The Law Governing Mining Damage
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The concept of mining damage was unknown in the ore-mining activities of former times, which tended to take place in wooded hills away from closed townships. In those times, in most countries, the right to win minerals rested with the sovereign alone, who in return for a fixed share of production — the “tithe” — accorded the deposit and the necessary land surface above it to the mining undertaker to exploit. In the nineteenth century, the increasing spread of coal-mining in flat country away from the hills was opposed in Germany from the first by many owners of land, who regarded the mining undertaker as an intruder into their land, which belonged to them, as they supposed, not only at the surface but also downwards. This was their attitude even though the principle of freedom to mine had prevailed in Central Europe since the Middle Ages — a principle which precluded any rights of disposal over minerals by the land-owner and accorded those rights, on request, to the finder (by concession). In addition there was the fact that coal-mining, in following dipping seams, was being extended over an ever greater area of land which, because of the relative instability of the underlying strata, was finding itself lowered by several metres. The damage caused thereby to buildings or to agriculture led land-owners to demand compensation from the mining undertakers.
KeywordsGround Movement Mining Subsidence Mining Damage Full Compensation Legal Relationship
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