Fernando Martinez, the director of the state Mining and Minerals Division, said the projects funded by the grant will create jobs and improve public safety, water quality and wildlife habitat in the areas.
At the time many of the mines in the state were operating, there were no reclamation or safeguarding requirements in place. Mine wastes were dumped on the surface and mine shafts and portals were left wide-open. Streams and arroyos were adversely impacted and unprotected mine openings pose a danger to the public.
Department of Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources officials say some of the grant money will pay for safeguarding sites near Silver City, Grants, Raton and Albuquerque.
Sites where the grant will be used to study and plan future work include ones near Madrid, Gallup and Silver City – and Luna County’s Cookes Peak.