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FAQ – Mine Registration and Reporting Program

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Do aggregate operations require an MMD permit?

Aggregate mining operations include clays, adobe, flagstone, potash, sand, gravel, caliche, borrow dirt, and quarry rock used as aggregate for construction. These do not require a permit from MMD; however, these operations must file a registration form with the Mine Registration Program and provide annual reports. Aggregate operations (like all mining operations) must register with the federal Mine Safety Health Administration (MSHA). These operations also may be regulated by local municipal and/or county zoning ordinances and regulations and by other state agencies, including the Air Quality Bureau of the New Mexico Environment Department – be sure to check with them.

When do I register a mine?

All mines should be registered before the start of mining activities. Coal, hard rock and aggregate mines should all be registered. Permit applications and subsequent approval to the MARP or Coal Program are required for all coal and/or hard rock mines. Registration forms are available on this website or by calling the Mine Registration Program at (505) 476-3400.

How do I find out if a mine is registered?

You can verify the registration status of any mine located in New Mexico by searching in MMD Online. You can also contact the Mine Registration Program.

What is done with the data collected on registrations and annual reports?

Information collected from mine registrations and changes in registrations is entered into the Mine Registration database and published as part of MMD Online.

Production and sales information for individual operators gathered from the annual reports is kept confidential per New Mexico statute. The data is compiled, reported and published in broad categories as part of EMNRD’s Annual Resources Report.

What is the most recent listing of active mines, mills, smelters and quarries?
The web-based application MMD Online allows real-time querying of mining operations in the state.
What permits are required for energy and mineral resource exploration, development, production and reclamation in New Mexico?

Staff with the Mining Act Reclamation Program can answer these questions. Also, the MMD publication, Permit Requirements for Energy and Minerals in New Mexico, summarizes state-issued permit requirements. The guidebook includes regulatory agency contact information for the state agencies that have jurisdiction over permits, licenses and approvals. In addition, it includes a brief description of federal permit requirements and permits for Indian lands.

What are the blasting regulations for mines?

Blasting at coal mines is regulated by the Coal Program, who has published A Citizen’s Guide to Blasting in New Mexico. Blasting at non-coal mines may be regulated by some federal agencies, depending on the nature of the blasting activity. The federal Bureau of alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) regulates the importation, manufacture, distribution and storage of explosives. The Mine Safety Health Administration (MSHA) regulates health and safety standards when using or working near explosive materials in mines. The federal Department of Transportation (DOT) regulates the interstate and intrastate transportation of explosives. Blasting may also be regulated by some local agencies. Contact local municipal and/or county authorities for any rules and regulations or permit requirements related to mine blasting.

How do I find out who owns the mineral rights to a piece of property?

IMPORTANT NOTE: The Mining and Minerals Division, which focuses on mine land reclamation and collecting annual data on active mining operations, does not administer or have information on mineral rights ownership.

COUNTY CLERK: Mineral rights are registered with the county clerk of the county in which the rights are located. The New Mexico Association of Counties provides a listing of county offices and courthouses. The county clerk (free) and/or a private abstract or title company (not free) in the county will have all the associated filed land records.

BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT (BLM): BLM maintains information on mineral rights. The BLM New Mexico Field Office has a public information room located at 301 Dinosaur Trail, Santa Fe, NM 87508, (505) 954-2000, where information on mineral rights can be researched.

STATE LAND OFFICE: If the mineral rights are owned by the state, you can contact the State Land Office Minerals Program at (505) 827-5750.

An Internet search for “who owns the mineral rights to my property” will provide links to information.

Who can tell me where mineral deposits are located?

The Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources (NMBGMR), a division of New Mexico Tech, functions as the state geological survey. The Bureau publishes geologic maps, resource maps, and other publications about the nature and occurrence of mineral resources in the state. NMBGR also maintains an extensive collection of core samples, databases, and historical mining maps in its libraries. They also have a staff of economic geologists and engineers with experience in the New Mexico extractive resources industry.

Further information about the location of extractive mineral resources can also be obtained form the Minerals Program of the State Land Office, the New Mexico Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management, and from this MMD web page of informational links.

Who can tell me about state and/or federal revenues and royalties?

Revenue and royalty data (state and federal) are published as part of the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department’s Annual Resources Report. State royalty and revenue data can be obtained from the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department and the State Land Office Annual Report. Federal royalties and revenue data can be obtained from the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Natural Resources Revenue.

What are the regulations when I close or suspend operations for a stone or aggregate operation?

Form 12, Notice of Intent to Suspend Operations, must be filed with the Mine Registration Program. All hazards to the public, such as drowning hazards, highwalls, adits and shafts, shall be fenced-off, bermed or removed. MMD has published safeguarding guidelines to help guide operators in preventive actions to take when closing a stone or aggregate mining operation.