The lands, waters, and way of life in Pecos are under threat from extensive new mining proposals in the Upper Pecos Watershed.
This area is still recovering from irresponsible mining operations that contaminated the river in the 1990’s, causing over 90,000 fish to be killed and millions of dollars spent by the state for cleanup.
In 2019, Comexico LLC, a Colorado-based subsidiary of Australian mining company New World Resources Ltd, acquired 20 mining claims in the Jones Hill area near Tererro, NM. Comexico applied for permits to conduct exploratory drilling for gold, copper, zinc, lead, and silver. This initial exploratory drilling would adversely impact more than 400 acres and five tributaries of the Pecos, plus the river’s mainstem.
Alarmingly, since 2019, Comexico has gained ownership of over 236 mining claims throughout the Pecos headwaters. The possibility of destructive hardrock mining now goes well beyond the original exploratory drilling sites, as shown by the “Active mining claims” map below. The area now claimed by Comexico covers 4,300 acres and, if developed, would impact the entire Pecos watershed and possibly Santa Fe’s municipal watershed.
Secretary of the Department of Interior, based on application from USFS & BLM.
An administrative mineral withdrawal will protect the lands for up to 20 years from future mineral rights development, subject to valid existing rights.
165,000 acres of National Forest land and approximately 1,600 acres of DOI Bureau of Land Management land in the Upper Pecos River Watershed.
DOI and USFS will withdraw (close) the land to settlement, sale, location, and entry under the public land laws, including the United States mining laws, and permitting under the mineral and geothermal leasing laws.
Places a hold on future mining development while permanent protection through legislative action is considered, such as the “Pecos Watershed Protection Act.”