What Are “Mineral Rights?”

Did you know the US is one of two countries worldwide that allow private individuals to own mineral rights? That’s a big deal! It means organizations or individuals can explore for, extract, and sell a mineral commodity without authorization from the government. Mineral rights represent the ownership of underground resources like oil, natural gas, gold, silver, copper, iron or uranium. Mineral rights are often severed from the surface rights (called a “split estate”), which give the owner the right to improve upon or sell the surface of a tract of land. If severed, the mineral rights are known as the dominant estate, meaning the mineral owner has the right to use the surface of the land to explore for and produce minerals.