What is Mineral Ownership? – Mineral Rights Explained [2021]

mineral ownership

In the United States of America, private citizens, governmental bodies, and private entities can all own mineral rights. This is not the case everywhere around the world. Americans are lucky enough to both own and potentially profit from mineral ownership.

In this complete glossary guide, we will define mineral ownership in today’s modern context before expanding on some of the other key terms to understand mineral rights.

What is Mineral Ownership?

For oil and gas companies, mineral ownership does not refer to your engagement ring or rock collection. Instead, mineral ownership in the context of mineral rights is the legal right to extract, use, and sell minerals. These are minerals that are below the surface of the earth.

Here, minerals exist naturally in the earth. Basically, owners are free to either leave them be or extract them to the surface. Mineral ownership is most relevant in energy-producing resources such as oil, gas, and coal. Additionally, precious metals such as silver and gold can also be very valuable to mineral owners.

What is a clear title for mineral rights?

A clear title for mineral rights is a legal guarantee. A guarantee that a single person or entity has the entitlement to full mineral ownership. Clear titles are undeniable as they are completely free of liens, levies from creditors, and evidence of any third-party ownership.

Whenever multiple parties claim ownership of an individual mineral rights property, then a clear title is the best evidence possible. Titles or deeds with ongoing and past judgments are not under consideration as clear titles for mineral rights.

What is a mineral deed?

As a mineral rights owner, a person, government, or organization will physically possess a mineral deed. It is much like the deed to a house or the title of a car. A mineral deed is one that is filled with local agencies. It is used to showcase the clear ownership of mineral rights on the property.

Oftentimes, a mineral deed may not exist for a property that has not been split between multiple owners. In cases like this, a fee simple estate deed is going to cover complete ownership. This includes both the land and the mineral rights of a property.

What does it mean to own a mineral interest?

A mineral interest ownership is a term that is sometimes useable in place of mineral rights ownership. Anyone that owns any part of a resource extraction operation will have a mineral interest in the extract. It also includes the use or sale of the minerals. For this reason, mineral interests are often confused with royalty interests. These are earned by companies and individuals that aid in the extraction process for their cut of profits.

Who owns the mineral rights to the property?

It depends on n fee simple estates or total property ownership scenarios. For example, the surface rights and the mineral rights of a property will share the same owner. How about the large, desolate oil fields of some of the United States plains? Surface rights and mineral rights are now often due to division between multiple owners in a split estate.

Legally, surface rights owners must adhere to the reasonable demand of mineral rights owners. This is in order to explore and produce valuable subsurface resources. Surface-right owners can receive incentive to sell the portion of the property. They benefit from the process with ongoing mineral royalties.

What happens if you don’t own mineral rights to your property?

Typically, nothing will happen if you don’t own mineral rights to your property. Although the subsurface of your property may be being traded or sold among changing owners unbeknownst to you. It is very unlikely that a split estate will require the input of the landowner unless drilling were to begin.

In cities and suburbs across the country, most landowners should not be concerned about this. Whether or not they own mineral rights to their property is not an issue.

Can you own mineral rights but not the land?

Yes. That is if you would like to retain your mineral rights ownership after the sale of land. It’s just that your efforts must be reflected in the contract. Legally, it is best to work with a mineral rights broker in case of any issues. However, the process of retaining mineral rights is very simple.

How do you keep mineral rights when selling the property?

Essentially, all that needs to be included in your contract is a declaration of your mineral rights retainment. So long as both you and the new buyer have agreed on and signed with these terms, then your mineral rights will not transfer with the property and will legally remain in your possession.

Just an additional tip, why not get a mineral rights broker? A mineral rights broker. These brokers spent significant money building out platforms to provide you with an estimate of mineral rights value. The valuations they provide are based on the reserve value of your mineral rights.

Additionally, mineral rights management is also helpful in the long run. Are you evaluating development opportunities or divestitures? Managing existing production or planning to protect and transfer your mineral rights to future generations? There are experts who can provide the insight you need to navigate this evolving industry. This is how beneficial mineral rights management is.


In many ways, mineral rights owners never really experience true mineral ownership. As the resources either sit below the earth or are extracted and sold off-site. It is technically possible to drill for oil and gold for our own personal consumption. Moreover, most mineral rights owners will enter into mineral lease agreements. This is to best receive compensation for their subterranean assets.

If you have further questions about mineral rights ownership, reach out to us here.

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