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United States Regulations
15 CFR PART 970—DEEP SEABED MINING REGULATIONS FOR EXPLORATION LICENSES
Title 15: Commerce and Foreign Trade
PART 970—DEEP SEABED MINING REGULATIONS FOR EXPLORATION LICENSES
Authority: 30 U.S.C. 1401 et seq.
Source: 46 FR 45896, Sept. 15, 1981, unless otherwise noted.
§ 970.100 Purpose.
(a) General. The purpose of this part is to implement those responsibilities and authorities of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), pursuant to Public Law 96–283, the Deep Seabed Hard Mineral Resources Act (the Act), to issue to eligible United States citizens licenses for the exploration for deep seabed hard minerals.
(b) Purposes of the Act. In preparing these regulations NOAA has been mindful of the purposes of the Act, as set forth in section 2(b) thereof. These include:
(1) Encouraging the successful conclusion of a comprehensive Law of the Sea Treaty, which will give legal definition to the principle that the hard mineral resources of the deep seabed are the common heritage of mankind and which will assure, among other things, nondiscriminatory access to such resources for all nations;
(2) Establishing, pending the ratification by, and entering into force with respect to, the United States of such a treaty, an interim program to regulate the exploration for and commercial recovery of hard mineral resources of the deep seabed by United States citizens;
(3) Accelerating the program of environmental assessment of exploration for and commercial recovery of hard mineral resources of the deep seabed and assuring that such exploration and recovery activities are conducted in a manner which will encourage the conservation of such resources, protect the quality of the environment, and promote the safety of life and property at sea;
(4) Encouraging the continued development of technology necessary to recover the hard mineral resources of the deep seabed; and
(5) Pending the ratification by, and entry into force with respect to, the United States of a Law of the Sea Treaty, providing for the establishment of an international revenue-sharing fund the proceeds of which will be used for sharing with the international community pursuant to such treaty.
(c) Regulatory approach. (1) These regulations incorporate NOAA's recognition that the deep seabed mining industry is still evolving and that more information must be developed to form the basis for future decisions by industry and by NOAA in its implementation of the Act. They also recognize the need for flexibility in order to promote the development of deep seabed mining technology, and the usefulness of allowing initiative by miners to develop mining techniques and systems in a manner compatible with the requirements of the Act and regulations. In this regard, the regulations reflect an approach, pursuant to the Act, whereby their provisions ultimately will be addressed and evaluated on the basis of exploration plans submitted by applicants.
(2) In addition, these regulations reflect NOAA's recognition that the difference in scale and effects between exploration for and commercial recovery of hard mineral resources normally requires that they be distinguished and addressed separately. This distinction is also based upon the evolutionary stage of the seabed mining industry referenced above. Thus, NOAA will issue separate regulations pertaining to commercial recovery, in part 971 of this chapter.
[46 FR 45896, Sept. 15, 1981; 47 FR 5966, Feb. 9, 1982]
§ 970.101 Definitions.
For purposes of this part, the term:
(a) Act means the Deep Seabed Hard Mineral Resources Act (Pub. L. 96–283; 94 Stat. 553; 30 U.S.C. 1401 et seq.);
(b) Administrator means the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or a designee;
(c) Applicant means an applicant for an exploration license pursuant to the Act and this part;
(d) Affiliate means any person:
(1) In which the applicant or licensee owns or controls more than 5% interest;
(2) Which owns or controls more than 5% interest in the applicant or licensee; or
(3) Which is under common ownership or control with the applicant or licensee.
