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Economic Impact of the Mineral Industry in New Mexico, 2021

New Mexico's mineral wealth is among the richest endowments in the United States. In 2021 New Mexico ranked 23rd in production among the states. New Mexico's mineral production in 2021 includes:

  • 12th in coal (9 million tons, $4303 million)
  • 3rd in copper (178 million pounds, $757 million)
  • 1st in potash (0.4 million tons, $2916 million)
  • agregate (14 million tons, $116 million)
  • gold (5,720,198 ounces, $10 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
  • Potash (>522 million tons)
  • Carbon 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 2021 were

  • Coal: $12 million
  • Potash: $3.7 million
  • Copper: $6.6 million
  • Other commodities: $5.9 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 3,757 direct employees contributed personal income taxes. Direct employment by industry in 2021 was:

  • Copper: 1,076
  • Potash: 640
  • Coal: 837
  • Remaining producers: approximately 1,204

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.


Updated April 10, 2023