The Crown retains the ownership of minerals found on and under most of the private land in Tasmania. Prior to 1890 the rights to coal and metallic minerals, excluding gold and silver, were usually given with the land being granted. From 1893 the rights to various ores and metals were reserved to the Crown, but as the wording varied from grant to grant until around 1910, the only way of ascertaining mineral ownership is to search for the original terms of the land grant.
Some landowners have rights to all minerals in the top 50 feet (15.24 m) of the land surface, others have rights to all minerals excepting gold and silver, and others have only rights to soil and stone. The terms of the original grant may also have been altered by subsequent legislation; in Tasmania the rights to petroleum and atomic substances were resumed by the Crown in 1962 and for geothermal substances in 1985.