(e) Commercial recovery means:
(1) Any activity engaged in at sea to recover any hard mineral resource at a substantial rate for the primary purpose of marketing or commercially using such resource to earn a net profit, whether or not such net profit is actually earned;
(2) If such recovered hard mineral resource will be processed at sea, such processing; and
(3) If the waste of such activity to recover any hard mineral resource, or of such processing at sea, will be disposed of at sea, such disposal;
(f) Continental Shelf means:
(1) The seabed and subsoil of the submarine areas adjacent to the coast, but outside the area of the territorial sea, to a depth of 200 meters or, beyond that limit, to where the depth of the superjacent waters admits of the exploitation of the natural resources of such submarine area; and
(2) The seabed and subsoil of similar submarine areas adjacent to the coast of islands;
(g) Controlling interest, for purposes of paragraph (t)(3) of this section, means a direct or indirect legal or beneficial interest in or influence over another person arising through ownership of capital stock, interlocking directorates or officers, contractual relations, or other similar means, which substantially affect the independent business behavior of such person;
(h) Deep seabed means the seabed, and the subsoil thereof to a depth of ten meters, lying seaward of and outside:
(1) The Continental Shelf of any nation; and
(2) Any area of national resource jurisdiction of any foreign nation, if such area extends beyond the Continental Shelf of such nation and such jurisdiction is recognized by the United States;
(i) Exploration means:
(1) Any at-sea observation and evaluation activity which has, as its objective, the establishment and documentation of:
(i) The nature, shape, concentration, location, and tenor of a hard mineral resource; and
(ii) The environmental, technical, and other appropriate factors which must be taken into account to achieve commercial recovery; and
(2) The taking from the deep seabed of such quantities of any hard mineral resource as are necessary for the design, fabrication and testing of equipment which is intended to be used in the commercial recovery and processing of such resource;
(j) Hard mineral resource means any deposit or accretion on, or just below, the surface of the deep seabed of nodules which include one or more minerals, at least one of which contains manganese, nickel, cobalt, or copper;
(k) International agreement means a comprehensive agreement concluded through negotiations at the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea, relating to (among other matters) the exploration for and commercial recovery of hard mineral resources and the establishment of an international regime for the regulation thereof;
(l) Licensee means the holder of a license issued under this part to engage in exploration;
(m) New entrant means any applicant, with respect to:
(1) Any application which has not been accorded a pre-enactment explorer priority of right under §970.301; or
(2) Any amendment which has not been accorded a pre-enactment explorer priority of right under §970.302.
(n) NOAA means the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration;
(o) Permittee means the holder of permit issued under NOAA regulations to engage in commercial recovery;
(p) Person means any United States citizen, any individual, and any corporation, partnership, joint venture, association, or other entity organized or existing under the laws of any nation;
(q) Pre-enactment explorer means a person who was engaged in exploration prior to the date of enactment of the Act (June 28, 1980);
(r) Reciprocating state means any foreign nation designated as such by the Administrator under section 118 of the Act;
(s) United States means the several States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the United States Virgin Islands, Guam, and any other Commonwealth, territory, or possession of the United States; and
(t) United States citizen means
(1) Any individual who is a citizen of the United States;
(2) Any corporation, partnership, joint venture, association, or other entity organized or existing under the laws of any of the United States; and
(3) Any corporation, partnership, joint venture, association, or other entity (whether organized or existing under the laws of any of the United States or a foreign nation) if the controlling interest in such entity is held by an individual or entity described in paragraph (t)(1) or (t)(2) of this section.
[46 FR 45896, Sept. 15, 1981, as amended at 47 FR 5967, Feb. 9, 1982]
§ 970.102 Nature of licenses.
(a) A license issued under this part will authorize the holder thereof to engage in exploration within a specific portion of the sea floor consistent with the provisions of the Act, this part, and the specific terms, conditions and restrictions applied to the license by the Administrator.
(b) Any license issued under this part will be exclusive with respect to the holder thereof as against any other United States citizen or any citizen, national or governmental agency of, or any legal entity organized or existing under the laws of, any reciprocating state.
(c) A valid existing license will entitle the holder, if otherwise eligible under the provisions of the Act and implementing regulations, to a permit for commercial recovery from an area selected within the same area of the sea floor. Such a permit will recognize the right of the holder to recover hard mineral resources, and to own, transport, use, and sell hard mineral resources recovered, under the permit and in accordance with the requirements of the Act.
§ 970.103 Prohibited activities and restrictions.
(a) Prohibited activities and exceptions. (1) Except as authorized under subpart C of this part, no United States citizen may engage in any exploration or commercial recovery unless authorized to do so under:
(i) A license or a permit issued pursuant to the Act and implementing regulations;
(ii) A license, permit, or equivalent authorization issued by a reciprocating state; or
(iii) An international agreement which is in force with respect to the United States.
(2) The prohibitions of paragraph (a)(1) of this section will not apply to any of the following activities:
(i) Scientific research, including that concerning hard mineral resources;
(ii) Mapping, or the taking of any geophysical, geochemical, oceanographic, or atmospheric measurements or random bottom samplings of the deep seabed, if such taking does not significantly alter the surface or subsurface of the deep seabed or significantly affect the environment;
(iii) The design, construction, or testing of equipment and facilities which will or may be used for exploration or commercial recovery, if such design, construction or testing is conducted on shore, or does not involve the recovery of any but incidental hard mineral resources;
(iv) The furnishing of machinery, products, supplies, services, or materials for any exploration or commercial recovery conducted under a license or permit issued under the Act and implementing regulations, a license or permit or equivalent authorization issued by a reciprocating state, or under an international agreement; and
(v) Activities, other than exploration or commercial recovery activities, of the Federal Government.
