If you live on a farm or if your home is on a large piece of property and is in an area that has been designated as a site of historic mineral development or if it is believed that the area can be a sight for potential mineral development, then it may be in your best interest to contact a mineral company.
Also, know as a royalty company, the business may be interested in exploring, excavating or mining under your property. The mineral royalty company can buy or lease the right to do so while you maintain ownership of the land. You will then get money both for the rights and royalty fees when the minerals are mined.
A mineral is defined as coal, gemstone, ores of metal, salt, and other materials that come from the ground. The definition changes from place to place and over time. As a land owner, you own the rights to the air above your land and to whatever is below the land, as well. However, if you do not know how to get the minerals above ground or will not do so, then you have the rights to and you may want to sell those rights to do so to someone who can and will. Since local laws vary, be sure to check those before signing anything.
While this money can come in handy when paying bills or going on vacation, be aware that you have to live with the work being done on the land. However, you can have it written into the contract that some of the land is not allowed to be touched. In addition, you can stipulate guidelines to protect yourself, your crops and livestock, and your home while the area is excavated or mined. Therefore, it is in your best interest to have an attorney look over any documents before you sign them to ensure it is in your best interest to sign them.
Another thing you should be aware of if your home or farm is in a mineral rich area is whether or not a former owner signed an agreement with a royalty company. If it was not specified when you purchased the land or the home, you may want to do a deed search. Mineral royalty companies often sign deals for the future excavation of the property and may not start immediately. If the contract was signed before you took ownership, there may not be much you can do as long as the mineral owner abides by the laws and the original agreement. These records are public documents and can be found in most government offices as well as online. Be aware that these records are kept separate from real estate transactions.
Do not be enamored by the money being offered. As with any legal agreement, it is best to contact an attorney and financial advisor to ensure that you are doing the right thing for you and your family before you sign anything.