Stuart R. Butzier - Modrall Sperling

Stuart R. Butzier

Listed in Best Lawyers since 2008

Stuart Butzier has assisted mining, energy and ranching clients throughout his twenty-five-plus year legal career with Modrall Sperling.  His advice and counsel has included helping clients strategically navigate the maze of environmental and mining regulatory and permitting regimes, the morass of litigation, and the unique challenges of complex deals and real property transactions. 

Stuart is considered a "tenacious litigator who gains excellent results," recently reported Chambers USA, where he has been recognized in Environment, Natural Resources & Regulated Industries.  Stuart has been recognized by Best Lawyers® as "Lawyer of the Year" four times – 2015 Mining Law  in Santa Fe, 2013 Litigation-Environmental in Albuquerque, 2012 Mining Law in Albuquerque and 2011 Environmental Law in Albuquerque.  He has achieved the AV® rating from Martindale-Hubbell and has been selected among those included in Southwest Super Lawyers®. In addition, the New Mexico Business Weekly chose Stuart as Best of the Bar in Natural Resources in 2011.  He is also listed in the International Who's Who of Mining Lawyers, 2003 to present.

As the current chair of the firm's Natural Resources Department and recent four-year member of the firm's Executive Committee, Stuart has devoted himself to ensuring that the firm's attorneys and staff are primed to provide excellent, cost-effective service to clients.  He is a team player who is adept at helping clients and colleagues pursue their business and professional goals.  He also helped to recruit many of the firm's bright young attorneys. 

Stuart is actively involved in community and professional non-profit organizations.  As a long-time Trustee of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation and past member and Chair of the Section of Natural Resources of the State Bar of New Mexico, he has contributed countless hours as program chair, author and speaker in connection with legal education programs in New Mexico and throughout the West.   He is past President of the University of New Mexico School of Law Alumni Association.  His professional practice and interests extend beyond New Mexico to other parts of the West and, to a limited extent so far, other countries. 

Stuart enjoys playing guitar in a band and supporting the music scene in New Mexico.  His other interests include basketball (as former player and coach), natural landscaping, amateur photography and art. 

Grinnell CollegeBA 1981University of New MexicoJ.D. 1989
Modrall Sperling's Natural Resources DepartmentNew Mexico Mining and Minerals Division Rocky Mountain Mineral Law FoundationNew Mexico Mining AssociationAssociation of Commerce and Industry

Case History

Mining Claims, Staking and Notice Requirements
  • Advised Burrell Resources Group and numerous other clients on mining claims, staking and notice requirements on federal public lands or split estate lands under the General Mining Law of 1872 and the Stock Raising Homestead Act of 1916. 

Minera Peñasquito S.A. de C.V. v. Shannon, et al.
  • Litigated in U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico on behalf of Goldcorp and its Mexican mining subsidiary, Minera Peñasquito, in connection with a failed transaction to purchase over four million dollars' worth of large mine equipment tires.  The case resulted in judgments being entered in favor of Minera Peñasquito against defendants.  See Minera Peñasquito S.A. de C.V. v. Shannon, et al., U.S. Dist. Ct. No. CIV 09-1149 BB/WDS (D. NM).
Conway v. Mainline Rock and Ballast, Inc. and EUCON Corp
  • Lead litigator for Mainline Rock & Ballast in suit over complex mining transaction involving rights to royalties and related payments associated with development and production from a quarry on split-estate lands.  Case resolved through a mediated settlement.  See Conway v. Mainline Rock and Ballast, Inc. and EUCON Corp.,Seventh Judicial District Ct. (NM) No. D-0722-CV-2006-00174.
Rayellen Resources, et al., v. NM Cultural Properties Review Committee, et. al.
  • Represented a group of substantial mineral interest owners in challenging a New Mexico agency's designation of over 700 square miles of the Grants uranium belt as a "traditional cultural property" at the request of five nominating tribes and pueblos.  Initially sustained a due process challenge in State District Court, a decision later overturned by the New Mexico Supreme Court.  See Rayellen Resources, et al., v. NM Cultural Properties Review Committee, et. al., NM Supreme Court, No. 33,497 (Feb. 6, 2014). 

Client Comments

"Stuart is very good at listening and does not rush into a given tactic or pressure to have his client accept a particular strategy. He is very good at communicating the potential pitfalls."

"Stuart Butzier has been extremely valuable on the matters we have worked on together. He is a very clear communicator."

Office Location

123 East Marcy Street, Suite 201
P.O. Box 9318
Santa Fe, NM 87504-9318
United States


Lawyer of the Year Awards

2016 Lawyer of the Year in Natural Resources Law of the Santa Fe Metro Area2015 Lawyer of the Year in Mining Law of the Santa Fe Metro Area2013 Lawyer of the Year in Litigation - Environmental of the Albuquerque Metro Area2012 Lawyer of the Year in Mining Law of the Albuquerque Metro Area2011 Lawyer of the Year in Environmental Law of the Albuquerque Metro Area
Stuart R. Butzier has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2016!Stuart R. Butzier has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2015!Stuart R. Butzier has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2013!Stuart R. Butzier has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2012!Stuart R. Butzier has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2011!

Practice Areas

Environmental Law (Administrative/Regulatory, Clean Water Act, Environmental Cleanup, Mining, Permitting, Superfunds/Environmental Remediation)
Litigation - Environmental
Mining Law (Administrative, Coal, Hard Rock, Industrial Minerals, Precious Metals, Reclamation, Regulatory)
Natural Resources Law (Appellate, Commercial, Energy, Environmental, Litigation, Mining, Regulatory, Water)