(3) No United States citizen may interfere or participate in interference with any activity conducted by any licensee or permittee which is authorized to be undertaken under a license or permit issued by the Administrator to a licensee or permittee under the Act or with any activity conducted by the holder of, and authorized to be undertaken under, a license or permit or equivalent authorization issued by a reciprocating state for the exploration or commercial recovery of hard mineral resources. For purposes of this section, interference includes physical interference with activities authorized by the Act, this part, and a license issued pursuant thereto; the filing of specious claims in the United States or any other nation; and any other activity designed to harass deep seabed mining activities authorized by law. Interference does not include the exercise of any rights granted to United States citizens by the Constitution of the United States, any Federal or State law, treaty, or agreement or regulation promulgated pursuant thereto.
(4) United States citizens must exercise their rights on the high seas with reasonable regard for the interests of other states in their exercise of the freedoms of the high seas.
(b) Restrictions on issuance of licenses or permits. The Administrator will not issue:
(1) Any license or permit after the date on which an international agreement is ratified by and enters into force with respect to the United States, except to the extent that issuance of such license or permit is not inconsistent with such agreement;
(2) Any license or permit the exploration plan or recovery plan of which, submitted pursuant to the Act and implementing regulations, would apply to an area to which applies, or would conflict with:
(i) Any exploration plan or recovery plan submitted with any pending application to which priority of right for issuance applies under this part;
(ii) Any exploration plan or recovery plan associated with any existing license or permit; or
(iii) Any equivalent authorization which has been issued, or for which formal notice of application has been submitted, by a reciprocating state prior to the filing date of any relevant application for licenses or permits pursuant to the Act and implementing regulations;
(3) A permit authorizing commercial recovery within any area of the deep seabed in which exploration is authorized under a valid existing license if such permit is issued to a person other than the licensee for such area;
(4) Any exploration license before July 1, 1981, or any permit which authorizes commercial recovery to commence before January 1, 1988;
(5) Any license or permit the exploration plan or recovery plan for which applies to any area of the deep seabed if, within the 3-year period before the date of application for such license or permit:
(i) The applicant therefor surrendered or relinquished such area under an exploration plan or recovery plan associated with a previous license or permit issued to such applicant; or
(ii) A license or permit previously issued to the applicant had an exploration plan or recovery plan which applied to such area and such license or permit was revoked under section 106 of the Act; or
(6) A license or permit, or approve the transfer of a license or permit, except to a United States citizen.
Source: 46 FR 45898, Sept. 15, 1981, unless otherwise noted.
§ 970.200 General.
(a) Who may apply; how. Any United States citizen may apply to the Administrator for issuance or transfer of an exploration license. Applications must be submitted in the form and manner prescribed in this subpart.
(b) Place, form and copies. Applications for the issuance or transfer of exploration licenses must be submitted in writing, verified and signed by an authorized officer or other authorized representative of the applicant, in 30 copies, to the following address: Office of Ocean Minerals and Energy, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, suite 410, Page 1 Building, 2001 Wisconsin Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20235. The Administrator may waive, in whole or in part, at his discretion, the requirement that 30 copies of an application be filed with NOAA.
(c) Use of application information. The contents of an application, as set forth below, must provide NOAA with the information necessary to make determinations required by the Act and this part pertaining to the issuance or transfer of an exploration license. Thus, each portion of the application should identify the requirement in this part to which it responds. In addition, the information will be used by NOAA in its function under the Act of consultation and cooperation with other Federal agencies or departments in relation to their programs and authorities, in order to reduce the number of separate actions required to satisfy Federal agencies' responsibilities.
(d) Pre-application consultation. To assist in the development of adequate applications and assure that applicants understand how to respond to the provisions of this subpart, NOAA will be available for pre-application consultations with potential applicants. This includes consultation on the procedures in subpart C. In appropriate circumstances, NOAA will provide written confirmation to the applicant of any oral guidance resulting from such consultations.
(e) Priority of right. (1) Priority of right for issuance of licenses to pre-enactment explorers will be established pursuant to subpart C of this part.
(2) Priority of right for issuance of licenses to new entrants will be established on the basis of the chronological order in which license applications, which are in substantial compliance with the requirements established under this subpart, pursuant to §970.209, are filed with the Administrator.
(3) Applications must be received by the Office of Ocean Minerals and Energy on behalf of the Administrator before a priority can be established.
(4) Upon (i) a determination that:
(A) An application is not in substantial compliance in accordance with §970.209 or subpart C, as applicable;
(B) An application has not been brought into substantial compliance in accordance with §970.210 or subpart C, as applicable;
(C) A license has been relinquished or surrendered in accordance with §970.903; or
(ii) A decision to:
(A) Deny certification of a license pursuant to §970.407; or
(B) Deny issuance of a license pursuant to §970.508,
and after the exhaustion of any administrative or judicial review of such determination or decision, the priority of right for issuance of a license will lapse.
