But while it`s possible that someone is trying to mine minerals on your property, you should know that most mining rights holders (oil, gas, mining companies) will try to resolve a situation that minimizes disruption. You have this mineral legally and the right to extract it by interfering with the surface of your land. Since mineral rights holders are granted rights of such scope under Texas law, a surface owner`s best option is to contractually restrict those rights. The broadest contractual limitation is a surface waiver agreement whereby the owner of the mineral property waives the right to use the surface of the property on which the project is located. Mineral owners may not be inclined to sign such a broad restriction. To allay the concerns of mine owners, surface waiver agreements can be drafted not only to protect the solar developer, but also to allow the mine owner to develop the land vertically and by horizontal drilling and directed in places that do not affect the solar project. If these provisions are included, mineral owners may be more willing to sign the agreement. If it is not clear in the deed whether the mineral rights will be transferred, it is best to hire a title company to perform a mining rights search for you. If a solar developer is unable to secure a land waiver or accommodation agreement from mine owners and tenants, the solar developer may be able to rely on the doctrine of accommodation once the project is built, especially if a lot of time runs out. In addition, title insurance companies offer security endorsements that provide the solar developer and its lenders with some protection against the effects of oil and gas operations.
While the title insurance company may rely on the doctrine of accommodation in some cases, title insurance companies often require that surface waivers or accommodation arrangements be made for a significant percentage of mineral owners prior to the start of construction in order to issue the required endorsements with the title policy. In addition, obtaining a land waiver or accommodation agreement provides full protection to the solar developer as long as the developer follows the following steps to obtain the agreements, provided that there are no other unusual problems. If the solar developer is unable to obtain the necessary agreements, in some cases, the doctrine of accommodation may also be a viable option to protect as a solar project once it is built, if the solar developer meets the requirements of the hosting doctrine. An overview of the doctrine of accommodation will be discussed in a future blog post. * Beware of old abandoned equipment or potential contamination issues. If these types of problems exist, it could be a starting point for a discussion about the need for surface protection. If a surface owner is concerned about contamination or safety issues, they have the right to contact the Texas Railroad Commission and request an investigation/assessment of the situation. Knowing this, an oil and gas tenant may be more willing to work with a surface owner if these issues are present to avoid DRR involvement. However, if you`re reading this and thinking, “I have no idea if I own both the surface rights and the mineral rights to my land,” then you should start by looking at your mortgage and/or title deed. To better understand your property, start by looking at the details of your mortgage or title deed. The execution and examination of title (mineral title) is necessary to determine the ownership of minerals and royalties with some degree of confidence. Once the title has been reviewed by a professional oil and gas lawyer, you can determine if the mining rights have been cut off by a previous transfer.
Mineral owners may receive a monthly royalty check if oil, gas or other valuable substances are extracted below the surface and sold or used by an oil and gas company. Royalty statements include production and revenue figures for the individual owner and the entire well. The royalty paid is based on the net value of the proceeds from the sale of oil, gas or any other substance multiplied by the owner`s tax interests, less amounts deducted for taxes or other deductions.  Hello Christienne, thank you for your comment. Each state has slightly different rules regarding surface rights and mining rights, but in general, the holder of surface rights should have the right to dig or excavate a foundation to install utilities or buildings. Mining rights are property rights to exploit an area according to the minerals it hosts. Mining rights can be separated from land ownership (see The Split Estate). Mining rights can refer to sitting minerals that do not move below the earth`s surface, or liquid minerals such as oil or natural gas.  There are three main types of mining concession areas; unified assets, separate or shared assets, and partial ownership of minerals.
 If the land is used by the owner of the surface rights for timber, grain, grazing, etc., the tenant compensates the owner of the surface rights for the modified production capacity. In addition, these clauses often only come into effect if you hold both the surface rights and the mineral rights, unless the oil and gas company voluntarily agrees to a contract with you as the owner of the surface rights. Here, a percentage of the mineral property belongs to two or more companies. This can happen when landlords leave fractions of the rights to several children or grandchildren.  If you do not own both rights, it depends on the state if the holder of the mining rights has to negotiate a compensation agreement with you. If this makes you uncomfortable or doesn`t like having no control over the surface AND mining rights, it may be helpful to completely re-evaluate the purchase of the land. * Search for rental conditions. If there are already regulations on oil and gas leasing that require compensation or protection for the owner of the surface, this is ideal.
These provisions must be enforced and can provide the owner of the surface with a good starting point to demand appropriate compensation from the tenant. It is only important to remember that those who have mining rights have the right to come to your land and extract this mineral in the surface rights area. Mineral properties can be separated or separated from surface plots. There are two main ways to separate mining rights: surface ownership can be sold and minerals preserved, or minerals can be sold and surface property can be retained, although the former is more common.  When mining rights have been separated from surface rights (or property rights), this is referred to as “shared ownership”. In a divided area, the owner of the mining rights has the right to develop these minerals, regardless of who owns the surface rights. .