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Acquisition of Mining and Mine-Related Rights Through Eminent Domain

Urban L. Roth, Proceedings of 27th Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute (1981)

This country's and the world's appetites for consumer goods and services places greater pressures upon mining companies to provide the raw materials required to satisfy those appetites. Unfortunately, geological accidents dictate where the minerals can be found and thus exploited. Original estimates as to the geographical location of an ore body require modification and may dictate expanding into lands not owned by the mine operator. Expansion may require importation of resource constituents such as water, electricity, or transportation facilities over non-owned lands. In that situation, the miner must either negotiate with the landowner, forego expansion and development, or seek to acquire the property through exercisingwhere extantthe power of eminent domain. It is this last method of acquisitionthe power of eminent domainwith some of the concommitant problems and obstacles to its exercise which will be discussed in this paper.1