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Economic Impact of the Mineral Industry in New Mexico, 2020

New Mexico's mineral wealth is among the richest endowments in the United States. For example, in 2020 New Mexico ranked 31th in production among the states. New Mexico's mineral production in 2020 includes:

  • 10th in coal (10 million tons, $453 million)
  • 2nd in copper (137 million pounds, $383 million)
  • 1st in potash (0.4 million tons, $376 million)
  • agregate (13 million tons, $145 million)
  • gold (2,495 ounces, $4.4 million)
  • 1st in zeolite and perlite

In reserves:

  • Copper reserves: milling reserves 213 mill metric tons of 0.51% Cu, 0.05 g/t Au, 0.9 g/t Ag, and 0.01% Mo; leaching 133 mill metric tons of 0.28% Cu
  • 2nd in uranium 64 million tons ore at 0.14% U3O8
    (179 million lbs U3O8) at $50/lb (EIA)
  • Coal 4.65 billion short tons of recoverable reserves
    (NMMMD)
  • Potash (>522 million tons)
  • Ccarbon dioxide (16 trillion feet)
  • Helium (AAPG)

In addition exploration is on-going for rare earth elements (REE), copper, gold, fluorite, barite, humate lithium, other critical minerals, and several other commodities.

Direct state revenues from mineral commodities in 2020 were

  • Coal: $10.4 million
  • Potash: $3.3 million
  • Copper: $3.2 million
  • Other commodities: $1.8 million

In a state with only 2.1 million people and a General Operating Fund budget of $7.4 billion, it is estimated that these endowments save the average New Mexico taxpayer about $1000 per year in taxes. The mineral industries also provided property and corporate income taxes while their 4,500 direct employees contributed personal income taxes. Direct employment by industry in 2020 was:

  • Copper: 1,348
  • Potash: 712
  • Coal: 705
  • Remaining producers: approximately 1,735

The multiplier effect of dispersal of these wages through local economies increases their impact many fold. A healthy mineral industry is vitally important to the economy of New Mexico and to maintenance of public education and services.

References

Updated December 2, 2022