Q: I'm thinking of buying some land. Someone else owns the mineral rights. Can they drill on my land as much as they want?
New Mexico and Arizona Land Company v. Elkins, 137 F. Supp. 767 (D.N.M. 1956) - not sure if this says they can destroy the surface in the mining effort but it seems that's what this decision is saying. Why do they get to operate at will on the surface to take minerals/oil? Doesn't that invalidate any right the owners of the surface of the land (the ones paying the property taxes) have to control and operate on the land?
A: In areas where mineral exploitation is common, the mineral owner might choose to exercise his rights to access and mine the minerals owned. The landowner is protected by state and local laws regulating the period of drilling or the depth of excavation. To evaluate a potential investment, consult a lawyer in your area experienced in mineral law. Good luck.
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