This answer is written by AI. The information provided in this response is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice. Do not rely solely on the information provided in this response for any legal decisions. Consult with a qualified legal professional before making any decisions.

How Can I Retain Mining Rights When Selling Land?

Question from Nick, How Can I Retain Mining Rights When Selling Land?

Answer from AI:

When you’re looking to sell a piece of land but want to retain certain rights, such as coal mining rights, you’ll need to create a specific type of legal document. This process involves separating the surface rights of the land from the subsurface rights, which can include minerals like coal.

Understanding Surface and Subsurface Rights

In the United States, land ownership can be divided into two categories:

  • Surface Rights: These are the rights to use the surface of the land for residential, agricultural, commercial, or other purposes.
  • Subsurface Rights (Mineral Rights): These include the rights to the natural resources located beneath the surface of the land, such as coal, oil, natural gas, and precious metals.

Legal Documents for Retaining Mining Rights

To retain your coal mining rights while selling the land, you would typically draft and record a Deed with Reserved Mineral Rights. This deed will transfer ownership of the surface land to the buyer while reserving the mineral rights for yourself for a specified period.

Steps to Retain Mining Rights

  1. Consult with a Real Estate Attorney: It’s crucial to get legal advice from an attorney who specializes in real estate and mineral rights to ensure that the deed is drafted correctly and that your rights are protected.
  2. Draft the Deed: The attorney will draft a deed that clearly states your intention to retain the coal mining rights for the next three years. This should include specific language regarding the rights being reserved and any conditions or limitations.
  3. Include a Reservation Clause: The deed should contain a reservation clause that explicitly reserves the mineral rights to you, the seller, for the specified period.
  4. Record the Deed: Once the deed is signed by both parties, it must be recorded with the county recorder’s office where the property is located. This makes the deed a matter of public record and notifies any future buyers of the property about your retained rights.

Additional Considerations

  • Duration of Rights: Be clear about the time frame for which you are retaining the rights. After three years, unless otherwise specified, the rights may revert to the landowner.
  • Access to the Land: You may need to negotiate access to the land for the purpose of mining. This should be addressed in the deed or a separate agreement.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Ensure that your mining operations comply with all local, state, and federal regulations, including obtaining any necessary permits.
  • Tax Implications: Retaining mineral rights can have tax implications. Consult with a tax advisor to understand the potential impact on your taxes.


Retaining coal mining rights while selling land requires careful legal documentation. A deed with reserved mineral rights is the typical document used to secure these rights. It is highly recommended to work with a legal professional to ensure that your interests are fully protected and that all legal requirements are met. For more information on mineral rights and real estate transactions, you can refer to resources such as the Bureau of Land Management or state-specific guidelines.

Remember, this information is general in nature and should not be construed as legal advice. For personalized guidance, please consult with a real estate attorney who is knowledgeable about mineral rights in your jurisdiction.

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