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Importance of Coal Production in New Mexico

Economic Importance of coal in NM

Coal production has played a significant role in the economic development of New Mexico beginning in the 1850s and continuing to the present. It is one of the four mineral fuels produced in New Mexico, ranking third in value behind natural gas (including coalbed methane) and crude oil. Coal resources underlie 12 percent (14.6 million acres) of the state's total area. Most of the coal is in northern New Mexico, primarily in the San Juan and Raton basins. Several minor coal fields outside these basins have had significant production in the past, and some that may become important in the future, in particular for coalbed methane production. Today, 32% of the state's total energy needs are met through power generated from coal.

Coal is an important contribution to New Mexico's state budget, the third largest source of revenues from mineral and energy production. Tax revenues– severance, resources excise, and conservation taxes, and royalties from coal on state land were $24.9 million in 2012. New Mexico also receives 50% of the royalties collected on federal lands totaling $6.2 million in 2012. The coal industry directly employed 1,770 people in 2012 adding to the general economy of the State (NMEMRND, 2013). Presently there are four operating coal mines in New Mexico, 3 surface and 1 underground operation. These mines produced 22.92 million tons in 2012, making New Mexico12th in the nation for coal production. For more information on coal and electric generation in New Mexico, see Decision Makers guidebook 2002.

Coal Program

Our coal program emphasizes the following:

  1. Evaluation of New Mexico’s coal resources. The New Mexico Bureau of Geology has been involved in a long-term project to collect and evaluate data in all coal-bearing areas of New Mexico. Cooperative funding through the U.S. Geological Survey to enter data into the National Coal Resource Data System is in its 23rd year. Because of this project, computerized coal databases with coal thickness and coal quality data reside at the New Mexico Bureau of Geology. In the past, coal mapping and coal drilling projects at the Bureau of Geology have increased the knowledge and data available for many coal areas in the state. This information is available in New Mexico Bureau of Geology Bulletins, Geologic Maps and Open-file reports.
  2. Researching historical coal data. Historical data on coal mines is important in determining remaining reserves in coal areas and delineating mined out areas within productive areas. Investigations have resulted in a compilation of historic production data by county and by mines from New Mexico Territorial and State Mine Inspectors reports, and mine location maps. This information available at the Bureau of Geology in computerized databases and on 7.5-min. topographic maps. We have acquired several mine maps that are part of our archival collections. Many of these maps, particularly from the San Juan Basin, have been geo-referenced and are available in Open-file report 549.This information is available to the public unless the data was acquired from a company with the request it remains confidential.
  3. Detailed Research in producing coal fields and those with economic potential in the near future. The projects involved the use of Geographic Information Systems to evaluate the resources in a small area and apply technological and environmental restrictions. Point-source data for coal thickness and quality for these studies comes from computerized databases. The U.S. Geological Survey is funding these studies. The first detailed study was in the Bisti (Fruitland Formation) coal field in the northwest San Juan Basin. The results of this study are published in Bureau Open-file Report 438 (Hoffman and Jones, 1998). Three other studies, two in the Menefee Formation and one additional study in the Fruitland Formation have been completed and published through the Open-file series.

References

  1. Hoffman, G.K., and Jones, G.E., 1998, Availability of coal resources in the Fruitland Formation, San Juan Basin, northwest New Mexico: New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources Open-file report 438, 15 pp.
  2. New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, Annual Report 2013 2002: New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, pp. 14, 38.

Computerized Coal Databases

The New Mexico Bureau of Mines has an established computerized coal-database for the major coal-bearing sequences and coal areas in the state. Several files contain information on a point-source basis for coal depth and thickness, chemical analyses, and a limited number of petrographic analyses. The coal depth and thickness databases include both surface-minable and deep-coal information. The coal thickness and quality data files have been used by several researchers to evaluate the resources of coal fields and coal-bearing formations in New Mexico. Searches for data from these files can be made upon request.

From these resource data, total-coal and total-depth figures for each location have been plotted on 1:100,000 scale maps along with the contacts of coal-bearing units for the San Juan Basin. These maps, with information about each plotted data point and references for the geologic-map compilation, have been stored as NMBGMR Open-File Reports 353 and 369. Recently we have digitized and created Arcmap projects and geodatabases for the San Juan Basin detailing coal outcrops from previous publications (see open-file reports 552-554).

