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A Survey of Problems Associated With Ascertaining the Ownership of “Other Minerals”

Lin Patterson, Proceedings of 25th Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute (1979)

In April of this year, a landman who is present today, realizing that I was preparing a paper involving the subject of other minerals, sent me a beautiful picture of a large yellow sign taken a short distance from Murphy, Idaho. There was nothing particularly unusual about the sign except for the message it conveyed. The sign simply stated in rather large black letters, DangerWatch Out For White Horses During Snow Storms. This language didn't mean too much to me at the time due to the fact that I had never traveled in Idaho where it is not unusual for wild mustangs to cross public highways. However, upon reflecting on the sign it became more apparent to me that the language boldly set forth was, no doubt, intended unambiguously to forewarn me of impending danger in attemting to author a paper surveying the problems associated with the ascertainment of the ownership of other minerals. The sign now hangs prominently in my office as a constant reminder of the difficulties associated with this topic and also matters pertaining to the practice of oil, gas and other mineral law.

This paper will make no attempt to analyze with particularity the myriad of different phrases used by lawyers and others to grant, convey, lease, reserve or except all or a portion of named or unnamed minerals within an instrument.1 [21-2] To do so would be impractical within the scope of this topic,