(f) Request for confidential treatment of information. If an applicant wishes to have any information in his application treated as confidential, he must so indicate pursuant to 15 CFR 971.802.
[46 FR 45898, Sept. 15, 1981, as amended at 47 FR 5968, Feb. 9, 1982; 54 FR 547, Jan. 6, 1989]
§ 970.201 Statement of financial resources.
(a) General. The application must contain information sufficient to demonstrate to the Administrator the financial resources of the applicant to carry out, in accordance with this part, the exploration program set forth in the applicant's exploration plan. The information must show that the applicant is reasonably capable of committing or raising sufficient resources to cover the estimated costs of the exploration program. The information must be sufficient for the Administrator to make a determination on the applicant's financial responsibility pursuant to §970.401.
(b) Contents. In particular, the information on financial resources must include:
(1) A description of how the applicant intends to finance the exploration program;
(2) The estimated cost of the exploration program;
(3) With respect to the applicant and those entities upon which the applicant will rely to finance his exploration activities, the most recent audited financial statement (for publicly-held companies, the most recent annual report and Form 10–K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission will suffice in this regard); and
(4) The credit rating and bond rating of the applicant, and such financing entities, to the extent they are relevant.
§ 970.202 Statement of technological experience and capabilities.
(a) General. The application must contain information sufficient to demonstrate to the Administrator the technological capability of the applicant to carry out, in accordance with the regulations contained in this part, the exploration program set out in the applicant's exploration plan. It must contain sufficient information for the Administrator to make a determination on the applicant's technological capability pursuant to §970.402.
(b) Contents. In particular, the information submitted pursuant to this section must demonstrate knowledge and skills which the applicant either possesses or to which he can demonstrate access. The information must include:
(1) A description of the exploration equipment to be used by the applicant in carrying out the exploration program;
(2) A description of the environmental monitoring equipment to be used by the applicant in monitoring the environmental effects of the exploration program; and
(3) The experience on which the applicant will rely in using this or similar equipment.
§ 970.203 Exploration plan.
(a) General. Each application must include an exploration plan which describes the applicant's projected exploration activities during the period to be covered by the proposed license. Generally, the exploration plan must demonstrate to a reasonable extent that the applicant's efforts, by the end of the 10-year license period, will likely lead to the ability to apply for and obtain a permit for commercial recovery. In particular, the plan must include sufficient information for the Administrator, pursuant to this part, to make the necessary determinations pertaining to the certification and issuance or transfer of a license and to the development and enforcement of the terms, conditions and restrictions for a license.
(b) Contents. The exploration plan must contain the following information. In presenting this information, the plan should incorporate the applicant's proposed individual approach, including a general description of how projected participation by other entities will relate to the following elements, if appropriate. The plan must present:
(1) The activities proposed to be carried out during the period of the license;
(2) A description of the area to be explored, including its delineation according to §970.601;
(3) The intended exploration schedule which must be responsive to the diligence requirements in §970.602. Taking into account that different applicants may have different concepts and chronologies with respect to the types of activities described, the schedule should include an approximate projection for the exploration activities planned. Although the details in each schedule may vary to reflect the applicant's particular approach, it should address in some respect approximately when each of the following types of activities is projected to occur.
(i) Conducting survey cruises to determine the location and abundance of nodules as well as the sea floor configuration, ocean currents and other physical characteristics of potential commercial recovery sites;
(ii) Assaying nodules to determine their metal contents;
(iii) Designing and testing system components onshore and at sea;
(iv) Designing and testing mining systems which simulate commercial recovery;
(v) Designing and testing processing systems to prove concepts and designing and testing systems which simulate commercial processing;
(vi) Evaluating the continued feasibility of commercial scale operations based on technical, economic, legal, political and environmental considerations; and
(vii) Applying for a commercial recovery permit and, to the extent known, other permits needed to construct and operate commercial scale facilities (if application for such permits is planned prior to obtaining a commercial recovery permit);
(4) A description of the methods to be used to determine the location, abundance, and quality (i.e., assay) of nodules, and to measure physical conditions in the area which will affect nodule recovery system design and operations (e.g., seafloor topography, seafloor geotechnic properties, and currents);
(5) A general description of the developing recovery and processing technology related to the proposed license, and of any planned or ongoing testing and evaluation of such technology. To the extent possible at the time of application, this description should address such factors as nodule collection technique, seafloor sediment rejection subsystem, mineship nodule separation scheme, pumping method, anticipated equipment test areas, and details on the testing plan;
(6) An estimated schedule of expenditures, which must be responsive to the diligence requirements as discussed in §970.602;
(7) Measures to protect the environment and to monitor the effectiveness of environmental safeguards and monitoring systems for commercial recovery. These measures must take into account the provisions in §§970.506, 970.518, 970.522 and subpart G of this part; and
(8) A description of any relevant activity that the applicant has completed prior to the submission of the application.
