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Assignment Provisions in Mining Agreements

Richard K. Sager, Jeanne Henderson, Proceedings of 27th Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute (1981)

The lack of a separate body of law recognizing the unique nature of mining agreements is nowhere more apparent than in attempting to determine the effect of an assignment or an assignment provision of a mining agreement. The agreements, including the boilerplate assignment provision routinely inserted as one of the final paragraphs, unavoidably lack uniformity due to the great diversity of situations for which the agreements are used. Because of this lack of uniformity among mining agreements and the resulting lack of a separate body of mining agreement law, the courts have supported their decisions involving the assignment of mining agreements through reference to a multitude of related areas, including general contract law, property law, landlord-tenant law, oil and gas law, vendor-purchaser law, and combinations of these well-developed general areas of law. Because of the immensity of the subject matter caused by the courts' reliance upon so many related areas, this discussion can attempt only to provide an overview and review of the general law to which the courts have turned in determining the effects of assignment provisions in mining agreements.

The only definitive conclusion which is apparent from this overview is that attention to the assignment provision in the negotiation and drafting stage will avoid most of the problems and inconsistencies discussed herei