Mine or yours? The importance of mines and mineral ownership
When buying land or property you may not realise that you may also be acquiring the mines and minerals underneath the land or property, which could have the potential to be valuable.
Alternatively, you could be acquiring land or property from a seller which has had the mines and minerals excepted or reserved from the title and these mines and minerals are registered under a different title number, and owned by a third party.
From looking at the Land Registry title register of a property you may be able to tell whether you are the registered proprietor of the mines and minerals or whether they have been severed from the title and therefore belong to someone else. This could also be identified through a Land Registry search of the index map.
It is common when mines and minerals are severed from the title that additional ancillary rights are also granted to the mineral owner including the right to work the minerals. Without such rights there would be no way to access the minerals and extract them. It is therefore important to be aware of whether a third party has the ownership and the rights over the mines and minerals which lie underneath your property.
Being able to decipher the registered proprietor of the excepted mines and minerals is an important concept particularly if you are hoping to develop land. The foundations of the development could encroach on these rights reserved by the owner of the excepted mines and minerals and commit trespass potentially leading to injunctive action in respect of the development or a claim for damages. It also may be more difficult to obtain finance for the development of land with the mines and minerals excepted and reserved.
Depending on the ownership of the mines and minerals at your property, it may be sensible to obtain indemnity insurance to protect yourself against the risk of either encroaching the mines and minerals rights belonging to a third party, or to protect yourself against the third party exercising their right to work the mines and minerals underneath your land.
The Commercial Property team at Rollits can deal with enquiries about the ownership of mines and minerals. In particular, they can review title documentation and submit Land Registry searches to determine the ownership of the mines and minerals, the party with the right to work such mines and minerals, and any steps going forward to prevent any disputes.