§ 970.204 Environmental and use conflict analysis.
(a) Environmental information. To enable NOAA to implement better its responsibility under section 109(d) of the Act to develop an environmental impact statement (EIS) on the issuance of an exploration license, the application must include information for use in preparing NOAA's EIS on the environmental impacts of the activities proposed by the applicant. The applicant must present physical, chemical and biological information for the exploration area. This information should include relevant environmental information, if any, obtained during past exploration activities, but need not duplicate information obtained during NOAA's DOMES Project. Planned activities in the area, including the testing of integrated mining systems which simulate commercial recovery, also must be described. NOAA will need information with the application on location and boundaries of the proposed exploration area, and plans for delineation of features of the exploration area including baseline data or plans for acquiring them. The applicant may at his option delay submission of baseline and equipment data and system test plans. However, applicants so electing should plan to submit this latter information at least one year prior to the initial test, to allow time for the supplement to the site-specific EIS, if one is required, to be prepared by NOAA, circulated, reviewed and filed with EPA. The submission of this information with the application is strongly encouraged, however, to minimize the possibility that a supplement will be required. If such latter information is submitted subsequent to the original application such tests may not be undertaken in the absence of concurrence by NOAA (which, if applicable, will be required in a term, condition, or restriction in the license). NOAA has developed a technical guidance document which will provide assistance for the agency and the applicant, in consultation, to identify the details on information needed in each case. NOAA may refer to such information for purposes of other determinations under the Act as well. NOAA also will seek to facilitate other Federal and, as necessary, state decisions on exploration activities by functioning as lead agency for the EIS on the application and related actions by other agencies, including those pertaining to any onshore impacts which may result from the proposed exploration activities.
(b) Use conflict information. To assist the Administrator in making determinations relating to potential use conflicts between the proposed exploration and other activities in the exploration area, pursuant to §§970.503, 970.505, and 970.520, the application must include information known to the applicant with respect to such other activities.
§ 970.205 Vessel safety.
In order to provide a basis for the necessary determinations with respect to the safety of life and property at sea, pursuant to §§970.507, 970.521 and subpart H of this part, the application must contain the following information, except for those vessels under 300 gross tons which are engaged in oceanographic research if they are used in exploration.
(a) U.S. flag vessel. The application must contain a demonstration or affirmation that any United States flag vessel utilized in exploration activities will possess a current valid Coast Guard Certificate of Inspection (COI). To the extent that the applicant knows which United States flag vessel he will be using, the application must include a copy of the COI.
(b) Foreign flag vessel. The application must also contain information on any foreign flag vessels to be used in exploration activities, which responds to the following requirements. To the extent that the applicant knows which foreign flag vessel he will be using, the application must include evidence of the following:
(1) That any foreign flag vessel whose flag state is party to the International Convention for Safety of Life at Sea, 1974 (SOLAS 74) possesses current valid SOLAS 74 certificates;
(2) That any foreign flag vessel whose flag state is not party to SOLAS 74 but is party to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1960 (SOLAS 60) possesses current valid SOLAS 60 certificates; and
(3) That any foreign flag vessel whose flag state is not a party to either SOLAS 74 or SOLAS 60 meets all applicable structural and safety requirements contained in the published rules of a member of the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS).
(c) Supplemental certificates. If the applicant does not know at the time of submitting an application which vessels he will be using, he must submit the applicable certification for each vessel before the cruise on which it will be used.
§ 970.206 Statement of ownership.
The application must include sufficient information to demonstrate that the applicant is a United States citizen, as required by §970.103(b)(6), and as defined in §970.101(t). In particular, the application must include:
(a) Name, address, and telephone number of the United States citizen responsible for exploration operations to whom notices and orders are to be delivered; and
(b) A description of the citizen or citizens engaging in such exploration, including:
(1) Whether the citizen is a natural person, partnership, corporation, joint venture, or other form of association;
(2) The state of incorporation or state in which the partnership or other business entity is registered;
(3) The name of registered agent or equivalent representative and places of business;
(4) Certification of essential and nonproprietary provisions in articles of incorporation, charter or articles of association; and
(5) The name of each member of the association, partnership, or joint venture, including information about the participation of each partner and joint venturer and/or ownership of stock.
§ 970.207 Antitrust information.
(a) General. Section 103(d) of the Act specifically provides for antitrust review of applications by the Attorney General of the United States and the Federal Trade Commission.
