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e-CFR data is current as of January 19, 2021

Title 15Subtitle BChapter IXSubchapter DPart 970Subpart F → §970.601


Title 15: Commerce and Foreign Trade
PART 970—DEEP SEABED MINING REGULATIONS FOR EXPLORATION LICENSES
Subpart F—Resource Development Concepts


§970.601   Logical mining unit.

(a) In the case of an exploration license, a logical mining unit is an area of the deep seabed which can be explored under the license, and within the 10-year license period, in an efficient, economical and orderly manner with due regard for conservation and protection of the environment, taking into consideration the resource data, other relevant physical and environmental characteristics, and the state of the technology of the applicant as set forth in the exploration plan. In addition, it must be of sufficient size to allow for intensive exploration.

(b) Approval by the Administrator of a proposed exploration logical mining unit will be based on a case-by-case review of each application. In order to provide a proper basis for this evaluation, the applicant's exploration plan should describe the seabed topography, the location of mineral deposits and the nature of planned equipment and operations. Also, the exploration plan must show the relationship between the area to be explored and the applicant's plans for commercial recovery volume, to the extent projected in the exploration plan.

(c) In delineating an exploration area, the applicant need not include unmineable areas. Thus, the area need not consist of contiguous segments, as long as each segment would be efficiently mineable and the total proposed area constitutes a logical mining unit. In describing the area, the applicant must present the geodetic coordinates of the points defining the boundaries, referred to the World Geodetic System (WGS) Datum. A boundary between points must be a geodesic. If grid coordinates are desired, the Universal Transverse Mercator Grid System must be used.

(d) At the applicant's option, for the purpose of satisfying a possible obligation under a future Law of the Sea Treaty, the applicant may propose an exploration area which includes two exploration logical mining units. The applicant should specify in the application if this “banking” option is chosen, and any applicant choosing this option and filing an application based on pre-enactment exploration under §970.301 shall so notify the Administrator in accordance with §970.301(g).

(e) Applicants are advised that NOAA will not accept an application or issue a license for an exploration area larger than 150,000 square kilometers unless the applicant can demonstrate the necessity of a larger area based on factors such as topography, nodule abundance, distribution and ore grade. If the applicant elects to pursue the “banking” option described in paragraph (d) of this section, and wishes to apply for an exploration area larger than 150,000 square kilometers, the applicant must file a second application with respect to at least the area in excess of 150,000 square kilometers, unless the applicant justifies such excess area as part of a single application under the preceding sentence.

[46 FR 45907, Sept. 15, 1981, as amended at 47 FR 5968, Feb. 9, 1982]

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