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Bulletin 104—Laws and Regulations Governing Mineral Rights in New Mexico

By V. H. Verity and R. J. Young, 1971, reprinted 1973, 1981, 70 pp, 1 fig., 1 index.

The scope of this bulletin is limited to the Federal and State mining laws as they apply within the state of NM. The essences of the more important features of the mining laws are set forth with a minimum of citations to the laws and regulations. Citations to Federal Court decisions have been omitted as this bulletin is intended to be a field manual for guidance of the prospector and miner.

The intent of the mining laws and the leasing acts, both state and federal, is to develop the mineral resources on the public domain and state land. The law is on the side of the bona fide mining locator who stakes a claim with a serious intention of prospecting for minerals. The best way to demonstrate his good faith is to properly locate the claim and to maintain and work it in full accordance with all legal requirements and due regard for the rights of the surface owner whether it be the U.S., the state, or a private party. Any destruction of surface resources in this era of awakening consciousness of the environment is almost certain to create conflicts. Mere excavation of a certain volume of materials which is not expected to determine the mineral potential, or even whether mineralization exists, often raises a serious question in the mind of the surface owner as to the good faith of the locator.

The federally-owned or held in trust lands constitute approximately 43.6 percent of the state's total area. The State Trust Lands, administered by the State Land Office, constitute approximately 11.8 percent of the total. The State Trust Lands consist of 9,107,604 surface acres and 12,981,525 acres of minerals which have been reserved for beneficiary institutions. The acquisition of mining rights on state lands is subject to the sate laws, entirely apart from the federal statutes.

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