The Forest Service cannot reject the proposal to explore a valid mineral claim on Forest Service lands, but they can and will place necessary conditions upon the project. Comexico has submitted cultural, biological, and hydrogeological surveys to the Forest Service which are being reviewed and will likely be returned to the company for revisions. Once the Forest Service determines the application to be administratively complete, they will put the project proposal out for scoping, a thirty-day comment period, and a public meeting. This is the time to tell the Forest Service that it needs to put the strictest of conditions on this project to ensure the protection of our water, wildlife, and ways of life.
The Mining and Minerals Division (MMD) of the Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department of New Mexico needs to determine that Comexico is putting up sufficient financial assurance to remediate the lands disturbed by their exploration activities. They will similarly review the cultural, biological, and hydrogeological surveys submitted by the company. They have sent every version of the application out for comment to the New Mexico Environment Department, the Office of the State Engineer, the New Mexico Game and Fish Department, and other state agencies that have a say in this proposal. Once MMD has determined that the application is administratively complete they will hold a public hearing. The MMD is accepting public comment on this proposal right now and will continue to accept public comments until the close of the public hearing which will likely occur in March at the earliest.
Santa Fe County
The Santa Fe County hard rock mining ordinance is untested, but will require Comexico to submit an application to the county commission before any work is undertaken. The County will also consider whether the company is putting up sufficient financial assurances. While this may seem duplicative of the State’s role in the process, the County may require a more concrete guarantee than accepted by the State. On top of that, the County will hold at least one public hearing on the application and will have a role in the monitoring of any activity that might occur.