What is Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves

Mining professional encounter these two terms; mineral resources and ore reserves almost everyday in their professional career and an understanding of their difference is vital.

There was a question raised with reference to my previous post regarding the definition of the terms in the post titled Mineral resource and reserve definitions. As the answer, this post intends to point out the main difference between  an ore reserve and mineral resource.

JORC Classification
With this reference, let me start with the chart above to define the terms.
The JORC code chart explicitly illustrates the different categories of mineral resources and ore reserves. Confidence in the geologic evidence and knowledge and certainty of existence increases from top to bottom. Thus, individual class (inferred, indicated, measured) are actually measure of the geological knowledge available. It falls into a scale of 10% to 95% from top to bottom. As more evidence of of a mineral existence becomes available, the resources move from inferred to indicated and finally to the class of measured resources.
Confidence in the economic feasibility increases from the left to the right and individual class (possible, probable, proven) fall into a scale of 0% to 95% from the left to the right depending on the level of economic feasibility.The economic feasibility is dependent on all modifying factor including, cost of mining, processing, legal, administration, shipment, compensations, royalties and prevailing market conditions. Hence the corresponding class is inherent of the economic feasibility. The reserve class moves from probable to proven.

JORC Mineral Classification


The major difference between resources and reserves is the economic value that is inherited. However in a nutshell, both mineral resources and ore reserves are are a function of both economic and geologic certainty and can not be simply defined without understanding the two different mechanisms fully.

What is the difference between Resources and Ore Reserve?

Mineral Resource are defined from the level of geologic certainty. That is, after much sampling and geologic prospecting and exploration, results confirm the occurrence of mineral with very high level of confidence. However its economic viability is explored and defined with some level of confidence and more work is required to fully establish its economic value.

Ore Reserves are defined from the economics point of view where the economic viability is estimated with very high level of confidence. Its geologic occurrence is explored and defined with some level of confidence.

In light of the above two definition, classification of a specific mineral resource into its respective resource class (measured, indicated, inferred) or ore reserve to its respective reserve class (possible, probable, proven)  is a function of both  economic feasibility and geologic (knowledge) occurrence and geologic confidence that is available.

HIGH GEOLOGIC CONFIDENCE & LOW ECONOMIC CONFIDENCE = RESOURCES

HIGH GEOLOGIC CONFIDENCE & HIGH ECONOMIC CONFIDENCE = RESERVE


What is Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves What is Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves Reviewed by CEDRICK KAU on August 09, 2016 Rating: 5

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