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Open-file Report - 599
Mineral-Resource Potential of Sabinoso Wilderness Area and Rio Grande Del Norte National Monument in Northeastern New Mexico

V.T. McLemore

2018

Mineral resources are the naturally occurring concentrations of materials (solids, gas, or liquid) in or on the earth’s crust that can be extracted economically under current or future economic conditions. Most of the state’s mineral production comes from oil, gas, coal, copper, potash, industrial minerals and aggregates. Oil and gas are the most important extractive industries in New Mexico in terms of production value and revenues generated, and are being evaluated in a separate report. The mineral-resource potential of an area is the probability or likelihood that a mineral will occur in sufficient quantities so that it can be extracted economically under current or future conditions, and includes the occurrence of undiscovered concentrations of metals, nonmetals, industrial materials, and energy resources. The mineral-resource potential is not a measure of the quantities of the mineral resources, but is a measure of the potential of occurrence. Factors that could preclude development of the resource, such as the feasibility of extraction, land ownership, accessibility of the minerals, or the cost of exploration, development, production, processing, permitting, bonding, or marketing, are not considered in assessing the mineral-resource potential. The proposed action is a land exchange that calls for transfer of state surface and minerals from the New Mexico State Land Office (SLO) to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Then, in return, the BLM will transfer BLM lands to the SLO. This report assesses the mineral-resource potential of the SLO lands, i.e., an assessment of selected economic mineral commodities that are most likely to be produced in the near future. The assessment for each area is below and for each individual parcel is in Appendix 1. As geologic mapping progresses at more detailed scales (i.e., 1:24,000), the mineral-resource potential in most areas of New Mexico will need to be updated. Furthermore, this assessment is based upon a literature search and experience of the author, but still requires field verification.

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