Future availability of non-renewable metal resources and the influence of environmental, social, and governance conflicts on metal production

Mineral reserves and resources reporting codes and use

Understanding reserve and resource assessments requires knowledge of the terminology and the way the minerals industry operates, specifically how and why mineral resources and reserves “grow” over time coincident with production13,14. Reserves and resources are reported by the global mining industry to indicate the amount of contained metal or other commodities within a given mineral deposit. These terms form the basis for formal codes, guidelines, and legal instruments that are used to determine the value for companies and other entities that own mineral deposits. The approaches outlined in these codes contain strict definitions for resources and reserves, summarised as follows (adapted from ref. 30):

  • Resources are known metal concentrations of economic interest with grade, quality and quantity suggesting reasonable prospects for eventual economic extraction.

  • Reserves are the economically mineable part of resources that incorporate assessment of “modifying factors” such

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