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e-CFR data is current as of January 15, 2021

Title 15Subtitle BChapter IXSubchapter DPart 970Subpart A → §970.100


Title 15: Commerce and Foreign Trade
PART 970—DEEP SEABED MINING REGULATIONS FOR EXPLORATION LICENSES
Subpart A—General


§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]

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