The net mineral acre is the amount of mineral acreage owned on a plot of land. The net mineral acre is not always equal to the gross mineral acre, which refers to the ownership of an entire tract of land.
For example, someone might own a 100-acre plot of land, but only owns 50 mineral acreage under the tract of those 100 acres, which yields a net mineral acreage is 50. Net mineral acres should not be confused with gross mineral acres, which is defined by the total acreage owned in a plot of land, as stated by the United States Mineral Exchange.
Mineral rights are important because in most countries, the government owns and decides how and for what the minerals below the Earth's surface can be used for. In the U.S., however, individuals as well as commercial companies have the right to purchase both surface and mineral acreage. In many cases, the owner of the land may possess a lucrative source of minerals, but does not have the means to extract them. This is common with coal, and in situations like this, the land owner may sell the rights to the mineral acreage to the corporation, so that they can retrieve the coal or other valuable mineral.