Mineral Interest: Understanding Houston, TX Mineral Rights Laws

June 12, 2023

Mineral interest has grown more and more over the last couple of centuries. Back in the 1800s, people went out to California just to go look for gold underground. 

Owning the right property could mean sitting on a goldmine. In the United States alone, the mining industry is worth over $1 trillion

If you are looking to get involved with mineral rights, you need to understand the mineral rights laws in Texas. What are the biggest laws that you need to know before going into this? 

This is your guide. 

Surface Estate and Mineral Estate

When it comes to mineral rights, you need to understand what you are buying on that property. Sometimes, landowners split property rights between surface ownership and mineral estate

The mineral estate is when you have rights to anything that you find underground on that piece of property. That means you have the right to dig up on that property and keep anything you find. That can include oil, gold, silver, and other valuable minerals. 

However, this is a separate thing from surface ownership. When a land owner sells you surface estate, it means that you only have control of anything aboveground. This can be anything from your home to other ways you want to make money off of the property that is strictly aboveground. 

It is crucial to understand that these two rights can be split up. The last thing you want to do is buy the property and then realize that you have no mineral rights. 

When you buy these two things together, that can be called a conjoined estate. 

Complications of Sharing Property

Unfortunately, not every landowner is willing to sell these two together. If you just want one of these things and then share the property with the other estate owner, it can get complicated. 

Let’s say that you are solely interested in the mineral rights to a property. You buy this while someone else buys surface ownership. 

However, they can be using chemicals for a business on the surface that can jeopardize the value of the minerals you presume to be underground on that property. 

If there are no clear rules and regulations on what surface owners and mineral rights holders can do on the same property, then complications can arise. It is best to try to discuss this at the time when these two rights get separated. 

Hire a Mineral Interest Lawyer 

Sometimes, handling mineral interest matters can take more than a discussion. You may need a mineral rights lawyer to help solve issues like the above that you could run into. 

A lawyer can help you sit down with a surface estate owner and try to garner a contract between you two. This can go over how you can benefit from the property together. 

You could need a lawyer simply for the paperwork and to understand the exact rights you have with the land you want to buy. 

Do you need representation? Get a free case review here.

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