Commentary

6 Surface owners and mines and minerals

MINES, MINERALS AND LANDFILL vol 26(3)
| Commentary

6 Surface owners and mines and minerals

| Commentary

6 Surface owners and mines and minerals

At common law, unworked mines and minerals are the property of the surface owner through the presumption of ownership of all below the surface down to the centre of the earth1. There is case law to support the proposition that this also applies where title to the surface has been acquired by prescription2.

This established principle has recently been reaffirmed by the Supreme Court in the case of Bocardo SA v Star Energy Onshore Limited3. The court held that ‘the best view is that the owner of the surface of land owns the strata

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