Mineral Rights

Started by MudBath, November 13, 2007, 09:04:07 PM

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What about land that the mineral rights have been sold decades ago?  Would you buy such land?  Could they come in a strip away the beauty and leave you with a parking lot?  What are the pros and cons on buying such land?  :-/


Depends. Depends on how the mineral rights / surface rights agreement is written. That's where you probably need a lawyer to check and explain it all to you.

The agreement may give the mineral owner the right to extract the mineral at any time, using any methods and without compensation or regard for the surface owner. And it may not.

Mineral rights may also be restricted to certain types; coal, oil, etc. or everything and anything.


I don't know how mineral rights go, but my uncle has a place in SE OK where Weyerhauser was allowed to harvest part of his forest... I think he actually reserved the right to tell them which trees they could and could not take, but he had to give them a certain percentage.  If I remember correctly, he sold them this right as a one-time deal in order to pay for the additional 40 acres he'd bought to run cows on.  He didn't allow them to touch any of the trees around the house and the outbuildings, but on the rest of his land, he let them take the white pines.  They didn't touch any of the hardwoods or other species of pine, and they replanted baby trees for each of the ones they cut.  At first, I really worried that it would destroy their beautiful valley, but it didn't look bad.  After a year or two, you could hardly tell that it'd been done, and thankfully they didn't lose the genetic diversity that they already had because they didn't harm any of the other trees... he didn't allow them to fell any trees that would hurt any others around it in the process of the harvest.  I remember him being really nervous about letting them on the property, yet it had seemed the only way to buy the additional acres without going into debt.  

Also, at least in Oklahoma, the OERB (Oklahoma Energy Resources Board) cleans up old oil well and natural gas well sites at no cost to the surface owner... and I don't think there's all that much coal mining going on around there anymore...though when I was a kid I can remember the big strip mines where they destroy the soil structure and the landscape for generations to come.  Oil and natural gas are the big ones, and from what I've seen, they're pretty good about cleaning it back up nowdays.  If you buy land with an old well, they'll come and clean it up, down to the old equipment and concrete, etc., left behind.  I have a friend who works for the OERB and that's what he does... they drive around and approach land owners about restoring and rehabilitating the land where the old wells were.    For me, buying land without the mineral rights is a big possibility simply because it is more affordable...of course, I'd like to have the mineral rights, but so many places have lost them years ago... and it is always a gamble as to whether or not anyone will want to drill on your property.

My grandparents owned part of the mineral rights to their property, but on part of the farm they didn't have them.  One time an oil company decided to explore on the lower part of the property.  The worst they did was tear up a path through the pasture down to where they were drilling.  They were there for a few months, and we gritted our teeth and rolled our eyes everytime we drove past the drilling, thinking they were going to really mess up the land forever.  However, when they didn't find any oil, they left, and there was a muddy spot for a few more months.  The ruts from the heavy trucks were there for good, but overall, it wasn't nearly the damage we expected... nothing that couldn't be fixed, really.