Law of the Apex Law and Legal Definition

Law of the apex is a provision or a term related to mining law. It refers to the principle that title to a given tract of mineral land, with defined mining rights, goes to the individual who locates the surface covering the outcrop or apex.

The General Mining Act of 1872 granted extralateral rights to owners of lode claims. This gave the owners of the surface outcrop of a vein the right to follow and mine the vein wherever it led. They had the right to mine the vein even if its subsurface extension continued beneath other mining claims. This provision known as the law of the apex led to lengthy litigation and underground battles in some jurisdictions.