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).
Mining is an essential element in the New Mexico economy. The Bureau of Mine Safety’s (BMS) focus is to actively promote the safety of the miners of New Mexico. BMS trains thousands of miners each year, including miners trained in Spanish language classes. BMS training, involvement and initiatives have contributed to a superb safety record in New Mexico.
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 and the State Legislature on mine related issues and legislation.
- Mine Compliance Assessment and Courtesy Inspections – Communicating the legislated mining safety standards and ensuring compliance.
- 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, Zero [accident] Frequency Awards, Small Mine Mentoring Program, BMS website and Informational Meetings are all BMS programs designed to further awareness and actively promote the safety of New Mexico’s miners. Actively engaged in guiding the annual New Mexico Mine Health and Safety Conference.
- Coordination with the New Mexico Mine Safety Board (MSB) – This board promulgates the rules that affect the mining industry in the State of New Mexico