30 CFR § 1206.257 - Valuation standards for ad valorem leases.

§ 1206.257 Valuation standards for ad valorem leases.

(a) This section is applicable to coal leases on Federal lands which provide for the determination of royalty as a percentage of the amount of value of coal (ad valorem). The value for royalty purposes of coal from such leases shall be the value of coal determined under this section, less applicable coal washing allowances and transportation allowances determined under §§ 1206.258 through 1206.262, or any allowance authorized by § 1206.265. The royalty due shall be equal to the value for royalty purposes multiplied by the royalty rate in the lease.


(1) The value of coal that is sold pursuant to an arm's-length contract shall be the gross proceeds accruing to the lessee, except as provided in paragraphs (b)(2), (3), and (5) of this section. The lessee shall have the burden of demonstrating that its contract is arm's-length. The value which the lessee reports, for royalty purposes, is subject to monitoring, review, and audit.

(2) In conducting reviews and audits, ONRR will examine whether the contract reflects the total consideration actually transferred either directly or indirectly from the buyer to the seller for the coal produced. If the contract does not reflect the total consideration, then the ONRR may require that the coal sold pursuant to that contract be valued in accordance with paragraph (c) of this section. Value may not be based on less than the gross proceeds accruing to the lessee for the coal production, including the additional consideration.

(3) If ONRR determines that the gross proceeds accruing to the lessee pursuant to an arm's-length contract do not reflect the reasonable value of the production because of misconduct by or between the contracting parties, or because the lessee otherwise has breached its duty to the lessor to market the production for the mutual benefit of the lessee and the lessor, then ONRR shall require that the coal production be valued pursuant to paragraph (c)(2)(ii), (iii), (iv), or (v) of this section, and in accordance with the notification requirements of paragraph (d)(3) of this section. When ONRR determines that the value may be unreasonable, ONRR will notify the lessee and give the lessee an opportunity to provide written information justifying the lessee's reported coal value.

(4) ONRR may require a lessee to certify that its arm's-length contract provisions include all of the consideration to be paid by the buyer, either directly or indirectly, for the coal production.

(5) The value of production for royalty purposes shall not include payments received by the lessee pursuant to a contract which the lessee demonstrates, to ONRR's satisfaction, were not part of the total consideration paid for the purchase of coal production.


(1) The value of coal from leases subject to this section and which is not sold pursuant to an arm's-length contract shall be determined in accordance with this section.

(2) If the value of the coal cannot be determined pursuant to paragraph (b) of this section, then the value shall be determined through application of other valuation criteria. The criteria shall be considered in the following order, and the value shall be based upon the first applicable criterion:

(i) The gross proceeds accruing to the lessee pursuant to a sale under its non-arm's-length contract (or other disposition of produced coal by other than an arm's-length contract), provided that those gross proceeds are within the range of the gross proceeds derived from, or paid under, comparable arm's-length contracts between buyers and sellers neither of whom is affiliated with the lessee for sales, purchases, or other dispositions of like-quality coal produced in the area. In evaluating the comparability of arm's-length contracts for the purposes of these regulations, the following factors shall be considered: Price, time of execution, duration, market or markets served, terms, quality of coal, quantity, and such other factors as may be appropriate to reflect the value of the coal;

(ii) Prices reported for that coal to a public utility commission;

(iii) Prices reported for that coal to the Energy Information Administration of the Department of Energy;

(iv) Other relevant matters including, but not limited to, published or publicly available spot market prices, or information submitted by the lessee concerning circumstances unique to a particular lease operation or the saleability of certain types of coal;

(v) If a reasonable value cannot be determined using paragraph (c)(2)(i), (ii), (iii), or (iv) of this section, then a net-back method or any other reasonable method shall be used to determine value.

(3) When the value of coal is determined pursuant to paragraph (c)(2) of this section, that value determination shall be consistent with the provisions contained in paragraph (b)(5) of this section.


