County to mull proposal for La Bajada basalt mine

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Sunday, February 2, 2014 7:00 pm | Updated: 11:21 am, Mon Feb 3, 2014.

LA BAJADA MESA — Just off Waldo Canyon Road, south of Interstate 25, cows graze the dusty land where an Albuquerque company wants to mine basalt.

Albuquerque-based Rockology and Buena Vista Estates, a development company owned by Peter Naumburg and Hugh J. Graham Jr., have applied to rezone and mine a 50-acre parcel of land on the mesa. Buena Vista Estates owns more than 5,000 acres, which are currently for sale, on the mesa. A hearing on the application is scheduled Feb. 20 before the Santa Fe County Development Review Committee.

Subscription Required

An online service is needed to view this article in its entirety. You need an online service to view this article in its entirety.

Have an online subscription?

Login Now

Need an online subscription?



You must login to view the full content on this page.

Thank you for reading 5 free articles on our site. You can come back at the end of your 30-day period for another 5 free articles, or you can get complete access to the online edition for $2.49 a week. If you need help, please contact our office at 505-986-3010 You need an online service to view this article in its entirety.

Have an online subscription?

Login Now

Need an online subscription?



More about

More about

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 No Alias Commenters must use their real names.
  • 2 Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
  • 3 Don't Threaten or Abuse. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated. and please turn off caps lock.
  • 4 Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.

Welcome to the discussion.


  • Diane Senior posted at 6:15 pm on Mon, Feb 3, 2014.

    dsenior Posts: 37

    Yes, there are less onerous ways to mine basalt. Properly siting the mine, for one, not stripping the top of a landmark historic mesa that's visible for 20 miles around and that has no infrastructure nearby to support mine operations.

    Contrast the proposed location with the Caja Del Rio Quarry, which is already producing basalt material for the county. That quarry is well situated near the county landfill, which both minimizes additional visual impacts provides a potentially symbiotic arrangement by creating a mine site that might later be filled with county refuse.

    Why should the county rezone this highly visible agricultural/residential land for mining when other, more sensible options, already exist?

  • Khal Spencer posted at 2:26 pm on Mon, Feb 3, 2014.

    Khal Spencer Posts: 893

    Seems to me we have enough problems with water as it is. Are there less onerous ways to mine basalt?

    Problem is, folks want their ameneties but don't want the mess and bother of how to get them. You can't make an omlette without breaking some eggs.

  • Diane Senior posted at 12:48 pm on Mon, Feb 3, 2014.

    dsenior Posts: 37

    A few additional points of note about the proposed strip mine:

    1. Instead of securing OSE water rights, the applicants are proposing to haul hundreds of thousand of gallons of OUR PRECIOUS POTABLE COUNTY WATER to the site for use in dust control.

    2. La Bajada mesa is ecologically important. Sitting within the Galisteo watershed and located in a transition zone between four eco-regions, it serves as a corridor for both carnivores and prey.

    3. The mesa is also an historic, cultural and scenic landmark that deserves better than to be reduced to rubble for road base.

    Please send your concerns to the county case manager, joselarra@co.santa-fe.nm.us and SPEAK OUT at the County Development Review Committee hearing:

    February 20, 2014
    4:00 PM
    County Commission Chambers
    102 Grant Ave., Santa Fe

    Visit savelabajada.org for updates and more information.

  • John Cole posted at 11:01 am on Mon, Feb 3, 2014.

    JCole Posts: 10

    After graduating NMMI in 1971, I went off to Norther Arizona University. Outside town was a beautiful mountain of volcanic ash. Now days this same mountain is almost completely ground down to nothing. For years they've spread that ask on 70 and elsewhere in norther AZ. Just imagine what our somewhat pristine land would look like with a gapping hole in the middle.
    Consider water when thinking furthering development.

  • Frank Hill posted at 7:22 am on Mon, Feb 3, 2014.

    Panchohill Posts: 1

    How is Santa Fe County able to authorize water in the face of extreme drought for this mine ?


Follow The Santa Fe New Mexican

Click to read the eNewMexican edition

View the digital replica of today's Santa Fe New Mexican.

Click to read the digital edition of Pasatiempo

View an exact replica of the latest edition of Pasatiempo magazine.