New homeowners are losing out on potential gains from precious minerals located underneath properties.
Reuters launched a special report on a new phenomenon – one in which developers and homebuilders are silently keeping ownership of minerals located under various properties. This strategy allows firms to cash in on new drilling technologies, while preventing the new homeowners from taking a share.
The phenomenon is rooted in recent advances in extracting oil and gas from shale formations deep in the earth, fueling the biggest energy boom in modern U.S. history. Horizontal drilling and the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," have opened vast swaths of the continental United States to exploration.