Case Work: Water

Copper Flat Mine Water Rights Adjudication

LOCATION: Sierra County
STATUS: Ongoing
ATTORNEYS: Mia Montoya Hammersley


The Copper Flat mine operated for a matter of months in the 1980s, and now is trying to make a comeback. At issue in this case is whether or not investors retain valid water rights – given that the water rights have not been used in over 30 years. The outcome of this case and a concurrent federal permit process is significant – water used by the mine will impact water levels in the Rio Grande. The water rights case is in state District Court; we are awaiting a ruling.


12/28/2017 – Third Judicial District Court Decision severely limiting the quantity of water rights available to the New Mexico Copper Corporation, reducing their claimed rights to under 900 acre feet per year, far too little to carry out mining operations
01/12/2015 – Closing Argument, Brief, Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law