Who Owns Minerals Beneath the Surface of the Land ?
In Lillibridge v. Lackawanna Coal Company, 143 Pa. 293, 22 A. 1035, 29 Week. Notes Cas. 44 (1891), the Supreme Court stated:
"...we have emphatically decided that the coal or other mineral beneath the surface is land, and is attended with all the attributes and incidents peculiar to the ownership of land.
We have held the mineral to be a corporeal, and not an incorporeal hereditament; that the surface may be held in fee by one person; that the mineral also in fee by another person; that the mineral may be subject to taxation as land, and the surface to an independent taxation as land, when owned by a different person;...
In short, we have for nearly half a century as of 1891 judicially regarded the ownership of a mineral, where it has been properly severed from the surface, as the ownership of land, to all intents and purposes....
'Coal and mineral in place are land....' ...In other words, mines are lands, and subject to the same laws of possession and conveyance." Id. at 299, 22 A.2d at 1036.
Lillibridge relied on Caldwell v. Fulton, 31 Pa. 475, 72 Am. Dec. 760 (1858), in which our Supreme Court held that: "Coal and minerals in place are land."
Further, our Superior Court in Burke v. Kerr, 142 Pa. Super. 37, 15 A.2d 685, affirmed, 341 Pa. 304, 19 A.2d 382 (1941), held that the principles of law applicable to the mining of coal were applicable for the mining of limestone.