We maintain other computerized coal-data files on past mining and coal production. Coal has been mined in New Mexico since the 1880s and there were many producing underground coal mines from the 1880s until the 1950s, mainly in the San Juan and Raton basins. Data compiled on these mines from the Abandoned Mine Lands Program, Territorial and State Mine Inspector reports, and other published reports are available in a computerized database for each county. These data have also been incorporated into the coal mines database that included geologic, mine development data. The Territorial and State Mine Inspectors production data, where available for individual mines, is also part of this database. Open-file report 549 contains a subset of this coalmine database for the San Juan basin.

Past coal production is important for historical purposes and in evaluating remaining resources in a coal area. Production data from Territorial and State Mine Inspectors reports by county and mine as well as statewide production is available in a spreadsheet format. The coal production and value by county and coal field is also available in a computerized spreadsheet. Department of Energy production figures from 1977 to the present are available in a separate database

A coal bibliography of New Mexico is computerized. This annotated bibliographic database includes 1650 references dating from 1848 to 2000. Searches by area of interest are done upon request.

Coal Library

A coal library at the New Mexico Bureau of mines stores geophysical logs, chemical analyses, maps, and reports from coal exploration projects in New Mexico. For more than 30 years, the Bureau of Geology has collected coal data for various studies done by staff members, developing an extensive collection of coal data, including over 3200 geophysical logs donated by Mobil from their Crownpoint uranium project. Much of the remaining geophysical log collection is from the San Juan Basin and the northwest quadrant of New Mexico (2220 geophysical logs). Some data are available from the other coal fields, such as the Salt Lake, Sierra Blanca, Rio Puerco, Cerrillos, and Sierra Blanca fields. Very little geophysical data is available for the Raton coal field, but core data is available from this area and is housed in the Core Library at the Bureau. Computerized searches by township and range can be done upon request for log data.

Additionally, a three-year coal quality study done by the Bureau of Geology generated a large set of coal data, including geophysical logs, cuttings and core descriptions, and chemical analyses. These data are available through Open-file report 373A-AA. Associate publications for this data set are Bureau of Geology Resource Map -19 and Bulletin 141.

We have also acquired maps from many coal projects, predominantly from the northwest quadrant of the state, done by industry and government. Although the maps are not in a computerized database, they are catalogued and copies can be made of requested material.

Coal Publications from the New Mexico Bureau of Mines

For prices and ordering information for the publications listed, see our publications page.

Memoirs

  1. Shomaker, John W.; Beaumont, Edward C.; Kottlowski, Frank E., 1971, Strippable low-sulfur coal resources of the San Juan Basin in New Mexico and Colorado, New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Memoir, v. 25, pp. 1-189.

Bulletins

  1. Hoffman, Gretchen K.; Campbell, F. W.; Beaumont, E. C., 1993, Quality assessment of strippable coals in northwestern New Mexico: Fruitland, Menefee, and Crevasse Canyon Formation coals in San Juan Basin, and Moreno Hill Formation coals in Salt Lake field, New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Bulletin, v. 141, pp. 1-85.
  2. Jameossanaie, Abolfazl, 1987, Palynology and age of South Hospah coal-bearing deposits, McKinley County, New Mexico, New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Bulletin, v. 112, pp. 1-65.
  3. Kaiser, W. R.; Ayers, W. B., Jr., 1994, Coalbed methane production, Fruitland Formation, San Juan Basin: Geologic and hydrologic controls, in: Coalbed methane in the Upper Cretaceous Fruitland Formation, San Juan Basin, New Mexico and Colorado, Ayers, W. B., Jr.; Kaiser, W. R., ed(s), New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Bulletin, v. 146, pp. 187-207.
  4. Kottlowski, Frank E.; Beaumont, Edward C., 1965, Coal, in: Mineral and water resources of New Mexico, New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Bulletin, v. 087, pp. 100-116.
  5. Kottlowski, Frank E.; Armstrong, Augustus K., 1996, Limestones of New Mexico and adjoining areas suitable for sulfur removal in coal-fired power plants, in: Proceedings 31 st Forum on the geology of industrial minerals-the Borderland Forum, Austin, George S.; Hoffman, Gretchen K.; Barker, James M.; Zidek, Jiri; Gilson, Nancy, ed(s), New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Bulletin, v. 154, pp. 93-103.
  6. Nickelson, H. B., 1988, One hundred years of coal mining in the San Juan Basin, New Mexico, New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Bulletin, v. 111, pp. 1-226
  7. Roybal, Gretchen H.; Anderson, Orin J.; Beaumont, Edward C., 1987, Coal deposits and facies changes along the southwestern margin of the Late Cretaceous seaway, west-central New Mexico, Roybal, Gretchen H.; Anderson, Orin J.; Beaumont, Edward C., ed(s), New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Bulletin, v. 121, pp. 1-83.

