Minerals Locatable Under the General Mining Law on Public Lands in New Mexico
Because of the wide variety of potentially locatable minerals, no one has ever published a definitive list of locatable minerals! The 1872 Mining Law itself only mentions those metallic minerals known to be valuable at the time. As a result of various court decisions and new laws over the years, other minerals, including some nonmetallic minerals, have been added. Some minerals are considered locatable only if they are “unique” and have a “distinct and special value.” Such a determination needs to be made by the BLM on a case-by-case basis.
Included in the minerals that are NOT locatable are those subject to leasing under the Mineral Leasing Act and “common variety” minerals subject to sale under the Material Sale Act. Leasable minerals in New Mexico include: oil, gas, geothermal, coal, potash, sodium, and sulfur.
Salable minerals include “common varieties” of sand, gravel, cinders, pumice, clay, and stone. Petrified wood is NOT locatable. Limited, noncommercial amounts may be collected for free, but larger amounts are salable. Anyone interested in these minerals should visit the local BLM or Forest Service field office.
A list of locatable minerals known to occur in New Mexico (some of the more rare minerals may not be listed):
- Block Pumice (one dimension of 2” or more)
- Limestone of chemical or metallurgical grade
- Gem minerals*
* This would include a whole variety of minerals. Limited, noncommercial amounts may be collected for free. Commercial collection is normally done under a mining claim.