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What is the Mineral Estate?

Holding “mineral rights” on a property, is defined to mean that the person owns the mineral content beneath the surface. Texas law dictates that mineral rights only refer to oil, gas, salt, uranium and sulfur. However, other minerals may be included in these rights if they are specifically named. The Mineral Estate owner must be automatically granted access to the property’s surface and they may use any reasonable means to locate and produce the minerals under the surface. Accordingly, the owner of the mineral rights may build a road, dig trenches, construct a well or perform other projects that may interfere with the ability of the owner of the surface rights to use their land as they choose. The ownership of the mineral estate can be separated (severed) from the surface estate. One person may own the rights to use the surface of a piece of property while another person has the right to use the minerals underneath the property. It is not uncommon for the mineral and surface estates to be separated when a landowner holding both the surface and minerals sells either the mineral estate or sells the surface estate.

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