Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Does the mineral rights owner own the plain old rocks, too?

The Charlottesville paper had this interesting story, which says in part:

"In Tennessee, a mineral-rights owner has declared common rocks as his property and intends to harvest them although the owner of the land objects. The landowner and his neighbors are fighting the precedent in court.

The case might have implications for those parts of Virginia where mining and mineral rights have a history.

. . .

But coal mining is no longer a major force in the region north of Chattanooga, Tenn., where Ed Lewis lives. So Mr. Lewis never expected that anyone would exercise an option on the mineral rights on his property.

But the former owner retained those rights and now claims that the rocks on the property are his to be mined.

It’s not coal that he wants, but a newly fashionable form of resource wealth: building stone. Sandstone, flagstone, fieldstone have become popular for building or decorating fireplaces, walls, fences. Tennessee stone is now shipped all over the country."

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