Mineral rights are ownership rights that permit the owner the right to the value of minerals that exist below the surface of the property. These minerals may include oil, gold, silver, natural gas, coal, iron, copper, aluminum, and rare earth elements, such as lithium which is used in batteries. They generally do not include gravel, sand, limestone, and subsurface water.
Mineral rights can be separate from surface rights and are not always owned by the property owner.
Owners of mineral rights can exploit the minerals, or they can sell the rights to private investors or companies. When sold, the sellers can accept payment in the form of a one-time payment, lease, or royalties. The transfer of mineral rights mayor may not expire depending on the agreement.
When someone buys mineral rights for a property they do not own, it is called a severed estate.