The subject of mineral rights is a complex one. The fact that you buy a piece of land for sale does not mean that you are necessarily purchasing mineral rights. There are actually several ways mineral rights can be bought and owned.
1. Fee Simple
In fee simple land and property deals, the entire property is transferred to the new owner. That includes everything below the surface of the ground (including mineral rights), on the surface (including buildings), and the air above the land. If you buy land for sale in a fee simple arrangement, you get the mineral rights. Then, it is up to you whether to keep the mineral rights or sell them.
2. Buying Mineral Rights Only, to Use
If you see a plot of land for sale that has buildings you do not want, you might not want the surface level of the land. However, you might want to mine the minerals or tap the oil or natural gas. You can make a deal with the owner of the property to buy just the mineral rights. You will be allowed enough surface land in the transaction to access the mineral rights. You can also negotiate for easements of land to use to transport the minerals out from your mine or rig.
3. Buying Mineral Rights Only, to Sell
One very lucrative transaction in the mineral rights arena is buying mineral rights with the purpose of reselling them. This you can do by striking a deal with the owner of the land for sale in which you put up a small amount of money to buy the option to purchase the mineral rights within a certain time frame.
Then, you quickly find a company or individual who deals in minerals, oil or natural gas and present them with an offer. As soon as you sell them on the idea, you essentially broker the deal and act as a middleman between the seller of the mineral rights and the person whose company will mine there. You make your profit and move on to the next deal.
Mineral rights can make you profits easily if you know what you have. Whether you want to keep the mineral rights or not, you need to know they are yours before you can profit from them. Always check any land for sale before you buy it to make sure you know whether you are purchasing mineral rights along with the surface land.