If you've just found out you own mineral rights for some land, you may already be thinking about leasing the land to a drilling company for exploration. While this is a possible path, there are some issues you need to consider to ensure that seeking out a company yourself is the best way to go. Confounding the matter is the possibility that the land with your mineral rights doesn't actually contain resources.
Drilling is big and shows no sign of abating. If your land is located near areas where resources may be located, there is a chance that one day a drilling or mining company will knock at your door, offering to lease the land. But if you're not sure if there are any underground resources in the area, there's no guarantee that anyone will show interest.
For this reason, you should have a drilling company evaluate the land and possibly do a little exploratory drilling to see if there might be deposits. This is not full-scale drilling with a giant well, but the same type of drilling you might see done when companies want to evaluate land for building.
If it looks like your land may actually have resources that drilling companies would be interested in, you could try finding a company to lease the land and drill. Being proactive like this lets you be more prepared (psychologically and legally) before signing over drilling rights. However, depending on how far you are from other drilling sites and how much room there is on the land—full drilling equipment can take up some space—companies might not be interested, or they might offer lower rates. If you're more interested in just having someone lease the land so you can get some royalties, and you're not worried about getting an unusually large cut, actively seeking a drilling company could be worth it.
Waiting and Seeing
Another tactic is to wait and see. If a region seems like it could be productive, the drilling companies will eventually find it. If the drilling companies come to you, wanting to lease your land, you'd likely be in a better position to bargain and get a higher royalty percentage. But again, there's no guarantee that anyone would come by. If you're not concerned with waiting, though, and you'd rather hold out for a better financial reward, waiting could be better.
If you're now interested in starting the process to have the land explored and evaluated, contact a geotechnical drilling company (such as Haz-Tech Drilling Inc.) to see what they need to do. Don't rush this process; ensure you work with a company that will take the time to explore thoroughly while still preserving the surface of the land as much as possible.