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Understanding the Mineral Deed

Updated: Dec 8, 2023

photograph of hands signing a paper with text overlay 'Understanding the Mineral Deed'

What is a Mineral Rights Deed?

A mineral deed form is a legal document, regarding the ownership of the minerals below the surface of the earth. It is important to understand that surface rights and mineral rights, on the same piece of land, can be owned by different parties. A mineral rights deed does not discuss title to surface land or structures on the land, unless it is actually a warranty or quitclaim deed.

The mineral rights deed will, however, explain provisions allowing the mineral owner reasonable access to the surface land in order to develop the minerals. Mineral owners have legal rights to extract and sell their minerals, with or without the use of third-party companies. They receive a percentage of the income generated from the sale of those minerals, in peroration to their ownership. If a lease expires the ownership remains with the mineral owner.

Mineral rights deeds are not the same as royalty deeds. Royalty deeds do not allow for surface access, or for the initiation of the extraction and sale of minerals. A royalty owner will only benefit economically if the mineral owner decides to produce and sell the minerals.

Reading the Deed

Reading through the legal paperwork, to determine what you actually own, can be a daunting task.

The first step is acquiring the mineral rights deed form. If you do not have a deed, but own mineral rights, visit the Recorders office in the county where the acreage resides. This is the best place to search for the deed, or deeds. If you are unsure if you own mineral rights, you should also contact the county clerk in the county where you believe your minerals are located.

Deeds are written and arranged in a variety of different ways. Some are very specific, and others can be very vague. This presents challenges to mineral owners once they start reading the deed.

View a sample mineral deed here:

Download PDF • 213KB

A Deed Decoded

To explain some common verbiage found in mineral and royalty deed forms, The LandGate team created a sample deed and decoded what is written.

Read Mineral Deed
Download PDF • 291KB

The first paragraph of this mineral rights deed has all of the critical information. It answers all the “W” questions; who the seller is, who the buyer is, what minerals are being sold, where the minerals are located and when the sale will be effective.

If you are struggling with an overly complex or overly vague deed, just focus on finding two pieces of key information 1) name of Grantor/ Seller and 2) location of the property. With these two pieces of information, an industry professional will be able to find the rest of the information in the county public records.

For those looking in Denver, for example, check out this video by the County on how to search public records online.

If you are interested in selling or leasing mineral rights, LandGate can help. Mineral Owners can list their mineral rights for lease or for sale for free on our online marketplace. It starts by generating your free property report with lease and sale estimates on our map:


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