(b) Contents. In order to provide information for this antitrust review, the application must contain the following:
(1) A copy of each agreement between any parties to any joint venture which is applying for a license, provided that said agreement relates to deep seabed hard mineral resource exploration or mining;
(2) The identity of any affiliate of any person applying for a license; and
(3) For each applicant, its affiliate, or parent or subsidiary of an affiliate which is engaged in production in, or the purchase or sale in or to, the United States of copper, nickel, cobalt or manganese minerals or any metals refined from these minerals:
(i) The annual tons and dollar value of any of these minerals and metals so purchased, sold or produced for the two preceding years;
(ii) Copies of the annual report, balance sheet and income statement for the two preceding years; and
(iii) Copies of each document submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
§ 970.208 Fee.
(a) General. Section 104 of the Act provides that no application for the issuance or transfer of an exploration license will be certified unless the applicant pays to NOAA a reasonable administrative fee, which must reflect the reasonable administrative costs incurred in reviewing and processing the application.
(b) Amount. In order to meet this requirement, the application must include a fee payment of $100,000, payable to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce. If costs incurred by NOAA in reviewing and processing an application are significantly less than or in excess of the original fee, the agency subsequently will determine those differences in costs and adjust the fee accordingly. If the costs are significantly less, NOAA will refund the difference. If they are significantly greater, the applicant will be required to submit the additional payment prior to issue or transfer of the license. In the case of an application for transfer of a license to an entity which has previously been found qualified for a license, the Administrator may, on the basis of pre-application consultations pursuant to §970.200(d), reduce the fee in advance by an appropriate amount which reflects costs avoided by reliance on previous findings made in relation to the proposed transferee. If an applicant elects to pursue the ‘banking’ option under §970.601(d), and exercises that option by submitting two applications, only one application fee needs to be submitted with respect to each use of the ‘banking’ option.
[46 FR 45898, Sept. 15, 1981, as amended at 47 FR 5966, 5968, Feb. 9, 1982]
§ 970.209 Substantial compliance with application requirements.
(a) Priority of right for the issuance of licenses to new entrants will be established on the basis of the chronological order in which license applications which are in substantial compliance with the requirements established under this subpart are filed with the Administrator pursuant to §970.200.
(b) In order for an application to be in substantial compliance with the requirements of this subpart, it must include information specifically identifiable with and materially responsive to each requirement contained in §§970.201 through 970.208. A determination on substantial compliance relates only to whether the application contains the required information, and does not constitute a determination on certification of the application, or on issuance or transfer of a license.
(c) The Administrator will make a determination as to whether the application is in substantial compliance. Within 30 days after receipt of an application and the opening of coordinates describing the application area, he will issue written notice to the applicant regarding such determination. The notice will identify, if applicable, in what respects the application is not in either full or substantial compliance. If the application is in substantial but not full compliance, the notice will specify the information which the applicant must submit in order to bring it into full compliance, and why the additional information is necessary.
[46 FR 45898, Sept. 15, 1981, as amended at 47 FR 11513, Mar. 17, 1982]
§ 970.210 Reasonable time for full compliance.
Priority of right will not be lost in case of any application filed which is in substantial but not full compliance, as specified in §970.209, if the Administrator determines that the applicant, within 60 days after issuance to the applicant by the Administrator of written notice that the application is in substantial but not full compliance, has brought the application into full compliance with the requirements of §§970.201 through 970.208.
[46 FR 45898, Sept. 15, 1981; 47 FR 5966, Feb. 9, 1982]
§ 970.211 Consultation and cooperation with Federal agencies.
(a) Promptly after his receipt of an application and the opening of coordinates describing the application area, the Administrator will distribute a copy of the application to each other Federal agency or department which, pursuant to section 103(e) of the Act, has identified programs or activities within its statutory responsibilities which would be affected by the activities proposed in the application (i.e., the Departments of State, Transportation, Justice, Interior, Defense, Treasury and Labor, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Trade Commission, Small Business Administration and National Science Foundation). Based on its legal responsibilities and authorities, each such agency or department may, not later than 60 days after it receives a copy of the application which is in full compliance with this subpart, recommend certification of the application, issuance or transfer of the license, or denial of such certification, issuance or transfer. The advice or recommendation by the Attorney General or Federal Trade Commission on antitrust review, pursuant to §970.207, must be submitted within 90 days after their receipt of a copy of the application which is in full compliance with this subpart. NOAA will use the benefits of this process of consultation and cooperation to facilitate necessary Federal decisions on the proposed exploration activities, pursuant to the mandate of section 103(e) of the Act to reduce the number of separate actions required to satisfy Federal agencies' statutory responsibilities.
