New Mexico Office of Archaeological Studies

Abandoned Mine Land Program

Ore cart, RogersvilleThe OAS continues to conduct clearance surveys for the Abandoned Mine Land Program, Mining and Minerals Division, which is part of the New Mexico Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department.

The surveys are conducted at abandoned mines throughout the state that are considered hazardous to the public and livestock, necessitating some kind of closure or reconfiguration. We have documented single mine shafts and areas with hundreds of shafts, adits, mining structures, and houses. Our work often includes measuring, dating, mapping, and photographing openings and other features; establishing their GPS location; and recording information on access and safety. OAS personnel have investigated the mining community of Rogersville, near Madrid; the Vermejo Park Ranch coal camps of Brilliant, Swastika, Gardiner, and Koehler; border land near Columbus; Granite Gap, near Lordsburg; and the Florida Mountains, near Deming. Many mining camps were in existence as early as the 1880s and have extensive trash areas that have advanced our knowledge of mining, and the life of mining communities, in territorial New Mexico.