Circulars

  1. Bates, Robert L., 1943, Selected bibliography on coal in New Mexico, New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Circular, v. 8, pp. 1-4.
  2. Beaumont, Edward C.; Shomaker, J. W.; Stone, W. J., 1976, Guidebook to coal geology of northwest New Mexico, in: Guidebook to coal geology of northwest New Mexico, Beaumont, E. C.; Shomaker, J, W.; Stone, W. J., ed(s), New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Circular, v. 154, pp. 1-58.
  3. Bodine, Marc W., Jr., 1956, Geology of Capitan coal field, Lincoln County, New Mexico, New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Circular, v. 35, pp. 1-27.
  4. Kottlowski, Frank E., 1964, The economic geology of coal in New Mexico [reprint], New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Circular, v. 71, pp. 1-11.
  5. Landis, Edwin R.; Dane, Carle H., 1969, The Tierra Amarilla coal field, Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Circular, v. 100, pp. 1-14.
  6. McLellan, Marguerite W.; Haschke, L. R.; Robinson, L. N.; Carter, M. Deveraux; Medlin, Antoinette, 1983, Middle Turonian and younger Cretaceous rocks, northern Salt Lake coal field, Cibola and Catron Counties, New Mexico, in: Contributions to mid-Cretaceous paleontology and stratigraphy of New Mexico - part II, Hook, S. C., ed(s), New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Circular, v. 185, pp. 41-47.
  7. Shomaker, J. W.; Holt, R. D., 1973, Coal resources of southern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute Indian Reservations, Colorado and New Mexico, New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Circular, v. 134, pp. 1-22.
  8. Shomaker, John W.; Whyte, M. R., 1977, Geologic appraisal of deep coals, San Juan Basin, New Mexico, New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Circular, v. 155, pp. 1-39.
  9. Tabet, David E., 1979, Geology of Jornada del Muerto coal field, Socorro County, New Mexico, New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Circular, v. 168, pp. 1-19.

Geologic Maps

  1. Anderson, Orin J., 1987, Geology and coal resources of Atarque Lake 1:50,000 quadrangle, New Mexico, New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Geologic Map, v. 61, pp. Map/
  2. Anderson, Orin J., 1990, Geology and coal resources of Vanderwagen quadrangle, McKinley County, New Mexico, New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Geologic Map, v. 64, pp. Map
  3. Campbell, Frank W., 1989, Geology and coal resources of Fence Lake 1:50,000 quadrangle, New Mexico, New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Geologic Map, v. 62, pp. Map.
  4. Tabet, David E.; Frost, S. J., 1979, Coal geology of Torreon Wash area, southeast San Juan Basin, New Mexico, New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Geologic Map, v. 49, pp. Map.

Resource Maps

  1. Beaumont, E. C., 1998, Distribution of near-surface coal deposits in San Juan Basin, New Mexico, New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Resource Map, v. 19, pp. 1:250,000.
  2. Hoffman, Gretchen K., 1996, Coal resources of New Mexico, New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Resource Map, v. 20, pp. Map

