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    Document Summary
    - Report Published -

    Senate Document No. 18

    Document Title
    Report of the Subaqueous Minerals and Materials Study Commission

    General Assembly; Special Commission

    Enabling Authority
    SJR 104 (Regular Session, 1985)

    Executive Summary
    The Subaqueous Minerals and Materials Study Commission was established pursuant to Senate Joint Resolution No. 104 by the 1985 Session of the General Assembly. The Commission was charged with making determinations as to whether subaqueous minerals and materials of the Commonwealth exist in commercial quantities and whether the removal, extraction, use, disposition, or sale of these minerals and materials can be adequately managed to ensure the public interest.

    The study was initiated based on the recognition that the beds of the ocean, bays, and rivers of the Commonwealth may contain potentially valuable minerals and materials which could be suitable for commercial use. Also, previous studies have indicated that sand resources exist in various Virginia submerged lands which could be recovered for the purpose of replenishing the public beaches of the Commonwealth.

    Announcements made during the summer of 1985 by the United States Department of Interior revealed that U.S. Geological Survey explorations had identified heavy mineral concentrations off the coast of Virginia, providing further evidence that lands beneath the waters of the Commonwealth may contain similar concentrations.

    Virginia could benefit from the development of these resources in a number of ways: by encouraging development of the marine mining industry, by leasing state lands for mining and dredging activities, by receiving royalties on materials extracted, by establishing sources of sand for .the nourishment of Virginia's beaches, or by any number of indirect economic and social benefits that could result from developing, processing, and transporting such resources.

    With this potential as a foundation, the Commission began to investigate the issues raised by the development of subaqueous resources and the problems encountered in this new and highly technical field.

    The Commission meetings this year were focused primarily on technical presentations and the receipt of information as to the type and quantity of minerals and materials existing within and outside of Virginia waters. Based on the knowledge gained thus far, the Commission has developed several recommendations which are contained in Part III herein. Due to the nature and complexities of the issues, it was felt that the study should be continued next year.

    This document is submitted as the Commission's report on its 1985 activities.