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REE in Coal and associated strata in the San Juan and Raton basins, New Mexico

Coal fields in the San Juan and Raton basins
(click for a larger version)

Project Title: Carbon Ore, Rare Earth, and Critical Minerals (CORE-CM) Assessment of San Juan River-Raton Coal Basin, New Mexico

The Department of Energy has awarded New Mexico Tech a contract to examine rare earth elements (REE) and other critical minerals (CM) in coal and associated strata in the San Juan and Raton basins in northern New Mexico. Critical minerals are mineral resources that are essential to our economy and whose supply may be disrupted. Most CM are 100% imported into the U.S. Many CM are found in the San Juan and Raton basins of New Mexico.

The purposes of this project are to:

  1. Identify, quantify, and characterize the distribution of CM, including REE, in coal beds and related stratigraphic units in the San Juan and Raton basins in New Mexico (including coal, coal refuse, ash, coal seam, interstitial clays/shales, volcanic ash beds, acid mine drainage, associated sludge samples, mine dumps, other nonfuel carbon-based products, process waters, etc.)
  2. Identify possible sources of CM and REE in the basins
  3. Identify the coal mine and nonfuel carbon-based waste products that could contain CM and REE
  4. Test and develop new technologies in identifying and quantifying CM and REE in high-fidelity geologic models

The PIs on the project are Dr. Navid Mojtabai (Mineral Engineering Department, NMIMT) and Dr. Virginia McLemore (New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, NMIMT). NMT staff, graduate and undergraduate students (NM Bureau of Geology Economic Geology Group) are working on the project.

Partners include Mineral Engineering Department (NMIMT), New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources (NMIMT), Petroleum Research Recovery Center (NMIMT), San Juan College, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratory, and SonoAsh.

Project Documents

Planning documents


Legacy data



Plans and SOPs

Outreach Activities

  • Rare Earth Elements and Critical Minerals in Late Cretaceous Coal and Related Strata in the San Juan and Raton Basins, New Mexico (Lite Geology)
  • Rare Earth Element Deposits in the Gallinas Mountains, Lincoln County, New Mexico (Lite Geology)
  • Critical minerals (Rockin' Around NM 2022)
  • Field Notes on the Geology of New Mexico's Enchanting Landscapes

Quarterly reports

Annual Reports

Other reports

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