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Recent & Active Research — Energy Resources

Energy resources, like petroleum, coal, uranium and geothermal, all contribute to New Mexico's economy. Since our establishment in 1927, the Bureau has conducted research on energy resources throughout New Mexico. These are some of our projects.

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The current and recent research projects shown below are listed in random order.
Critical Minerals in the Zuni Mountains, Cibola and McKinley Counties, New Mexico

As part of the Earth MRI project “Geochemical reanalysis of NURE samples from the Colorado Plateau, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, and Arizona” (G23AC00561), New Mexico is resampling geologic material, including stream sediments and rocks, in the Zuni Mountains, Cibola and McKinley Counties. The purpose of this sampling is to assess the critical minerals potential of this area, which was historically mined for fluorspar and base metals. An exploration geochemistry focused class was taught in the fall semester of 2023. Sampling in the Zuni Mountains was conducted primarily by this class which allowed 17 students with varying field experience to learn how to plan and execute a sampling program. The students were split into five groups to sample different areas within the Zuni Mountains.

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Geothermal Resources in New Mexico

New Mexico currently utilizes low and intermediate temperature geothermal resources for aquaculture, greenhouses, recreation, district heating, and space heating. In recent years there has been renewed interest in exploring and developing these geothermal resources, and in determining the sustainability of existing resources statewide.

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Uranium Transport and Sources in New Mexico: A five-year EPSCoR program

In 2013, a team of New Mexico Tech researchers began a study of uranium transport, uranium source characteristics, and uranium legacy issues in New Mexico. The effort was funded by Energize New Mexico, a five-year NSF EPSCoR program that concluded in 2018 and that encompassed five research components focused on developing non-carbon emitting energy technologies. The uranium team, which included researchers from UNM, addressed uranium deposits and mine waste mainly in the Grants Mining District, including Laguna Pueblo, and on Navajo Nation lands. These uranium studies span a range of science and engineering disciplines, and not only provide new conclusions impacting remediation, hazard management, and uranium extraction, but hold implications for human health.

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