§55-12A-4. When court may appoint special commissioner; persons
authorized to institute proceedings.
(a) If the title to any mineral interest is vested in an
unknown or missing owner or an abandoning owner and it is proved
that the development of the minerals would be advantageous to a
prudent owner, and if it appears that the development of the
minerals furthers the public policy stated in section one of this
article, the circuit court of the county having jurisdiction under
section three of this article shall have the power to appoint a
special commissioner and authorize the special commissioner to
sell, execute and deliver a valid lease of the mineral interest on
terms and conditions customary in the area for the mineral interest
to be leased. The lease shall continue in full force and effect so
long as there are operations under its terms unless the lease has
previously expired by its own terms.
(b) A petition to the circuit court for the appointment of a
special commissioner may be instituted by any person who is:
(1) Vested with an interest in fee in the surface estate
overlying the particular minerals sought to be developed; or
(2) Vested with an interest in fee in the particular minerals
sought to be developed; or
(3) The lessee or the assignee or successor to the lessee,
under a valid and subsisting mineral lease, the lessor of which is
a person entitled to file a petition by reason of subdivision (2)
of this subsection.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2016 Regular Session
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