(b) In any case in which a Federal agency or department recommends a denial, it will set forth in detail the manner in which the application does not comply with any law or regulation within its area of responsibility and will indicate how the application may be amended, or how terms, conditions or restrictions might be added to the license to assure compliance with such law or regulation.
(c) A recommendation from another Federal agency or department for denying or amending an application will not affect its having been in substantial compliance with the requirements of this subpart, pursuant to §970.209, for purposes of establishing priority of right. However, pursuant to section 103(e) of the Act, NOAA will cooperate with such agencies and with the applicant with the goal of resolving the concerns raised and satisfying the statutory responsibilities of these agencies.
[46 FR 45898, Sept. 15, 1981, as amended at 47 FR 11513, Mar. 17, 1982]
§ 970.212 Public notice, hearing and comment.
(a) Notice and comments. The Administrator will publish in the Federal Register, for each application for an exploration license, notice that such application has been received. Subject to 15 CFR 971.802, interested persons will be permitted to examine the materials relevant to such application. Interested persons will have at least 60 days after publication of such notice to submit written comments to the Administrator.
(b) Hearings. (1) After preparation of the draft EIS on an application pursuant to section 109(d) of the Act, the Administrator shall hold a public hearing on the application and the draft EIS in an appropriate location, and may employ such additional methods as he deems appropriate to inform interested persons about each application and to invite their comments thereon.
(2) If the Administrator determines there exists one or more specific and material factual issues which require resolution by formal processes, at least one formal hearing will be held in the District of Columbia metropolitan area in accordance with the provisions of subpart I of 15 CFR part 971. The record developed in any such formal hearing will be part of the basis of the Administrator's decisions on an application.
(c) Hearings held pursuant to this section and other procedures will be consolidated insofar as practicable with hearings held and procedures employed by other agencies.
[46 FR 45898, Sept. 15, 1981, as amended at 54 FR 547, Jan. 6, 1989]
§ 970.213 Amendment to an application.
After an application has been submitted to the Administrator, but before a determination is made on the issuance or transfer of a license, the applicant must submit an amendment to the application if required by a significant change in the circumstances represented in the original application and affecting the requirements of this subpart. Applicants should consult with NOAA to determine if changes in circumstances are sufficiently significant to require submission of an amendment. The application, as amended, would then serve as the basis for determinations by the Administrator under this part. For each amendment judged by the Administrator to be significant, he will provide a copy of such amendment to each other Federal agency and department which received a copy of the original application, and also will provide for public notice, hearing and comment on the amendment pursuant to §970.212. Such amendment, however, will not affect the priority of right established by the filing of the original application. After the issuance of or transfer of a license, any revision by the licensee will be made pursuant to §970.513.
Subpart C—Procedures for Applications Based on Exploration Commenced Before June 28, 1980; Resolution of Conflicts Among Overlapping Applications; Applications by New Entrants
Source: 47 FR 24948, July 8, 1982, unless otherwise noted.
§ 970.300 Purposes and definitions.
(a) This subpart sets forth the procedures which the Administrator will apply to applications filed with NOAA covering areas of the deep seabed where the applicants have engaged in exploration prior to June 28, 1980, and to the resolution of conflicts arising out of such applications. This subpart also establishes the date on which NOAA will begin to accept applications or amendments filed by new entrants, and certain other procedures for new entrants.
(b) For the purposes of this subpart the term:
(1) Amendment means an amendment to an application which changes the area applied for;
(2) Application means an application for an exploration license which is filed pursuant to the Act and this subpart;
(3) Conflict means the existence of more than one application or amendment with the same priority of right:
(i) Which are filed with the Administrator or with the Administrator and a reciprocating state; and
(ii) In which the deep seabed areas applied for overlap in whole or part, to the extent of the overlap;
(4) Original conflict means a conflict solely between or among applications;
(5) New conflict means a conflict between or among amendments filed after July 22, 1982, and on or before October 15, 1982;
(6) Domestic conflict means a conflict solely between or among applications or amendments which have been filed with the Administrator.
(7) International conflict means a conflict arising between or among applications or amendments filed with the Administrator and a reciprocating state.
§ 970.301 Requirements for applications based on pre-enactment exploration.
(a) Pursuant to section 101(b) of the Act, any United States citizen who was engaged in exploration before the effective date of the Act (June 28, 1980) qualifies as a pre-enactment explorer and may continue to engage in such exploration without a license:
(1) If such citizen applies under this part for a license with respect to such exploration within the time period specified in paragraph (b) of this section; and
(2) Until such license is issued to such citizen or a final administrative or judicial determination is made affirming the denial of certification of the application for, or issuance of, such license.
