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

Title 15Subtitle BChapter IXSubchapter DPart 970 → Subpart C


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


Subpart C—Procedures for Applications Based on Exploration Commenced Before June 28, 1980; Resolution of Conflicts Among Overlapping Applications; Applications by New Entrants


Contents
§970.300   Purposes and definitions.
§970.301   Requirements for applications based on pre-enactment exploration.
§970.302   Procedures and criteria for resolving conflicts.
§970.303   Procedures for new entrants.
§970.304   Action on portions of applications or amendments not in conflict.

Source: 47 FR 24948, July 8, 1982, unless otherwise noted.

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§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.

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§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.

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§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 of right may be filed as new entrant amendments under §970.303.

(h) Notification of amendments and new conflicts. The Administrator will:

(1) No later than October 25, 1982, notify each reciprocating state of any amendment accorded pre-enactment explorer priority of right pursuant to paragraph (g) of this section and, in cooperation with such states, identify any new conflicts;

(2) No later than October 27, 1982, notify each domestic applicant who is involved in a new conflict. The notice will:

(i) Identify each applicant with whom each new conflict has arisen;

(ii) Identify the coordinates of each area in which the applicant is involved in a new conflict;

(iii) Indicate that the applicant may request from the Administrator the coordinates of each area included in an amendment accorded pre-enactment explorer priority of right pursuant to paragraph (g) of this section, or for which notice has been received from a reciprocating state (such coordinates will be provided subject to appropriate confidentiality arrangements);

(iv) Notify the applicant that he may, 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

(v) 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.

(i) Government assistance in resolving international conflicts. If, by October 26 1982, the applicants have not resolved, or agreed in writing to a specified binding procedure to resolve, an original international conflict, or new international conflict, the Administrator, the Secretary of State of the United States, and appropriate officials of the government of the reciprocating state to which the other applicant involved in the conflict applied will use their good offices to assist the applicants to resolve the conflict. After November 16, 1982, any unresolved international conflicts will be resolved in accordance with paragraph (k) of this section.

(j) Unresolved domestic conflict—(1) Procedure. (i) In the case of an original domestic conflict or a new domestic conflict, the applicants will be allowed until April 15, 1983, to resolve the conflict or agree in writing to submit the conflict to a specified binding conflict resolution procedure. If, by April 15, 1983, all applicants involved in an original or new domestic conflict have not resolved that conflict, or agreed in writing to submit the conflict to a specified binding conflict resolution procedure, the conflict will be resolved in a formal hearing held in accordance with subpart I of 15 CFR part 971, except that:

(A) The General Counsel of NOAA will not, as a matter of right, be a party to the hearing; however, the General Counsel may be admitted to the hearing by the administrative law judge as a party or as an interested person pursuant to 15 CFR 971.901 (f)(2) or (f)(3); and

(B) The administrative law judge will take such actions as he deems necessary and appropriate to conclude the hearing and transmit a recommended decision to the Administrator in an expeditious manner.

(ii) Notwithstanding the above, at any time on or after November 17, 1982, and on or before April 14, 1983, the applicants involved in the conflict may, by agreement, request the Administrator to resolve the conflict in a formal hearing as described above.

(2) Decision principles for NOAA formal conflict resolution. (i) The Administrator shall determine which applicant involved in a conflict between or among pre-enactment explorer applications or amendments shall be awarded all or part of each area in conflict.

(ii) The determination of the Administrator shall be based on the application of principles of equity which take into consideration, with respect to each applicant involved in the conflict, the following factors:

(A) The continuity and extent of activities relevant to each area in conflict and the application area of which it is a part;

(B) The date on which each applicant involved in the conflict, or predecessor in interest or component organization thereof, commenced activities at sea in the application area;

(C) The financial cost of activities relevant to each area in conflict and to the application area of which it is a part, measured in constant dollars;

(D) The time when the activities were carried out, and the quality of the activities; and

(E) Such additional factors as the Administrator determines to be relevant, but excluding consideration of the future work plans of the applicants involved in any conflict.

(iii) For the purposes of this paragraph (j) of this section, the word activities means the undertakings, commitments of resources investigations, findings, research, engineering development and other activities relevant to the identification, discovery, and systematic analysis and evaluation of hard mineral resources and to the determination of the technical and economic feasibility of commercial recovery.

