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310 Old Santa Fe Trail,
Santa Fe NM 87501


The State Land Office currently manages approximately 250 site-specific leases covering the mining and removal of coal, salt, caliche, sand, gravel, potash, geothermal and other resources. The Minerals Group works on a wide range of projects, such as issuing and overseeing the Land Office’s first lease to mine humate, a type of carbonaceous shale-related deposit used primarily as a soil conditioner.

The State Land Office’s sand and gravel leasing program is the most active and includes requirements for site-specific stipulations, surface damage and performance bonding, and the development of mine operation and reclamation plans.

For more information, contact Minerals Manager Jack Yates at (505) 827-5750.

 Mineral Lease Programs

The Minerals Program oversees and manages the leasing of state trust land for mineral resources in accordance with the New Mexico Administrative Code.  Each rule provides guidance on the leasing of one or more different types of minerals as described below.

General Mining

Rule 2 (NMAC 19.2.2)

Mining of minerals other than potassium, sodium, sulfur, phosphorous and other minerals of similar occurrence, and their salts and compounds. Some examples of minerals leased under the General Mining rule include:  gold, silver, lead, zinc, copper, rare earths, uranium, and precious stones.  General Mining leases involve:

  • Application process
  • Surface damage and performance bonding required
  • Maximum Lease area (640 acres)
  • Mine Development Plan required
  • Must apply for permits from permitting agency in accordance with New Mexico Mining Act (EMNRD-MMD)
    • Reclamation plan will consist of MMD Permit and supplemental requirements if imposed by the commissioner
  • Lease held by production
  • Royalty based on Gross Returns
    • Minimum of 2.0% for most minerals
    • Minimum of 5% for Special Minerals (nuclear and gemstones)

Potash Mining

View Rule 3 (NMAC 19.2.3)

Mining of all potassium, sulfur, phosphorus, and similar minerals, and their salts and compounds except sodium chloride.  Potash Mining leases involve:

  • Application process
  • Surface damage and performance bonding required
  • Leases not to exceed 2,560 acres
  • 10 year term and held by production thereafter
  • Royalty Rates (variable rates typically from 2-5% depending upon product and grade)
    • Potassium Chlorides (Grade of Ore Mined)
    • Sulphates
    • Solution
  • Mining Operation and Surface Reclamation/Closure Plan must be approved by Commissioner

Salt Mining

View Rule 4 (NMAC 19.2.4)

Mining of all sodium chloride or common salt.  Salt Mining leases involve:

  • Application process
  • Surface damage and performance bonding required
  • 10 year terms (typical) or as long as salt is produced in paying quantities
  • Quarterly reports on production
  • Minimum of 10% Royalty
    • Typically by the barrel for 8-10lb solution
    • Conventional mining

Industrial Mining

Rule 5 (NMAC 19.2.5)

Mining of caliche, gypsum, clay, sand, gravel, stone, shale, perlite, volcanic deposits, humate and borrow dirt.  Industrial Mining leases involve:

  • Application process
  • Surface damage and performance bonding required
  • 1-5 year terms
  • Mine Operation Plan, Environmental Questionnaire and Reclamation Plan required
  • Negotiated Royalty Rates (typical rates shown below)
    • Sand & Gravel ($ 0.75 per ton or $ 1.10 per loose cubic yard)
    • Borrow Dirt ($ 0.62 per ton or $ 0.65 per loose cubic yard)
    • Crusher Fines ($ 0.45 per ton or $ 0.68 per loose cubic yard)
    • Caliche ($ 1.23 per ton or $ 1.50 per loose cubic yard)

Coal Mining

Rule 6 (NMAC 19.2.6)

Mining of all coal resources.  Coal Mining Leases involve:​

  • Competitive Bid
  • Application Process
  • Surface damage and performance bonding required
  • 5 year terms
  • Held by production
    • A minimum rate of 1% of estimated recoverable reserves annually needed to continue leasing
  • Royalty Rates
    • 12 ½% for surface-mined coal
    • 8% for underground-mined coal


Rule 7 (NMAC 19.2.7)

Use of all geothermal resources.  Geothermal Leases involve:

  • Application Process (Commissioner may reject and offer by sealed bids or public auction)
  • 5 Year Term and held by production
  • Royalty Rates
    • Variable rates depending upon use.

View more Industrial Minerals guidelines and access to downloadable forms

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