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Virginia T. McLemore

potash mine
V.T. McLemore underground, potash mine,
Eddy Co, NM.
Principal Senior Economic Geologist 
Minerals Outreach Liaison

New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources 
New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
801 Leroy Place
Socorro NM 87801-4796
(575) 835-5521

Certified Professional Geologist #CPG-7438 (AIPG)

I am the Principal Senior Economic Geologist and Minerals Outreach Liaison for the Bureau. An economic geologist is a scientist who studies earth materials or minerals that can be used for economic and/or industrial purposes. Some of the topics an economic geologist examines are: how these minerals form, where are these natural resources found (i.e. inventory of these minerals, completing mineral-resource assessments), studies the history of mining, explores for new economic localities of these minerals, how to mine these resources, and how to reclaim these sites after mining. It is my job to provide mining and minerals-related information concerning New Mexico to decision makers, general public, scientists, environmental groups, and the mining industry (including consulting firms).

Other functions of my job include:

  • I am responsible for writing the New Mexico State Minerals information for the USGS Minerals Yearbook every year and summarizing the economic impact of the mining industry to New Mexico.
  • I attend and present papers on research or updates of NM mineral resources at professional meetings and to the general public (SME, SEG, GSA, AEMA, AIPG, NMGS, Industrial Minerals Forum).
  • I assist state and federal agencies on mining issues as required.
  • I sit on the New Mexico Mining Commission as the designee for the Director of NMBGMR.
  • I teach one 3-credit graduate-level class a year (in the spring) for New Mexico Tech. I alternate between: Geology of Uranium Deposits, Geology and Economics of Industrial Minerals, Geology and Economics of Critical and Strategic Minerals, and Mineral Deposits in New Mexico.
  • Create accurate, up-to-date maps of the state's mineral-resources potential.
  • Conduct research on the state's mineral resources.
  • Provide timely information on potential mine-related hazards, including subsidence, cave-ins, dangerous openings, unstable highwalls, environmental (acid drainage, release of toxic elements), and flooding.
  • Understand the distribution and economics of strategic and critical minerals, including rare earth elements (REE), tellurium (Te), copper (Cu), gold (Au), and uranium (U) in New Mexico.
  • Compilation of minerals production and resource/reserve statistics in New Mexico.
  • Maintain the NURE data and Uranium Archives.
  • Maintain the New Mexico Mines Database.
  • I manage:


Professional Experience

(also see Awards & Service)

  • Employed at NMBMMR since June 1980, tenured 1986
  • Appointed Senior Economic Geologist 1993, Principal Senior Economic Geologist 2017
  • Adjunct faculty appointment Earth and Environmental Science Department and Minerals Engineering Department, 1996-present
  • May 1979 to September 1979 Urangesellschaft, USA, Inc., Denver, CO 80222, Position: Assistant field geologist
  • July 1976 to May 1977 Tax Mapping Supervisor, Battaan Memorial Building, Santa Fe, NM (office in Socorro) Position: Draftsman - plotted tax properties for Socorro County Assessor's Office
  • From January 1976 to May 1976 Employer: NMIMT, Socorro, NM 87801 Position:Teaching assistant (taught surveying lab)
  • From July 1975 to September 1975 Employer: Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America, Houston, TX 77001, Position: Exploration geologist

Current projects

(also see full CV for completed projects; major projects in bold)

  • Mineral resources in New Mexico (uses, geology, origin, resource potential, environmental assessment)
    • Economic impact of mineral resources in New Mexico
    • Active mines and exploration sites in New Mexico (as of 9/3/2019)
    • Mineral production from New Mexico
    • Mineral-resource potential studies in NM
    • Presentation at AEMA, NMMA—Status of the mining industry in NM 2019
    • Presentation on Mining Issues in New Mexico, Leadership Academy, May 2019
  • New Mexico Mines Database
  • Alkaline-related gold-Te deposits in NM and CO
    • Geology and mineral deposits of the Jicarilla mining district, Lincoln County, NM
    • Placer gold deposits in New Mexico
      • Trace element analyses of placer gold deposits
      • Presentation Gold18
    • Te in New Mexico
    • Te in igneous related rocks (coorperative project with the USGS)
    • Alkalic-Type Epithermal Gold Deposit Model: Chapter R in Mineral Deposit Models for Resource Assessment: USGS SIR 2010-5070-R

  • Critical minerals (CM) in New Mexico
    • REE and Critical Minerals in New Mexico data
      • REE and CM in coal, San Juan and Raton basins
    • Geology and mineral resources of the Gallinas Mountains REE deposits, Lincoln County, NM
    • Geology and mineral resources of the Cornudas Mountains REE deposits, Otero County, NM
    • Presentation at AEMA on Critical minerals in New Mexico (2020)
    • Lithium in New Mexico (2021)
  • Mining districts in New Mexico
  • Geology, mining history, and mineral resources of Grant County, NM
  • Environmental impacts of mining in NM
    • Weathering of mine waste rock piles and tailings
    • Legacy mines: inventory and characterization—AML Project—Summary
    • A study of abandoned mine lands in New Mexico: SME Annual Meeting, Preprint 20-37, 6 p.
    • Asbestos in New Mexico
  • Geology of NM state parks
  • Uranium in New Mexico
    • Presentation given to Abandoned Uranium Mines Working Group workshop November 2018
    • Ranchers Exploration and Development Co. Annual Reports

Outreach Activities

NMT Student Outreach

  • Faculty sponsor New Mexico Tech Shooting Sports Club
  • Coach New Mexico Tech Rifle Team
  • Faculty sponsor student chapter American Institute of Professional Geologists

Courses Taught


(see separate page, list by category, and full CV)

Membership in Professional Societies and Commissions

(also see Awards & Service)

  • American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG)—CPG #7438 (AIPG)
  • Mineralogical Society of America (MSA)
  • Geological Society of America (GSA)
  • Association of Applied Geochemistry, Fellow (AAG)
  • Society of Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration, Inc. (SME)
    • Editor-in-Chief (Exploration)—Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (MME) Journal
  • Mineralogical Association of Canada (MAC)
  • American Society for Surface Mining and Reclamation (ASSMR)
  • Society of Geology Applied to Mineral Deposits (SGA)
  • Society of Economic Geologists, Fellow (SEG)
  • American Exploration and Mining Association (AEMA, formerly Northwest Mining Association)
  • New Mexico Geological Society, Life member (NMGS)
  • Member of the New Mexico Mining Commission—2015-present
  • Acid Drainage Technology Inititive—Metal Mining Sector (ADTI—MMS)—1998-present)

Grants and Contracts

Recent Awards

  • SME/AIME Environmental Stewardship Service Award 2018
  • Association of American State Geologists (AASG) Charles J. Mankin Memorial Award 2018 for McLemore, V.T., Timmons, S., and Wilks, M., eds., 2017, Energy and Mineral deposits in New Mexico: New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, Memoir 50 and New Mexico Geological Society, Special Publication 13
  • GSA Fellow 2019
  • SME/AIME Environmental Distinguished Service Award 2020

ORCID ID: 0000-0002-6501-3457

Scopus Author

Research Gate Author

Updated Aug. 24, 2021