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

Title 15Subtitle BChapter IXSubchapter DPart 970Subpart F → §970.602

Title 15: Commerce and Foreign Trade
Subpart F—Resource Development Concepts

§970.602   Diligent exploration.

(a) Each licensee must pursue diligently the activities described in his approved exploration plan. This requirement applies to the full scope of the plan, including environmental safeguards and monitoring systems. To help assure this diligence, terms, conditions and restrictions which the Administrator issues with a license will require such periodic reasonable expenditures for exploration by the licensee as the Administrator may establish, taking into account the size of the area of the deep seabed to which the exploration plan applies and the amount of funds which is estimated by the Administrator to be required during exploration for commercial recovery of hard mineral resources to begin within the time limit established by the Administrator. However, such required expenditures will not be established at a level which would discourage exploration by persons with less costly technology than is prevalently in use.

(b) In order to fulfill the diligence requirement, the applicant first must propose to the Administrator an estimated schedule of activities and expenditures pursuant to §970.203(b) (3) and (6). The schedule must show, and the Administrator must be able to make a reasonable determination, that the applicant can complete his exploration activities within the term of the license. In this regard, there must be a reasonable relationship between the size of the exploration area and the financial and technological resources reflected in the application. Also, the exploration must clearly point toward developing the ability, by the end of the 10-year license period, to apply for and obtain a permit for commercial recovery.

(c) Ultimately, the diligence requirement will involve a retrospective determination by the Administrator, based on the licensee's reasonable conformance to the approved exploration plan. Such determination, however, will take into account the need for some degree of flexibility in an exploration plan. It also will include consideration of the needs and stage of development of each licensee, again based on the approved exploration plan. In addition, the determination will take account of legitimate periods of time when there is no or very low expenditure, and will allow for a certain degree of flexibility for changes encountered by the licensee in such factors as its resource knowledge and financial considerations.

(d) In order for the Administrator to make determinations on a licensee's adherence to the diligence requirements, the licensee must submit a report annually reflecting his conformance to the schedule of activities and expenditures contained in the license. In case of any changes requiring a revision to an approved license and exploration plan, the licensee must advise the Administrator in accordance with §970.513.

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