New Mexico Geological Society Annual Spring Meeting & Ft. Stanton Cave Conference — Abstracts

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REE in Coalbeds in the San Juan River - Raton Coal Basins

Megan N. Badonie1 and Virginia T. McLemore2

1New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, 801 Leroy Place, Socorro, NM, 87801,
2New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, 801 Leroy Place, Socorro, NM, 87801

Rare earth elements (REE) and critical minerals have recently become of great economic interest because of the advent of new technologies and recent geopolitical unrest affecting supply of resources. The San Juan and Raton basins in northern New Mexico are two structural coal basins that contain elevated concentrations of REE and critical minerals. Concentrations of REE and other critical minerals found in coal deposits are significantly lower than those found in economical deposits. A potential by-product of these minerals is enabled through large amounts of coal that is produced from the electrical plant’s coal production. These two New Mexican coal basins will be assessed geochemically and petrographically to quantify mineral enrichment. Coalbeds, coal seams, overlying, and underlying rock units will be sampled and characterized to determine any economic viability. The first step is to describe the drill core stored at NMBGMR. Historic data also will be compiled into a new and comprehensive coal geochemical database, which will grow with new analyses, and serve as the dataset for this project; this coal resource database will be made available to the public.


Coal, San Juan Basin, Raton Basin, Northern New Mexico, REE, Critical Minerals

2022 New Mexico Geological Society Annual Spring Meeting & Ft. Stanton Cave Conference
April 7-9, 2022, Macey Center, Socorro, NM
Online ISSN: 2834-5800