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Drafting Leases and Other Documents Relating to Development of Western Coal

Bruce L. Ennis, Proceedings of 21st Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute (1975)

This paper will discuss but a few of the many important considerations facing attorneys called upon to draft leases and other documents relating to mining coal in Montana by surface methods. In choosing the areas of drafting to discuss I have not been motivated entirely by caprice. Rather I have attempted to draw attention to those areas of drafting which have been most significantly affected by the legal and practical turmoil in which the industry finds itself today. While the focus of this paper is on Montana, it should be useful to those of you interested in coal properties in other states for many of the considerations peculiar to development of strip mining in Montana are or will become common to other areas in which mining by this method is indicated. And, if that is not true we can rely on the fact that Montana has a big hunk of coal with which a good number of you may become involved in the not too distant future.

For those of you who are interested in a more scholarly treatment of coal leases than I will attempt, I direct your attention to the American Law of Mining.1 There, Mr. Donley covers, in detail, the various provisions of a well drafted coal lease and provides a useful set of forms.2 [94] For those of you interested in the income tax implications of documents which I will discuss I recommend Peter Maxfield's Income Taxation of Mining Operations.3