Bureau Geologist Wins National Stewardship Service Award

Bureau Geologist Wins Stewardship Service Award

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

SOCORRO, N.M. – Dr. Virginia “Ginger” McLemore recently was selected to receive the 2018 SME/AIME Environmental Stewardship Distinguished Service Award.


Dr. Virginia McLemore

Winner of the 2018 SME/AIME Environmental Stewardship Distinguished Service Award


This award is “For actively promoting the sharing of technical information, via publications, technical sessions, and alliances with other industry groups, for the betterment of the mining industry and the environment.”


McLemore said the award is especially gratifying because the majority of recent awardees have won for their work in mine reclamation and closures.

“This is really pretty cool because I just do geology and basic characterization,” she said. “And that’s what I do with students.”

The award recognizes her for the development, conservation and protection of the earth’s environment and natural resources through sustainable practices. The award will be presented at the SME 2018 Annual Conference & Expo in Minneapolis on Tuesday, February 27, 2018.

“This honor is a real tribute to Ginger's excellent work on a wide range of technical projects, and is well-deserved,” Bureau Director Dr. Nelia Dunbar said.

McLemore is the Bureau’s principal senior economic geologist, as well as the minerals outreach liaison. Some of the topics the economic geologist examines are how  minerals form, where natural resources found, the history of mining, new economic locality exploration, how to mine these resources, and how to reclaim these sites after mining. She has published numerous papers on New Mexico’s deposits of rare earth elements, copper, tellurium, and uranium.

As the outreach liaison, McLemore provides mining and minerals-related information to decision makers, the public, scientists, environmental groups, the mining industry and consulting firms.


Ginger McLemore at work in an underground mine. 


Dr. Nelia Dunbar, director of the Bureau of Geology, said McLemore has been one of the most productive researchers at the Bureau throughout her tenure.

“She has earned tremendous respect and admiration from academic and from industry,” Dunbar said. “She’s responsive and through and she puts her heart into supporting people in the state of New Mexico. She gets asked to do a lot more than she can fit into her long work days. And she’s extremely supportive of students.”

McLemore has served on the executive committee and as president of the N.M. Geological Society. She recently contributed significantly to a “memoir” of mineral resources in New Mexico, which is a six volume compendium.

Her public service efforts include serving on the N.M. Copper Mining Rules Committee, and the N.M. Mining Commission. She has been involved with the N.M. Environment Department’s studies of the 2015 Gold King Mine Spill and its effects on the Animas River in Four Corners Region.

McLemore also finds time to teach a graduate-level course every spring and serve as to the NMT Shooting Sports Club. Not just the club advisor, McLemore competes in shooting events regionally and nationally. She has set national records a variety of marksmanship events.