mill was left intact with its original processing machinery.  The steam engines remain today as they were when processing stopped back in the 50’s. What a treasure. The owners are currently pursuing National Historic Register designation for the site.

The Colorado Field Institute is a nonprofit corporation organized in 2005 to promote greater stewardship of the natural and cultural resources within the San Luis Valley. For more information on this event, email [email protected] or visit

Caption: Visit the historic fluorspar(calcium fluoride) mill near Creede on July 10./Courtesy photo

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