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What Are Mineral Rights?

What are Mineral Rights?

Mineral Rights (or mineral estate) are the property rights that allow the holder to exploit a given area for the minerals it contains. The ownership of mineral rights or mineral interests is an estate in real property. By definition it is known as a mineral estate, however it is more commonly referred to as mineral rights. Minerals tend to include both organic and inorganic substances that form a part of the soil. Mineral rights typically include hydrocarbon resources such as oil and natural gas as well. A few exceptions to this can be sand, gravel, limestone, and subsurface water as they are typically considered part of the surface rights or the surface estate.

By owning mineral rights, you have the right to sell or profit from minerals extracted below the surface of the property. When a property owner has surface rights as well as mineral rights, it is called “fee simple estate”. Fee simple is the most basic type of ownership where the owner controls the surface, the subsurface and the air above a property. The owner also has the option to sell, lease, gift or bequest these mineral rights individually or entirely to others. Mineral rights can be severed or sold separately from the surface rights. This is typically done through a conveyance (typically using a mineral deed) or a reservation of the mineral rights.

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Owning Surface Rights While Selling Mineral Rights

A fee simple owner may not possess the desire or ability to be involved in the extraction of mineral rights beneath his or her property.  In this case, the owner can sell the rights to the oil and gas while maintaining possession and control of everything on the surface such as a home, crops or land designated for hunting. This allows the mineral rights buyer to manage and benefit from the extraction of the oil and gas while allowing the surface owner to control and enjoy the surface. A transaction such as this can involve all minerals (both known or unknown) beneath the property, or it can be limited to specific minerals such as oil and gas.

If you are interested in selling your mineral rights…

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