Last month we wrote a piece about how not everyone owns the rights to what is beneath the land which their house is on, and it would seem that many of you have some burning questions about this topic in particular. To answer those questions we have the brilliant Adam Ferrari here who has worked for a mineral trading company based in Denver, Colorado for many years now, and who is the perfect person to clear up any doubts or queries which you may have about this topic. The theme of mineral rights and the trading of those rights can be a bit tricky, so he’s try and clear it up for you.
What Exactly Are Mineral Rights?
Mineral rights are what the owner of the resources below the ground has, these can be bought, they can also be sold and the person who has the rights to what is below the ground has 100% ownership to anything found when excavating. To be crystal clear on this, the contents below the plot of land such as oil, copper, silver or gold, are owned by the person who has the mineral rights to that plot of land.
Under Your Home
It is almost certain that you do not have the rights to the minerals which may or may not be under your home. Broadly speaking the mineral rights for the entire country are owned by the government, there are some cases whereby an individual bought the rights to the minerals beneath your property and perhaps sold them on when they sold the property, but this is extremely rare. Another possibility is that a large scale business has bought rights from the government, and they are exploring whether or not there is value beneath the surface, but this is unlikely to be under a plot such as your home.
What Do You Own?
You may be sitting there thinking well if I don’t own the mineral rights for my own property then what do you own, and the answer is surface rights. You, as a home and land owner, own the rights to the surface of teal and and anything that you place on top of it. Foundations are permitted but it should be noted that if anything of value is found beneath the surface when you place those foundations, that is not yours to keep. If you did find something and you did wish to keep it and look for more, you would have to try and buy the mineral rights to your plot.
The costs of mineral rights can range from state to state but the current going rate per acre is around $40,000. The caveat is that if a company believes that they have found some value, then they will approach the government who will build into the contract for a large purchase of mineral rights, that they will receive a percentage from anything that is found beneath the surface.
Hopefully this has cleared things up for you, any more queries let us know in the comments.