Mineral ownership

The legal possession and the right to win, work and recover specific minerals or resources from beneath the surface of a parcel of land.

Ownership types

While Alberta has surface rights owners and mineral rights owners, some individuals or organizations may own rights to both. Surface rights owners own the surface and substances such as sand and gravel, but not the minerals. The company or individual who owns the mineral rights owns all mineral substances found on and under the property. There are often different surface and mineral owners on the same land. The mineral owner has the right to explore for and recover the minerals but at the same time must do this in a reasonable manner so as to not significantly affect use of the surface. Mineral ownership is defined in detail in the Mines and Minerals Act, and its associated regulations. Mineral rights are registered in accordance with the Land Titles Act.

Ownership in Alberta

The Crown owns 81% of the mineral rights (approximately 53.7 million hectares of land).

Non-Crown mineral rights today (approximately 19% of Alberta's lands) are the result of the following types of historical grants, acts, or regulations:

Category (Original Grantee)Area (hectares)% of the Province
Federal (National Parks, Indigenous)6,093,221.509.20%
Companies (CPR, CN Rail, HBC...)4,825,939.257.28%
Private individuals (homesteaders*)361,325.360.55%
Non-Crown Minerals total12,608,676.5419.03%

* Homesteaders or Freehold Landowners have the responsibility to pay Freehold Mineral Tax on revenue derived from production.

More information and the history of mineral ownership:

Determining ownership

To find out who owns mineral rights, you can get a land title search by;

To find out who owns Surface rights

Mineral Accretion Application Process

Receding water can transform your landscape, this is also known as mineral accretion. You can apply to have your title amended.

Accretion is a gradual natural process of permanent recession of a water body resulting in transformation of landscape from a bed and shore to dry upland. Under the section 89 of the Land Titles Act, any riparian owner (owner whose parcel is adjacent to a body of water or a stream) might apply to have their title amended.

To apply to amend a title description

Step 1.

Fill out and file the Accretion Application form A found within the Service Alberta Land Titles Procedures Manual, Surveys - Natural Boundary changes (SUR 12)

  • If approved, Mineral Accretion Application restriction is temporarily placed on the applied lands and Energy confirms the actual accretion on the surface occurred with Water Boundaries.

Step 2.

If the accretion process is not complete i.e. some of the water body still remains in the area, a Registered Survey plan may be required.

Step 3.

Consent of the impacted lessee(s) is required (if there is any active mineral tenure).

Step 4.

Successful applicants will obtain a Crown consent letter (drafted in collaboration with the department's legal services) describing the accreted lands to be added to their title.

Step 5.

Amendment to applicant’s Mineral Certificate of Title is handled by Land Titles.

Step 6.

Any impacted mineral tenure (leases and licenses) will be amended as a result.


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