(1) Where the value is determined pursuant to paragraph (c) of this section, that value does not require ONRR's prior approval. However, the lessee shall retain all data relevant to the determination of royalty value. Such data shall be subject to review and audit, and ONRR will direct a lessee to use a different value if it determines that the reported value is inconsistent with the requirements of these regulations.

(2) Any Federal lessee will make available upon request to the authorized ONRR or State representatives, to the Inspector General of the Department of the Interior or other persons authorized to receive such information, arm's-length sales value and sales quantity data for like-quality coal sold, purchased, or otherwise obtained by the lessee from the area.

(3) A lessee shall notify ONRR if it has determined value pursuant to paragraph (c)(2)(ii), (iii), (iv), or (v) of this section. The notification shall be by letter to the Director for Office of Natural Resources Revenue of his/her designee. The letter shall identify the valuation method to be used and contain a brief description of the procedure to be followed. The notification required by this section is a one-time notification due no later than the month the lessee first reports royalties on the form ONRR-4430 using a valuation method authorized by paragraph (c)(2)(ii), (iii), (iv), or (v) of this section, and each time there is a change in a method under paragraph (c)(2)(iv) or (v) of this section.

(e) If ONRR determines that a lessee has not properly determined value, the lessee shall be liable for the difference, if any, between royalty payments made based upon the value it has used and the royalty payments that are due based upon the value established by ONRR. The lessee shall also be liable for interest computed pursuant to § 1218.202 of this subchapter. If the lessee is entitled to a credit, ONRR will provide instructions for the taking of that credit.

(f) The lessee may request a value determination from ONRR. In that event, the lessee shall propose to ONRR a value determination method, and may use that method in determining value for royalty purposes until ONRR issues its decision. The lessee shall submit all available data relevant to its proposal. The ONRR shall expeditiously determine the value based upon the lessee's proposal and any additional information ONRR deems necessary. That determination shall remain effective for the period stated therein. After ONRR issues its determination, the lessee shall make the adjustments in accordance with paragraph (e) of this section.

(g) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section, under no circumstances shall the value for royalty purposes be less than the gross proceeds accruing to the lessee for the disposition of produced coal less applicable provisions of paragraph (b)(5) of this section and less applicable allowances determined pursuant to §§ 1206.258 through 1206.262 and 1206.265.

(h) The lessee is required to place coal in marketable condition at no cost to the Federal Government. Where the value established under this section is determined by a lessee's gross proceeds, that value shall be increased to the extent that the gross proceeds has been reduced because the purchaser, or any other person, is providing certain services, the cost of which ordinarily is the responsibility of the lessee to place the coal in marketable condition.

(i) Value shall be based on the highest price a prudent lessee can receive through legally enforceable claims under its contract. Absent contract revision or amendment, if the lessee fails to take proper or timely action to receive prices or benefits to which it is entitled, it must pay royalty at a value based upon that obtainable price or benefit. Contract revisions or amendments shall be in writing and signed by all parties to an arm's-length contract, and may be retroactively applied to value for royalty purposes for a period not to exceed two years, unless ONRR approves a longer period. If the lessee makes timely application for a price increase allowed under its contract but the purchaser refuses, and the lessee takes reasonable measures, which are documented, to force purchaser compliance, the lessee will owe no additional royalties unless or until monies or consideration resulting from the price increase are received. This paragraph shall not be construed to permit a lessee to avoid its royalty payment obligation in situations where a purchaser fails to pay, in whole or in part or timely, for a quantity of coal.

(j) Notwithstanding any provision in these regulations to the contrary, no review, reconciliation, monitoring, or other like process that results in a redetermination by ONRR of value under this section shall be considered final or binding as against the Federal Government or its beneficiaries until the audit period is formally closed.

(k) Certain information submitted to ONRR to support valuation proposals, including transportation, coal washing, or other allowances under § 1206.265, is exempted from disclosure by the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 522. Any data specified by the Act to be privileged, confidential, or otherwise exempt shall be maintained in a confidential manner in accordance with applicable law and regulations. All requests for information about determinations made under this part are to be submitted in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act regulation of the Department of the Interior, 43 CFR part 2.