THIS POST WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED AUGUST 01, 2011
Mining 101: Reserves and Resources
A recent publication of U.S. Geological Survey Mineral Commodity Summaries 2011 lists a comprehensive data on major commodities – worldwide and in the USA.
As an example, here is the latest data on iron ore:
Besides all factual data, there is a nicely complied APPENDIX C—Reserves and Resources, that in concise language explains salient notions that are associated with these two terms.
“Reserves may be considered a working inventory of mining companies’ supply of an economically extractable mineral commodity. As such, magnitude of that inventory is necessarily limited by many considerations, including cost of drilling, taxes, price of the mineral commodity being mined, and the demand for it. Reserves will be developed to the point of business needs and geologic limitations of economic ore grade and tonnage. For example, in 1970, identified and undiscovered world copper resources were estimated to contain 1.6 billion metric tons of copper, with reserves of about 280 million metric tons of copper. Since then, about 400 million metric tons of copper have been produced worldwide, but world copper reserves in 2010 were estimated to be 630 million metric tons of copper, more than double those in 1970, despite the depletion by mining of more than the original reserves estimate.”
I recommend to download the brochure, as it is a useful and handy reference material in everyday operations for miners.