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Builder concedes mineral rights to homebuyers

RALEIGH (AP) — Homebuilder D.R. Horton says it will transfer the mineral rights beneath hundreds of new homes it sold in North Carolina over the last two years to the homebuyers who now own the properties.

North Carolina Justice Department spokeswoman Noelle Talley said the Texas-based developer notified the state last week it would hand over drilling rights it stripped from new home deeds and quietly transferred to a subsidiary, DRH Energy. Homebuyers say they were never told that the company could collect royalties on resources extracted from under their properties.

Horton began the practice as a new and controversial drilling technique known as fracking potentially made areas of the state’s Piedmont region profitable for natural gas production. Talley said it’s not yet clear when the mineral rights will be restored.

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