(b) Any application for a license based upon pre-enactment exploration must be filed, at the address specified in §970.200(b), no later than 5:00 p.m. EST on March 12, 1982 (or such later date and time as the Administrator may announce by regulation). All such applications filed at or before that time will be deemed to be filed on such closing date.
(c) Applications not filed in accordance with this section will not be considered to be based on pre-enactment exploration, and may be filed only as new entrant applications under §970.303.
(d) To receive a pre-enactment explore priority of right for issuance of a license, and application must be, when filed, in substantial compliance with requirements described in §970.209(b). An application which is in substantial but not full compliance will not lose its priority of right if it is brought into full compliance according to §970.210.
(e) Any application based on pre-enactment exploration must be for a reasonably compact area with respect to which the applicant is a pre-enactment explorer, and, notwithstanding any part of §970.601 which indicates otherwise, such area must be bounded by a single continuous boundary.
(f) The coordinates and any chart of the logical mining unit applied for in an application based on a pre-enactment exploration must be submitted in a separate, sealed envelope.
(g) On or before March 12, 1982, the applicants must indicate to the Administrator, other than in the sealed portion of the application:
(1) The size of the area applied for;
(2) Whether the applicant or any person on the applicant's behalf has applied, or intends to apply, for the same area or substantially the same area to one or more nations, and the number of such other applications; and
(3) Whether the other applicant is pursuing the “banking” option under §970.601(d), and the number of applications filed, or to be filed, in pursuit of the “banking” option.
§ 970.302 Procedures and criteria for resolving conflicts.
(a) General. This section governs the resolution of all conflicts between or among applications or amendments having pre-enactment explorer priority of right.
(b) Identification of applicants. On June 21, 1982, the Administrator will meet with representatives of reciprocating states to identify their respective pre-enactment explorer applicants, and will identify the coordinates of the application areas applied for by such applicants.
(c) Initial processing. On or before July 13, 1982, the Administrator will determine whether each domestic application is entitled to a priority of right based on pre-enactment exploration in accordance with §970.301.
(d) Identification of conflicts. On July 14, 1982, the Administrator will meet with representatives of reciprocating states to exchange lists of applications accorded pre-enactment explorer priorities of right, and will identify any conflicts existing among such applications.
(e) Notification to applicants of conflicts. If the Administrator identifies a conflict, he will send, no later than July 22, 1982, written notice of the conflict to each domestic applicant involved in the conflict. The notice will:
(1) Identify each applicant involved in the conflict in question:
(2) Identify the coordinates of the portions of the application areas which are in conflict;
(3) Indicate that the applicant may request from the Administrator the coordinates of the application areas from any other applications filed with the Administrator or with a reciprocating state (such coordinates will be provided subject to appropriate confidentiality arrangements);
(4) State whether;
(i) Each domestic application involved in the conflict is in substantial or, if known, full compliance with the requirements described in §970.209(b); and
(ii) Each foreign application involved in the conflict meets, if known, the legal requirements of the reciprocating state in which it is filed;
(5) Notify each domestic applicant involved in a conflict that he may, after July 22, 1982, and on or before November 16, 1982, resolve the conflict voluntarily according to paragraph (f) of this section, and that on or after November 17, 1982, any unresolved conflict shall be resolved in accordance with paragraph (j) or (k) of this section, as applicable; and
(6) In the case of an international conflict, include a copy of any applicable conflict resolution procedures in force between the United States and its reciprocating states pursuant to section 118 of the Act.
(f) Voluntary resolution of conflicts. Each U.S. applicant involved in a conflict may resolve the conflict after July 22, 1982, and on or before November 16, 1982, by:
(1) Unilaterally, or by agreement with each other applicant involved in the conflict, filing an amendment to the application eliminating the conflict; or
(2) Agreeing in writing with the other applicant(s) involved in the conflict to submit it to an agreed binding conflict resolution procedure.
(g) Amendments. (1) Amendments must be filed in accordance with the requirements for applications described in §970.200.
(2) The Administrator will:
(i) Accept no amendment prior to July 23, 1982;
(ii) Accord pre-enactment explorer priority of right only to amendments which:
(A) Pertain to areas with respect to which the applicant has engaged in pre-enactment exploration;
(B) Resolve an existing conflict with respect to that application;
(C) Do not apply for an area included in an application filed pursuant to §970.301 which is accorded pre-enactment explorer priority of right or an application identified pursuant to §970.302(b) which has been filed with a reciprocating state; and
(D) Are filed on or before October 15, 1982; and
(iii) Accord amendments which meet the requirements of this paragraph (g) the same priority of right as the applications to which they pertain.
(3) The area applied for in an amendment need not be adjacent to the area applied for in the original application.
(4) Amendments not accorded pre-enactment explorer priority ofright may be filed as new entrant amendments under §970.303. (continued)