Mineral Rights vs. Surface Rights

mineral leasing and mineral rights group consultations

Knowing the difference between mineral rights and surface rights can save you from getting cheated on a lease agreement or mineral negotiation. Find out the differences so you can be prepared for whatever the future holds.

Surface Rights:

Surface rights include the right to use the surface of the land as you wish. This is only the upper boundary of the land as well as the water and substances (not minerals) beneath it.

Mineral Rights:

Mineral rights are the right to develop and capture the minerals on and under the surface. You can legally own the mineral rights while not owning the land rights and vice versa.

Simply stated, the surface estate is subservient to the mineral estate. In other words the mineral owners have the right to develop their asset regardless of the wishes of the surface owner. That is subject to a lone caveat, that being that the surface owner must be compensated for the damages they endure due to the development of the mineral estate.

Should you be so fortunate to own both surface and minerals I would highly advise that when and if you sign a mineral lease covering your mineral estate, that you also negotiate a surface agreement so that there is no misunderstanding as to how the minerals will be developed and exactly what the compensation will be for whatever the lessee does. If you have more questions about mineral rights vs surface rights or need to negotiate the minerals under your land, contact us today.

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