Open-file Reports

  1. Anderson, Orin J., 1982, Geology and coal resources of Mesita de Yeso quadrangle, Cibola County, New Mexico, New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Open-file Report, v. 0171, pp. 1-34.
  2. Anderson, Orin J., 1982, Geology and coal resources of Venadito Camp quadrangle, Cibola County, New Mexico, New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Open-file Report, v. 0163, pp. 1-30.
  3. Anderson, Orin J., 1982, Geology and coal resources of Atarque Lake quadrangle, Cibola County, New Mexico, New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Open-file Report, v. 0167, pp. 1-28.
  4. Anderson, Orin J., 1981, Geology and coal resources of Cantaralo Spring 7 ½' quadrangle, New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Open-file Report, v. 0142, pp. 1-16.
  5. Anderson, Orin J.; Mapel, William J., 1983, Geology and coal resources of Shoemaker Canyon SE quadrangle, Cibola County, New Mexico, New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Open-file Report, v. 0172, pp. 1-31.
  6. Arkell, Brian W., 1984, Geology and coal resources of the Techado quadrangle, Catron and Cibola Counties, New Mexico, New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Open-file Report, v. 0221, pp. 1-24.
  7. Broadhead, Ronald F.; Hoffmann, Gretchen K., 2002, Oil, natural gas and coal potential of McKinley County, New Mexico, New Mexico Bureau Geology Mineral Resources, Open-file Report, v. 0470, pp. CD-ROM.
  8. Campbell, Frank W., 1981, Geology and coal resources of Cerro Prieto and The Dyke quadrangles, New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Open-file Report, v. 0144, pp. 1-68.
  9. Campbell, Frank W.; Roybal, Gretchen H., 1984, Geology and coal resources of the Fence Lake 1:50,000 quadrangle, Catron and Cibola Counties, New Mexico, New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Open-file Report, v. 0207, pp. 1-37.
  10. Chapin, Charles E.; Osburn, Glenn R.; Hook, Stephen C.; Massingill, Gary L.; Frost, Stephen J., 1979, Final report; Coal, uranium, oil and gas potential of the Riley-Puertecito Area, Socorro County, New Mexico, New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Open-file Report, v. 0103, pp. 1-33.
  11. Cook, Kevin H.; Arkell, Brian, 1987, Geology and coal resources of the Mariano Springs quadrangle, Catron County, New Mexico, New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Open-file Report, v. 0326, pp. 1-18.
  12. Frost, Stephen J.; Tabet, David E.; Campbell, Frank W., 1980, Coal exploratory drilling in the Datil Mountain coal field, New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Open-file Report, v. 0111, pp. 1-53.
  13. Frost, Steve J.; Anderson, O. J., 1981, Geology and coal resources of Twentytwo Spring 7.5-minute Quadrangle, Catron and Cibola counties, New Mexico, New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Open-file Report, v. 0143, pp. 1-6.
  14. Hoffman, Gretchen K., 1990, Coal-bearing formations and available coal data in the eastern and southern San Juan Basin on the Navajo Reservoir, Chama, Abiquiu, Los Alamos, Albuquerque, Acoma Pueblo, and Fence Lake 1:100,000 quadrangles, New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Open-file Report, v. 0369, pp. 1-22.
  15. Hoffman, Gretchen K., 1990, Coal-bearing formations and available coal data in the western San Juan Basin on the Chaco Canyon, Chaco Mesa, Farmington, Gallup, Grants, Toadlena, and Zuni 1:100,000 quadrangles, New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Open-file Report, v. 0363, pp. 1-57.
  16. Hoffman, Gretchen K., 1996, Demonstrated reserve base for coal in New Mexico, New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Open-file Report, v. 0428, pp. 1-126.
  17. Hoffman, Gretchen K., 1991, Quality assessment of strippable coals in northwest New Mexico: Drilling data, chemical and petrographic analyses for the Fruitland, Menefee, Crevasse Canyon, and Moreno Hill Formations (Includes paper copies of 377A-P), New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Open-file Report, v. 0377, pp. 1-21.
  18. Hoffman, Gretchen K., 1996, Influence of depositional environment on clay mineralogy in the coal-bearing lower Moreno Hill Formation, Salt Lake coal field, west-central New Mexico, New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Open-file Report, v. 0427, pp. 1-21.
  19. Hoffman, Gretchen K.; Jones, Glen E., 1998, Availability of coal resources in the Fruitland Formation, San Juan Basin, northwest New Mexico, New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Open-file Report, v. 0438, pp. 1-26.
  20. Hoffman, Gretchen K.; Jones, Glen E., 2001, Coal availability study; upper Menefee Formation in the Chacra Mesa, La Ventana fields, northwest New Mexico, New Mexico Bureau Geology Mineral Resources, Open-file Report, v. 0457, pp. 1-16.
