By Associated Press - Friday, March 3, 2017

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - The State Land Office has ordered a sand and gravel company to stop digging in northwestern New Mexico after it uncovered a mix-up regarding the mineral rights on the property.

Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn says the federal Bureau of Land Management initially permitted the operation in 2010 but the federal agency didn’t actually hold the mineral rights.

Federal officials acknowledged the mistake, saying the rights went to the state as part of a 1963 land swap. The BLM owned only the surface rights but that information was never transferred to its digital mapping system.

BLM spokeswoman Donna Hummel says officials learned of the problem Monday and are working with the state to determine the royalties owed to the Land Office. She called it a very unusual situation.

Dunn says that lost revenue could have benefited public schools.

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