A Guide to Laws and Regulations Governing Hard Mineral Mining on the U.S. Continental Shelf.
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Confusion over the regulatory regime governing the mining of minerals other than oil, gas, and sulfur on the U.S. continental shelf has been cited by many in the marine mining industry as a primary impediment to the development of offshore hard mineral resources. In contrast to tradition offshore energy resources that have been intensively regulated for decades, formal federal regulations for hard minerals did not exist until recently. Early in 1989, the minerals management service adopted a three-tiered regulatory program despite criticism from some mining industry representatives and government officials who felt that a different management approach should have been taken. The new regulations should alleviate much of the legal uncertainty associated with hard mineral mining on federal submerged lands. Increased industry interest in hard mineral mining in state waters also have been hampered to some extent as states engage in the process of enacting their own offshore mining regulatory programs or revising antiquated programs. The purpose of this guide is to present an overview of existing laws and regulations governing hard mineral mining on the continental shelf. A summary of the salient features of the present legal framework on both the federal and state level may help to reduce some of the confusion expressed by the marine mining industry and assist in the thoughtful and efficient development of marine mineral resources.
CP; Final Contract Report;
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University of Mississippi