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e-CFR data is current as of February 26, 2021

Title 15Subtitle BChapter IXSubchapter DPart 971Subpart E → §971.503

Title 15: Commerce and Foreign Trade
Subpart E—Resource Development

§971.503   Diligent commercial recovery.

(a) Each permittee must pursue diligently the activities described in its approved commercial recovery plan. This requirement applies to the full scope of the plan, including environmental safeguards and monitoring systems. Permit TCRs will require periodic reasonable expenditures for commercial recovery by the permittee, taking into account the size of the area of the deep seabed to which the recovery plan applies and the amount of funds estimated by the Administrator to be required to initiate commercial recovery of hard mineral resources within the time limit established by the Administrator. However, required expenditures will not be established at a level which would discourage commercial recovery or operational efficiency.

(b) To meet the diligence requirement, the applicant must propose to the Administrator an estimated schedule of activities and expenditures pursuant to §971.203(b)(2). The schedule must show, and the Administrator must be able to make a reasonable determination, that the applicant can reasonably develop the resources in the permit area within the term of the permit. There must be a reasonable relationship between the size of the recovery area and the financial and technological resources reflected in the application. The permittee must initiate the recovery of nodules in commerical quantities within ten years of the issuance of the permit unless this deadline is extended by the Administrator for good cause.

(c) Once commercial recovery is achieved, the permittee must, within reasonable limits and taking into consideration all relevant factors, maintain commercial recovery throughout the period of the permit. However, the Administrator will, for good cause shown, authorize temporary suspension of commercial recovery activities. The duration of any suspension will not exceed one year, unless the Administrator determines that conditions justify an extension of the suspension.

(d) Ultimately, the diligence requirement will involve a retrospective determination by the Administrator, based on the permittee's reasonable conformance to the approved recovery plan. This determination, however, will take into account the need for some degree of flexibility in a recovery plan. It also will include consideration of the needs and stage of development of the permittee based on the approved recovery plan; legitimate periods of time when there is no or very low expenditure; and allowance for a certain degree of flexibility for changes encountered by the permittee in market conditions or other factors.

(e) The permittee must submit a report annually reflecting its conformance to the schedule of activities and expenditures contained in the permit and its associated recovery plan. In case of any changes requiring a revision to an approved permit and recovery plan, the permittee must advise the Administrator in accordance with §971.413.

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