United States Code
USC most recently checked for updates: Nov 14, 2019
A geothermal lease shall be for a primary term of 10 years.
The Secretary shall extend the primary term of a geothermal lease (after an initial extension under paragraph (2)) for an additional 5 years if, for each year of the initial extension under paragraph (2), the Secretary determined under subsection (b) that the lessee satisfied the minimum work requirements that applied to the lease for that year.
The lessee for a geothermal lease shall, for each year after the 10th year of the lease, satisfy minimum work requirements prescribed by the Secretary that apply to the lease for that year.
In lieu of the minimum work requirements set forth in subsection (b)(2), the Secretary shall by regulation establish minimum annual payments which may be made by the lessee for a limited number of years that the Secretary determines will not impair achieving diligent development of the geothermal resource, but in no event shall the number of years exceed the duration of the extension period provided in subsection (a).
The lessee for a geothermal lease of an area overlying an area subject to a mining claim for which a plan of operations has been approved by the relevant Federal land management agency is exempt from annual work requirements established under this chapter, if development of the geothermal resource subject to the lease would interfere with the mining operations under such claim.
An exemption under this paragraph expires upon the termination of the mining operations.
Minimum work requirements prescribed under this section shall not apply to a geothermal lease after the date on which the geothermal resource is utilized under the lease in commercial quantities.
Any lease for land on which, or for which under an approved cooperative or unit plan of development or operation, actual drilling operations were commenced prior to the end of its primary term and are being diligently prosecuted at that time shall be extended for five years and so long thereafter, but not more than thirty-five years, as geothermal steam is produced or utilized in commercial quantities. If, at the end of such extended term, steam is being produced or utilized in commercial quantities and the lands are not needed for other purposes, the lessee shall have a preferential right to a renewal of such lease for a second term in accordance with such terms and conditions as the Secretary deems appropriate.
Except as otherwise provided for in this section, for purposes of this section the term “produced or utilized in commercial quantities” means the completion of a well producing geothermal steam in commercial quantities. Such term shall also include the completion of a well capable of producing geothermal steam in commercial quantities so long as the Secretary determines that diligent efforts are being made toward the utilization of the geothermal steam.
Minerals locatable under the mining laws of the United States in lands subject to a geothermal lease issued under the provisions of this chapter which are not associated with the geothermal resources of such lands as defined in section 1001(c) of this title shall be locatable under said mining laws in accordance with the principles of the Multiple Mineral Development Act (68 Stat. 708; found in 30 U.S.C. 521 et seq.).