In Idaho, especially North Idaho, there has always been some
confusion among Buyers over Mineral Rights, what properties
come with them, and come without them. Here is what I know,
and what I think is the reality of them.
In this State, Realtors use forms that are made by the
State of Idahos Real Estate Commission. The one used
for a sale of a home is an RE-21, Real Estate Purchase
and Sale Agreement. On page 2, item 6, it specifically
Mineral Rights: Any and all Mineral Rights appurtenant
to the property are included in and part of the sale of
this property unless otherwise agreed to by the parties
Simple, all properties come with Mineral Rights, right?
Heres the rest of the story:
When you buy a property in Idaho, any property, its
not the Real Estate Commission or anyone else who guarantees
your purchase, the guarantor is the Title Company you use,
in the form of Preliminary Commitment for Title Insurance.
So, you buy 10 acres, and IF you use a Title Company &
buy Title Insurance (in this State the Seller typically
pays for it & all of my Buyers will use a Title Co)
than the Title company insures the validity of the transaction,
meaning that they guarantee that what you are buying is
what you think you are buying, and that it is lien free,
and that any rights will go with it. Following
Good, now, the big surprise:
NO Title Company in Idaho will guarantee the mineral rights
on any property in this State, completely. Sounds terrible,
Heres where a little history is helpful, I think.
In Idaho, we have a few spots where Gold & Silver were
found in abundance, and over time, people claimed rights
to the properties Mineral Rights, and reserved them
unto themselves when they sold some of these properties.
An example, so you understand how this worked:
Bob bought 100 acres in 1904, sold it in 1911, & reserved
himself the rights to the minerals on the property in perpetuity
Our gold rush & silver rush in North Idaho were all
located in & above the Silver Valley, east of Coeur
dAlene. In those areas, large deposits of both Gold
(The Empire State building in New York, built with gold
from the Guggenheim Familys dredge in the Silver Valley)
and silver were found & have been mined for a hundred
years or so. Over that time frame, in many of those areas,
mineral rights have been reserved by people on parcels of
land that they owned.
Also, in Bonners Ferry, where Mr. Bonner became famous with
his Ferry, there are some properties that have mineral rights
reserved. The primary reason for this was that folks who were
going North to mine in British Columbias gold fields
came through Bonners Ferry, and some of them literally thought
that since gold was found just across the border in BC, it
MUST be here, too. So some of them claimed minerals, but none
of them found any
My conclusion -
Mineral Rights are not guaranteed on any property in Idaho.
there are no oil or natural gas mines here, and
the Silver & Gold are well known in terms of location,
like I said before, the Silver Valley, & Upper Coeur
dAlene River. Past that, there arent any minerals
TO mine for. Ive never seen or heard of anyone having
any issues over someone deciding that they were going to
exercise a mineral right.
For that matter, with the price of gold as high as it is,
companies that do mine for it have made a serious habit
out of buying property/s in the areas where it has proven
reserves. Every time Ive come across a property that
has a mineral right reserved, the company or people that
reserved it are either deceased or the company is closed,
and gone, most for 70 years or more.
On the Title Companies, the reason they dont reserve
rights is because in the past, especially early in the last
century, people would magically come out of the woodwork
with pieces of paper claiming a mineral right on a piece
of property, and the Title Companies had to fight it. Now,
they just dont guarantee the mineral rights, but in
reality it hasnt had any effect on any of the thousands
of people who own property here. If theres no gold
or silver, not too many people will want to mine it.
I think mineral rights are a huge issue in states where
a lot of minerals are to be found, oil in the Dakotas &
Texas, gas in many other parts of the country, for sure.
Fortunately, and in some ways unfortunately, in North Idaho,
we have few minerals, and the ones we do have are again,
well known in terms of location and quantity, making mineral
rights here a pretty insignificant issue.
Hope it helps-