Mineral rights are owning the rights to minerals under the surface of a piece of land. Owning these rights allows you to drill and mine for them or not, depending on your preference. You can sell or lease them as well, should a mineral company want to recover the material. In the United States, mineral rights often accompany surface rights so that when you buy a piece of land, you're buying rights to what's on the surface and what's underneath. However, it is possible to sever the two. Whether you are acquiring mineral rights when you buy land should be listed in the deed or on other paperwork, which should be on record with the local government.
What are Minerals?
Minerals are anything below the surface. However, no official definition exists. Oil and natural gas might be minerals, along with coal, clay, silver, gold, copper, natural gas, salt and any other material below the surface. Sales agreements and leases must clarify what exactly is meant by "mineral" because vague wording can lead to legal disagreements when it comes time to drill or mine.
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