Highland's partner in the Upper Peninsula is BRP LLC. As of December 31, 2011, BRP owned approximately 8.8 million mineral acres in 29 states in the United States, including approximately 60,000 gross acres of copper rights in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. While the vast majority of the 8.8 million acres remain largely undeveloped and underexplored, a significant number of mineral prospects and deposits with yet undetermined commercial potential have been identified through a variety of efforts including exploration drilling, coring, drill logs, electric logs, inferences derived from published information, geological reports, geological maps, in-house efforts and consulting investigations. These prospects and deposits are not necessarily near-term commercial opportunities due to a variety of factors such as location, market, economic and production uncertainties, but have long-term development potential.
In addition to its copper rights, BRP owns a production royalty interest on approximately 72,000 oil and gas mineral acres currently under lease in Louisiana and owns approximately 246,000 gross mineral acres of coal rights, primarily lignite, in the Gulf Coast region. BRP also has construction aggregates, including limestone, granite, clay, and sand and gravel reserves, under lease in six states. Other mineral rights held by BRP as of December 31, 2011 included coalbed methane rights in four Gulf Coast states, Washington and Pennsylvania as well as known occurrences of base and precious metals in four states, approximately 450,000 acres of water rights in East Texas, geothermal rights and royalty interests in the Gulf Coast and Pacific Northwest and carbon sequestration rights primarily in the Gulf Coast region.
The controlling interest in BRP is owned by Natural Resource Partners L.P., an NYSE-listed company.