About the Bureau of Mine Safety
To position New Mexico as a national leader in mining safety by advocating for New Mexico’s miners, providing dynamic miner training, and professional enforcement of New Mexico’s safety regulations.
The New Mexico Bureau of Mine Safety (BMS) exists to actively promote the safety of the miners, contractors, operators, researchers, and other persons associated with operating mines, and performing earthwork or rock excavation within New Mexico. BMS training and initiatives focus on accident prevention and have contributed to a superb safety record in New Mexico.
Due to the concerted leadership of the governor, legislators, mine operators and state officials at many levels, New Mexico has not only demonstrated a commitment to miner safety, but also fostered the necessary environment that upholds excellent mine safety standards. The standards that exist in New Mexico would have greatly mitigated the disasters we have seen in mines in West Virginia and Utah.
Actions demonstrating that miners’ safety is of paramount importance in New Mexico include:
The Mine Safety Act
The New Mexico Legislature passed the Mine Safety Act in 2006. The legislation required strict requirements for accident notification, underground miner self-contained self-rescuers, underground miner tracking systems, and wireless underground mine communications.
Increased Duties for the State Mine Inspector
In 2007, Governor Richardson signed legislation, which the BMS helped to draft, which further emphasized New Mexico’s commitment to miner safety by better defining the duties of the State Mine Inspector and changing the responsibilities and make-up of the New Mexico Mine Safety Board.
The New Mexico State Mine Inspector, in conjunction with the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management began a process to promote cooperative relations with the mining operators of New Mexico, so that it will be possible to coordinate emergency operations in a seamless fashion These efforts were initiated prior to the Crandall Canyon Mine accident in Utah.
State of the Art Facilities
New Mexico’s underground mines are state of the art facilities. Operators practiced neutralization and monitoring of mine atmospheres in abandoned areas prior to the 2006 Sago disaster in West Virginia. All of New Mexico’s underground mining operations either have completed or are in the process of investigating installation of wireless communications, miner tracking systems, underground mine shelters, and caches of oxygen- producing self-contained self-rescuers (SCSR).
Directed by the State Mine Inspector, the department is a state and federally funded organization providing services to New Mexico and its miners in the following areas:
Mine Rescue and Emergency Response
Coordination of incident response, equipment and human resources
Legislative Issues Relative to Miner Safety
Includes being the point of contact for the Governor’s office on mine related issues and legislation
Mine Compliance Assessment and Courtesy Inspections
Communicating the legislated mining safety standards and ensuring adherence.
Safety and Health Training
Providing safety and health training to mine workers, contractors, as well as federal and state organizations involved in special mine-related activities
Certification of Coal Mine Officials
Developing and providing an examination process designed to certify qualified coal mine officials.
Safety Award, Other Education & Communication Programs
Safe Operator of the Year, the Safety Innovator Award, Rescue Response Awards, Zero [accident] Frequency Certificates, the monthly State Mine Inspector Newletter, the BMS website and Special Statewide Trainings are all BMS programs designed to further awareness and actively promote the safety of New Mexico’s miners.