  21. Hoffman, Gretchen K.; Jones, Glen E., 2002, Coal availability study-Fruitland Formation in the Fruitland and Navajo fields, northwest New Mexico, New Mexico Bureau Geology Mineral Resources, Open-file Report, v. 0464, pp. 1-38.
  22. Hoffman, Gretchen K.; Jones, Glen E., 2005, Availability of coal resources in the Vermejo and Raton formations, Raton coalfield, Raton Basin, northeast New Mexico, New Mexico Bureau Geology Mineral Resources, Open-file Report, v. 0490, pp. CD-ROM.
  23. Hoffman, Gretchen; Wilks, Maureen, 2010, Abandoned and inactive coal mines of the Gallup Coal Field, McKinley County, New Mexico, New Mexico Bureau Geology Mineral Resources, Open-file Report, v. 0530, pp. DVD.
  24. Hoffman, Gretchen K.; Jones, Glen E., 2011, Coal availability study - Standing Rock Area, San Juan Basin northwest New Mexico, New Mexico Bureau Geology Mineral Resources, Open-file Report, v. 0540, pp. 1-31.
  25. Hoffman, Gretchen; Wilks, Maureen, 2012, Acquiring and georeferencing coal mine maps: San Juan Basin including the Gallup Coal Field (Superseded OFR 530), New Mexico Bureau Geology Mineral Resources, Open-file Report, v. 0549, pp. DVD.
  26. Hoffman, Gretchen; Pokorny, Cathryn, 2013, Digitizing of coal outcrop maps: New Mexico Bureau of Geology Geologic Map 49- Coal geology of Torreon Wash area, southeast San Juan Basin, New Mexico, New Mexico Bureau Geology Mineral Resources, Open-file Report, v. 0552, pp. CD ROM.
  27. Hoffman, Gretchen; Pokorny, Cathryn, 2013, Digitizing of coal outcrop maps: US Geological Survey Bulletin 860 - Geology and fuel resources of the southern part of the San Juan Basin, New Mexico Bureau Geology Mineral Resources, Open-file Report, v. 0553, pp. CD ROM.
  28. Hoffman, Gretchen; Pokorny, Cathryn, 2013, Digitizing of Coal Outcrop Maps: US Geological Survey Bulletin 767 - Geology and coal resources of the Gallup-Zuni Basin, New Mexico, New Mexico Bureau Geology Mineral Resources, Open-file Report, v. 0554, pp. CD ROM.
  29. Love, David W.; Hawley, J. W.; Hobbs, T. C., 1981, Identification of alluvial valley floors in strippable coal areas of New Mexico, New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Open-file Report, v. 0188, pp. 1-27.
  30. Love, David W.; Hawley, John W.; Palmer, Steve, 1984, Investigation of alluvial valley floors in the Salt Lake coal area, western New Mexico, New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Open-file Report, v. 0217, pp. 1-30.
  31. Osburn, JoAnne C., 1986, Cretaceous rocks and coal resources of the Magdalena, New Mexico 1:100,000 sheet, New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Open-file Report, v. 0254, pp. 1-8.
  32. Osburn, JoAnne C., 1985, Geology and coal resources of Wild Horse Canyon quadrangle, Catron and Cibola Counties, New Mexico, New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Open-file Report, v. 0227, pp. 1-29.
  33. Osburn, JoAnne C., 1982, Geology and coal resources of three quadrangles in central Datil Mountains coal field, Socorro County, New Mexico, New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Open-file Report, v. 0164, pp. 1-82.
  34. Osburn, JoAnne C., 1982, Geology and coal resources of Alamo Band Navajo Reservation, Socorro County, New Mexico, New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Open-file Report, v. 0160, pp. 1-64.
  35. Roybal, Gretchen H., 1982, Geology and coal resources of Tejana Mesa quadrangle, Catron County, New Mexico, New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Open-file Report, v. 0178, pp. 1-38.
  36. Roybal, Gretchen H., 1982, Geology and coal resources of Tejana Mesa quadrangle, Catron County, New Mexico, New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Open-file Report, v. 0178, pp. 1-38.
  37. Speer, William R.; Beaumont, Edward C.; Shoemaker, John W., 1977, Coal resources of the San Juan Basin, New Mexico, New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Open-file Report, v. 0084, pp. 1-107.
  38. Tabet, David E., 1981, Geology and coal resources, Pinehaven quadrangle, New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Open-file Report, v. 0154, pp. 1-71.
  39. Tabet, David E.; Frost, Stephen J., 1979, Environmental characteristics of Menefee coals in the Torreon Wash area, New Mexico, New Mexico Bureau Mines Mineral Resources, Open-file Report, v. 0102, pp. 1-141.

Non-technical articles and publications

  1. Hoffman, Gretchen K., 1993, Dawson, a town dependent on coal, Lite Geology, v. 5, pp. 6-9.
  2. Hoffman, Gretchen K., 1994, Have you ever wondered...about coal?, Lite Geology, v. 10, pp. 2-5, 910.
  3. Hoffman, Gretchen K., 1995, Have you ever wondered...about coal mining?, Susan Welch, ed(s), Lite Geology, v. 11, pp. 2-7.
  4. New Mexico's Energy, Present and Future: Policy, Production, Economics, and the Environment, 2002, eds., B.S. Brister, and L. Greer Price, Chapter 3  Coal Energy and Electric Generation, p. 65-94.

For more information, contact:

Gretchen Hoffman - Senior Coal Geologist