Non-Precious Surface Minerals

Non-Precious Surface Minerals for sale within our site and market are defined as rocks and stone that you might find at the landscape supply yard. Please be aware that throughout the years, as with water, ownership has occasionally been challenged in court between the Land owner and if different, the Mineral owner. It is part of the US L&M, LLC value proposition to educate both the sellers and buyers of current market trends and possible issues regarding a lease or sale opportunity. Attached below are a few past cases involving disputes between surface and mineral owners:

US Land and Minerals

Granite, Limestone, Gravel, Sand, Water, Etc. There are various statutory definitions of "minerals". In Texas Property Code Section 75.001,the definition is: “Mineral" means oil, gas, uranium, sulphur, lignite, coal, and any other substance that is ordinarily and naturally considered a mineral in this state, regardless of the depth at which the oil, gas, uranium, sulphur, lignite, coal, or other substance is found.

This chapter of the Property Code pertains to the unclaimed property fund and thus the legislative intent on making a broader definition was to provide the Comptroller with a single definition for purposes of dealing with and providing forms/applications which could be used by owners of proceeds on mineral production to reclaim any proceeds which may have been paid into the unclaimed property fund. In this context,it makes little difference as to whether the proceeds are on uranium, coal or oil or gas.

In Texas Natural Resources Code Section 131.004, the definition i is: "Minerals" means uranium and uranium ore. This chapter deals with surface uranium mining and reclamation so it was not important to include other substances in the definition which might commonly be known as minerals. Therefore, it is important not to consider the statutory definition under one code chapter as being generally applicable. Texas courts have not done so, but have instead decided on a substance by substance basis, what is,in the absence of express language, meant and included within the scope of the term "other minerals."

Limestone

In Heinatz v. Allen, 217 S.W.2d 994 (Tex. 1949), the Supreme Court was faced with a severance of the surface and mineral estates pursuant to a will, where "the surface rights exclusive of the mineral rights" were devised to one beneficiary and "the mineral rights" were devised to another beneficiary. The heir who obtained the mineral rights entered the property and began to quarry limestone. The surface owner objected and filed suit, claiming that limestone could not be considered a mineral for the purpose of the devise and, therefore, it belonged to the surface estate. In addressing ownership issues, the Court stated: In our opinion substances such as sand, gravel and limestone are not minerals within the ordinary and natural meaning of the word unless they are rare and exceptional in character or possess a peculiar property giving them special value, as for example sand that is valuable for making glass and limestone of such quality that it may profitably be manufactured into cement. Such substances, when they are useful only for building and road-making purposes, are not regarded as minerals in the ordinary and generally accepted meaning of the word.

827 S.W.2d 811 (Tex. 1991), the Supreme Court confirmed that its ruling in Moser had held that, as a matter of law, limestone is not a mineral but was instead part of the surface estate.

Water

In Sun Oil Co. v. Whitaker, 483 S.W.2d 808 (Tex. 1972) the Court upheld a prior court of appeal holding that fresh water was not included in the mineral estate pursuant to a reservation of "oil, gas, and other minerals".

Solid Sulphur Deposits

Union Sulphur Co. v. Texas Gulf Sulphur Co., 42 S.W.2d 182 (Tex.Civ.App. ? Austin 1931, writ ref'd) was mentioned in Moser as standing for the proposition that solid sulphur deposits are part of the mineral estate. However, the issue of sulphur when produced by itself, as opposed to sulphur produced in conjunction with oil and/or gas, would now probably be controlled by the Acker, Reed and Reed II tests.

Gravel and Sand

Praeletorian Diamond Oil Ass'n v. Garvey, 15 S.W.2d 698 (Tex. Civ. App.-Beaumont 1929,writ ref'd) held that gravel and sand are not included in or covered by a lease of the oil, gas and "other minerals".

Granite

In Wilderness Cove, Ltd. v. Cold Spring Granite Co., 62 S.W.3d 844 (Tex. App.-Austin 2001,no pet.), the Austin appellate court was faced with construing an 1890 deed to the Texas Capitol Granite Company where the grantors had conveyed "all of our interest in and to the Granite on the land together with the necessary right of way to the extent of our interest in the same for constructing a Rail Road and for quarrying and handling the said Granite.” The Wilderness Cove Court held that the grantee of the granite rights had ownership paramount to that of the surface owner and that the granite rights owner had the right to destroy the surface to retrieve the granite. Wilderness Cove does not stand, however, for the proposition that granite is a mineral as a matter of law, despite its finding that the granite met the Heinatz rare/exceptional qualities test: . . . the granite located on the Property does possess rare and exceptional characteristics that give it special value. The extraordinary prices paid for the granite interest in the 1890s demonstrate its value because only Burnet County, Texas, red granite was used in building the capitol building in Austin. Instead, it stands for the proposition that if a substance or substances are specifically included in a reservation or conveyance, then the courts will characterize ownership of the substance based upon the terms of the reservation or conveyance. Plainsman Trading Co. v. Crews, 898 S.W.2d 786, 789-790 (Tex. 1995) also recognizes that surface estate "minerals" can be provided different treatment as long as express language is used: This is not to say that surface owners such as the Crewses could not, by the use of express language, create a non-participating royalty interest in some valuable substance belonging to the surface owners which under other definitional constructs would be called a mineral.