A. The owner, tenant, or occupant of any land or coal, on or in which a mine is opened and worked, or his agent, shall permit any person interested in or having title to any land or mineral rights coterminal with that in which such mine is located, if he has reason to believe his property is being trespassed, to have ingress and egress with surveyors and assistants to explore and survey such mine at his own expense, for the purpose of ascertaining whether a violation of § 45.1-161.310 has occurred; however, such person shall not be entitled to enter the property more often than once a month. Every owner, tenant, occupant or agent who shall refuse such permission, exploration or survey, shall forfeit twenty dollars for each refusal, to the person so refused.
B. The judge of the general district court of the county or city in which such mine is located, before whom complaint of such refusal shall be made, may issue a summons to such owner, tenant, occupant or agent, to answer such complaint. On the return of the summons executed, and proof that the complainant has right of entry, and that it has been refused without sufficient cause, the judge shall designate an early and convenient time for such entry to be made, and issue his warrant, commanding the sheriff of the county or city to attend and prevent obstructions and impediments to such entry, exploration and survey. The costs of such summons, and a fee of three dollars to the sheriff executing the warrant, shall be paid by the person whose refusal caused the complaint. If the court dismisses the complaint, the costs shall be paid by the party making the complaint.
Code 1950, §§ 45-92, 45-93; 1966, c. 594, § 45.1-103; 1978, c. 118; 1994, c. 28; 1997, c. 390.