Known as the "Treasure State," Montana boasts a wealth of minerals that's spectacular. The value of minerals rights varies greatly across the state: Montana mineral rights produce gold, copper and a diversity of hydrocarbon products, including coal, natural gas and crude oil. Mineral rights are considered real property and are bought and sold using the same methods as those used to buy and sell real property. Mineral rights are acquired by purchasing them from the owner or by renting or leasing them from the state or federal government.
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Use a plat map to determine the legal description of the property in question. Call the county treasurer in the county in which the property is located. Provide the clerk with the legal description of the property. The county clerk's office will research the property's ownership and, for a small fee, provide you with a copy of the property deed. The ownership information on the deed will supply the contact information for the owners of the mineral and surface rights.
Examine the title of the property. Determine if the land in question is a split estate, which occurs when one individual or company owns the surface rights and another owns the mineral rights to a piece of property. Montana landowners should be aware of the mineral rights on their land. It's possible that someone else owns the right to explore for minerals, oil or gas below the surface. In Montana, mineral rights take precedence over surface rights. If the owner of the mineral rights wishes to explore for oil, gas or a mineral deposit, the owner of the surface of the land can't stop such exploration.
Contact the owner and inquire if the mineral rights for the property are for sale.
Contact the Montana Land and Mineral Owners Association (MLMOA) to locate a list of Montana mineral rights for sale. The nonprofit MLMOA promotes working relationships between individuals and companies engaged in exploration and development of the mineral resources, and the respective mineral- and landowners. The MLMOA advises its members on leasing activity, mineral rights sales, state and federal legislation, and tax and regulatory developments in Montana.
Contact the Billings, Montana, office of the United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for federal public lands that are open to mineral entry. Prospectors locating an available claim can file a claim application with the BLM for locatable minerals.