Mines and minerals—landowners' issues
Mines and minerals—landowners' issues

The following Property practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Mines and minerals—landowners' issues
  • Who owns the mines and minerals?
  • HM Land Registry indemnity
  • Trespass and damages
  • Severance
  • Registration of rights to mines and minerals
  • Separate title
  • Overriding interests—manorial right to minerals in copyhold land
  • Trespass by surface landowner

Who owns the mines and minerals?

The common law presumption is that a landowner owns everything below the surface down to the centre of the earth. Unworked mines and minerals are the property of the surface owner.

HM Land Registry indemnity

However, no statutory indemnity (applicable to persons suffering loss by reason of errors or omissions in the register) is payable by HM Land Registry in respect of mines and minerals unless there is a specific note in the register that title to them is included.

If evidence is found that the title to the mines and minerals is in fact included with the title to the surface land then it is advisable to submit an application to register this at HM Land Registry. The registrar requires satisfactory proof of title to the mines and minerals. More detail is included in HM Land Registry Practice Guide 65 – Registration of mines and minerals.

Trespass and damages

Trespass is trespass at whatever depth it occurs, but damages for trespass at depth are likely to be nominal. In Star Energy, the Supreme Court held that the drilling of oil wells pursuant to a statutory licence was an actionable trespass where the oil company had not acquired the ancillary rights necessary to win the petroleum. Despite this, as compulsory purchase principles applied to the assessment of damages (rather than damages bases on the

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