(iv) When considering the factors specified in paragraph (j)(2)(ii) of this section, the Administrator shall hear, and shall (except for purposes of apportionment pursuant to paragraph (j)(2)(v) of this section) limit his consideration to, all evidence based on the activities specified in paragraph (j)(2)(ii) of this section which were conducted on or before January 1, 1982, Provided, however, That an applicant must prove at-sea activities in the area in conflict prior to June 28, 1980, as a pre-condition to presentation of further evidence to the Administrator regarding activities in the area in conflict.

(v) In making his determination, the Administrator may award the entire area in conflict to one applicant involved in the conflict, or he may apportion the area among any or all of the applicants involved in the conflict. If, after applying the principles of equity, the Administrator determines that the area in conflict should be apportioned, the Administrator shall (to the maximum extent practicable consistent with the Administrator's application of the principles of equity) apportion the area in a manner designed to satisfy the plan of work set forth in the application of each applicant which is awarded part of the area.

(vi) Each applicant involved in the conflict must file an amendment to its application if necessary to implement the determination made by the Administrator.

(k) Unresolved international conflicts. (1) If, by November 17, 1982, all applicants involved in an original or new international conflict have not resolved that conflict, or agreed in writing to submit the conflict to a specified binding conflict resolution procedure, the applicants shall proceed in accordance with the conflict resolution procedures agreed to between the United States and its reciprocating states pursuant to section 118 of the Act.

(2) Each applicant whose application is involved in an international conflict shall be responsible for actions required in the conduct of the conflict resolution procedures, including bearing a proportional cost of implementing the procedures, representing himself in any proceedings, and assisting in the selection of arbitrators if necessary.

(l) Continued opportunity for voluntary resolutions. Each applicant may resolve any conflict by voluntary procedures at any time while that conflict persists.

(m) Effect on priorities of new entrants. (1) A pre-enactment explorer is entitled to a priority of right over a new entrant for any area in which the pre-enactment explorer has engaged in exploration prior to June 28, 1980 if, with respect to that area, the pre-enactment explorer files an application in accordance with this part on or after January 25, 1982 and on or before the closing date for pre-enactment explorer applications established under §970.301(b).

(2) Any amendment which is filed by a pre-enactment explorer on or before October 15, 1982, relates back to the date of filing of the original application and shall give the pre-enactment explorer priority of right over all new entrants if the amendment is accorded a pre-enactment explorer priority of right under paragraph (g) of this section.

[47 FR 24948, July 8, 1982, as amended at 54 FR 548, Jan. 6, 1989]

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§970.303   Procedures for new entrants.

(a) Filing of new entrant applications or amendments; priority of right. New entrant applications or amendments must be filed in accordance with §970.200. A new entrant may file an application or amendment only at or after 1500 hours G.m.t. (11:00 a.m. EDT) January 3, 1983. All applications or amendments filed at that time shall be deemed to be filed simultaneously, and, if in accordance with §970.209, shall have priority of right over any application or amendment filed subsequently. Priority of right for any application or amendment filed after that time will be established as described in §970.209.

(b) Conflicts. (1) If a domestic conflict exists between or among new entrant applications or amendments, the applicants involved in the conflict shall resolve it.

(2) If an international conflict exists between or among new entrant applications or amendments, the conflict shall be resolved in accordance with applicable conflict resolution procedures agreed to between the United States and its reciprocating States pursuant to section 118 of the Act. The Administrator will provide each domestic applicant involved in an international conflict a copy of any such procedures in force when the Administrator issues notice to the applicant that an international conflict exists. Each applicant whose application is involved in an international conflict shall be responsible for actions required in the conduct of the conflict resolution procedures, including bearing a proportional cost of implementing the procedures, representing himself in any proceedings, and assisting in the selection of arbitrators if necessary.

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§970.304   Action on portions of applications or amendments not in conflict.

If an applicant so requests, the Administrator will proceed in accordance with this part to review that portion of an area included in an application or amendment that is not involved in a conflict. However, the Administrator will proceed with such review only if the applicant advises the Administrator in writing that the applicant will continue to seek a license for the proposed exploration activities in the portion of the application area that is not in conflict. To the extent practicable, the deadlines for certification of an application or amendment and issuance of a license provided in §§970.400 and 970.500, respectively, will run from the date of filing of the original application.

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