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Circular 71 — The Economic Geology of Coal in New Mexico

By Frank E. Kottlowski, 1964, 11 pages

In New Mexico, 126, 519,000 tons of coal, valued at $322,019,000, have been mined since 1882. Although the State's coal industry was severely affected by dieselization of the railroads and by the upsurge in the use of natural gas, the current small coal boom in San Juan, McKinley, and Colfax counties has once again focused attention upon coal mining.

Reserves of coal in New Mexico are huge; at the present rate of mining, the coal beds could last for 40, 000 years, if the deeper and thinner seams could be mined economically. The ups and downs experienced by coal mining in New Mexico are suggested by the accompanying production chart (Figure 1). These booms and depressions have been due to the changing economy, the changing technology of coal users, the changing methods of mining, and competition from other mineral fuels.

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