September 7, 2015--Gold King spill stirs concerns about New Mexico’s old mines (Durango Herald)

The ongoing fallout in New Mexico from last month’s Colorado mine spill is a stark reminder that the “Land of Enchantment” has its own dangerous mines. While public officials continue to measure the damage wrought by the Gold King Mine spill, some say it’s a wake-up call to the staggering number of abandoned mines in New Mexico. The Bureau of Land Management so far has identified more than 13,000 abandoned mines in or around public land in the state, according to bureau records. Nearly 9,000 of them need to be analyzed, federal officials said. Bill Auby, the head of the abandoned mines program for the BLM in New Mexico, said it will take a great deal of time to track these sites. “It’s going to be a long process to get to all the mining districts and wander the hills and find these things and identify them,” Auby said. He acknowledged that mines that have yet to be analyzed represent potential threats. The mines could have pits and standing water that have contamination from heavy metals. To view the full article and report visit the Durango Herald.