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ORE, MINERAL ECONOMICS, AND MINERAL EXPLORATION CHARLES J]. MOON AND ANTHONY M. EVANS 11 INTRODUCTION A large economic mineral deposit, €.g, 200 Mt ‘underlying an area of 2 km’, is minute in com- parison with the Earth’s crust and in most countries the casily found deposits croppi ut at the surface have nearly all been foun The deposits for which we now search are largely concealed by weathered and leached outcrops, drift, soil, or some other cover, and sophisticated cxploration methods are required to find them. The target material is referred to as a mineral deposit, unless we use a more specific term such as coal, gas, oil, or water. Mineral deposits contain ‘mineral resources. What sort of mineral deposit should we seek? To answer this question it is necessary to have some understanding of mineral economics. 12 MINERAL ECONOMICS 121 Ore Oreisa word used to prefix reserves or body but the term is often misused to refer to any or all in situ mincralisation. The Australasian Joint (Ore Reserves Commitice |2003) in its code, the JORC Code, leads into the description of ore reserves in the ollowing way When the Wes tion, quantity, grade, geological characteristics tnd continuity of ation are known, and there is a concentration or occurrence of the material of intrinsic economic interest in or on the Earth’s crust in such form and quantity that there are reasonable prospects for eventual economic extraction, then this deposit ean be called a mineral resource.” “Mfineral Resources are subdivided, in order of increasing geological confidence, into Inferred, Indicated, and Measured categories.” A more completeexplanation given in section 10.4.1 Te Re Cade then explains that "an ore reserve is the economically mineable part of 4 Measured oF Indicated Mineral Resource Te includes diluting materials and allowances for losses that may occur when the material is mined. Appropriate assessments, which may include feasibility studies (sce section 11.4), have been carried out, and include consid eration of and. moaiReation by realistically assumed mining, metallorgical, economic, marketing legal’ environmental, socal, and governmental’ factors. "These. ‘assessments demonstrate at the time of orting that extraction could reasonably be justified.” "Ore Reserves are sub-divided in order of increasing confidence into Probable Ore Reserves and Proved Ore Reserves” “The term ‘economic’ implies that extrac. tion of the ore reserve has been established ‘or analytically demonstrated to be viable and justifiable under reasonable investment assumptions, The term ore reserve need not necessarily signify that extraction facilities are In place of operative or that all governmental approvals have been received, 1 does signify that there are reasonable expectations of such approvals.” An orcbody will be the postion of @ mineralized envelope within which ore reserves have been defined. Gre minerals ave thene metallic mineral, eg, galena, sphalerte, chalcopyrite, that form the economic portion of the mineral depo